Realism PSC 1003
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kerrigan Unter on Monday October 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Olson, L in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 10/19/15
PSC 1003 Realism The International System Systematic structure is anarchic in the sense that there is no higher authority than the state Due to anarchic nature of the system states must operate in a selfhelp environment They must look out for their own interests first and foremost The State For realists the state is the primary actor in international politics states are rational selfinterested actors states are unitary actors in the sense that realists are not concerned with the internal characteristics of states realists will conclude that states are like units that have similar set of interests Power and Polarity realists argue hard power is what matters in the international arena the international system will be stratified based on the distribution of power which will affect state interests Firsttier powers will be primarily concerned with other firsttier powers second tier with other secondtier and so on the polarity of the system is determined by the number of firsttier or Great Powers in the system 0 Multipower systems 4 or more Great Powers 0 Bipolar systems 2 Great Powers 0 Unipolar systems 1 hegemonic power tripolar systems are unstable and unbalanced Polarity is a secondary structure in the anarchic system which will constrain and in uence state behavior and will affect the overall stability of the system State Behavior as selfinterested actors state seek to insure their national interests interests are ranked hierarchically such that security interests are paramount states are powerseeking but realists disagree on how much power state will seek o Defensive realists argue states will seek to insure an equilibrium exists in the system si they will engage primarily in powerbalancing behavior 0 Offensive realists believe states will always seek to maximize power visavis other states in the system Competition and Cooperation in their interactions with others states will be primarily concerned with relative gains that is how much more or less they gain visavis the other state this is based on the assumption that international politics in a zerosum game one state s gain represents a loss for another state despite this cooperation is possible in the form of alliances However the durability of the alliance depends on what each state is gaining from the alliance what other states are gaining and whether the national interests of the participants are being met in general cooperation is difficult due to the fact that trust is low Cheating will be assumed according to the realists The Security Dilemma for realists this the primary dynamic that exists between states because cooperation and trust are difficult to achieve states will respond to the material capabilities primarily military strength of other states in the system based on the selfhelp nature of the system and the low level of trust intentions cannot be accurately communicated to opponents in one state increases its hard power capabilities other states will respond by increasing their hard power capabilities when other states respond by increasing their hard power the first state will once again increase its hard power creating in practical terms an arms race in essence the security dilemma refers to the problem that when a state seeks to secure itself as it must in a selfhelp system it inadvertently threatens other states potentially destabilizing the system and leading to con ict
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