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Theories of International Relations PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Theories of International Relations. Realism Idealism Constructivism. Realism I. Power: the ability to influence others Irrelevance of morality and ethics and law Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) Irrelevance of domestic political systems Why is power the only thing that matters? Human nature

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Theories of International Relations

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Theories of international relations l.jpg

Theories of International Relations

  • Realism

  • Idealism

  • Constructivism

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Realism I

  • Power: the ability to influence others

  • Irrelevance of morality and ethics and law

    • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)

  • Irrelevance of domestic political systems

  • Why is power the only thing that matters?

    • Human nature

    • Anarchic world: no rules

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Realism II

  • All nations are self-reliant

  • To preserve peace use Balance of Power

    • US vs. USSR in Cold War

    • US—China—Japan in East Asia

  • Unipolarity cannot last

    • Nations will balance against US power

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England’s Balancing Act




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The Cold War Balance of Power 1945-1990




S. KoreaN. Korea

S. Viet NamN. Viet Nam

W. BerlinE. Berlin

W. GermanyE. Germany



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Unipolar World







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US: Weak Neighbors, Big Oceans

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Germany Strong Neighbors, Easy Access

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Power? Shanghai, China

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Power? Jaipur, India

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  • Thailand Algeria South Korea

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Idealism I

  • Power is not the only thing that matters

  • States have common interests and common values

  • Trade is the key common interest

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Idealism II

  • Global Marketplace

  • Interdependence

  • International system is based laws (Treaties) and institutions (UN, WTO)

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UN General Assembly, New York

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International Court of Justice,The Hague, Netherlands

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WTO, Geneva

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Constructivism I

  • Nation-states are not all alike

  • Political culture shapes foreign policy

  • Form of government shapes foreign policy

  • History shapes foreign policy

  • Domestic political trends and debates shape foreign policy

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Constructivism II

  • States have identity

  • State identity influences the way states interact with each other

  • Examples:

    • China sensitivity to any policies of other states that threaten its unity and sovereignty

    • US desire to transform the world

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Russian fear of invasion

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China 21st Century

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China: Tang Dynasty 618-907

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China: Ming Dynasty 1368-1644

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China: Colonized

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Woodrow Wilson, 1917

  • “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them. “

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GW Bush, 2005

  • “And we have declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. “

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