Module B2 Notes
Module B2 Notes INR2001
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sara Matthews on Friday September 11, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to INR2001 at University of Florida taught by Dr. Sjoberg in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 60 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Relations in Political Science at University of Florida.
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Date Created: 09/11/15
INR 2001 Module BZ History of Realism Intellectual roots come from across 2500 years Thucydides Melian Dialogue 0 Machiavelli s Prince Hobbes War of Everyman against Everyman Clausewitz s war is an extension of politics by other means Carr s rejection of 20th century quotidealistsquot o It all started with a little war in Greece Peloponnesian War Classical Realism Richard Ned Lebow Greeks tragic playwrights and Thucydides where the tradition of classical realism originates Principle thinkers of classical realism are concerned with questions of order justice and change at the domestic regional and international levels 0 Classical realists stress the similarities between domestic and international policies and emphasize the importance of ethics and community in promoting stability in both domains Thucydides 460c 390 BCE a fth century Athenian general and writer who authorized an account of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies o Hans j Morgenthau 190479 a German born lawyer who came to the US as a refugee during the Second World War taught for many years at the University of Chicago and was arguably the most in uential postwar theorist of IR 0 Most realists straightforward answer to problem of order effective central authority 0 For classical realists all politics is an expression of human drives and subject to the same pathologies When community breaks down so does order Thucydides would have agreed with Aristotle s observation that law has no power to compel obedience beside the force of habit o Morgenthau all politics is a struggle for power that is 39inseparable from social life itself Morgenthau noted in strong societies norms and institutions muted the struggle for power But in weak societies they broke down Morgenthau and Thucydides communities and the identities and norms they help to create and sustain are the most critical determinants of order at home and abroad Thucydides and classical realists recognize that military power and alliances are doubleedged swords as likely to provoke as to prevent con ict Individuals groups and states inevitably combine to protect themselves from predators At the international level balance of power has contradictory implications for peace It might deter war if status quo powers outgun imperialist challengers and successfully demonstrate their resolve to go to war in defense of the status quo Balancing can also intensify tensions and make war more likely because of the impossibility of accurately assessing the motives capability and resolve of other states Even when balance of power fails to prevent war it still might limit its consequences and preserve the existence of states Differences between domestic politics and international relations are in degree not of kind Paradox the balance of power seems to work best when it is needed least Classical realists consider capabilities only one source of power and do not equate power with in uence In uence for them is a psychological relationship based on ties that transcend momentary interests For classical realists justice is the key to in uence because it determines how others understand and respond to you Policy that is constrained by accepted ethical principles and generally supportive of them provides a powerful aura of legitimacy that helps to reconcile less powerful actors to their subordinate status In uence can also be bought through bribes or compelled by force but this is expensive to maintain tenuous in effect and usually shortlived A demonstrable commitment to justice can create and maintain the kind of community that allows actors to translate power into in uence in efficient ways Justice provides the conceptual scaffolding on which actors can intelligently construct interests A commitment to justice is a powerful source of selfrestraint and restraint is necessary in direct proportion to one s power For classical realists transformation is associated with processes we have come to describe as modernization It brings about shifts in identities and discourses and with them changing conceptions of secur y Modernization central problem for Thucydides and Morgenthau was that old procedures were being abandoned or not working and being replaced by new and dangerous practices that had entered without much warning Stable domestic orders and the security that they might enable could only be restored by some synthesis that blended the old with the new The synthesis had to harness the power of reason but make allowance for the disruptive passions that often motivated individuals classes and political units It had to build community but not ignore powerful centrifugal forces especially self interest at the individual group and national levels that modernization had encouraged and legitimated The biggest challenge of all was to construct the new order through the willing agency of representatives of the old order in cooperation with the newly empowered agents of modernity One of Thucydides recurrent themes is the extent to which human behavior is context dependent Morgenthau denies the possibility of general laws and of predictions based on more limited kinds of generalizations Social world a chaos of contingencies but not devoid of a measure of rationality The best a theory can do is to state the likely consequences of choosing one alternative over another and the conditions under which one alternative is more likely to occur or to be successful than the other Morgenthau aspires to develop a framework that actors can use to work their way through contemporary problems For classical realists history is the vehicle for tragedy and the teacher of wisdom Concerns of classical realism 1 Power 2 Balance of power 3 Maintaining order 4 Not placing faith in reason Morgenthau s 6 Principles 1 Political realism believes that politics like society in general is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature One must understand the laws by which society lives before improving society The operation of these laws is impervious to our preferences men will challenge them only at the risk of failure 2 Interest de ned in terms of power provides the link between reason trying to understand international politics and the facts to be understood 3 Realism assumes that its key concept of interest de ned as power is an objective category that is universally valid but it does not provide that concept with a meaning that is xed once and for all The idea of interest is indeed the essence of politics and is unaffected by the circumstances of time and place 4 Political realism is aware of the moral signi cance of political action It is also aware of the unavoidable 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 As it distinguishes between truth and opinion idolatry to know that nations are subject to the moral law is one thing while to pretend to know with certainty what is good and evil in the relations among nations is quite another 6 The difference then between political realism and other schools of thought is real and it is profound However much the theory of political realism may have been misunderstood and misinterpreted there is no denying its distinctive intellectual and moral attitude to matters political War in Iraq tragic miscalculation where quotgreat powers are their own worst enemiesquot Structural Realism John J Mearsheimer Kenneth Waltz father of structural realism describes differences Substantial differences among realists Most basic divide is re ected in the answer to the question why do states want power Unlike classical realists structural realists sometimes called neorealist say human nature has little to do with why states want power Instead it is the structure or architecture of the international system that forces states to pursue power Structural realist theories ignore cultural differences among states as well as regime type There is a signi cant divide between structural realist which is re ected in the answer to the question how much power is enough Defensive realists it is unwise for states to try to maximize their share of world power because the system will punish them if they attempt to gain too much power Offensive realists it makes good strategic sense for states to gain as much power as possible and pursue hegemony Having overwhelming power is the best way to ensure one s own survival Power is based on the material capabilities that a state controls Balance of power is mainly a function of the tangible military assets that states possess Another type of power is latent power the socioeconomic ingredients that go into building military power Based on a state s wealth and the size of it s population War is not the only way states can gain power They can also do so by increasing population size and their share of global wealth Structural realist explanation for why states compete among themselves for power is based on 5 assumptions about the international system 1 Great powers are the main actors is world politics and they operate in an anarchic system 2 All states possess some offensive military capability and has the power to in ict some harm on its neighbor 3 States can never be certain about the intentions of other states States want to know whether other states are determined to use force to alter the balance of power revisionist state or whether they are satis ed enough with it that they have no interest in using force to change it status quo state 4 The main goal of states is survival 5 States are rational actors capable of coming up with sound strategies that maximize their prospects for survival It is only when all of these assumptions are combined together that circumstances arise where states not only become preoccupied with the balance of power but acquire powerful incentives to gain power at each other s expense Security dilemma most steps a great power takes to enhance its own security decrease the security of other states Defensive realists emphasize that if any state becomes too powerful balancing will occur Other great powers will build up their militaries and form a balancing coalition that will leave the aspiring hegemon at least less secure and maybe even destroy it Some defensive realists argue that there is and offencedefence balance which indicates how easy or difficult it is to conquer territory or defeat a defender in battle Tells you whether or not offence pays Defensive realists argue that even when conquest is feasible it does not pay the costs outweigh the bene ts Offensive realists balancing is often inefficient Threatened states sometimes opt for buckpassing where they attempt to get other states to assume the burden of checking a powerful opponent while they remain on the sidelines This creates opportunities for aggression 0 Organizational theory explains instances where great powers act in nonstrategic ways a fallback for defensive realists What causes great power war nonsecurity reasons 1 Architecture of the international system 2 The number of great powers or poles in the system 3 The distribution of power among the major states 4 Changes in the distribution of power affect the likelihood of war 5 Variations in the offencedefence balance 0 Debate amongst realists whether bipolarity 2 great powers is more or less warprone than multipolaritv 3 or more great powers Proponents of these rival prospectives do not rely on history alone but also employ theoretical arguments o Realists who think bipolarity is less warprone offer 3 supporting arguments 1 There is more opportunity for great powers to ght each other in multipolarity 2 There tends to be greater equality between the great powers in bipolarity because the more great powers there are in a system the more likely it is that wealth and population will be distributed unevenly among the great powers 3 There is greater potential for miscalculation in multipolarity which often contributes to the outbreak of war Balancing is also said to be more efficient in bipolar systems because each great power has no choice but to directly confront the other 0 Some realists argue that multipolarity is less warprone the more great powers in a system the better the prospects for peace 0 This is based on 2 considerations 1 Deterrence is much easier in multipolarity because there are more states that can join together to confront an especially aggressive state with overwhelming force 2 There is much less hostility among the great powers in multipolarity because the amount of attention they pay to each other is less than in bipolarity 0 With the end of the Cold War many realists argue that unipolarity has arrived with USA as the sole great power Unbalanced multipolarity increases the risks of great power war Glossary structural realists who argue that systemic factors put signi cant limits on how much power states can gain which works to dampen security competition structural realists who maintain that states should attempt to gain as much power as possible which works to intensify security competition states looking for opportunities to use military force to alter the balance of power states satis ed enough with the balance of power that they have no interest in using military force to shift in their favor Sometimes referred to as security seekers the paradox that occurs when a state seeks to improve its own security resulting in the decreased security of other states Heart of security dilemma is the idea that security is a relative concept all actors cannot have more of it where a threatened state accepts the burden of deterring an opponent and commits substantial resources to achieving that goal The threatened state can mobilize its own resources orjoin with other threatened states to join a balancing coalition indicates how easy or difficult is is to conquer territory or defeat a defender in battle If the balance favors the defender conquest is difficult and war is therefore likely The reverse is the case is the balance favors the offence where threatened states try to get another state to check an aggressor while they remain on the sidelines a system in which there are only two great powers a world in which there are three or more great powers