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Basics of IR. One World, Many Theories Stephen Walt. Intro. Why should/would policymakers care about theories? Helps organize info, construct robust policies China Culture, identity, perceptions NATO, Iran, N. Korea, etc. Realism. Says Int’l affairs is a… Struggle for power

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Basics of ir

Basics of IR

One World, Many Theories

Stephen Walt


Intro
Intro

  • Why should/would policymakers care about theories?

    • Helps organize info, construct robust policies

  • China

    • Culture, identity, perceptions

  • NATO, Iran, N. Korea, etc


Realism
Realism

  • Says Int’l affairs is a…

    • Struggle for power

    • State-centric

  • Pessimism and danger

    • Innate desire to dominate

    • Multipolar is best

  • “Neo-Realism”

    • Systemic focus; anarchic

    • Balance, not bandwagon

    • States seek to survive


Liberalism
Liberalism

  • Neo-Libs - Economic interdependence

  • Cooperation leads to prosperity

  • Wilson and the spread of democracy as a force for peace

  • Promote virtues of IGOs and NGOs to “overcome selfish state behavior”


Radical
Radical

  • Marxists = Capitalism is to be blamed for int’l conflict

  • Dependency Th’y = focus on relationship of exploitation of LDCs by MDCs

    • Empirical setbacks:

    • Participation is good

    • LDCs can bargain successfully w/MDCs


Old paradigms new directions
Old Paradigms, New Directions

  • Realism

    • Greico, Krasner: new focus on both the absolute and relative gains; a twist on “zero-sum” thinking

    • New issues explored: ethnic conflict, NATO w/o enemy

    • Defensive and Offensive Realism

  • Liberalism

    • Democratic Peace Theory: democracies rarely fight each other; became basis of US policy

    • Liberal Institutionalism: institutions foster cooperation when it’s in each state’s interest to do so. (IL)

  • Constructivism

    • Focus on impact of ideas; interests and identities of states are malleable; how ideas and identities are created and evolve

    • Able to predict the end of the Cold War; but not a unified theory

    • “Anarchy is what states make of it.” (Wendt)

    • Effect of norms and IL on sovereignty


To the future
To the Future…

  • We see a convergence of Theories?!

  • Yet realism seems to be the “most compelling general framework for understanding IR.”

    • Ex.: Impact of US dominance and policy-setting (incl. NATO)

  • Liberalism fill gaps, explains “liberal peace,” multilateralism, etc.

  • Constructivism does better to explain how ideas and identities change over time, thus affecting state policy choices


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