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SJSU / Engineering / POLS 004 / What are the four elements of a state?

What are the four elements of a state?

What are the four elements of a state?


School: San Jose State University
Department: Engineering
Course: Introduction to International Relations
Term: Fall 2018
Cost: 50
Name: POLS 004- Introduction to International Relations: Exam 2 Study Guide
Description: These notes have been prepared in reference to the study guide given for Exam 2.
Uploaded: 08/24/2018
16 Pages 167 Views 4 Unlocks

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International Relations Study Guide- Exam 2 

What are the four elements of a state?

*States as Actors/Domestic level

How states could be described in IR (unitary actor, government, extension of interests):

At the state level of analysis, states are considered unitary actors. States are represented by their leaderships (government). The state is also thought of as an extension of important interests within the country.

Four Elements of a State

● Definite territory with clear boundaries. “Ruler” claims sovereignty and control over land. ● Must have a stable population within these borders

● Population expected to recognise a govt and be allegiant to it.

● Other states must recognise the sovereignty of the state.

Sources of state power

Natural, Tangible and Intangible power

What is the foreign policy?

Natural​: (based on resources or geography- or both) Often don’t have to face the same kinds of threats.

Example: Russia. Because of their rugged terrain and harsh weather, they only need to retreat until the attackers are depleted of resources and attack them then.

Tangible​: based on development, infrastructure, and military forces.

Example: The US’ strong military force gives us a great deal of tangible power. Other states may resist attacking us because they recognise the strength of our military and recognise the repercussions that an attack could have on them. If you want to learn more check out What is meant by simple random sampling?

Intangible​: based on image, social cohesion, or leadership of the state.

Example: Canada has a very good image and good relations with most other states, which serves as a deterrent for other countries to attack it and gives less reason for an attack. It may also maintain more allies due to its good relations with other states.

What is the tangible power?

Positions of the 4 perspectives on power:


Tend to focus on material resources. Often armaments, but can be other factors like territory/geographic features, population, and strategic commodities. 

-Often called Hard Power We also discuss several other topics like When did christendom start?

-Tangible stuff


● State is a forum of many competing interests.

● How much cohesion does this particular state have? Need for cohesion among interests to have power.

● More intangible forms of power

Can people work with each other? Are people being heard? In democracies, do the people have input in foreign policy?


● State as an evolving identity. A state’s identity is a vital part of existence. ● Strong sense of identity could be considered power.

...As could alignment with international norms and concepts. Important bcs it can affect how other countries perceive you.

-Eg. commitment to human security.

● Soft power more normative than material.


● Marxists question whether the state has any power at all.

● State is not an independent entity.

● Should be asking ourselves what the wealthy of any particular country wants ● International/separate entities may put a strain on the state.

-Multinational corps.

-Wealthier countries

Economic power is a major issue here

Foreign Policy We also discuss several other topics like What are the elements of music?

● Foreign policy and state action

- At the domestic level, states are involved in creating foreign policy

- A major part of foreign policy is determining the national interest.

● Brings up the following questions:

- What are our major intentions?

- How will we achieve these goals (models for how policy is formulated).


● Generally the number 1 priority in foreign policy.

This area of policy encompasses the following:

- Defensive strategies and resources.

- Alliances for security reasons.

- Major sets of objections to achieve.

● Foreign policy could involve military but also diplomatic actors. We also discuss several other topics like What is advertising, and how has it evolved?

Economic Policy​: If you want to learn more check out What is the central dogma of biology?

● Secondary consideration

● Trade stance (can be used for security purposes- creating cooperation). ● Financial flows

● Few countries are completely isolated from others.

● Flows of investment funds across borders

● Development and innovation.

This area of policy could involve...

- Diplomatic actors (to perform for the state specifically- first line of communication). - Businesses, financial and trade orgs.

- Consumers at the domes. Level (states are concerned with their consumers)- can affect both international AND domestic politics.

Eg. conflict between China and U.S., trade agreements could stop, would affect our markets. China needs US consumers just as we need Chinese goods.

Normative Policy​: If you want to learn more check out What are the 8 marketing functions?

● Covers relations that reflect a country’s ideology and ideals

● Eg. a democratic country may wish other countries to adopt democratic institutions and ideals.

- Could be through diplomacy aid or other, more forceful methods.

Overlap between these Major Areas of Policy​:

● Democratic peace as a security and normative issue.

The Democratic Peace Hypothesis: 

1) Countries that are democratic will not attack each other.

2) Democratic countries WILL attack non-democratic states.

3) Non-demo. states will attack either.

Statistically, this seems to be the case (statistical trends).

- Is this a real phenomenon? Not everyone is sure.

- Liberals and constructivists believe it may be true. Different institutions in democratic regimes.

Liberals: - Democratic states require popular support.

- Multiple interests must cooperate

- Elites cannot act alone.

Constructivists: - Demo. states cannot justify attacking other democracies. - All about the ideologies. We would not attack states who share our ideologies. - Ideological support does not exist.

● Economic relations may also have security implications.

- War would have negative economic effects.

- Countries that are interdependent will not likely go to war with each other, as it is not worth it.

Policy Formulation

How is foreign policy created?

● Realists emphasize a rational model.

- The state acts as one unit.

- Rational calculation of the costs and benefits

- Logical courses of action, given the available information.

Example: the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939) between USSR, Germany. What were the rational interests between these 2 players?

- Germany wanted to avoid an immediate two-front war

- Fight Western Europe first, defeat them, then turn their tanks to

- USSR was not prepared for war, needed time to rearm. Figured they would soon need to fight Nazi Germany. Turned to UK and France. They said no.

- Both sides saw this as an opportunity for expansion in the meantime. - Way to avoid an immediate conflict (potential for expansion). 

- Planned division of Central Europe through the pact.

● Liberals​ concentrate on domestic interests and processes. 

- bureaucratic/organisational model

White House agencies and Exterior Bureaucratic agencies. 

-State -Natl. Sec. Agency (NSC)

-Defense -Council of Economic advisors


Exterior Bureaucratic agencies- Exist outside of direct presidential control. Congress:​ Needed to approve a number of foreign policy decisions.

Individuals in govt.: May be counted in terms of their interests.

Part of a bargaining process.

Examples: Giving Foreign Aid to other countries

- Issue of aid is a sensitive topic- outlay of US money.

- Foreign aid often given for security aid (benefit the US)

Different bodies all have a stake in determining whether or not certain aid is given. PIuralist model: Groups outside govt. will influence govt. on certain decisions.

All contribute to State decisions

Interest Groups


Public Opinions

Mass movements

Example:​ The DREAM Act and immigration policy in the U.S.

Constructivists:​ Focus on a country’s norms and culture in policy

-Common ideology

-Common cultural factors and history

● Idea of Democratic Peace used

- Difficult and unnecessary to attack a common democracy.

Example: Post invasion U.S. justification for Iraq War (regime change) - Reason was now to try to change the regime of Iraq- build a democracy


● Marxists ask;​ what does the ruling class want

- Usually the class most involved in business

- In less developed states- lineage of rulers

- Even socialist states have ruling classes - Must have somebody to decide who gets what, essentially becomes the leader.

- For example, the white house as tool used by the wealthy to get what they want. Congress ideas dictated by the wealthy in congress.

Example:​ Free trade vs. Protectionism 

- American firms are the ones who benefit from protectionism. Not helping the workers - Benefits those who benefit from commerce

*At this point, very few states are separate from capitalism.

Bilateral Relations and Diplomacy 

State-to-State bilateral relations

● While international organisations exist, most relations are directly with other states (bilateral)

● These relations could include:

- Establishing a relationship with another state (or not)

- Economic engagement for trade, aid.

- Use of force for coercive diplomacy

Types of Relationships between States

● In diplomatic terms, there are generally four types of relationships between states, with diplomatic action varying by relationship.

● Allies (ex. U.S.-U.K.)

- Have a set of common interests

- Established channels for relations and resolving problems

- Regularly scheduled meetings and consultations to accomplish mutual goals ● The US and UK have considerable cooperation in the area of nuclear armament and planning.

Friends (ex. U.S.-India)

- States that are on good terms with one another… but may lack common interests. - Less-scheduled negotiations (for a specific reason)

- May not be a standardised set of channels for communication.

● On the issue of nuclear policy, US and India have often disagreed- has not hampered the rs.

- India is too big and strategically important to not try to be friends with them.

Adversaries (U.S.- Russia)

- States that have acrimonious relations

- Adversaries will have controlled means of contact… but often heavily scripted and planned ahead of time.

- Controlled means of contact

- Scheduled meetings

- Sets of rules to regulate the others’ behaviors

- Surveillance of each others’ behaviors

● Why? To relieve tensions between countries

● U.S.-RF relations are adversarial, leading to considerable negotiation and formal agreements on nuclear arms and disarmament.

Non-engaged or Isolated (U.S.-North Korea)

- Little or no formal relations

- Little direct contact between the states

- There may need to be a third party to communicate and negotiate

- Informal interaction (such as tourism) treated with suspicion

● The nuclear issue has led to isolation between the U.S. and NK. This has made encouraging nuclearization difficult for US.

Engagement vs. Isolation

● Important in bilateral relations is whether two states engage or isolate each other.

● Engagement = typical behavior in diplomacy:

- Recognition of the other country as a sovereign nation

- Invitation to exchange diplomatic representatives

- Invitations to participate in joint projects of interest.

● Engagement does not have to happen only with allies and friends (can happen with adversaries)

- But it’s hard to engage after isolation- eg: US with NK or Iran.

● Isolation could be considered a form of diplomatic sanction.

● Has some potentially negative implications:

- Will not have eyes in that country

- Will be less communication directly with that country’s government.

- Isolation from a state affects the image of the first state in the second state. State, Public, and Celebrity Diplomacy

● Diplomacy is usually done through state representatives- counsels, ambassadors, and public servants

● Also through the media, and celebrity diplomacy (well-known individual representing the country)

Economic Engagement

● Can be used for cooperation or coercion.

● Cooperative economic agreements can happen for trade, financial, development, and aid reasons.

● Alternatively, coercive economic measures could include sanctions of various types

Use of Force (Coercive Diplomacy)

● Use of force in a threatening way

● Compellence

- Gradual use of force (economic and/or military) to compel other states - This is about escalation, not necessarily attack

- When not complying with a state’s demand costs too much, other state agrees


- Establishing (or threatening to establish) military bases

- Military exercises

- Imposing (or threatening to impose) tariffs


● A strategy of force to punish aggressive states if they act in a certain way. - If a state is threatened or attacked, response will be..

- Key: Your victory wont be worth the costs we impose

- So, your threat/attack is irrational


- Mutually assured destruction (nuclear parity)

Sanctions: Encompass a number of possible measures

● Diplomatic (isolation)

● Economic sanctions. Can include trade barriers, tariffs, and asset freezes. ● “Smart sanctions”

- Targeting elites- travel, monetary restrictions

Often, countries in which economic sanctions have been imposed will simply find another place to get the same resources or adjust to the sanctions.

International Organizations and Regimes/ International Level 

Roles of International Organisations:

Solving Technical Problems

● International governmental organisations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are also actors in IR

- In IGOs, states are the primary members

● NGOs are not made up of states or state actors. and could exist at either the domestic or intl. levels, or both

- Do not have certain state baggage

● Both significant actors at the intl. level.

● Often best bodies to solve IR

- Resolving technical issues. What do specific terms mean? NGOs can decide (create an international level organisation to tackle a specific issue).

- Increasing efficiency in solving problems

- Protecting collective goods: eg. climate change as a collective goods problem: Affects everybody. Requires a collective solution.

- Creating epistemic communities (NGOs) Group of experts that meet at the intl level and exchange info

- Important to validify information. Prevent a specific state that tries to dispute a fact. - Enforcing agreements. When countries agree to act at the intl level, enforcement is tough (all depends on states) However, because an IGO is in place, it can observe enforcement

Intergovernmental Organisations

The United Nations

● World’s largest collective security org.

- But has expanded into other things.

● Its powers and orgs are based on the lessons learned from the LoNs. ● Major organs:

- Security council: Currently 15 members, with 5 permanent members (Russia, China, U.S., France and UK)

- Meant to reflect power and universal representation.

- ⅔ of the gen assembly must vote to approve new non-permanent members. - Resolutions generally require 9/15 members to approve, but permanent members have minority veto power.

General Assembly

● Made up of 193 states and state-level actors. Split by region.

● Its regular session is September-December of a given year

● Most issues decided by simple majority vote.

● Budgetary issues, elections to other areas of the org, and recommendations on peace and security require ⅔.

● Intended to create a forum where all states are treated fundamentally as equal in discussion and debate.


● The secretariat is the foundation and bureaucracy of the UN under the direction of the Secretary-General.

● The position of General Secretary is largely of normative importance and as a voice for the org as a whole.


● Economic and social council: Oversight body for the UN’s 14 subsidiary orgs, including UNESCO, WHO, UNICEF, and the UNDP.

● ECOSOC has 54 members elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms, with ⅓ standing for election per year.

● The body meets in regular sessions in April and July.

● Simple majority votes are required for resolutions.

● As with the Security Council’s non-permanent seats allocated by geography and population to regions.

● Also one of the major bodies where NGO presence is also called upon for information and research.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

● Exists in the Hague, with a panel of 15 judges.

● Court decides disputes in intl law brought to it by state parties, and advises state parties on questions of intl law.

● Judge positions are proportioned geographically, with nine-year terms after election by the General Assembly.

● The court does not have independent enforcement power, but relies on the commitment of the states to adhere to its decisions. Therefore, acts as more of a mediator than an enforcer.

The UN’s (Changing) Mission

● The U.N.’s charter reflects a number of important concepts;

- Sovereignty: Cornerstone of state status in the UN and as a priority in policy (ref. To chapter 7).

● But this concept has come into conflict with other goals of the UN, including maintaining peace regionally and internationally (and human security).

● Concerns of human security have led the UN to overrule the power of sovereignty on some occasions.

● The UN’s influence on Security has caused it to have a major role on individual states. ● UN still depends on its members to work.

- No independent fighting force to enforce its rules.

● Has no independent budget.

● Very hard to impose its conventions on the states. Usually depends on people willingly consenting through their states to abide by the rules.

● Particularly true for powerful states that do not really need the UN.

Regional IGOs

● May be just as or more important in their geographical locations.

- Provide security.

- Provide economic and normative cooperation among their members

- Represent these countries collectively at the intl level.

● Some examples..

- The EU​: federation of the states of Europe. Initially an economic org. Now focused on security, economic, and normative policy.

- Sees itself as a new layer of govt that imposes policies on states in this region. - Even non-member neighbours must have cooperation with it.

● Has a Parliament and President.

● Not really a union- still a federation. Each member is a separate sovereign state. Has their own power over domestic policy issues. Individual states have their own power over citizenship and local affairs, and may object to proposals for joint policy.

● OAS (the Organisation of American States): ​Regional organisation, created their own model for regional organisation.

- Adopted a wide range of goals: political (promotion of democracy), economic (enhancing development, preferential treatment in trade and finance), social (promotion of human rights), and military (collective defense against aggression from outside the region and peaceful settlement of disputes within).

● AU (the African Union)​: Replaced the Organisation of African Unity in 2002. - Goal to give African states an increased ability to respond to the issues of economic globalisation and democratisation affecting the continent.

- Thus, committed to democratic principles, fight against crimes against humanity within the states.

- African states have the ability to monitor each other’s behaviors.

- Belief that better governance is key to economic development.

● ASEAN (the Association of South-East Asian Nations):

- Strive to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership.

- And; to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and

adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

- Try to eliminate trade barriers within South-East Asia and attract foreign investment into the region.

● Arab League:

- Mission to strengthen ties between member states and “safeguard their independence and sovereignty

- General concern with the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.” Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs)

Charitable and Philanthropic NGOs

Participatory and empowerment NGOs

Issue-based NGOs

Relations with states and IGOs

● NGOs may struggle to be heard by IGOs, as IGOs are government affiliated or supported. IGOs are backed by more than one state, wheras NGOs operate primarily autonomously. However, the growing influence of NGOs in the International arena means they are becoming more involved in the decisions of IGOs such as the UN.

Why do we have so many international organisations today?

● International governmental organisations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are also actors in IR

- In IGOs, states are the primary members

● NGOs are not made up of states or state actors. and could exist at either the domestic or intl. levels, or both

- Do not have certain state baggage

● Both significant actors at the intl. level.

● Often best bodies to solve IR

- Resolving technical issues. What do specific terms mean? NGOs can decide (create an international level organisation to tackle a specific issue).

- Increasing efficiency in solving problems

- Protecting collective goods: eg. climate change as a collective goods problem: Affects everybody. Requires a collective solution.

- Creating epistemic communities (NGOs) Group of experts that meet at the intl level and exchange info

- Important to validify information. Prevent a specific state that tries to dispute a fact. - Enforcing agreements. When countries agree to act at the intl level, enforcement is tough (all depends on states) However, because an IGO is in place, it can observe enforcement

- Promoting functionalism. Rules and structures to monitor behavior. Limits the potential for conflict.

How do Perspectives see International Organisations?

● Organisations to solve collective problems.

● All perspectives have a different attitude on the issue of IGOs and NGOs. ● To Liberals, IGOs and NGOs facilitate cooperation and occasionally overruling states’ interests if it benefits the entire international community.

● Constructivists: IGOs have the power to shape ideas and norms

● Realists: Think of the state as the primary focus in IR. Relations bet states are mostly bilateral. Powerful states dominate these orgs, and weaker states might actually be weakened by IGOs.

● Radicals: Also question IGOs. Question what its purpose is. Whose interests are really served by them? In the case of MNCs (multi-national corporations), clearly play to the interests of wealthy groups above other actors. Comes down to what the ruling interests want.


● International- Organisations primarily made up of states as actors: The UN ● May be organised into regions or blocs of states with common interests - The Group of 77, made of developing states.

● But.. actors under the state level rarely get to be heard in these orgs.. Unless they organise themselves into NGOs.

Foci of IGOs

● Collective security

- United nations

- NATO: “if we get attacked outside our region, we will come tgtr as a group and fight back”

Orgs designed to promote collective security.

● Economic Cooperation and Development

- UN

- World Bank: To help developing countries develop and restructure.

- EU


● Normative policy and intl law.

- ICJ and ICC in UN

- European court of justice

Because of the multifunctional nature of the UN, let’s take some time to consider it. - Greatest number of members, widest scope, etc.

International Regimes

International Law (Definition, enforcement)

- A body of both rules and norms regulating interactions among states, between states and IGOs, and, in some more limited cases, among IGOs, states and individuals - States enforce international law through self-help. Should states choose not to obey international law, other states have instruments at their disposal.

Individuals as Actors in IR

External Circumstances that make individuals significant in IR

Crises and Unstable Situations

● There are situations at the domestic and intl. Level that can lead individuals to have more opportunities to take action.

- An individual’s ideas and solutions might be important in economic crises. - Wars also tend to empower leaders.

- At these times, a leader may feel more free to come up with independent solutions and to get them accepted by groups and other actors.

Example: Winston churchill- Courting US before WWII

Lack of Institutional Constraints

● Rules and structures may or may not govern the behavior of individuals - Domestic: Informal groups and organisations, as opposed to government - Also domestic: Rules allowing suspension of institutional controls

- States of emergency

● Newer states and their institutions allow more formal action

- Traditional vs established democracies and war.

● International: Being a country representative. Empowers the individual. They are technically speaking for the entire country.

Demo vs Non-demo regimes

● Non-demo countries in general have fewer institutions to reduce elite power and may even concentrate power in the hands of leaders.

● Democracies deliberately control individual power with structures and rules that require the participation of multiple actors in policy-making.

- Hard for individuals in a demo to do things behind others backs.

Personality and Perception in Decisions

● Focus on biographical, historical and psychological analysis of figures ● Margaret Hermann: why do some leaders get along well with other and are able to work in groups while others cannot?

Breaks reasons into 6 dimensions;

- Nationalism (independent- high, participatory- low)

- Perception of control (independent- high, participatory- low)

- Need for power (independent- high, participatory- varies)

- Can establish good relations (independent- varies, participatory- high) - Can deal with complexity (independent- low, participatory- high)

- Trusts other actors (independent- low, participatory- high)

Mostly psychological dimensions

● She isolates types of leaders and their ability to rule

● Independant vs participatory leader

● Independent leaders act alone, rarely divert from courses of action. Struggle to trust other actors.

● Participatory- act with groups, may change decisions based on others perceptions. May cause them to act slower.

Belief Systems and Connected Concepts

● Political psychology applies historical and current event research on how specific leaders and significant figures have acted/will act.

● Belief systems- the perceptions used by individuals to process info and come to decisions, based on events, interpretations of past decisions, and memes (often used to create a black and white image)


-Interpretations from past experiences- Evoked set: the tendency to look for details in a contemporary situation that are similar to details from similar prior experiences. -Memes



● Belief systems can be used to promote cognitive consistency (Ensuring that one’s beliefs fit together into a coherent whole).

How this Connects to Groups

● Mirror image perception from an entire group (One considers their own actions good, moral and just and their enemy’s actions automatically evil, immoral, and unjust). ● Additionally, there can be:

- Groupthink vs dissent issues

- The need to satisfice in arriving at a decision. “What is the best way to please everyone and get everything we can”

Problems with using individuals in IR explanations

● Some obvious limits

● May not be great for anticipating future events.

● Focusing on psychological concepts in political behavior- not everyone may be comfortable with this

●How importantare individuals inthe intl. arenaanyway?

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