POLSCI 160 Chapter 4 Notes

POLSCI 160 Chapter 4 Notes - POLSCI 160 Chapter 4:...

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POLSCI 160 Chapter 4: INTERNATIONAL POLITICS FROM A STRUCTURAL PERSPECTIVE STRUCTURAL PERSPECTIVES Structural features are the characteristics of the set of nations that make up the international system, rather than the characteristics of any one particular state. Fungibility of power: The concentration of national interests on security, and the predictability or uncertainty surrounding relations between states. Structural theories believe that characteristics such as configuration of poles (blocs of nations centered on great powers) essentially shape, if not determine, the course of international affairs. Individual variations in individual nations or sub-national interest groups are much less important than the distribution of these factors across all nations. Structure dictates goals, and goals in conjunction with structure lead to certain outcomes. Nations are the role players. The roles played by each nation are determined by their place in the international system. Great powers look for control and small powers look for benefits by associating with big powers. Neorealists believe that security is the greatest goal whereas Liberalists believe that the accumulation of wealth is the greatest goal. Neorealism The most prominent of structural theories. Kenneth Waltz was the developer. Its precursor is Realism. Realists believed that every nations greatest goal was to gain power and any alliance they made was temporary to serve a purpose unti lit wa sno longer needed. Security dilemma: Fundamental problem of realism. The more powerful a nation becomes, the more likely it finds itself the victim of a power-grab by a stronger counter- coalition or alliance of adversaries, suggesting that it is not powerful at all. As a nation grows stronger, weaker nations want to band together and take it down. Neorealism’s Basic Argument: 3. States are unitary actors. 4. States are rational. 5. The international system is anarchic. 6. States want to maximize their security. 7. States seek gains in power so long as those gains do not place their security at risk. There are also three key hypotheses: 8. Relative gains in power are more important to states than absolute gains in power. 9. The distribution of power tends to be balanced.
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10. Systems with two dominant states (bipolar systems) are more stable than those with more than two dominant states (multipolar system). Bandwagoning: Joining the threatening and usually stronger side in a dispute to gang up on a weaker adversary. Balancing:
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POLSCI 160 Chapter 4 Notes - POLSCI 160 Chapter 4:...

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