GOVT - I. Understanding the Cold War: Int. Relations Theory...

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I. Understanding the Cold War : Int. Relations Theory – Levels of analysis a. Systemic Level: dominant theory of realist (or neorealism): conflict, not cooperation, as the natural order of things (entropy! Lol). Anarchic world system – absence of overarching world system, which means the planet is, by definition, anarchic. (International separated from National politics, because there is a jurisdictional hierarchy in the latter. No checks/balances in international law, which is why conflict occurs) b. National Level: Return to; certain countries are more likely to start wars, others more peaceful – who fired first shot? “Good” and “bad” actors in warfare. Source of National Level argument – System of Government* - types of government considered more ‘warring’ – democracies are, statistically, more peaceful. ..to other democracies. Autocracies disagree on this statistic. (Regime type causes conflict) i. Why would democracies not fight democracies 1). Economic reasons (open to trade, similar policy so investments are safer since economic systems are similar) 2). Elections mean leaders are held accountable by the public (electoral accountability) ii. America – open, free, individualistic iii. Soviet – closed, secret, collectivist 1. Each side sought to remake the world in their own image, and their images differed drastically c. Individual level: Mccarthyism, Truman’s fear-mongering II. Systemic level: Realism a. Realism and the Anarchic World System b. Mistrust and Security Dilemma: Self-help system – no gang to come save you, must rely on own resources (natural reaction is to build up defense systems – offense/defense not necessarily distinguishable) c. Problems of cooperation – Prisoner’s Dilemma: Even rational behavior can be suboptimal. E.g. Police arrest 2 people with insufficient evidence – one guy rats the other out (defects), the other stays quiet (cooperates). Defector goes free, orther gets 1 year. Both quiet – 1 mo each. Both defect – 3 mo each i. Rational choice is for them both to defect, but best option is for both to cooperate. But cooperation requires trust. d. Balance of Power: What stops war (not cooperation or mutual understanding) is balanced power – if both side have equal power, neither will attack. Countries balance against dominant power and ally appropriately to defeat the big guy i. Issue – Nuclear weapons* realists use this theory in CW on this topic III. Feuron: War is costly, and a gamble – why would rational states engage? e. Rational war unavoidable – creation of self-help system, even if countries don’t want to fight, its unavoidable (3pts):
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i. Issue of indivisibility – an item that cannot be divided (ethno- national and territorial) ii. Private information – both purposefully and accidentally, e.g. big guy picks on small guy only to find out small guy is Bruce Lee, then he has to get out o the fight (weapons of mass destruction) iii. Commitment problem: lack of international overarching structure –
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This note was uploaded on 08/27/2011 for the course GOVT 312L taught by Professor Dennis during the Summer '11 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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GOVT - I. Understanding the Cold War: Int. Relations Theory...

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