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Unformatted text preview: • IR is a field of political science that is concerned mainly with explaining political outcomes in international security affairs and in international political economy. • Theories complement descriptive narratives in explaining international events and outcomes, but scholars do not agree on a single set of theories or methods to use in studying IR. • A few basic core principles shape the field of IR; all are associated with the issue of collective versus individual interests. • The three basic principles of IR are dominance, reciprocity, and identity. • As an academic field, IR is divided into two subfields: international security and international political economy (IPE). • States are the most important actors in IR; the international system is based on the sovereignty of (about 200) independent territorial states. • States vary greatly in size of population and economy, from tiny microstates to great powers. • Nonstate actors such as multinational corporations (MNCs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) exert a growing influence on international relations. • The worldwide revolution in information technologies will profoundly reshape the capabilities and preferences of actors in IR, in ways that we do not yet understand. • Four levels of analysis—individual, domestic, interstate, and global—suggest multiple explanations (operating simultaneously) for outcomes observed in IR. • The global level of analysis, a recent addition, draws attention especially to technological change and the global gap in wealth between the industrialized North and the poor South. • The phenomenon of globalization is controversial but basically refers to the increasing integration of the world in terms of communications, culture, and economics. • The world can be divided into nine geographic regions, each of which is either part of the industrialized global North or the less developed global South. • World Wars I and II dominated the twentieth century, yet they seem to offer contradictory lessons about the utility of hard-line or conciliatory foreign policies. • For most of the 50 years since World War II, world politics revolved around the East- West rivalry of the Cold War. This bipolar standoff created stability and averted wars between great powers, including nuclear war, but it had harmful consequences for states in the global South that became proxy battlegrounds. • The post-Cold War era, which began in the 1990s, holds hope of general cooperation between great powers despite the appearance of new ethnic and regional conflicts. • A war on terrorism with broad international support but uncertain scope and duration began in 2001 after terrorist attacks on the United States....
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course INT 106 taught by Professor Afrasiabi during the Spring '08 term at Bentley.
- Spring '08