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Understanding IR Theories I: Liberalism and Realism.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding IR Theories I: Liberalism and Realism."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Understanding IR Theories I: Liberalism and Realism

3 I. Introduction A. Let’s start with some question relating to what we discussed on W of last week: 1) Which worldview--Fukayama’s, Huntington’s, Kaplan’s, Friedman’s, or Barber’s--do you think best explains the way the world works NOW and 2) Which worldview(s) do you think does NOT do a very good job of explaining how the world works NOW? A. Let’s start with some question relating to what we discussed on W of last week: 1) Which worldview--Fukayama’s, Huntington’s, Kaplan’s, Friedman’s, or Barber’s--do you think best explains the way the world works NOW and 2) Which worldview(s) do you think does NOT do a very good job of explaining how the world works NOW?

4 I. Introduction B. For the next few days, we discuss IR theory: 1) Today we examine the two dominant theories of world politics this century a. Liberalism/Idealism b. Realism 2) Wednesday, we examine radical theories of IR (Marxism, World Systems, Dependencia, Feminist, etc) 3) Question: what is theory? B. For the next few days, we discuss IR theory: 1) Today we examine the two dominant theories of world politics this century a. Liberalism/Idealism b. Realism 2) Wednesday, we examine radical theories of IR (Marxism, World Systems, Dependencia, Feminist, etc) 3) Question: what is theory?

5 II. The Liberal Worldview A. According to K&W (p. 28), liberalism is "a paradigm predicated on the hope that the application of reason and universal ethics to international relations can lead to a more orderly, just, and cooperative world, and that international anarchy [lack of a hierarchy/world government] and war can be policed by institutional reforms that empower international organizations and laws"

6 II. The Liberal Worldview B. Modern Liberalism based on the following set of assumptions: 1)Human nature is essentially "good ” 2)The fundamental human concern for others' welfare makes progress possible 3) Sinful or wicked human behavior such as violence is not the product of flawed people but of evil institutions B. Modern Liberalism based on the following set of assumptions: 1)Human nature is essentially "good ” 2)The fundamental human concern for others' welfare makes progress possible 3) Sinful or wicked human behavior such as violence is not the product of flawed people but of evil institutions

7 II. The Liberal Worldview B. Modern Liberalism based on the following set of assumptions: 4) War and international anarchy are NOT inevitable 5) War is a global problem requiring collective rather than national efforts to control it 6) Reforms must be inspired by a compassionate ethical concern for the welfare and security of all people 7) International society must reorganize itself in order to eliminate the institutions that make war likely B. Modern Liberalism based on the following set of assumptions: 4) War and international anarchy are NOT inevitable 5) War is a global problem requiring collective rather than national efforts to control it 6) Reforms must be inspired by a compassionate ethical concern for the welfare and security of all people 7) International society must reorganize itself in order to eliminate the institutions that make war likely

8 III. The Liberal Reform Agenda 1st group advocated creating intl. institutions which would replace the anarchic, war-prone balance-of-power system 2nd group emphasized the use of legal processes such as mediation and arbitration to settle disputes and avoid interstate wars 3rd group followed the biblical injunction that states should beat their swords into plowshares and disarm 1st group advocated creating intl. institutions which would replace the anarchic, war-prone balance-of-power system 2nd group emphasized the use of legal processes such as mediation and arbitration to settle disputes and avoid interstate wars 3rd group followed the biblical injunction that states should beat their swords into plowshares and disarm

9 IV. The Realist Worldview A. Definition. (Kegley & Wittkopf, p31): Realism is “ a paradigm based on the premise that world politics is essentially and unchangeably a struggle among self-interested states for power and position under anarchy, with each competing state pursuing its own national interests ”

10 IV. The Realist Worldview B. The core of classical realist theory is best summarized in the form of 10 assumptions: 1)People are by nature narrowly selfish and ethically flawed 2)Of all people's evil ways, none are more prevalent or dangerous than their instinctive lust for power and their desire to dominate others 3)The possibility of eradicating these instincts is a utopian "pipedream" 4)International politics is a struggle for power, "a war of all against all ” 5)The primary objective of every state--the goal to which all other objectives should be subordinated to--is to promote its NATIONAL INTERESTS B. The core of classical realist theory is best summarized in the form of 10 assumptions: 1)People are by nature narrowly selfish and ethically flawed 2)Of all people's evil ways, none are more prevalent or dangerous than their instinctive lust for power and their desire to dominate others 3)The possibility of eradicating these instincts is a utopian "pipedream" 4)International politics is a struggle for power, "a war of all against all ” 5)The primary objective of every state--the goal to which all other objectives should be subordinated to--is to promote its NATIONAL INTERESTS

11 IV. The Realist Worldview B. The core of classical realist theory is best summarized in the form of 10 assumptions: 6) The anarchical nature of the intl system dictates that states acquire sufficient military capabilities to deter attack by potential enemies and to exercise influence over others 7) Economics is less relevant to ntl security than is military might 8) Allies might increase a state's ability to defend itself, but their loyalty and reliability should never be assumed 9) States should NEVER entrust the task of self-protection to intl security organizations or intl law 10) If all states seek to maximize power, stability will result by maintaining a balance of power B. The core of classical realist theory is best summarized in the form of 10 assumptions: 6) The anarchical nature of the intl system dictates that states acquire sufficient military capabilities to deter attack by potential enemies and to exercise influence over others 7) Economics is less relevant to ntl security than is military might 8) Allies might increase a state's ability to defend itself, but their loyalty and reliability should never be assumed 9) States should NEVER entrust the task of self-protection to intl security organizations or intl law 10) If all states seek to maximize power, stability will result by maintaining a balance of power

12 V. Strengths/Weaknesses of Both Theories A. Liberalism B. Realism A. Liberalism B. Realism


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