PS 326 Week 1 Lecture Notes - Realpolitik
PS 326 Week 1 Lecture Notes - Realpolitik PS 326
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Johanna Murphy on Saturday April 4, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PS 326 at University of Oregon taught by Nicolas Thompson in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 137 views. For similar materials see US Foreign Policy in Political Science at University of Oregon.
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Date Created: 04/04/15
PS 326 US Foreign Policy Week 1 Lecture Notes Realpolitik Causal Theory 0 Analysts rely on theories to explain foreign policy decisions 0 Attempt to isolate the most important factors that shape policy decisions 0 Requires making simplifying assumptions 0 Some theorists are Willing to make unrealistic assumptions that are still useful to theories 0 Theories allow analysts to make predictions about the way states Will behave in the international system 0 Realist theories can make predictions based on very limited information PreTheory 0 Identifying variables that affect the US Foreign Policy decisions 1 External Environment The International System 0 Realist theories focus mostly on this Societal Environment 0 Certain groups are affected differently by policy decisions Government Structure 0 Example established democracies tend to go to war With each other much less than other forms of government Bureaucratic Roles 0 Certain bureaucrats may value diplomacy over use of force or vice versa 0 how you think is based on Where you sit Personalities of Individuals 0 Usually only focused on behavior seen as irrational o More relevant in governments where power is concentrated in the political leader The Realist Problematique 0 Major assumption is that the international system is anarchic o No overarching government that can hold individual states accountable 0 States have to fend for themselves making survival their top priority 0 Have to provide their own security to maintain sovereignty o Requires military force which then makes other states feel less secure Realism 0 International system is composed of states States are fundamentally similar all have hierarchical organization All behave as though they were controlled by a single rational policymaker 0 Assume that states will act rationally States are differentiated by relative capabilities Capabilities shape intentions Great Power Politics 0 Realists care primarily about Great Powers 0 Where there are located 0 How many there are 0 Middle powers and weaker states are unimportant o Developed out of western Europe in past 400500 years 0 Can think on regional level Continental Europe North America Asia etc or a global level Distribution of Power o Multipolar 3 or more Great Powers 0 Bipolar 2 Great Powers 0 Unipolar Hegemonies 1 Great Power 0 US is the only regional hegemon in world history according to Mearscheimer What Makes a Great Power 0 Wealth population military hardware and technology 0 power is based on the particular material capabilities that a state possesses o Tangible assets tanks armies etc 0 Latent power potential sources of power mainly population and wealth 0 US spends more on defense than the next 13 countries combined Grand Strategy 0 The overall vision of a state s national security goals and the use of military economic and diplomatic means to achieve those goals 0 2 main types of Grand Strategies 0 Status Quo states are happy with the amount of power they hold 0 Want to maintain their territory and keep their position in the international system 0 Not concerned with increasing power 0 Mearscheimer argues that states only reach status quo when they are the regional hegemon o Revisionist states are not content with the power they hold 0 Want to increase relative power and territory 0 Could expand power through variety of means including starting a war 1890s Shift in Grand Strategy 0 For majority America s early history the US tried to stay out of international con icts 0 Also refrained from expanding colonies 0 19th century characterized by Isolationism 0 1890s switched to revisionist strategy by starting war with Spain 1898 o Defeated Spain easily 0 Debut of US as great world power Balance of Power Theorv 0 Main prediction is that when certain states become powerful and wealthy other states will balance against that state by increasing their own power or forming alliances 0 Internal Balancing states invest in military capabilities 0 External Balancing states forge alliances with each other 0 States tend to be wary of alliances because they can quickly turn to enemies Security Dilemma 0 Actions taken to increase one state s security can make other states feel less secure 0 Can trigger an arms race 0 If defensive weapons are distinguishable from offensive states could signal that they are content with the status quo o Raises the issue of whether offensive weapons can be distinguished from defensive ones 0 Are nuclear weapons offensive or defensive Defensive Realism 0 Believe most states are content with status quo o BalanceofThreat Theory states balance against threatening states not power itself 0 States should only invest a sufficient amount of resource to maintain security OffenseDefense Balance 0 Question of whether it pays to have a revisionist strategy 0 Depends on geography and available technology 0 Does military tech make territorial conquest easy or difficult o In some eras offense is dominant conquest pays off 0 Example Mongols easily conquered massive areas because their horses allowed them to move easily 0 European powers conquered lots of colonies because of superior weapons technology 0 By the turn of the 20th century benefits of conquest dropped because the cost of warfare increased dramatically Offensive Realism 0 It s impossible to know the intentions of other states 0 Any defensive weapons can be used offensively making it impossible to distinguish 0 States have to maximize their relative power to ensure security 0 The surest path to security is to become a regional hegemon o The stopping power of water makes global hegemony impossible o Difficult to move masses of soldiers and weapons across large bodies of water 0 After achieving regional hegemony next goal is to prevent the rise of regional hegemons in other parts of the world offshore balancing Defensive Realism Offensive Realism Balance Against threats power Security Is abundant scarce Prescribed Grand Status Quo Revisionist Strategy