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PSC 1003; Lecture 5

by: Eleanor Parry

PSC 1003; Lecture 5 PSC 1003

Eleanor Parry
GPA 3.81

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About this Document

These notes cover what was on lecture five
Introduction to International Politics
Farrell, H
Class Notes
International Politics; Political Science
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eleanor Parry on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Farrell, H in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 02/12/16
Realism • Old tradition • Modern Version Starts with Kenneth Waltz • Tries to construct a scientific 'theory' of int pol - like economics. • Starts from assumption that 'int structure' key to theory. States Create System that Traps them • Analogy to Marketplace ◦ Laws of supply/demand replaced by tendencies toward distrust and self reliance. • Key Assumptions - that states: ◦ Are rational. ◦ Care first and foremost about survival. ◦ Find themselves in a situation of anarchy. Implications of Realism: Self - Help • States cannot rely on others for their security. ◦ Problems of interdependence. ◦ Again, no world government to bail them out. • Hence - will turn to self help where possibly to guarantee their own survival. • Reliance on own resources. • No specialization. Implications of Realism: Power • In an anarchic world, power explains early everything ◦ Power = military resources • States' military power explains most outcomes (Melian Dialogue). • Great powers are the crucial actors. Implications of Realism: States • States are key actors in world politics. ◦ No one else has substantial military resources • Things that happen beneath the level of the state are unimportant for any true theory of international politics ◦ Leader's wishes don't really matter. • All states behave in the same way ◦ Type does't matter Realism and Motivations • Different flavors of realism disagree about states' motivations • WaltzianRealism - in a dangerous world, states just want to defend themselves. • Offensive Realism - in a dangerous world, states want to achieve hegemony. • Motivational Realism - in a world where some states are dangerous, states want to figure out who they can work with. Waltzian Realism • Sees fundamental problem as distrust. ◦ Impossibly to be sure about other states' true intentions. • Says that states will care about 'relative gains' not 'absolute gains'. • Some stability to system through 'balancing.' Offensive Realism • Says that worries about other states will translate into need for power and control. • Distrust turns into power seeking behavior. • Much less likelihood of stability. • Much harder for states to achieve true security. • States will tend to 'buckpass' - not 'balance'. • Hegemony is ultimate goal. Motivational Realism • Believes that it is possible to figure out other states intentions much of the time. • Distinguishes between 'greedy; states and 'security seeking' states. • Argues that under some circumstances, security seeking states can find each other. • Much greater chance of stability. Waltzing Realism and China's Rise • Brzezinski perceives the likelihood of increased disputes. • But believes that these can probably be resolved. ◦ China is vulnerable to US blockade. ◦ Doesn't have a comparable army. • Confrontation less likely because of nuclear weapons. • Cautious rebalancing - not direct conflict. Offensive Realism and China's Rise • Mearsheimer sees high risk for conflict. • Other states allying with US vs China (but not wanting to pay costs). • China driven by desire to become hegemony. • Will push the US out of Asia and take Taiwan. • May also stir up trouble for US in western hemisphere. Realism 1. Emphasizes anarchy, power and role of state. 2. Depending on assumptions about motivations, analysis could go in very different directions. 3. Important - and influential - approach Tragedy of Great Power Politics Anarchy and Struggle for Power Assumptions based on why state's pursue power: 1. International System is anarchic 2. Great Powers posses some military capability 3. States can't be certain of others intentions. 4. Survival is the primary goal of all states 5. Powers are rational actors. State Behavior: • Fear as motivating force in world politics. ◦ Regard each other with suspicion and anticipate danger. • Self-help serves self interest • Power maximizing • Security Dilemma - measures a state takes to increase its own security usually decreases the security of other states. Calculated Aggression: • A great power has more incentive to be more aggressive over its significantly weaker rivals. • A great power is less inclined to be aggressive towards powerful rivals and more interested in defending balance of power. • Powers sometimes have incentives to misconstrue their actual strength or weakness and to conceal true motives. • Usually make decisions with incomplete information. Hegemony's Limits: • A state so powerful it dominates all others in the system. • Differentiates between regional and global hegemons. • Difficult to achieve because of the size of the world and oceans • Opposing regional hegemonies, however, can be seen as a threat. Power and Fear: • The greater the fear, the more intense the security competition, increasing chance of war. • Fear derives from fact that all states have offensive military capability. • Potential power refers to states size of population and its level of wealth. • Actual power refers to the size of the military itself. • Capabilities which can be measured are taken more into account that intentions. Hierarchy of State Goals: • Security • Economic Prosperity • Spread of ideologies • National unification • Human rights • Sometimes can lead to an increase in relative power Creating World Order: • World peace ensures states prosperity and security. • States goals of maximizing share of world power clashes with creating and sustaining international order. • Unsure on how to create stable world. Cooperation Among States: • Considerations of relative gains and concerns about cheating inhibit cooperation. • Must think about the division of terms of absolute or relative gains. • Cooperation does not work well with relative gains motivations.


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