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Unformatted text preview: Anarchy Modern IR theory is built upon an acute awareness of the anarchical nature of international relations There is no central authority in IR Anarchy is what distinguishes international politics from domestic politics The fact of anarchy is universally recognized among IR scholars However, IR theorists disagree over the meaning, consequences, implications, and permanence of anarchy Hobbes Lived between 1588 and 1679 One of the greatest English philosopher and political theorists (along with John Locke) of the 17th century Leviathan (1651) Leviathan A single absolute sovereign power (the state) To make his point, Hobbes sets up a hypothetical situation What would the world be like with no sovereign, no ruler, no overarching authority?: "state of nature" "The State of Nature" Anarchy A war of everyone against everyone else There is a "continual fear, and danger of violent death...the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" What causes men to come into conflict with each other? The Need for a Leviathan Fear and insecurity drives man to create the Leviathan to escape the state of nature No one is able to pursue any other type of activity other than guarding themselves and the property until the advent of leviathan The Hobbesian Logic of IR "the state of nature" = Anarchy the absence of a central authority ruling over states that are individually sovereign There is no leviathan at the international level, no world government to maintain and ensure order Kenneth N. Waltz Man, the State and War (1959) Theory of International Politics (1979) Waltz's theory is synonymous with Neorealism (Structural realism) Defining Structure
Waltz identifies 3 dimensions of variation which define the structure of a given system:
1. 2. The system's ordering principle The degree of functional differentiation among units The distribution of capabilities across units 3. He uses the first two dimensions to distinguish domestic politics from international politics He then uses the third dimension to explain variation in the stability of the international system over time Anarchy The ordering principle of the system indicates how the units of a system are arranged (i.e., how they relate to one another) Domestic politics are hierarchically ordered
Relations of super and subordination exist--some individuals command, others obey International politics are anarchically ordered
Only relations of potential coordination exist Consequences of Anarchy The anarchical structure of the international politicalsystem, according to Waltz, establishes two "facts of life" in international politics: Selfhelp
States must provide for their own security Whatever one state does to bolster its own security will threaten the security of other states The security dilemma The Survival Assumption Unlike other Realists, Waltz does not assume that states are inherently hungry for power In other words, he does not assume that states are powermaximizers The ultimate goal of states, in Waltz's view, is survival Power is merely a means toward achieving this end Consequences of Anarchy "Balanceofpower politics," Waltz asserts, "prevail wherever two, and only two, requirements are met: that the order be anarchic and that it be populated by units wishing to survive" Anarchy + Survival Assumption = Balance of Power Politics The Functional Differentiation of Units Whereas domestic politics "consists of differentiated units performing specified functions," international politics "consists of like units duplicating one another's activities" In other words, there is a highly developed division of labor in domestic society, but not in IR "States are alike in the tasks that they face, though not in their abilities to perform them." The differences that exists among states "are of capability, not of function" This second dimension of variation "is not needed in defining the internationalpolitical structure" As "long as anarchy endures, states remain like units" The Distribution of Capabilities The term capabilities denotes power capabilities The distribution of capabilities and the distribution of power are synonymous Neorealists use this variable to explain variation in the stability and frequency of wars in the international system The Distribution of Capabilities Because states are functionally undifferentiated and the condition of anarchy is assumed to be constant, changes in the structure of the internationalpolitical system depend solely upon changes in the distribution of capabilities across the system's units Just as market structures are defined by counting the number of firms that inhabit the market, so too are internationalpolitical systems defined by counting the number of states that inhabit such systems Only great powers matter Defining the Structure of the International System Ordering principle: Anarchy (constant) Functional differentiation: None (constant) Distribution of capabilities: Variable
Because both anarchy and the degree of functional differentiation among states remain constant, the distribution of relative capabilities across states becomes the key variable for Neorealists How structure explains IR Anarchy explains the "why" of IR Why war is a reoccurring phenomenon The conflictual nature of IR The distribution of power/capabilities explains the "when" of IR When the international system will be relatively stable and peaceful and when it will be turbulent and violent Classifying Structures: Polarity
Neorealists define system structures according to the number of "poles" (i.e., independent centers of power) that characterize a system There are three basic types of structures: Unipolarity--only one great power Bipolarity--only two great powers Multipolarity--three or more great powers Neorealism predicts that bipolar systems will be more stable than multipolar systems What a Systemic Theory Can and Can't Do A systemic theory of IR explains similarities in the behavior of states, which occur despite variation in their internal characteristics or makeup Unitlevel theories explain differences in behavior among states, which occur despite the fact that states face the same systemic pressures and constraints A systemic theory explains continuity and repetition within a particular system as well as change across systems Unitlevel theories explain changes within a particular system What a Systemic Theory Can and Can't Do A systemic theory of IR is a theory of the international political system taken as a whole A unitlevel theory is a theory of a particular state's foreign policy This is analogous to the distinction in microeconomics between a theory of the market (the system) and a theory of the firm (the state) It is also analogous to the distinction between ecology and biology According to realism, there is a single, inexorable logic that accompanies anarchy The fact of anarchy puts the survival and independence of all states in jeopardy because there is nothing to stop them from potentially harming or threatening each other There is no 911 number, no police, to call on if another state attacks or threatens you Thus, states are forced to constantly worry about their security and autonomy In order to ensure their security and autonomy, states must take matters into their own hands (selfhelp) Acquiring and holding on to power is the only way a state can ensure its security and autonomy The Meaning of Anarchy: Realism ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/04/2011 for the course INTL 3200 taught by Professor Wilson during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.
- Fall '08