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8. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AFTER THE COLD WAR: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES 1. Realist theories of IR (international relations) 2. Institutionalist theories.

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Presentation on theme: "8. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AFTER THE COLD WAR: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES 1. Realist theories of IR (international relations) 2. Institutionalist theories."— Presentation transcript:

1 8. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AFTER THE COLD WAR: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES 1. Realist theories of IR (international relations) 2. Institutionalist theories of IR 3. Liberal theories of IR 4. Constructivist theories of IR 5. A ‘culturalist’ theory of IR: The ‘clash of civilizations’ * The argument * Critique 6. Debate: Does political Islam pose a dire threat to Southeast Asian stability?

2 1. REALIST THEORIES OF IR States are the dominant international actors International system is anarchic & war endemic; states cannot trust each other & must therefore maximize their power Character & distribution of military power is decisive for war & peace Bipolarity, equal power distribution between 2 blocs & nuclear deterrence made cold war peaceful None of these conditions present in post-Cold War world, which will be more war-prone

3 2. INSTITUTIONALIST THEORIES OF IR Inter-state conflicts may be attenuated by international institutions (organizations & norms & rules they establish) International institutions help: * to reduce uncertainty (information-exchange) * states to acquire good reputations * new, cooperative norms of IR to develop * states to make credible commitments They may even change states’ interests and identities...

4 3. LIBERAL THEORIES OF IR I.Democratic (or ‘republican’) liberalism War and peace depend on nature of political system: democratic states never fight each other because they (1) are subject to popular control & (2) respect the rights of other states as they respect individual rights Wars may & do take place between democratic & authoritarian states or between authoritarian states Democratization is the key to promoting peace in the post-Cold War era

5 3. LIBERAL THEORIES OF IR (Contd.) II.Commercial liberalism Growing trade & economic interdependence promotes peaceful international relations Trade liberalization is the key to achieving peaceful stable international relations after the Cold War

6 THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF WAR IN AN ECONOMICALLY INTERWOVEN WORLD ‘The commerce & industry of a people no longer depend on the expansion of its political frontiers … A nation’s political frontiers do not now necessarily coincide … Military power is socially & economically futile, & can have no relation to the prosperity of the people exercising it … It is impossible for one nation to seize by force the wealth or trade of another – to enrich itself by subjugating or imposing its will by force on another … War, even when victorious, can no longer achieve those aims for which peoples strive’ Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, pp. 176-77

7 4. CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES OF IR States (as in realism) are the key international actors States’ behaviour is determined by identities & ideas Identities, ideas & ‘interests’ are ‘socially constructed’ & need not be determined by rational-material considerations ‘Social construction’ of three I’s takes place in interaction between states and within states between elites, political parties & citizens ‘Socially constructed’ interests are contingent; they can change, independent of the structure of the international system

8 5. THE ‘CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS’ (HUNTINGTON): ARGUMENT Post-Cold War conflicts will occur primarily between civilizations (‘broadest level of cultural identity’) Inter-civilization conflicts are intensifying, because: * Cultural differences are ‘real & basic’ * They become more visible as distances shrink * Religion is replacing the nation as identity source * Non-Western cultures are ‘re-indigenizing’ * Economic regionalism is strengthening cultural identities

9 THE ‘BASIC DIFFERENCES’ OF CIVILIZATIONS ‘The people of different civilizations have different views on the relations between God & man, the individual & the group, the citizen & the state, parents & children, husband & wife, as well as differing views of the relative importance of rights & responsibilities, liberty & authority, equality & hierarchy. These differences are the product of centuries. They will not soon disappear.’ Samuel Huntington, ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ Foreign Affairs 72:3 (Summer 1993), p. 25.

10 5. ‘CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS’: ARGUMENT (Contd.) The borders between civilizations are the new flash points of ‘crisis & bloodshed’ The Islamic world has particularly ‘bloody borders’ ‘The West (at height of its power) v. The Rest’, which is not becoming Western & may try to balance against it The most immediate threat to the West comes from a ‘Confucian/Sinic-Islamic connection’ [In multipolar world, order must be kept by cooperation between civilizations’ ‘core states’]

11 5. ‘CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS’: CRITIQUE Are cultural clashes (rather than conflicts over wealth, re- sources, political ideologies, etc ) the main cause of wars now? Do people really identify with ‘civilizations’ (as opposed to nations)? Are these organized, cohesive? In conflicts, do states coalesce mainly on civilizational lines? Are not many major wars or crises ‘intra-civilizational (Two Koreas, China/Taiwan), many wars not civil wars? Are other civilizations as resistant to Western influence as Huntington seems to think? (LKY: ‘We’re really all on the same path’!)

12 5. ‘CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS’: CRITIQUE (Contd.) Civilizations are not real political entities … States, however, are! They can make decisions, have armies, money & other resources. The goals they pursue may have nothing to do with culture & they may be quite opportunistic in their choice of coalition partners Culture (religion) may be exploited to mobilize support for, legitimize wars that are fought for quite different reasons …

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