Reading Notes POL 203
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This 14 page Study Guide was uploaded by awright on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POL 203 at University of Miami taught by Dr. Joseph Parent in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see international relations in Political Science at University of Miami.
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POL 203 – Reading Notes Lecture 1 Film Worlds of Wes Anderson by Michael Chabon – Upon growing up we realize that the world is broken into a million pieces and, in vain try to put together our own miniature version of the world filled with gaps and inaccuracies that we call “art.” Wes Anderson’s films successfully create this art, these miniature worlds. To understand the brokenness of the world we must distance ourselves from it to see it whole, as Anderson does in his films. He creates these miniaturized versions of grief so that we may come to understand it in a way that we can’t in person. The magic of art renders beauty of out of brokenness. Wes Anderson, among others, puts the world in a box so that we can understand a piece of its complexity. “Rhetoric – What it is: Why it’s Needed” by Harper Collins from A Jacques Barzun Reader – Writing is not easy, but with practice you can avoid the common pitfalls and make it enjoyable. Rhetoric shows you how to put words together so that the reader not simply may but must grasp your meaning. It is not concerned with your reason for writing, it refers to the art of making oneself understood in the modern situation of continually having to put words on paper for the perusal of readers known or unknown. Writing is mostly selftaught through practice and criticism. You must go over your work and forget the intention of your writing and instead assess the expression to ensure the intention is clear to other readers. Pay attention to the words that you or others use and read abundantly to understand the power of words and how to create that power yourself. The purpose of writing is largely always the same: to be understood aright with little effort on the part of the reader. Lecture 2 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Progress through Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn – For everything to day that we consider to be a science there was at one point a fierce debate over whether or not it was a science. Some emerging social sciences are going through that debate today. People often get bogged down in the definition of science and what does or does not make a science. Science is inextricably linked to progress, but is a field a science because it progresses, or does it progress because it is a science? The man who argues that philosophy, for example, has made no progress emphasizes that there are still Aristotelians, not that Aristotelianism has failed to progress. This means that fields that we don’t consider sciences may progress and develop, but the new doesn’t build on the old, it competes with it. Introduction in The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver – The printing press and the internet have made a vast amount of information widely available and easily accessible. However, we face danger whenever information growth outpaces our understanding of how to process it. Numbers have no way of speaking for themselves; we speak for them. Basically, information doesn’t mean shit, and we are open to endless ways of wrongfully interpreting it and making bullshit statistics based on it. Humans have a need to find patterns, so we often find patterns where they don’t exist. Our task is to determine the difference between the signal and the noise. The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth. So we pretty much have to root out the bullshit. The Science in Social Science in Designing Social Inquiry by Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba – This reading is difficult to summarize because it does not have a central argument. Instead, it is more of a procedure or a manual for how to conduct social science research. Below are a collection of the key points, but to fully understand the point of these authors, rereading may be in order. This is a book about research deign: how to pose questions and fashion scholarly research to make valid descriptive and causal inferences. It occupies a middle ground between abstract philosophical debates and the handson techniques of the researcher and focuses on the essential logic underlying all social scientific research. A logic of inference can be applied to both quantitative and qualitative research. The differences between the quantitative and qualitative traditions are only stylistic and are methodologically and substantively unimportant. Both quantitative and qualitative research can be systematic and scientific. One type is not superior to the other. Additionally, Albert Einstein once said, “As far as our propositions are certain, they do not say anything about reality, and as far as they do say anything about reality, they are not certain.” This is to say that certainty in research is unattainable. With this in mind, this book sets out precepts and rules that discipline thought, not recipes for perfect scientific empirical research. We seek not dogma, but disciplined thought. In order for research to be scientific it needs to have a goal of inference, procedures made public, uncertain conclusions, and the method is its content. On this last of the four rules, Karl Pearson said that “Every stage of past or present development is material for science. The unity of all science consists alone in its method, not in its material.” The biggest payoff for using the rules of scientific inference occurs precisely when data are limited, observation tools are flawed and measurements are unclear, and relationships are uncertain. Social science research at its best is a creative process of insight and discovery taking place within a wellestablished structure of scientific inquiry. To choose a research question, choose a hypothesis seen as important by scholars in the literature but for which no one has completed a systematic study, choose an accepted hypothesis in the literature that we suspect is false, attempt to resolve or provide further evidence of one side of a controversy in literature, design research to illuminate or evaluate unquestioned assumptions in literature, argue that an important topic has bene overlooked in the literature, or show that theories or evidence designed for some purpose in one literature could be applied in another literature to solve an existing but apparently unrelated problem. Record and report the process by which the data are generated. In order to better evaluate a theory, collect data on as many of its observable implications as possible. Maximize the validity of our measurements. Ensure that datacollection methods are reliable. All data and analyses should, insofar as possible, be replicable. Lecture 3 Conclusion in Man the State and War by Kenneth Waltz – War benefits no one, yet it recurs throughout history. No one cause of war (think the three images) is completely correct. Different pieces of each image often factor in. Often, the firmness with which a person is wedded to one image colors his interpretation of the others (e.g. Wilson). According to the third image, there is a constant possibility of war in a world in which there are two or more states each seeking to promote asset of interests and having no agency above them upon which they can rely for protection. Liberals and socialists would argue that this would not be true in a world of only democracies, but this is far fetched, utopian, and completely forgetting the first image. This demonstrates that emphasizing one image frequently distorts, though it seldom excludes, the other two. For example, focusing exclusively on the third image also may lead one to prescribe world government as the solution to all wars. Without the imperfections of the separate states there would not be wars, just as it is true that a society of perfectly rational beings, or of perfect Christians, would never know violent conflict. These statements are, unfortunately, as trivial as they are true. The prescriptions directly derived from a single image are incomplete because they are based upon partial analyses. Immediate causes of war are contained in the first and second images. The immediate causes of every war must be either the acts of individuals or the acts of states. However, you cannot stop wars simply by improving individuals or states. It isn’t that simple. A state cannot be improved to that point if the international environment makes it difficult almost to the point of impossibility for states to behave in ways that are progressively more moral. An important part of this is that if an effect is produced by two or more causes, the effect is not permanently eliminated by removing one of them, and an endeavor launched against one cause to the neglect of others may make the situation worse instead of better. In that way images one and two are the immediate causes while image three is the permissive cause that cannot be ignored, but all interact in the causation of war. Winston Churchill once said, “Small matters are only t symptoms of the dangerous disease, and are only important for that reason. Behind them lie the interests, the passions and the destiny of mighty races of men; and long antagonisms express themselves in trilles.” The Mirror Images of War in War and the Rise of the State by Bruce Porter – States make war, but war also makes states. Heraclitus declared, “War is a grand progenitor of history, a catalyst of change that has done much to create the structures of power we know today.” This reading is interested not in what causes war, but what war causes. Civil wars and international wars play an equally crucial role in shaping states. However, while war is a profound agent of historical change, it is not the fundamental driving force of history. The causes of war are by definition a more basic causal agent than war itself. War is a derivative and secondary phenomenon, never a prime moving force no matter how ubiquitous or profound its affects may be. Kenneth Waltz’s three images can be reversed to look at the effects of war rather than the causes. The three mirror images are: How does war affect human behavior?, How does war affect the internal structure of the state?, and How does war affect the international system? Sociologists and psychologists often study the first, political scientists and international relations theorists have studied the third, but the second is often neglected. No more. This reading focuses on the role of war in the origin of the modern state, the influence of war on the evolution of states after their formation, and the impact of war on the power of states visàvis their own societies. Regarding the first focus, a state is defined as being both a sovereign government and the geographically bounded territory, society, and population over which it presides. It is also regarded as an apparatus of power or a set of institutions whose most important functions involve the use of force. This definition of a state and indeed states fitting this definition have only come into existence between 1450 and 1650. Before then, true sovereignty was nonexistent. The state was created during a period of intense violence and conflict during the era religious wars following the protestant reformation. War precipitated the modern state. Now we must understand why. Regarding the second focus, military organization is a critical determinant of political organization, affecting the size and cohesion of states, their administrative hierarchy, and the extent of government regulation of a given society and economy. Now we must understand why this link has shaped the broad patterns of the history of European nationstates. Regarding the third image, both repressive power and administrative power must be examined in the context of how they develop as a result of war. Internal dynamics of a state are a balance between the public and private sector (most things private = liberal democracy, almost everything public = totalitarian state). Military conflict aggrandizes state power and can make states autocratic. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. However, there are exceptions to this. Is there a balance to be struck between war and peace to ensure internal development and political stability? We shall see. The political effects of war are generally organized into four categories: the formative and organizing effects, the disintegrative effects, the reformative effects, and the nationalist effects. The formative and organizing effects include territorial coalescence, the rallying or unifying effect, the centralizing effect, the bureaucratizing effect, government growth, the fiscal effects (increased taxes), the ratchet effect (taxes and government growth don’t return to prewar levels), and war as an opportunity for leadership. The disintegrative effects include total state destruction, war as a catalyst of revolution, diminished capacity, and fiscal collapse. The reformative effects include the integrative effect (civilian participation in military gives them more say in government and they integrate), the socializing effect (common training unites people, the quickest way to make a nation is to make an army), the sociallevelling effect, and war as a spur to social reform. The nationalist effects include war as a catalyst and origin of nationalism when the identities of the individuals become closely linked with the survival of the state itself. One World, Rival Theories from Foreign Policy Magazine by Jack Snyder – There are three main theories of international relations: realism, liberalism, and idealism/constructivism. Realism instills a pragmatic appreciation of the role of power but also warns that states will suffer if they overreach. Liberalism highlights the cooperative potential of mature democracies, especially when working together through effective institutions, but it also notes democracies’ tendency to crusade against tyrannies and the propensity of emerging democracies to collapse into violent ethnic turmoil. Idealism stresses that a consensus on values must underpin any stable political order, yet it also recognizes that forging such a consensus often requires an ideological struggle with the potential for conflict. Realism is still very relevant today, but it is being challenged post 9/11. Realism is all about states and now violent nonstate actors (e.g. al Qaeda) are the biggest enemies of superpowers like the US. Additionally, realism focuses on the balance of power, and right now there is no state or coalition of states that effectively balances the US. The argument for balance relies on nonstate actors countering them and other states using diplomacy and moral opposition instead of military force as a balance. Neither really truly fits realism, but realism isn’t gone. Liberalism has an extremely powerful presence in the entire US political spectrum, from neoconservatives to human rights advocates. Everybody believes that democracy is the best and the way to create peace is to spread democracy and trade and international institutions. However, liberalism is divided today. Many liberalists, such as the Bush administration, promote democracy but forget that democracies tend to wage messianic struggles against warlike authoritarian regimes to make the world safe for democracy. The Bush administration also ignores that free trade can sometimes increase inequality and doesn’t believe in the importance of international institutions that is a hallmark of liberalism. Idealism’s resurgence has been vindicated by recent events. A theory that emphasizes the role of ideologies, identities, persuasion, and transnational networks is highly relevant to understanding the post 9/11 world. There is some overlap between constructivist and liberal approaches in some liberal societies, but the two theories are distinct. However, none of the three theoretical traditions has a strong ability to explain change. IN lieu of a good theory of change, the most prudent course is to use the insights of each of the three theoretical traditions as a check on the irrational exuberance of the others. Lecture 4 The Coming of Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous – There was an amazing King Gilgamesh who was insanely wise and insanely attractive and insanely perfect. Then he came to Uruk, and the people of Uruk didn’t like him because he essentially killed all the men and raped all the women. The people of Uruk begged the gods to create Gilgamesh’s equal, so the gods created Enkidu. Enkidu was basically a wolfman. A trapper who encounters Enkidu out in the fields eating fucking grass goes home to his daddy terrified. His daddy tells him to go find Gilgamesh in Uruk and get Gilgamesh to give him a beautiful woman. Then the trapper should strip the beautiful woman naked and put her near the well that Enkidu drink at. Then Enkidu would “embrace” her and be rejected by the wild beasts as a result. So the trapper does that and brings the “harlot” to the well. He tells her to get naked and fuck the beast, so, naturally she does it for no less than six days and seven nights. Somehow after that he was super weak and couldn’t chase his gazelle family when they ran away from him. So he goes back to the harlot and she offers to take him to see Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh, because he’s apparently the bomb.com, of course had a dream that Enkidu was coming and that they were going to be best buds. Then Enkidu hangs out in some pastures and likes being a shepherd until he hears that Gilgamesh deflowers brides on their wedding nights. Then Enkidu goes to fight Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh beats Enkidu, naturally because he’s the shit, and then Enkidu concedes that Gilgamesh is indeed the shit. They embrace and become best buds, completely forgetting about the fact that Gilgamesh was on his way to rape a young bride as he has done hundreds of times before. So yeah. Just a classic buddy movie. Anarchy is What States Make of It in International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues by Alexander Wendt – Waltz says that ordering principles, principles of differentiation, and the distribution of capabilities affect states’ security interest and thus the character of their interaction under anarchy. However, this cannot predict the content or dynamics of anarchy. The distribution of power may always affect states’ calculations, but how it does so depends on the intersubjective understandings and expectations that constitute their conceptions of self and other. People are allies or enemies because they subjectively decide to be so, not because the balance of power dictates that they have to be. Identities are inherently relational, and identities are the basis of interests. An institution is a relatively stable set or structure of identities and interests. Basically power politics is determined to a certain extent by external forces, but it also depends upon how a state identifies itself. Anarchy is what states make of it. Techniques of Statecraft in Economic Statecraft by David Baldwin – This reading will introduce some of the basic concepts and analytical tools of modern social power analysis into the study of techniques of statecraft and to demonstrate that even the most primitive use of such analytical tools can greatly improve understanding of the efficacy of economic techniques of statecraft. The principles of power analysis include: power is a relational concept, power can be defined broadly to include all relationships in which someone gets someone else to do something that he or she would not otherwise do, both positive sanctions and negative sanctions are means to exercise power, power may rest on various bases and no one form of power s basic to all the others, power is multidimensional, power is not necessarily a zerosum game, and power analysis always requires consideration of counterfactual conditions. It is important to distinguish between the bases of influence and the instruments used in making influence attempts. The study of statecraft is based predominantly on case studies rather than on experimental or statistical research approaches. Lecture 5 The Melian Dialogue by Thucydides – The Athenians sail to the island of Melos, a Spartan territory that refused to join Athens after Athens kicked Sparta’s ass. With a huge army perched on the edge of Melos, the Athenians send representatives to talk to the Melians before they attack. The Melians agree to talk. Athens says let’s not talk about how you hurt us or how powerful we are thanks to our victory against the Persians or how you supposedly didn’t take up arms against us with the Spartans and supposedly didn’t do us harm. Instead, let’s get to you begging us, for as we both know, “The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.” In reply, the Melians tell the Athenians that they should deal justly with those that they vanquish or it will bite them in the ass. The Athenians say that they’re not worried about being conquered by somebody else, they’re worried about their own people revolting from within so the Melians can shut up. The Athenians then go on to say that it’s in both their interest for the Melians to quietly join their empire; the Melians don’t get destroyed and the Athenians profit from the Melians. The Melians ask if they can’t just be allies, but the Melians say no, because being on friendly terms with the Melians would be regarded by the Athenian people as a sign of weakness, whereas, as the Athenians say, “Your hatred is evidence of our power.” The Melians argue that the Athenians annexing Melos would just turn other nations against them. The Athenians say that they don’t care and that there would be no shame in a Melian surrender because it’s simply selfpreservation, now cowardice. The Melians say that if they surrender they lose, but if they fight they still have a hope of winning. The Athenians laugh and say, “Hope is by nature an expensive commodity.” The Melians say that they have the gods and Sparta on their side so HA. The Athenians practically bust a gut. “We congratulate you on your simplicity but do not envy you and your folly.” The gods are on our side, and Sparta’s not going to help you one bit. The Athenians point out that the Melians are really bad at arguing for their preservation. “You are discussing the fate of your country, that you have only one country, and that its future for good or for ill depends o this one single decision which you are going to make.” In the end, the Melians refuse to surrender, but say they would be open to a friendly alliance. The Athenians begin to lay siege on Melos. Later the Melians surrendered unconditionally to Athens, the Athenians killed all Melian men of military age and sold all of the women and children as slaves. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – Machiavelli starts off with a disclaimer: what he’s saying isn’t necessarily going to be in line with the morals of the time, but “he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather learn to bring about his own ruin than his preservation.” For that reason, Princes must learn how to not be good and use the ability to not be good when a case necessitates it. It is important to balance the good with the bad for the stability of the country you rule. Don’t be too cruel, don’t be too merciful, don’t be too confident, but don’t be too cautious. If you can’t be both feared and loved, lean toward fear because it is easier to be feared. The dread of punishment is stronger than the chains of obligation. Yet even if he is feared and not loved, he should avoid being hated. Being feared and not being hated often go together. Men love at their own free will, but fear at the will of the prince. Additionally, a prince must know how to fight with both the law and force. Here Machiavelli uses the character Chiron in Greek mythology. Chiron was a centaur, half man and half animal, who helped demigods learn to fight half in the way of man, and half in the way of animal, so a prince should do as well. In fighting in the way of an animal, a prince must strike a balance between a fox, one that can recognize traps but not fight off wolves, and a lion, one who can fight off the wolves but not recognize traps. Machiavelli’s basic point is that being a prince is a balancing act between the good and the bad, and in the end, one must not necessarily possess all good traits, but he must at the very least appear to possess them. State of Nature and the State of War in the Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes – Hobbes begins by declaring that all men are equal. Their different talents and skills balance out with one another eventually so that none is greater than the other. That is applicable to strength, but especially applicable to the faculties of the mind because every man thinks he is the smartest. “There is no ordinarily a greater sign of the equal distribution of anything, than that every man is contented with his share.” The he says that equality fuels confidence because everyone wants what another person has and, because every man sees his opposition as his equal, they become enemies. Then from diffidence comes war. Every man wants his companions to value him as much as he values himself, so if his companions don’t value him, he looks to extort a greater value from his contemnors by damage. “So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first, maketh men invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation.” Outside of a civil sate, there is always war of every one against every one. Every man fights every man in what is called anarchy. “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time. . . . there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and anger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes then defends this gloomy view of humanity (that man in their natural state are evil warring creatures) by saying that everyone else has that same gloomy view when they go armed on a long journey, lock their doors when they go to sleep, and lock their chests in their house. Everyone distrusts others and knows in the back of their minds that man is no good. Hobbes is very much into Lord of the Flies. “Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues.” Hobbes says, however, that there are certain things that incline men to peace. He enumerates among these things fear of death, desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living, and hope by their industry to obtain them. Hobbes also emphasizes the importance of justice, where it is ensured that men follow through on their pacts. He says that this justice is integral to maintaining peace so things aren’t just a freeforall as in anarchy. In order to have this justice, you must have a commonwealth. A commonwealth in turn allows for propriety. One does not exist without the other. Of the Balance of Power in Essays Moral, Political, and Literary by David Hume – Hume begins by asking if the idea of the balance of power is a modern phenomenon or merely a modern term for an ancient phenomenon. He goes on to say that the latter is the truth. The balance of power is evident in ancient Persia and Greece to name few. Many historians believe this practice of backing the most powerful or rallying with others to oppose them as jealous emulation, but whether it was jealous emulation or cautious politics, the effects were the same. Every prevailing power was sure to meet with a confederacy against it. Hume also argues that the ignorance of the balance of power in ancient times was due mostly to the Romans, because they never had a large confederacy rise up against their conquests save for the Carthaginians (who they defeated). He adds that the maxim of preserving the balance of power is founded so much on common sense and obvious reasoning, that it is impossible it could have escaped antiquity, much like the theory of gravity. Lecture 6 The Formation of States and Constitutional Development from the Historical Essays of Otto Hintze by Otto Hintze – The development states is, yes, driven in some part by the changing of power relations among the different social classes, but it is driven even more by the development of the state in relation to its neighbors. This is why most modern historians distrust and dislike political theories. History is predominantly influenced by foreign policy, but modern political theories hardly deal with foreign policy at all. They only care about internal dynamics. Hintze believes that this is an incorrect way to approach things. Foreign policy affects institutions of a country just as much as the country’s people. The states internal politics and constitution result from class struggles and social tensions. However external conflicts form the shape of the state, meaning the external configuration or size of the state and its ethnic composition. Only when a state has received a firmly delineated shape can its political life and its pattern of government develop. The formation of states contains causal factors which determine the state’s constitution. The life of the internal constitution adjusts itself to the conditions of the external political existence, and the external shape of the state is a reflection of the situation prevailing at the time of its formation and is the consequence not only of power struggles but also of the geographical situation and the then existing means of communication. The process in which a state is shaped produces aims, habits, needs, and views, and they create among leaders and masses a distinct intellectual disposition that favors a particular type of constitutional structure. Free constitutions emerged only where a number of states existed next to each other on equal terms, the independence of each one being recognized by the others. Large and mostly isolated empires such as that of the Inca, Aztec, Babylonians, and Egyptians were marked by Oriental despotism which is the union of secular and spiritual powers in the person of the head of the state. This was because these civilizations, due to their isolation, saw themselves as the entire world. There was nothing outside. Military Organization and the Organization of the State from the Historical Essays of Otto Hintze by Otto Hintze – The development of the LatinGermanic peoples since the decline of ancient culture illustrates the interdependence of military organization and the organization of the state. All state organization was originally military organization. Conflict between nations has been far more important as the driving force in history. Pressure from without has been a determining influence on international structure. It has even often suppressed internal strife or forced it into compromise. Rome illustrates how a state’s shape and size influences its military. When the city’s rule is expanded beyond Italy’s frontiers, the military requirements are increased and the propertied class can no longer cover them. The place of a citizen militia is taken by a standing army composed largely of proletarians; and the payment of salaries hitherto made only occasionally to replenish troops becomes the general rule. War in On Liberty, Society, and Politics: The Essential Writings of William Graham Sumner by William Graham Sumner – Man in the most primitive and uncivilized state known to us does not practice war all the time; he dreads it; he might rather be described as a peaceful animal. Real warfare comes with the collisions of more developed societies. When we undertake to talk about primitive society we should conceive of it as consisting of petty groups scattered separately over a great territory. Groups form together then splinter off then combine under a larger group. At all stages throughout the history of civilization competition and combination forever alternate with each other. Life is divided between the “ingroups” and the “outgroups.” That is, if they’re in your clique you like them. There is peace and cooperation. Between cliques there is hostility and war. These two sentiments complement each other. War arises from the competition of life. Each group must regard every other as a possible enemy on account of the antagonism of interests, and so it views every other group with suspicion and distrust, although actual hostilities occur only on specific occasion. The ingroup mentality of cohesion and readiness to defend one another is ethnocentrism. It is really the sentiment of patriotism in all its philosophic fullness in its rationality and in its extravagant exaggeration. When competition of life is intense, there is frequent and fierce war and the weaker groups were exterminated or absorbed by the stronger. The internal discipline of the conquerors became stronger, chiefs got more absolute power, laws became more stringent, religious observances won greater authority, and so the whole societal system was more firmly integrated. On the other hand, when there were no close or powerful neighbors, there was little or no war, the internal organization remained lax and feeble, chiefs had little power, and a societal system scarcely existed. The four great motives which move men to social activity are hunger, love, vanity, and fear of superior powers. The United States presents us a case quite by itself. On their own continent they need never encounter war on their path of industrial and political development up to any standard which they choose to adopt. The fact that the new world is removed to such a distance from the old world made it possible for men to make a new start here. It was possible to break old traditions, to revise institutions, and to think out new philosophy to fit an infant society, at the same time that whatever there was in the inheritance from the old world which seemed good and available might be kept. It was a marvelous opportunity. Conflict and the Structure of the Group in Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations by Georg Simmel – In the same way that an individual has to pull himself together and focus on one single individual goal during a fight, a nation must do they same; they must centralize in conflict. War needs a centralistic intensification of the group form, and this is guaranteed best by despotism. And vice versa: once despotism exists and that centralized form has materialized, the energies thus accumulated and pushed close together very easily strive after a natural relief, war with the outside. The absolute lack of any warlike impulse is thus paralleled by the equally absolute lack of political centralization. In conflict, centralized parties prefer that their opponents also be centralized. The disadvantage a party suffers from the unified organization of its opponent – because it is an advantage for the opponent – is more than compensated for by the fact that if both parties are thus organized, their conflict itself can be concentrated, stay within their purview, and lead to a truly general peace for both. By contrast, if one finds oneself up against a diffuse multitude of enemies, one gains more often particular victories, but has great difficulty in achieving decisive actions which definitely fix the mutual relationship of the forces. When two groups fight, the groups may become closer together internally and become more unified. However, individuals within groups that don’t get along, when faced with an external threat, either come together and put their differences aside or, forced together by the situation, explode and cause the group to splinter. This is the reason why war with the outside is sometimes the last chance for a state ridden with inner antagonisms to overcome these antagonisms, or else to break up definitely. Therefore groups at war are not tolerant of differences within their group. This guy’s also a sexist bastard (or at the very least a guy writing about a time flush with sexist bastards) with a chapter about how slutshaming is basically an evolutionary mechanism for women to avoid being raped. The rest of the reading is mostly irrelevant tiny tidbits out the intricacies of group dynamics. Realism and Idealism originally from The Twenty Years’ Crisis by E.H. Carr –After WWI, the UK and the US agreed that war was awful, useless, and devastating and assumed that everyone else thought the same thing. In nonEnglishspeaking countries, war was not hated. Instead the people of Germany blamed the fact that they lost the war, not the war itself. Italy blamed allies fucking them over in the wake of war, not war itself. Poland and the CzechoSlovaks owed their existence to the war, so they didn’t mind war so much. France got AlsaceLorraine from the war, so it didn’t mind. However, Englishspeaking countries were the leading political scientists at the time. They thought that war was useless and they wrote that war was useless and they thought that by writing that war was useless, all countries would agree war was useless and there would be no war. But really peace is a meaningless aim. As Lenin said, “Absolutely everybody is in favor of peace in general including Kitchener, Joffre, Hindenburg and Nicholas the Bloody, for everyone of them wishes to end the war.” Everything thinks there’s some universal goal that everyone will one day agree to, but no such goal exists. The clash of interests is real and inevitable; and the whole nature of the problem is distorted by an attempt to disguise it. The three tenets of realism are, first, history is a sequence of cause and effect, whose course can be analyzed an understood by intellectual effort, but not directed by imagination. Secondly, theory does not create practice, but practice creates theory. Thirdly, politics are not a function of ethics, but ethics a function of politics. Utopians believe the opposite of all three. The English speaking peoples have formed the dominant group in the world; and current theories of international morality have been designed to perpetuate their supremacy. International morality is formulated by the powerful countries to represent their own interests and then is projected onto all other countries as if it’s in the interest of all countries. Therefore it is actually an excellent illustration of the realist Machiavellian maxim that morality is the product of power. It is a familiar tactic of the privileged to throw moral discredit on the underprivileged by depicting them as disturbers of the peace; and this tactic is as readily applied internationally as within the national community. However, consistent realism excludes four things which appear to be essential ingredients of all effective political thinking: a finite goal, an emotional appeal, a right of moral judgement and a ground for action. The necessity, recognized by all politicians, both in domestic and in international affairs, for cloaking interests in a guise of moral principles is in itself a symptom of the inadequacy of realism. Every age refuses to accept the implication of realism that the word “ought” is meaningless. Additionally, that human affairs can be directed and modified by human action and human thought is a postulate so fundamental that its rejection seems scarcely compatible by existence as a human being. That is, predetermination as a realist principle fucking sucks because then what are you supposed to do if it’s all going to turn out one way no matter what you try? Therefore any sound political thought must be based on elements of both utopia and reality. Here, then, is the complexity, the fascination and the tragedy of all political life. Politics are made up of two elements – utopia and reality – belonging to two different planes which can never meet. Six Principles of Political Realism by Hans J Morgenthau – 1. Political realism believes that politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have roots in human nature. In order to improve society it is first necessary to understand the laws by which society lives. The operation of these laws being impervious to our preference, men will challenge them only as the risk of failure. 2. The main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power. 3. Realism assumes that its key concept of interest defined as power is an objective category which is universally valid, but it does not endow that concept with a meaning that is fixed once and for all. 4. Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the ineluctable tension between the moral command and the requirements of successful political action. 5. Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe. 6. The difference, then, between political realism and other schools of thought is real, and it is profound. However much political realism may have been misunderstood and misinterpreted, there is no gainsaying its distinctive intellectual and moral attitudes to matters political. The Future of Diplomacy by Hans J Morgenthau – Diplomacy has four main tasks. 1. Diplomacy must determine its objectives in the light of the power actually and potentially available for the pursuit of these objectives. 2. Diplomacy must assess the objectives of other nations and the power actually and potentially available for the pursuit of these objectives. 3. Diplomacy must determine to what extent these different objects are compatible with each other. 4. Diplomacy must employ the means suited to the pursuit of its objectives. Failure in any one of these tasks may jeopardize the success of foreign policy and with it the peace of the world. Give up the shadow of worthless rights for the substance of real advantage. Never put yourself in a position from which you cannot retreat without losing face and from which you cannot advance without grave risks. Never allow a weak ally to make decisions for you. The armed forces are the instrument of foreign policy, not its master. The government is the leader of public opinion, not its slave. The Anarchic Structure of World Politics by Kenneth Waltz – Long ass reading about realism. Take notes on this if you dare. It’s too much for me at the moment. Of Conspiracies by Niccolo Machiavelli – Conspiracies are just as dangerous if not more so to the lives of princes than war. To be able to make open war on a prince is granted to few; to be able to conspire against them is granted to everyone. The biggest cause of conspiracies is being hated by the collectivity. This goes on to talk about the ways you can get someone so mad at you that they’ll want to kill you and how people close to you are more likely to be the ones to kill because while they are no more likely to hate you than anyone else, they are more likely to have the opportunity to act on that hate. Conspiracies in general are usually crushed fairly quickly. Still really not getting the relevance of this to power transition but okay. The Theory of Hegemonic War by Robert Gilpin – The essential idea embodied in Thucydides’ theory of hegemonic war is that fundamental changes in the international system are the basic determinants of such wars. A stable system is one in which changes can take place if they do not threaten the vital interests of the dominant states and thereby cause a war among them. Such a stable system has an unequivocal hierarchy of power and an unchallenged dominant or hegemonic power. An unstable system is one in which economic, technological, and other changes are eroding the international hierarchy and undermining the position of the hegemonic state. Untoward events and diplomatic crises can precipitate a hegemonic war among the states in the system. The outcome of such a war is a new international structure. The propositions in this theory are that (1) hegemonic war is distinct from other categories of war and is caused by broad changes in political, strategic, and economic affairs; (2) relations among individual states can be conceived as a system and the behavior of states is determined in large part by their strategic interaction; (3) hegemonic war threatens and transforms the structure of the international system, whether or not the participants in the conflict are initially aware of it. Hegemonic war follows a discernible and recurrent course. The initial phase is a relatively stable international system characterized by a hierarchical order of states with a dominant or hegemonic power. Over time, the power of one subordinate state begins to grow disproportionately; as this development occurs, it comes into conflict with the hegemonic state. The struggle between these contenders for preeminence and their accumulating alliances leads to a bipolarization of the system. In the parlance of game theory, the system becomes a zerosum situation in which one side’s gain is by necessity the other side’s loss. As this bipolarization occurs the system becomes increasingly unstable, and a small event can trigger a crisis and precipitate a major conflict; the resolution of that conflict will determine the new hegemon and the hierarchy of power in the system. The central idea embodied in the hegemonic theory is that there is incompatibility between crucial elements of the existing international system and the changing distribution of power among states within the system. The elements of the system – the hierarchy of prestige, the division of territory, and the international economy – became less and less compatible with the shifting distribution of power among the major states in the system. The resolution of the disequilibrium between the superstructure of the system and the underlying distribution of power is found in the outbreak and intensification of what becomes a hegemonic war. The theory of hegemonic war is a limited and incomplete theory. It cannot easily handle perceptions that affect behavior and predict who will initiate a hegemonic war. Nor can it forecast when a hegemonic war will occur and what the consequences will be. It is at best a complement to other theories.
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