Exam 1 Notes - Exam 1 Notes ESSAY Realism is arguably the...

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Exam 1 Notes ESSAY: Realism is arguably the most compelling theory because of its assumptions, particularly concerning conflict, whereas liberalism seems to be the more common and relevant theory. 1. Realism assumes anarchy, which means there is no higher authority than the state. Since not all states have an anarchical government, it leaves the states without anarchy vulnerable to the bad intentions of others. Anarchy leads to self-help, which can involve building up the military or forming alliances. 2. Realism assumes that states seek to maximize power, which is to best protect the national interest. This goal of maximizing power leads to the security dilemma. The security dilemma is where one state tries to remain secure by increasing its weapons. When another state finds out about this, they try to make their state secure by increasing their weapons. This ends up in an arms race, and neither state is very secure. Mearsheimer’s thesis says that states are always pursuing power and want to be hegemon, so war is inevitable. To support this, he noted that states see hegemony as the best way to guarantee survival. So, they will achieve this in any way possible. To try to make themselves secure, states increase their weapons and get into the security dilemma. They even fear one another because they never know the other’s intentions. 3. Realism assumes balance of power, which suggests that states are rational unitary actors that naturally balance to prevent a world war. During the Cold War, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union knew the other had nuclear weapons. Because of this, they had an incentive to balance out and not push the other to the point of a nuclear war. - Liberalism: Unlike realism, liberalism believes global cooperation is possible. The Kantian triangle is an important part of this theory. Russett and O’Neal’s thesis was that because we are faced with vicious cycles (from realism), we can create virtuous cycles by the Kantian triangle. The democratic peace theory states that democracies will not go to war with each other. So, the more states that become democratic, the less war there will be. Another part of the triangle is economic interdependence. The more economically intertwined two states are, the more inclined they are to find another way to settle their disputes. This provides an incentive for states to want to
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