POL1510 Notes1-1 - POL 1510 American Foreign Policy...

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POL 1510 – American Foreign Policy Spring 2003 Professor Thadani Notes for the entire semester Downloaded from: Page 1 of 45 POL1510ThaNotes1.pdf 1/22/03 Models of International Relations There are two main theories of international relations, realism and Global Interdependence Realism predominant outlook of international events 1) war is natural state of affairs; the world is defined in terms of pursuit of power and self interest. The nature of mankind is to want to dominate and have power; nations- states are mainly motivated by their own national security. Why is the international environment so different than the domestic environment? How is it different? -In the domestic environment there are laws, bureaucracies to interpret those laws and decide how they should be put into practice, and a police force to enforce those laws. -In the international community, beginning with the 17 th century, there are sovereign states. Because of this they have a formal equality with each other and are not subordinated to any higher authority then the state. The state is supreme. This is why the international system is anarchical. This refers to the idea that there is no higher authority, no police force to maintain order in the international arena. Rather whichever states are most strong, are able to dominate. -Theoretically the UN security council represents a collective body of states and attempts to keep the peace but it has no power apart from the power the states give it. ) 2) The security dilemma is a main motivating factor in realist theory. What is this security dilemma? Nation A arms itself for defensive purposes. Seeing nation A arming itself, Nation B feels the need to arm itself to protect it from nation A. Nation A, seeing Nation B now arming itself, feels it now has to increase its arming. ( barb2right arms race, and really less security) a) One school of realist thought is that this proliferation acts as a deterrent to war, for both sides fear destruction. Hence, why, despite the intense rhetoric of the time and slight skirmishes along the way, the US and USSR essentially maintained peace for the entire Cold War period. b) Another school of realist thought posits that the very existence of these massive arms races lead to the constant threat that these weapons might be used! There is no deterrent only extreme and constant tension! Essentially the security dilemma is, do preparations for war create conditions for peace or lead countries to war? Is defense preparedness purely defensive or does it also have the possibility of aggressiveness? The inability to determine motives of rivals leads nations to construe defense preparedness as possibly aggressive and therefore the need to react by furthering their military and preparedness.
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