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3-28-11 - 2nd lecture on unipolarity 3rd question about...

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3/28/11 – 2 nd lecture on unipolarity 3 rd question about unipolarity: Is the unipolar world peaceful? (Depends if yes to question: Is it durable?) Broad consensus that unipolar world is the most peaceful configuration. Wolhforth: o 1. No one is going to compete with the US o 2. Prevents competition among 2 nd tier of states (France, Germany, Japan, India, China) b/c don’t have to vie for #1 o 3. Lesser powers will not challenge the US b/c certain defeat; only bandwagoning o 4. Even quarrels b/w 2 minor states will not result in conflict b/c once US makes it clear which side it’s on, the dispute will end o Theory: unipolarity is peaceful But US has been at war for 13 or 22 years since the end of the Cold War. This is <10% of US history > 25% of US time at war. So potential flaws of the theory: o 1. Stays focused on great powers only; structural theories are not used to going beyond the great powers. If multipolar, disputes b/w 2 small states or 1 great power and 1small states are aggregated into disputes b/w great states (WWI). But this can’t happen with unipolar. Strategies of offshore balancing, collective security, and selective engagement (vs. isolationism and primacy) = defensive dominance. US engaged in world and tries to maintain status quo (its dominance). o But US could switch to primacy and isolationism, which are very prone to conflict o Assumption that US will always be engaged in the world by defensive dominance…but again, this is too focused on great powers.
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