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International Relations

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1 International Relations
GO131 International Relations Professor Walter Hatch Colby College Lecture 2

2 Explaining IR: Levels of Analysis (Waltz)
First Image: The individual Second Image: The State Third Image: The international system This level focuses on “Great Men.” WWII, then, was about Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin. The US-Iraq War was a struggle between George W Bush and Saddam Hussein. Thomas Carlyle, the great Scottish historian, wrote that: “No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” Of you could think about this more broadly – in terms of human nature.” Freud talked about the id, the libidinal urges of humankind. War, in his view, was the inevitable result of uncontrollable urges – to conquer, to control. (Erik Erickson went even further, writing “psycho-histories” of men like Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi.) On this level, institutions and ideologies of different states help explain events. The types of states (democratic or authoritarian? driven by nationalism or not? influenced by women or not?). WWII, then, was not about great leaders fighting it out, but about democratic states resisting fascism throughout Europe. US-Iraq war was about a democratic state battling a brutal, authoritarian regime. On this level, the structure of the system is what matters. Is there a balance of power? What is the nature of the system of alliances? This structure dictates events. WWII, then, occurred because of a vacuum of power, or a collapse in the balance of power after WWI – caused by decline of GB in the 20s and 30s, and the failure of the US to fill the vacuum. Germany, Japan, and Italy tried to fill it instead.

3 IR Theories Realism Liberalism
Realists tend to focus on international system. And tend to be pessimists Liberals tend to look at the nature of states. Tend to be optimists.

4 Realism Liberalism 1) International system characterized by anarchy
1) International system is a mix of anarchy and order 2) States are unitary actors and are central to the international system 2) States are not unitary/domestic politics matter 3) States are rational; they seek survival through power in the short run. This is their “national interest” 3) States are rational; if democratic, they seek peace and prosperity in the long run

5 Classical Realism states = statesmen statesmen are human beings
human beings naturally seek power just be prudent! Morgenthau was leading post-war realist Drew on political philosophers like Thucydides and Machiavelli to reject an idealistic/moralistic theory of international relations States are defined by the political leaders, the statesmen, who run them Statesmen, themselves, are merely mortal. Flesh and blood. Human. Human beings have a natural quest for power. Nothing atavistic or backwards about this. Quite natural. Best they can do is to act prudently. (Indeed, idealistic/moralistic behavior is more dangerous.)

6 Classical Liberalism Not all states are alike
Liberal states must follow public’s will Liberal states are less warlike At least with one another Michael Doyle, currently a law and politics professor at Columbia University, is a leading liberal theorist. Inspired by Dutch reformer Hugo Grotius, who called on the Great Powers during the Thirty Years War (17th century) to resolve their disputes through judicial procedures rather than through war. Grotian thought is considered idealistic. Doyle also inspired by Immanuel Kant, the great German philospher of the late 18th century, who pushed for liberalism/republicanism. Not all states are unlike – look inside the “hard shell” and you find different power configurations Liberal states, unlike authoritarian states, serve at the mercy of their voting citizens. Citizens don’t want to die – or send their sons and daughters off to die. Reluctant to fight. Thus, liberal states are less likely to go to war than authoritarian states that have no such check on their warmaking power. Doyle acknowledges that liberal states DO go to war with non-liberal states. As in U.S. versus Iraq. But this is a result of ignorance and fear. They can be trained (through what Kant called “cosmopolitan law”) to give up war altogether. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Michael Doyle

7 Newer Thinking Neo-realism Neo-liberalism Waltz, Gilpin, Gowa
A “physics” of IR Key variable: balance of power Cooperation is “unnatural” Neo-liberalism Keohane, Rosecrance, Milner An “economics” of IR Key variable: institutional design Cooperation is “natural” Neo-realism: Kenneth Waltz (guns); Robert Gilpin (butter); Joanne Gowa (both) States are roughly the same (no matter who is in charge); they operate in predictable ways – bumping into one another like billiard balls on a pool table Power here means “capabilities” (resources), not influence Cooperation occurs only with a stable distribution of capabilities (as in Cold War’s bipolar system). Balancing (US vs. Soviet Union) and bandwagoning (US and Nato; Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact) Neo-liberalism: Robert Keohane, Richard Rosecrance, Helen Milner (all butter) Why do states cooperate even after a hegemon declines in power? Institutions allow state to overcome collective action problems (like PD) Institutions provide information, ensure credible commitments When institutions are underdeveloped, cooperation fails.

8 U.S. Foreign Policy Traditionally, liberal rhetoric mixed with realpolitik Bush administration: Two views on Iraq Woodrow Wilson was a classic liberal (League of Nations); but U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty. Realist concern over constraint on sovereignty imposed by international institution Initially explained war in terms of security; now using language of democratization

9 Thought Exercise: U.S. and China
Realist prediction: War Liberal prediction: Peace U.S. is a global hegemon; China is a rising power that does not appear content with the status quo. China will be socialized (pacified) by participation in international institutions like the WTO. As its economy grows, it will become increasingly democratic and embrace peace.

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