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Realism II: Modern Approaches. Lecture 3 – Tuesday, 15 February 2011 J A Morrison. Kenneth Waltz. John Mearsheimer. Robert Jervis. Admin. Attendance Sheet IP Wiki http://middinternationalpolitics.wikispaces.com/ Check it out Tonight Remember: Class rescheduling!

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realism ii modern approaches

Realism II: Modern Approaches

Lecture 3 – Tuesday, 15 February 2011J A Morrison

Kenneth Waltz

John Mearsheimer

Robert Jervis

admin
Admin
  • Attendance Sheet
  • IP Wiki
    • http://middinternationalpolitics.wikispaces.com/
    • Check it out Tonight
  • Remember: Class rescheduling!
    • No class this Thursday (17 Feb)
    • Lecture: Wednesday (16 Feb), 6:00 PM (Gifford)
    • Discussion: Monday (21 Feb), 6:00, 6:50, & 7:40 PM (MBH 331)
admin ii
Admin II
  • Facebook group: IP at Middlebury College
  • Strategy Gaming Group: Tucker Johnson <ctjohnso@middlebury.edu>
  • Model UN: mun@middlebury.edu
lec 3 modern realism
Lec 3: Modern Realism
  • Realism Old & New
  • The Waltzian Paradigm
  • Major System-Level Causes in IP
  • Do Unit-Level Characteristics Matter After All?
lec 3 modern realism5
Lec 3: Modern Realism
  • Realism Old & New
  • The Waltzian Paradigm
  • Major System-Level Causes in IP
  • Do Unit-Level Characteristics Matter After All?
major themes of realism
Major Themes of Realism
  • Relationship between Power & Morality
  • Role of Anarchy in Shaping IP
  • Mutual Exclusivity of States’ Interests
you ll see that many of these issues persist in our discussions of international politics today
You’ll see that many of these issues persist in our discussions of international politics today.
slide9

So, as we work through these “modern” approaches, ask yourselves:Do we ask different questions today? Or do we consider the same issues but merely offer different answers?

slide10
What, if anything, serves to distinguish our “classic” approaches from the “modern” approaches we take today?
lec 3 modern realism11
Lec 3: Modern Realism
  • Realism Old & New
  • The Waltzian Paradigm
  • Major System-Level Causes in IP
  • Do Unit-Level Characteristics Matter After All?
slide12

Much of the study of IP in the last 30 years has pivoted around Kenneth Waltz.Most studies have either been written in the Waltzian paradigmor self-consciously in response to that paradigm.

ii the waltzian paradigm
II. The Waltzian Paradigm

Domestic Versus International Politics in Waltz

Hallmarks of the Waltzian Paradigm

slide14
In 1979, Kenneth Waltz argued that international politics (IP) was qualitatively different from domestic politics (DP)...
slide15

“The difference between national and international politics lies not in the use of force but in the different modes of organization for doing something about it…A national system is not one of self-help. The international system is.”

-- Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979), pp 103-104.

waltz s logics of order
Waltz’s Logics of Order
  • Hierarchy: logic of order in domestic politics
    • Sovereign monopolizes use of violence
    • Stability and cooperation follow
  • Anarchy: logic of order in international politics
    • There is no sovereign to protect weak states, enforce agreements, ensure stability
    • Self-help: states must help themselves
    • Results: predation, violent dispute resolution, instability
slide17

You should recognize these conclusions from Hobbes & Bull…Politics works very differently in domestic politics (under a sovereign) than in international politics (in anarchy).

slide18

Waltz argued that these differences between domestic and international politics require us to think about each realm of politics separately.

slide19

The Waltzian paradigm specifies how we should theorize aboutinternational politics.It assumes that theories of DP aren’t useful for understanding IP.Instead, we need to develop entirely new theories of IP appropriate to this distinct realm of politics.

slide20

Waltz developed his own specific theory of international politics; and we’ll consider those specifics shortly.But Waltz’s manner of theorizing gave rise to a paradigm in which many other theories were formed.

iii the waltzian paradigm
III. The Waltzian Paradigm

Domestic Versus International Politics in Waltz

Hallmarks of the Waltzian Paradigm

slide23

First, they incorporate anarchy as a key starting point. In these theories, states’ capacities to maximize their interests depends on their ability to help themselves.With no superintending sovereign, states can do what they will.

slide24

Second, they focus on systemic-level influences on state-behavior. Here, the characteristics of individual units (regime type, ideological orientation, &c.) matter less than the pressures exerted by the system.

slide26

Third, they assume convergent evolution follows. In biology, isomorphism is the tendency of organisms with different ancestries to evolve similar responses to similar environmental pressures.For instance, both bats and insects evolved wings for similar reasons.

slide27

“The close juxtaposition of states promotes their sameness through the disadvantages that arise from a failure to conform to successful practices. It is this ‘sameness,’ an effect of the system, that is so often attributed to the acceptance of so-called rules of state behavior. Chiliastic rulers occasionally come to power. In power, most of them quickly change their ways.”

-- Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979), pp 128.

hallmarks of theories in waltzian paradigm
Hallmarks of Theories in Waltzian Paradigm
  • Incorporate anarchy as key starting point
  • System-level variables are most significant determinants of state behavior
  • Systemic pressures  convergent evolution & isomorphism
lec 3 modern realism30
Lec 3: Modern Realism
  • Realism Old & New
  • The Waltzian Paradigm
  • Major System-Level Causes in IP
  • Do Unit-Level Characteristics Matter After All?
  • Conclusion
iii major system level causes in ip
III. MAJOR SYSTEM-LEVEL CAUSES IN IP

The Distribution of Power

Offense-Defense Balance

Additional System-Level Causes

slide33

We usually consider both military and economic power.Obviously, the two can be related, but they don’t need to be. (Consider Japan today or China in 1990.)

distributions of power
Distributions of Power
  • Unipolar/Hegemonic: single state controls disproportionate amount of power
    • E.g. Britain was political (military) hegemon in 1815
    • E.g. Postwar US was economic hegemon
  • Bipolar: two largest states share roughly equal amounts of power
    • E.g. US & USSR in Cold War
  • Multipolar: several large states share roughly equal amounts of power
    • E.g. Britain, Germany, France, & Russia in 1914
slide35
The distribution of power is frequently suggested to be the most important systemic cause.Why? How would this matter?
slide36

The distribution of power shapes the incentives states face in ordering their foreign policies!Small states don’t resist hegemons. And hegemons have an incentive to preserve stability in the current order.

empirically unipolar orders tend to be more cooperative and peaceful than do multipolar orders
 Empirically, unipolar orders tend to be more cooperative and peaceful than do multipolar orders.
slide38

Going back to Hobbes, this makes sense.After all, hegemonic distributions of power most closely mimic domestic political orders ruled by a sovereign!

iii major system level causes in ip39
III. MAJOR SYSTEM-LEVEL CAUSES IN IP

The Distribution of Power

Offense-Defense Balance

Additional System-Level Causes

slide41
The security dilemma is the condition in which a state cannot increase its security without decreasing other states’ security.
slide42

The security dilemma follows from the fact that the pursuit of security is largely a zero-sum game.I can increase my security by arming myself, but doing so decreases your security. After all, my arms can be used to harm you.

slide43

But this is not the end of the story.For one thing, the different ways in which I can increase my security decrease your security to varying extents.For example, putting on a helmet decreases your security less than does loading a gun.

slide44
Here is the implication: The extent to which states find themselves in a security dilemma varies across contexts.
slide45

Robert Jervis suggests that the extent of the security dilemma depends on the offense-defense balance.What is the offense-defense balance?

offense defense balance
Offense-Defense Balance
  • Is it easier to take territory or to defend it?
  • Determinants of Balance
    • State of military technology: relative potency of offensive & defensive arms
    • Geography & terrain
    • State of military tactics
than it was here
Than it was here.

North Africa Campaign (c. 1941)

slide51

Remember that the O-D balance is not about the capabilities states actually develop. It’s about the potential.Also, states’ perceptions of the O-D balance must be considered separately from the underlying O-D balance.

iii major system level causes in ip52
III. MAJOR SYSTEM-LEVEL CAUSES IN IP

The Distribution of Power

Offense-Defense Balance

Additional System-Level Causes

global monetary system
Global Monetary System
  • Commodity money systems create dilemma for states
    • States hoping to control value of currency must control quantity of money
    • Finite quantity of precious metals makes monetary increases zero-sum
  • Fiat currencies with flexible exchange rates alleviates dilemma
    • States can control domestic quantity of currency without affecting other states’ quantities
states norms and identities
States’ Norms and Identities
  • Do states consider one another to be friends or enemies?
  • Do norms favor peaceful or violent dispute resolution?
  • Do norms respect sovereignty or advancing universal principles (e.g. human rights, Christianity, democracy, &c.)?
lec 3 modern realism57
Lec 3: Modern Realism
  • Realism Old & New
  • The Waltzian Paradigm
  • Major System-Level Causes in IP
  • Do Unit-Level Characteristics Matter After All?
slide58

Remember that in the Waltzian Paradigm the idea is that the system in which states are embedded matters far more than any of the characteristics of the states themselves.

slide59

Regime type, economic orientation, ideological commitments, psychology of policymakers, &c., doesn’t matter as much as the distribution of power, the relative potency of offensive versus defensive weapons, &c.

slide60

For instance…Hitler would be passive where defense has the advantage and the distribution of power is hegemonic.Jimmy Carter would be aggressive where offense has the advantage and there is a multipolar distribution of power.

slide61
The contrast between Waltz and Mearsheimer, however, highlights that unit-level characteristics might matter after all.
iv unit level characteristics
IV. Unit-Level Characteristics

Waltz’s Defensive Realism

Mearsheimer’s Offensive Realism

slide64

 By pursuing a balance of power!“Balance-of-power politics prevail wherever two, and only two, requirements are met: that the order be anarchic and that it be populated by units wishing to survive.”

-- Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979), pp 121.

slide65

“Because power is a means and not an end, states prefer to join the weaker of two coalitions. They cannot let power, a possibly useful means, become the end they pursue. The goal the system encourages them to seek is security…If states wished to maximize power, they would join the stronger side, and we would see not balances forming but a world hegemony forged. This does not happen because balancing, not bandwagoning, is the behavior induced by the system. The first concern of states is not to maximize power but to maintain their positions in the system.”

-- Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979), pp 126.

slide66

Waltz, of course, suggests that the international system has caused states to develop this response.But this ignores several unit-level characteristics that Waltz assumes states have.

slide67

States, in Waltz’s account, are risk-aversesecurity-maximizers.But why should we assume that states are so risk averse? Or that they prize security above all else?

iv unit level characteristics69
IV. Unit-Level Characteristics

Waltz’s Defensive Realism

Mearsheimer’s Offensive Realism

slide70
Mearsheimer challenges Waltz’s characterizations about states’ levels of risk aversion and their goals…
slide71

“The sad fact is that international politics has always been a ruthless and dangerous business, and it is likely to remain that way. Although the intensity of their competition waxes and wanes, great powers fear each other and always compete with each other for power. The overriding goal of each state is to maximize its share of world power, which means gaining power at the expense of other states. But great powers do not merely strive to be the strongest of all the great powers, although that is a welcome outcome. Their ultimate aim is to be the hegemon—that is, the only great power in the system.”

-- John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), p 2.

slide72

Mearsheimer agrees with Waltz that the international system pressures states to adopt a standard response to their environment. But he thinks that states’ preferences are such that that response is the very opposite of the response Waltz described…

slide73

“Offensive realism parts company with defensive realism over the question of how much power states want. For defensive realists, the international structure provides states with little incentive to seek additional increments of power; instead it pushes them to maintain the existing balance of power. Preserving power, rather than increasing it, is the main goal of states. Offensive realists, on the other hand, believe that status quo powers are rarely found in world politics, because the international system creates powerful incentives for states to look for opportunities to gain power at the expense of rivals, and to take advantage of those situations when the benefits outweigh the costs. A state's ultimate goal is to be the hegemon in the system.”

-- John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), p 21.

slide74

Note that this extraordinary theoretical divergence follows from just a few differences in Waltz & Mearsheimer’s assumptions.Next time, we’ll see another incredible theoretical divergence following from an equally small difference in the theorists’ assumptions.

slide75

That’s great!

I can’t wait!