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Concepts in International Relations

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1 Concepts in International Relations

2 introduction Near obsolesence of large-scale great power war meets uncertainties, produced by: Environmental and demographic pressures Civil war Resentment at inequalities in north-south relations Unipolar distribution of power What can IR theories do to identify regularities, continuities, and longer term dynamics

3 Two types of theoretical enquiry
Explanatory theory Seeks to explain and understand why certain events have taken place Normative theory Provides convincing case for how things should be, based on moral assumptions about IR and possibilities for change

4 Spectrum of IR conceptions
Rationalism Conventional Constructivism Critical constructivism Realism Neo-realism Offensive realism Neo-classical realism Defensive realism Liberalism Neo-liberalism Human security Postmodernism Radicalism Historical materialism Marxism Critical security postmodernism Spectrum of approaches: Reductionist rational choice Sociologically inspired constructivism: reality is mutually constituted through intersubjective understanding and constructions Spectrum of paradigms: Sceptical conception of possibilities of normative change Optimistic understanding of these possibilities

5 Shift in popularity of conceptions
Shift in popularity from rationalist to constructivist explanations of how to study international security. Shift in popularity from towards more optimistic assesment of possibilities and need for change, the strengthening of cosmopolitan and universalist conceptualization of international security.

6 Two dangers Danger of radical relativism, international security as mere artificial construction of ideas. Historical sociology can help avoid this. Danger of excessive expectations on humanitarianism, while in reality selfish national interest always drives international development projects. Realism is needed to provide checks on avoiding overly optimistic expectations.

7 Realist key assumptions
International realm or system is anarchic  influenced Cold War era’s international cooperation that always bowed down to devided conceptions of political order and domestic legitimacy; Capability to inflict damage and harm on others defines catagorization of units  influenced by Cold War’s obsession with threat of war; States are fearful of other states and thus the system is self-help  influenced by limited success at attempting cooperation during detente. Anarchy and distrust undermines cooperation. Overall impact on ISS: central focus of research on prepraration, use and threat of use of force.

8 Realism after the Cold War
Realism predicts the future of US hegemony, whether leads to sustained unipolarity or multipolarity; future of cold war alliances and counter-terrorism alliances after 911; legitimacy of unilateral pre-emption; scepticism about multilateralism and int’l institutions. Offensive: great powers are inherently aggressive, states are disposed to think offensively; readiness to engage in war and maximazation of power guaratees advantage. Defensive: once states survive they will want to maintain their positions in the system. State’s perceptions towards other states can affect the formation of alliances

9 International anarchy has much more explanatory purchase in Theory of International Politics than it did in Man, the State, and War. International anarchy seems to dictate how states in the state system must behave, rather than suggest (as it did in his earlier book) how they might behave. This is because in Theory of International Politics, international anarchy becomes the structural ordering principle of international politics, from which all state behaviors seem to flow.

10 actors will behave differently depending on how they are organized.
For example, within a domestic, hierarchical organization, political processes can be specialized because there are different branches and levels of government, these various government sectors are all highly interdependent on one another, and their overriding goal is to maximize the welfare of the citizens of their states. In contrast, within a global, anarchical organization, states cannot be specialized because there is just one state doing all the tasks. Therefore, rather than specializing, states in the state system imitate one another’s behaviors. They attempt to be as independent of other states as they can be, and they strive to maximize the international security of their state (Waltz, 1979: Chapter 5).

11 Quality-of-life issues prevail domestically, and, importantly, they can prevail because security issues are mostly solved within states. With security issues muted within states, states can focus on welfare issues. In contrast, Waltz argues, security issues are never solved within the state system. Because there is no orderer – because international anarchy prevails – there is never anything or anyone to prevent conflicts from occurring.

12 In international anarchy all states recognize that it is in their overriding self-interest to maximize their power. To do anything else is crazy because a state without enough power is a vulnerable state. And, anyway, it is too scary for states not to try to maximize their power. This is what Waltz calls the “security dilemma.” He argues that when one state sees another state trying to increase its power to increase its security, it gets scared, feels threatened, and recognizes that it too must increase its power. But, of course, that scares the other states, and basically there is this mad spiral in which all states are trying to have more power than all other states.

13 But power does not always balance out like this
But power does not always balance out like this. Waltz argues that power is most likely to balance out in this way when there are only two poles – when there is a bipolar system. When there are more then two poles, things get trickier. Balances are harder to strike. Risks increase. Wars are more likely to occur. International anarchy remains the permissive cause of war (Waltz, 1979: Chapter 6).

14 According to Waltz, this competition for power among states is not always as dangerous as it at first sounds. It doesn’t have to lead to war, so long as no state has significantly more power than another state or coalition of states, so long as states in combination are in a stable “balance of power” arrangement.

15 In Man, the State, and War, states may fear one another because of the bad behavior of either ruling individuals or rogue states. Fear, in other words, is located in the first or second image. But by the time we get to Theory of International Politics, fear seems to be located in the third image – in international anarchy itself because it is anarchy that makes states behave as they do (to maximize their power) and it is consequently this behavior that leads other states to fear them.

16 Maybe fear is not something fixed in one or more levels of analysis
Maybe fear is not something fixed in one or more levels of analysis. Maybe fear is not a consequence of state behavior in a system of structural anarchy. Instead, maybe fear is something that is actually missing in a situation of international anarchy, and because it is missing it must be invented and skillfully deployed. Put differently, maybe fear is the final supplement or addition to Waltz’s myth that “international anarchy is the permissive cause of war,” a supplement not necessarily found in any of his three images (Ashley, 1989).

17 Waltz characterizes fear as something that always divides people, states, societies, and worlds. Even if fear leads to balancing among states, this balancing is never a cooperative endeavor. It is always the result of fear.

18 Without fear, Waltz’s arguments fail to be persuasive
Without fear, Waltz’s arguments fail to be persuasive. What would international politics be like if fear functioned differently than it does in Waltz’s myth? What would this mean for IR theory? These are the sorts of questions a functional analysis of Waltz’s work allows us to consider.

19 Realism not only is based on faulty logic (the assumption that anarchy necessarily leads to conflict), but fails to acknowledge the critical importance of developments in the vast domain outside state-to-state relations. The essential concepts of realism indeed act as blinders to a vast array of significant developments.

20 Liberalism According to this myth, transforming international politics from conflictual to cooperative does not necessitate moving from anarchy to hierarchy – from an international system without an orderer to an international system with an orderer. Instead, all it requires is mediating or replacing anarchy with community. In other words, world government may not be the only way out of anarchy. International community – a formal or informal collective and cooperative set of social relationships among sovereign nation-states – may be an alternative to world government and an alternative to international anarchy.

21 True internationalism and world peace will come through individual freedom, the free market, and the peaceful and voluntary associations of civil society. (Richard M. Ebeling 2000)

22 liberalism’s argument
moral behaviour resulted from moral choices and that these were guided by an inner sense of duty – when individuals behaved according to duty, they were being moral. republican states were ‘peace producers’; that is, they were more inclined to peaceful behaviour than other sorts of states it was the duty of the republican state to strive towards law-regulated international relations; they could not merely be liberal in themselves. It is the desire of every state, or of its ruler, to arrive at a condition of perpetual peace by conquering the whole world, if that were possible’ (Kant, 1991)

23 Realism is at best incomplete because it cannot satisfactorily explain post-Cold War cooperation among states. Human nature is essentially “good” or altruistic, and people are therefore capable of mutual aid and collaboration. The fundamental human concern for the welfare of others makes progress possible (that is, the Enlightenment’s faith in the possibility of improving civilization is reaffirmed). Bad human behavior is the product not of evil people but of evil institutions and structural arrangements that motivate people to act selfishly and to harm others – including making war. War is not inevitable and its frequency can be reduced by eradicating the anarchical conditions that encourage it. War and injustice are international problems that require collective or multilateral rather than national efforts to eliminate them. International society must reorganize itself institutionally to eliminate the anarchy that makes problems such as war likely.

24 “the march of democracy” within states around the globe,
increases in liberal free trade arrangements that assume trust and the benefit of all, strengthening of international law, the renewed role of international institutions like the United Nations to undertake collective security initiatives, the proliferation of arms control agreements, and international humanitarian responses to state human rights violations evidence of the fulfillment of Wilson’s specific idealist predictions about what international politics would look like

25 changes from conflictual to cooperative
behavior among states follow from a change in the international organization of states. The Cold War bipolar world system of two opposed blocs locked into a deadly battle with one another has given way to a new form of international organization, and this begins to explain why cooperation is occurring.

26 For a (neo)idealist, the sovereign nation-state is not just a political space. It is also a social space. Indeed, government is the formal institutional expression of social relations within a state. If the state is organized in a good way, then it can organize its domestic social relations so that moral progress can occur within it. Democracy is the best form of organization because it is the least restrictive on its people. It is the least repressive. It is the form of governance that most encourages freedom of expression among its people. autocratic governments cause conflict in international politics. They are the ones that don’t work for the collective good because they don’t really know what the collective good is, as they are unenlightened by their good people.

27 With the same rationalist approach of realism, international cooperation could be generated.
States might be induced to seek gains that could benefit everyone without worrying distribution of gains. Nato showed that institutionalized cooperation outlast realist-driven conditions of an institution.

28 Constructivist turn Anarchy, sovereignty, and inevitability of war are all being called into question. Anarchy depends on the meaning or interpretation of international facts by states and the sharing of that mening among states. Sovereignty depends on what states count as national and international.

29 How ideas and perceptions influence and structure international realities.
For example: deligimation of imperialism, overthrow of apertheid, emergence of international rights regimes; influence of epistemic community in influencing international affairs without state support, as occured in campaign against land mines. How identity and culture replaces ideologies as drivers of conflicts. As rationalist theories are not able to provide explanation on how identities emerge, constructivists with insights from sociology of nationalism argue that national identities are modern constructions and do not represent unchanging primordial essence. For example: explanation of conflicts in former Yugoslavia.

30 Is realism void of moral consideration?
Following political philosophy of Machiavelli and Hobbes, traditionally realism defines IR exclusively in pursuit of politico-military advantage, with moral consideration playing a minimal role. On the other hand, most of policies that are engineered towards better conduct of IR are advocated by realists. Realists do not reject moral considerations, but they question the boundaries of these considerations. They do not reject liberalism in total, only particular form of it: cosmopolitan liberalism.

31 Realism emphasises the need to take full account of the likely intended and unintended consequences of pursuing moral goals in the absence of an orderer to punish wrong-doers and reward virtuous. Failure to consider these may result in policies that make situations worse. Indeed, realists are often strongest warnings against liberal expansionism.

32 Realism’s liberal normative commitment is not non-existent, but rather is derived from liberal communitarian tradition. This tradition of liberalism rejects liberal internationalism and adopts moral subjectivism  moral action should first consider limits of moral sympathies. Realists prioritise normative priority to home states rather than foreign states. Greater sympathy and stronger moral commitment goes to communities in which we live and have our meaning.

33 There’s a dark place inside everyone
There’s a dark place inside everyone. What we do with it depends not on who our teachers are, but what we do with the lessons learned.

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