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Poli 260 - Week 3 (Lecture)

Poli 260 - Week 3 (Lecture) - Poli 260 Week 3 Strategy Game...

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Poli 260 Week 3: Strategy, Game Theory, and the Security Dilemma The Anarchic World - States live in a world characterized by ANARCHY, UNCERTAINY, OFFENSE - In this world, states seek security (survival) o May not want war - States try to maximize relative power o They try and become the hegemon - Problem: only ONE state can be a hegemon - States seek security make each other insecure o This is the security dilemma Why are we not all dead? (Jervis pg 170) - John M says “the structure of the international system forces states which seek only to be secure to act aggressively towards each other.” o i.e. wars are inevitable - Yet we’re still alive: o Wars are uncommon o States cooperate on a lot of issues - How and when do wars happen? - How and when does cooperation happen? War as Strategy - Wars don’t just happen mechanically or randomly - States calculate the costs and benefits of their actions o What do they gain from war? - States base their decisions on the decision of other states o How will the other state react? How can we bargain with the other state so we can get what we want? Example: the railway at Seistan (Jervis, pg 167, fn1) - A British officer writes of the possibilities of British or Russian railway building on the Persia-Afghanistan border: 1. If we build a railway and they don’t, we gain DEFENSIVE advantage at high cost 2. If they build a railway and we don’t, they gain OFFENSE advantage at high cost 3. If we both build railways, NO ONE has an advantage, but both have incurred high costs 4. If neither built railways, no one has advantage, and no one has incurred costs - What are the best options for the British? 1. British build railway, while Russians don’t a. British have advantage, but incur costs 2. No one builds a. Neither have advantage, but British haven’t incurred costs 3. Both build a. Neither have advantage, both have incurred costs 4. Russians build, British don’t a. Russians have advantage, British save on costs o Should reach an agreement that both sides don’t build o Prisoner’s dilemma States have choices, but… - Anarchy doesn’t FORCE a state to act in a certain way (no such force to coerce states): o The British don’t have to build a railway - Choices depend on OTHER state’s choices: o If the Russians build a railway, the British have to build a railway, even though NEITHER gains an advantage, and both incur costs even if it’s just to maintain the status quo
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Poli 260 Week 3: Strategy, Game Theory, and the Security Dilemma o Depends on how much trust there is between the two states - Big lesson: choices can be suboptimal (less than you ideally want) - War is NOT inevitable, but states often have to choose between war and peace with costs Wars are not inevitable - States can gain from fighting o Land, resources within land, status in international community, o If Britain builds railway, they will have advantage - But they can also gain from COOPERATION o If neither builds railway, neither is worse off - States don’t always have to fight - Strategy involves picking when to fight, and when to cooperate
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