Mark R. Brawley
Chapter 2: The Levels of Analysis – System-Level Arguments
System Level Theories and the Concept of Power
Jeffery Hart: power over other actors, power over resources, and power over
events and outcomes (this the is most important as it encompasses the other two
as well as it is general enough to include both cases of coercion and cooperation).
Robert Dahl: control over actions (getting an actor to do what he/she otherwise
wouldn’t do; most widely used definition but is limited in that it only pertains to
coercion), control over the agenda (what issues are debated, will/will not be taken,
and when), and control over preferences (influencing other actors’ desires)
Ray Cline: mathematically with a formula which included both tangibles and
intangibles, Critical Mass of Population and Territory (C), Economic Capabilities
(E), and Military Power (M), the Country’s Strategy (S) and Will to use Power
= (C+E+M) x (S+W)
All these definitions fail in that we can only recognize power (or, in the case of
Cline, to assign values to variables) after it’s been used
Power and Structure
Structural Realists often look at the distribution of power to create theories on
how states will behave.
When realists talk of the system-level, they define structure in terms of
distribution of capabilities, or the number of major powers. poles in the system.
is a system with one major power. According to realists, a
single controlling power would eliminate all rivals. While we have never
seen this system before, we can argue the existence of hegemony (where
one state has greater capabilities than the others, and while they may not
be able to take complete control, they can influence decisions).
is a system with two poles, two strong states, or two strong
alliances. Examples: the Triple Entente (France, Russia, and Britain) and
the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) prior to WWI;
the United States and Soviet Union after WWII (both also became leaders
of rival alliances NATO and the Warsaw Pact)