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Dr. Bezen Balamir Coşkun

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1 Dr. Bezen Balamir Coşkun
IR 501 The Neo - Neo Debate Text Dr. Bezen Balamir Coşkun

2 Neo-realism & Neo-liberalism
Neo-realism and neo-liberalism and the debate between them has dominated mainstream academic scholarship in international relations in the US. Realism, neo-realism and neo-liberalism have had a profound impact on US foreign policy. Neo- realists dominate the security studies and neo-liberals focus on political economy, human rights & environment.

3 Neo-realism &. Neo-liberalism
Neo-realism and neo-liberalism do not offer totally contrasting images of the world. Neo-realists stated that they are concerned with the issues of survival. They claim that neo-liberals are too optimistic about the possibilities for cooperation among states. Neo-liberals counter with claims that all states have mutual interests and can gain from cooperation.

4 Neo-realism & Neo-liberalism
Both are problem solving theories (see Cox) - neither theory propose major reform or radical transformations in the international system, they are system maintainer theories. They are progeny of realism and liberalism biased towards the state, the capitalist market and the status quo The process of globalization have forced them to consider similar issues & address new challenges to international order.

5 Neo-realism & Neo-liberalism
They are more than theories, they are paradigms or conceptual frameworks that define a field of study, limit our conception of reality, and define an agenda for research and policy making. There are considerable differences in how the scholarly & policy world define and use labels of neo-realism & neo-liberalism

6 Neo-realism in academia & in politics
For most academics neo-realism refers to Kenneth Waltz’s theory of international politics (1979). Waltz’s theory emphasize the importance of structure of the international system and its role as the primary determinant of state behaviour.

7 Neo-realism in academia & in politics
Some other scholars & and policy- makers use neo-realism to describe a recent and updated version of realism. In security studies, some scholars use the terms offensive and defensive realism when discussing neo-realism.

8 Neo-liberalism in academia & in policy world
In the academic world neo-liberalism generally refers to neo-liberal institutionalism. In the policy world neo-liberalism means the promotion of free trade or open markets and Western democratic values and institutions.

9 Neo-realism Waltz’s theory of structural realism is only one version of neo-realism the second group is the modern realists lead by Joseph Grieco - relative & absolute gains the third version is found in security studies which talk about offensive and defensive realism.

10 (1) Structural realism Structural realists do not deny the importance of unit level explanations, however they believe that the effects of structure must be considered. Structure is defined by the ordering principle of the international system, which is anarchy, and the distribution of capabilities across the units, which are states (Waltz)

11 Structural realism The structure of the international system shapes foreign policy choices. For neo-realists (structural realists in particular) power is more than the accumulation of military resources and the ability to use this power to coerce and control other states. Neo-realists see power as the combined capabilities of a state. Power gives a state a position in international system and shapes the state behavior.

12 Structural realism Neo-realists suggest that anarchy defines the system. All states are functionally similar units, they all experience the same constraints presented by anarchy and strive to maintain their position in the system. Neo-realists explain any difference in policy by differences in power and capabilities.

13 (2) Relative & absolute gains
Joseph Grieco (1988) focuses on the concepts of relative and absolute gains. He claims that states are interested in increasing their power and influence (absolute gains), thus will cooperate with other actors in the system to increase their capabilities. Grieco claims that states are also concerned with how much power and influence other states might achieve (relative gains).

14 Relative & absolute gains
This is the key difference between neo-realism and neo-liberalism . Neo- liberals claim that cooperation does not work when states fail to follow the rules and cheat to secure their national interests. Neo-realists claim that there are two barriers to international cooperation: cheating & relative gains of other actors.

15 Relative & absolute gains
The likelihood of states abandoning international cooperative efforts is increased if participants see other states gaining more from the arrangement. The fundamental question asked by Grieco is not whether all parties gain from cooperation, but who will gain more if we cooperate.

16 (3) Security Studies & Neo-realism
Offensive neo-realists accept most of Waltz’s ideas and good portion of the assumptions of traditional realism. Defensive neo-realists suggest that our assumptions of relations with other states depend on whether they are friends or enemies. Exp. When dealing with the EU the assumption of the US leaders are more akin to those promoted by neo-liberals.

17 Security Studies & Neo-realism
John Mearsheimer (1990, 1994) who is an offensive realist, suggests that relative power and not absolute power is most important to states. He suggests that leaders of countries should pursue security policies that weaken their potential enemies and increase their power relative to all others.

18 Security Studies & Neo-realism
Offensive realists were very critical of the Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. This war was unnecessary because the containment of Iraq was working effectively and there was no compelling strategic rationale for this war.

19 Security Studies & Neo-realism
Defensive neo-realists like Robert Jervis & Jack Snyder claim that the cost of war clearly outweigh the benefits. Defensive neo-realists see conflict as unnecessary only in a subset of situations ie. economic relations.

20 Core Assumptions of Neo-Realism
States & other actors interact in an anarchic environment. There is no central authority to enforce rules and norms or protect the interests of the larger community The structure of the system is a major determinant of actor behavior States are self-interest oriented, and an anarchic and competitive system pushes them to favor self-help over cooperation

21 Core Assumptions of Neo-Realism
States are rational actors, selecting strategies to minimize losses The most critical problem presented by anarchy is survival States see all other states as potential enemies and threats to their national security. The distrust and fear creates a security dilemma, and this motivates the state policies.

22 Neo-liberalism David Baldwin (1993) identifies 4 varieties of liberalism that influence contemporary international relations: commercial, republican, sociological and liberal institutionalism

23 Neo-liberalism Commercial liberalism advocates free trade and market or capitalist economy Republican Liberalism states that democratic states are more inclined to respect the rights of their citizens and less likely to go war with other democratic states.

24 Neo-liberalism Sociological liberalism focuses on the notion of community & the process of interdependence.

25 Neo-liberalism Liberal institutionalism or neo-liberal institutionalism is considered as the most convincing challenge to Realist and neo-realist thinking. The roots of this version of liberalism found in 1940’s ’s functional integration models. The 2nd generation of liberal institutionalists emerged in 1960s to explain the EU integration

26 Neo-liberalism The 3rd generation of liberal institutional scholarship was the transnationalism and the complex interdependence of 1970s (Keohane & Nye 1972, 1977). They argued that the world had become more pluralistic in terms of actors involved in international interactions and they become more dependent on each other.

27 Neo-liberalism Complex interdependence has 4 characteristics:
(1) increasing linkages among states & non-state actors (2) a new agenda of international issues with no distinction between low and high politics (3) a recognition of multiple channels for interaction among actors (4) the decline of the efficacy of military force as a tool of statecraft

28 Neo-liberalism Complex interdependence scholars suggest that globalization represents an increase in linkages and channels for interaction and interconnections.

29 Neo-liberalism Neo-liberal institutionalists see institutions as mediator and the means to achieve cooperation among actors in the system. Their current research focus on the issues of global governance

30 Neo-liberalism For neo-liberal institutionalists the focus on mutual interests extend beyond trade & development Successful responses to security threats require the creation of regional and global regimes that promote cooperation and coordination

31 Neo-liberalism Neo-liberals support cooperative multilateralism and critical of unilateral and preemptive use of force as the US did in 2002 against Iraq. Neo-liberals argue that the US- led war with Iraq did more to undermine the legitimacy of global and regional institutions.

32 Core assumptions of neo-liberalism
states are key actors, but not the only significant actors. States are rational or instrumental actors, always seeking to maximize their interests In this competitive environment states seek to maximize absolute gains through cooperation. Rational behavior leads states to see value in cooperative behavior. The greatest obstacle to successful cooperation is non- compliance or cheating by states. cooperation is never without problems, but states will shift loyalty and resources to institutions if these are seen as mutually beneficial.

33 Neo-liberalism The neo-liberal institutional perspective is more relevant in issue- areas where states have mutual interests.

34 Neo - Neo Debate The debate between neo-realists and neo-liberals has dominated mainstream IR scholarship since mid 1980s. Two major journals “International Organization” and “International Security” led the debate by publishing articles that address the relative merits of each theory and its value in explaining the international politics.

35 Neo - Neo Debate The neo - neo debate is not a debate between two polar opposite worldviews. They share an epistemology, focus on similar questions, and agree on a number of assumptions about international politics Neo-liberal institutionalism and neo-realism study different worlds of international politics. Neo-realists focus on security and military issues (high politics issue-area). neo-liberals focus on political economy, environmental issues, human rights issues (low politics).

36 Neo - Neo Debate Neo-realists are more cautious about cooperation and remind us that the world is still a competitive place where self-interest rules. Neo-liberals believe that the states and other actors can be persuaded to cooperate if they are convinced that all states will comply This debate does not discuss many important issues that challenge some of the core assumptions of each theory. Fex., neo-realism cannot exğlain foreign policy behaviour that challenges the norm of national interest over human interests. Neither theory addresses the impact of learning on the foreign policy behavior of states.

37 Neo - Neo Debate Globalization has contributed to a shift in political activity away from the state. Transnational social movements have forced states to address critical international issues and in several situations that have supported the establishment of institutions that promote further cooperation, and challenge the power of states.

38 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Both agree that the international system is anarchic. Neo-realists say that anarchy puts more constraints on foreign policy, and that neo- liberals minimize the importance of survival as the goal of state

39 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Neo-realists believe that international cooperation will not happen unless states make it happen. Neo-liberals believe that cooperation is easy to achieve in areas where states have mutual interests.

40 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Neo-liberals think that actors with common interests try to maximize absolute gain. Neo-realists claim that neo-liberals overlook the importance of relative gains.

41 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Neo-realists state that anarchy requires states to be preoccupied with relative power, security, and survival in a competitive international system. Neo-liberals are more concerned with economic welfare or international political economy issues and other non-military issue areas.

42 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Neo-realists emphasize the capabilities (power) of state over the intensions and interests of states Capabilities are essential for security and independence. Neo-realists claim that uncertainity about the intensions of other states forces states to focus on their capabilities. Neo-liberals emphasize intentions and preferences.

43 The main features of the neo-neo debate
Neo-liberals see institutions and regimes as significant forces in international relations. Neo-realists state that neo-liberals exaggerate the impact of regimes and institutions on state behavior.

44 Food for thought What assumptions about international politics are shared by neo-liberals and neo-realists? If we study international politics as defined by neo-realists and neo-liberal institutionalists what are the issues and controversies we would focus on? What is left out of our study of international politics?

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