Jan 25 - Liberalism Liberalism Poli 101, January 25 What is...

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Unformatted text preview: Liberalism Liberalism Poli 101, January 25 What is Liberalism? What We are NOT talking about contemporary American “Liberalism”, as in the opposite of “Conservatism”. The roots of Liberalism date back to Ancient Greece and Rome. “The idea of a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the freedom of the governed" – Marcus Aurelius Roots of Liberalism Roots Highly influenced by the Age of Enlightenment Rejects notions like Divine Right, hereditary status, etc. John Locke (1632­1704) rejected idea of Hobbesian “Leviathan”. Liberalism Liberalism Holds that reason and ethics can overcome international anarchy to create a more orderly and cooperative world Optimistic about the prospects of cooperation Emphasizes establishing stable democracies as a way to reduce conflict Politics is not seen as zero­sum Emphasizes free trade because it helps prevent disputes from escalating into war Stresses the importance of international institutions Also called “idealism” Three Strands of Liberal Theory Three Variant of Liberalism Level of Analysis Departure from Realism Liberal Institutionalism System. Retains basic assumption of balance of power theory. Anarchy does not necessarily lead to conflict. Cooperation is possible. Complex Interdependence Theory Sub-state, but not exclusively. Focuses on individuals, firms, NGOs, and organizations within governments as key actors. States are not the only important actors. Actors have diverse interests in international politics. Much of IR has little to do with military security. Democratic Peace Theory State. Focuses on what kind of government the state has. States are not all essentially the same. Liberal (democratic) states can solve disputes without war. Liberal Institutionalism Liberal Accepts many premises of realism, but arrives at different conclusions. See cooperation as way out of security dilemma. Institutions: A set of agreed­upon rules and practices. Formal, in a treaty, or informal like the G­8. Institutionalism in Practice Institutionalism Concert of Vienna. WWI as rebuttal or proof. Cold War, SALT I and SALT II (1972, 1977­ 79). Argentina and Brazil: Peaceful use of Nuclear Energy. Liberal Institutionalists insist that cooperation is not the result of idealism, but of rational pursuit of self­interest. Anarchy breeds insecurity, so states have an incentive to overcome anarchy, even if that means a limitation in some elements of sovereignty. Thoughts??? Complex Interdependence Theory Theory Three Essential Traits: 1) “Multiple channels connect societies” 2) No clear hierarchy of issues. 3) Military force not considered viable tool of policy. Variety of Actors Variety States Groups within states (like companies, parties, interest groups) A variety of transnational and international actors (NGOs, Corporations) PLURALISM: Focus on multiple actors. Variety of Goals Unlike Realism and Liberal Institutionalism, Complex Int. doesn’t assume that security is paramount. Many other goals may not specifically interact with national security. Economics, Finance, Environment, Health, etc. Less conflictual than security concerns. Thoughts??? Normative Position and Realist Reply. If anarchy can be mitigated through cooperation, why not cooperate? Labeled “idealism” by realists, but Liberals contend that self­interest is at the root of cooperation. Place of military might brought into focus by 9/11. Thoughts? ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2011 for the course POLI 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '11 term at South Carolina.

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