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Unformatted text preview: POLS1020/INST1400
CONTINUITY & CHANGE Lecture 3 – 3 August, 2009
Dynamics of the international system:
Realism 6 and 9 August, 1945 15 August, 1945 since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can & the weak suffer what they must. Introduction
8. Theory in International Relations
IR as an American discipline
Major Realist writers
Realism and its main tenets
Variants of Realism
Realism in action
Criticisms of Realism
Realism and contemporary IR theory and practice Theory in IR
Theory in IR Provides basis for examining implications of viewing IR in certain ways (e.g. ethically). Helps us to recognise biases and preconceived ideas we might bring to IR. Provides a conceptual basis for the exploration of empirical issues/processes. Can aim at explanation or normative change. Helps understanding of process or effects of definition. Different theories do different things. Can combine different elements. Relevance of Theory
Relevance of Theory Praxis: relationship between theory & practice practical implications of theorising and/or conceptualising IR. Theory emerges in particular historical context. Events are influenced by theoretical assumptions. ‘common sense’ of the time theory. The mutual constitution of theory and practice. Interrelationship between different factors. Realism a US discipline
Realism a Hoffman (1987) rise of US to world power.
intellectual predispositions, political circumstances & institutional opportunities.
US faith that problems can be solved by scientific method & technology & this will result in progress.
US political scientists were interested in power. Smith Together these meant that not only did US theory dominate IR but so did the specific US commitment to a realist/neorealist view of the world The effect is to skew the discipline towards the policy concerns of the US, & to ensure that the available theories for studying these concerns are theories that fit the US definition of 'proper' social science. Fathers of Realism
Fathers of Realism Thucydides (400 BC) since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. Machiavelli (C16th) – The Prince. Hobbes (C17th) life is nasty, brutish, short – war of all against all. Rousseau (C18th) – social contract. Carr (1940s) The Twenty Years’ Crisis. PostWar Realists
PostWar Realists Morgenthau Politics among Nations Classical Realism. The statesman must think in terms of the national interest, conceived as power among other powers. The popular mind, unaware of the fine distinctions of the statesman’s thinking, reasons more often than not in the simple moralistic and legalistic terms of absolute good and absolute evil. “Six Principles of Political Realism” Waltz Structural Realism/Neorealism. Gaddis, Mearsheimer, Jervis, Krasner, Herz. Central Tenets of Realism Recognising the limits of any attempts to change international politics may be better than a foolhardy attempt to transcend the existing system, however inadequate it may be – LynnJones. Three core elements: 1) statism states are effectively the only important actors in IR. 2) survival states are concerned with preserving their own existence. 3) selfhelp states can only rely on themselves to survive. Alliances are only shortterm devices. Key Realist rules
Key Realist rules The basis of relations between states is anarchy (no overarching set of rules no higher authority than the state). State sovereignty is a key to the Realist approach. Power (material) makes the world go around. But power is not an end in itself. States tend to act rationally. They are guided by national interest. Manifestations of Realism
Manifestations of Realism Conflict common/inevitable in IR. Security/stability achieved by balance of power or control by global hegemon/s. Security dilemma In the course of providing for one’s own security, the state in question will automatically be fuelling the insecurity of other states Herz. Realists see their theory as descriptive, explanatory & objective. They reject the idea of morality in IR. Alliances end – Krauthammer: ‘NATO is dead’. IGO have little capacity to contain violence. Realist Account of Alliances
Realist Realism states act rationally we can analyse outcomes &/
or processes, can discern patterns. Alliances useful ways for states to pursue objectives. Alliances useful to balance another power or become more relatively powerful (Neorealism). Convergence of national interests not to be trusted. Washington Tis folly in one nation to look for disinterested favours from another... Palmerston Nations have no permanent allies, only permanent interests. De Gaulle France has no permanent friends, only permanent interests. Variants of Realism: Variants of Realism: Classical Realism Thucydides, E. H. Carr, Hans Morgenthau. Conflict linked to Hobbesian conception of human nature competition is natural. Emphasis on social contract – the state has duty to provide security to its citizens. Politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature. Power allows for survival, security & individual expression. NeoRealism
NeoRealism Distribution of power, balance of power, relative power key issues. Grieco – relative & absolute gains. A state’s whole capacity is important Gilpin. Global stability can only be achieved through a balance of power or possibly through the control exercised by a global hegemon: hegemonic stability theory system only works to the extent that the hegemon wants it to. Mearsheimer ‘Why we will soon miss the Cold War’. Niall Ferguson dangers facing us in a world without one of these characteristics. Structural Realism
Structural Realism Kenneth Waltz Theory of International Politics.
Stress anarchy in IR – absence of higher authority.
Blame anarchy not on people but on structure of international system – the state actors.
Structural Realists consider methodologies from natural sciences can aid understanding of IR.
A search for a general predictive rule.
Assumes any system operates predictably there are behavioural traits actor/countries follow.
Political system operates on four factors: structure, power, economics, norms. Strategies of Realism: Strategies of Realism: Offensive Realism States increase security by expanding their political interests abroad, especially increasing power relative to other states. Driven to this by the nature of the system. Relative power is the focus – power maximisers. Resort to force in pursuit of these goals. Provoke a violent reaction from those trying to protect their own position. Mearsheimer and Zakaria. In the course of providing for one’s own security, the state in question will automatically be fuelling the insecurity of other states – Hertz. Strategies of Realism: Strategies of Realism: Defensive Realism States ensure their survival by maintaining the balance of power and preserving the existing system or distribution of power. Power only needs to be sufficient to deter aggression. Structures and mechanisms are important. Waltz, Jervis, Snyder. Power equalisers. Criticisms of Realism
Criticisms of Realism Realism as a selffulfilling prophecy. Realism struggles to explain change in the global political environment. Failure to predict end of Cold War. Realists tend to oversimplification. Is violence the result of our unchanging & unchangeable nature? Is stability really achieved through the balance of power or hegemony? Sometimes states undermine security of their own citizens. Have international institutions really been shown to be irrelevant? Further Criticisms of Realism
Further Criticisms of Realism Realism unable to ask questions about the place of the state. Ignores role of beliefs and ideas. Ignores relationship between foreign policy practices and domestic policies. Underestimates potential for cooperation and development of trust. Inconsistent with impact of poverty, disease and environmental change. At one time positivist and relativist. Inhibited by focus on power rather than justice. Realist focus on power too narrow. Realism & Cold War: Themes
Realism & Cold War: Themes Realism dominant during Cold War. How to explain absence of direct conflict between USSR & US? Weakness of international institutions. Role of the security dilemma. International politics based on fear and mistrust. Cold War inevitable or created? Did Realism describe or influence events? Realism & the Cold War: Events
Realism & the Cold War: Events Berlin Airlift, Korean War Macarthur wanted nuclear weapons against China. Missile Gap, 1957/early 60s mutual suspicion. Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. France withdrew from NATO Military Command alliances for specific purposes not to be trusted over time. Ideology less central than interests. US active in Central & South America, Africa, Asia & ME. Realism & Contemporary IR Realism & Contemporary IR Theory & Practice Realism is the dominant discourse.
Smith – IR is dominated by Realism.
Is it realistic to seek to move from the Realist model to a new framework that attaches less importance to military force and selfinterest? Useful Terms
Useful Terms Normative.
Statism, security and selfhelp.
Hegemonic stability theory.
Balance of power. ...
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