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Approaching IP; Classical Realism Lec . 2: Thursday, 10 February 2011 J. A. Morrison. Frontespiece to Leviathan, 1651. Admin. Sign-in on attendance sheets Did you read the course site & policies? Trouble getting books? Eres? Remember: Class rescheduling! No class next Thursday (17 Feb)

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slide1

Approaching IP; Classical Realism

Lec. 2: Thursday, 10 February 2011

J. A. Morrison

admin
Admin
  • Sign-in on attendance sheets
  • Did you read the course site & policies?
  • Trouble getting books? Eres?
  • Remember: Class rescheduling!
    • No class next Thursday (17 Feb)
    • Lecture: Wednesday (16 Feb), 6:00 PM
    • Discussion: Monday (21 Feb), 6:00, 6:50, & 7:40 PM
part i approaching ip
Part I. Approaching IP
  • The scientific study of IP
  • Theories of IP: Old and new views
  • Classical Realism
part i approaching ip6
Part I. Approaching IP
  • The scientific study of IP
  • Theories of IP: Old and new views
  • Classical Realism
slide7
Here, we study Political Science as a “Science.”What does it mean to study international politics “scientifically”?
slide8
Scientific study relies on the empirical testing of models to explain the relationship between variables.
variables
Variables
  •  Factors of interest that may vary in value
  • May be continuous, discrete, or a “dummy” (1/0)
  • Examples
    • Volume of trade (continuous)
    • Type of Exchange Rate Regime (discrete)
    • Status of membership in Int’l Organization (dummy)
theories and models
Theories and Models
  • Specify relationship between variables
    • Value of independent (or “explanatory”) variable explains dependent variable
    • E.g. Type of exchange rate regime (IV) explains the volume of trade (DV)
  • May be correct or incorrect (i.e. may or may not comport with reality)
  • Endogenous: determined within the model
  • Exogenous: determined outside of the model
facts
Facts
  • Descriptions of reality
  • For our purposes, statements about the value of variables
  • May be correct or incorrect
  • Examples:
    • Hong Kong has a fixed exchange rate (correct)
    • The volume of world trade has increased since 1945 (correct)
    • The United States has a fixed exchange rate regime (incorrect)
empirical tests
Empirical Tests
  • Theories/Models lead to testable hypotheses
    • E.g. Fixed exchange rate regimes lead to greater volumes of trade.
  • Hypotheses are predictions about the value of variables
  • We test hypotheses by comparing predictions to observed reality
    • Do we observe that countries with fixed exchange rate regimes have greater volumes of trade than countries with flexible exchange rate regimes?
correlation causation
Correlation ≠ Causation
  • Correlation: the values of two variables vary together
  • BUT
    • Spurious correlation: exogenous variable determines both of our variables
      • E.g. Rain causes both worse attendance and more umbrellas to be brought to class
    • Or causality may be reversed
      • E.g. High trade volumes lead to fixed exchange rate regimes (rather than vice versa).
slide14
“The United States has a greater share of the world’s military power today than any country has had in the past.”

It is a statement about a single variable: the share of military power the US presently enjoys.

Empirical statement or theory?

the united states is able to compel countries to reluctantly aid it in the war on terror
“The United States is able to compel countries to (reluctantly) aid it in the war on terror.”

It is a statement about a single variable: the ability of the US to compel cooperation abroad.

Empirical statement or theory?

slide16

“The United States’ overwhelming military power has enabled it to compel foreign countries to (reluctantly) aid it in the war on terror.”

It is an explanation of the relationship between two variables.

Empirical statement or theory?

how to challenge scientific explanation
How to Challenge Scientific Explanation:

- Challenge Empirics: Dispute the facts; introduce contradictory facts

  • Challenge Theory: Offer alternative explanation of causal relationship between variables
  • Or some combination of the two…
writing is more art than science
Writing is more Art than Science
  • Know your audience
    • Which claims need argument? Which can be taken for granted?
  • Moderate the Scope for the Space Available
    • Well-executed but narrow attacks  boring
    • Overly-ambitious contentions  unpersuasive
part i approaching ip19
Part I. Approaching IP
  • The scientific study of IP
  • Theories of IP: Old and new views
  • Classical Realism
and we have different scholars running around with different theories about their facts
And we have different scholars running around with different theories about their “facts.”
  • Krasner: Distribution of Power  Economic Openness
  • Jervis: Balance between Offense & Defense  Bellicosity
  • Gowa: Security Arrangements  Economic Integration
slide22

But how does the landscape of IP theories look?If we were to map prominent IP theories based on their similarities and differences, how would that map look?

slide24

Answering these questions used to be easy. But we’re in the middle of a major revolution in how we study and teach international politics…

how to categorizing ip theories
How to Categorizing IP Theories
  • “Old School” – The “-isms”
    • Bulk of theories can be easily categorized into one of several distinct categories
    • Arguments are frequently developed to advance/defend a “school”
  • “Cutting Edge” – Theory by Theory
    • Theories cannot be easily grouped together
    • Each theory should be unpacked on its own terms

Note that “Old School” and “Cutting Edge” are my terms developed for this lecture. They are not widely accepted jargon in the field.

ii theories of ip old and new views
II. Theories of IP: Old and new views

Old school

Cutting edge

Conclusion

the old school view
The Old School View
  • Schools are research programs
    • Each school has “hard core” tenets
    • Variation is in supporting arguments and “minor” assumptions
  • Three major schools
    • Realism (classical and “neo”)
    • Liberalism (classical and “neo” or “institutional”)
    • Constructivism
  • Concern with level of analysis
levels of analysis
Levels of Analysis
  • The question: “Where do the most important causes of outcomes in IP originate?”
  • Several potential levels
    • International system: distribution of power; norms/patterns; international institutions
    • States: domestic political forces & institutions determine foreign policy
    • Individuals: psychology; perception; idiosyncrasy
ii theories of ip old and new views30
II. Theories of IP: Old and new views

Old school

Cutting edge

Conclusion

cutting edge framework
Cutting Edge Framework
  • Actors…
    • Have preferences
    • Face constraintsand enjoy opportunities created byinstitutions
    • Rely on ideasto maximize preferences
  • “Levels of analysis” are combined; attempt to factor in all influences
actors preferences
Actors’ Preferences
  • Preferences are policy makers’ rates of trade-off between possible outcomes
    • E.g. independence versus costs of war
    • E.g. inflation rate versus unemployment rate
  • Preferences are shaped by norms, personal interests & values
constraints and opportunities
Constraints and Opportunities
  • Some things simply are not possible
    • E.g. Establishing viable colony on Jupiter
  • Many things possible at some cost
    • Canada may compel Vermonters to help invade Greenland at some cost
  • Constraints and Opportunities are product of domestic and int’l circumstances
actors have ideas
Actors have Ideas
  • Ideas are understandings of:
    • (1) Constraints and Opportunities (C&O)
    • (2) Rates of trade-off in these C&O
  • Policymakers use ideas as “road maps” to maximize preferences given C&O
  • Some ideas are right; some are wrong
    • Right: JFK was right about Khrushchev
    • Wrong: Hitler was wrong about Chamberlain
  • Experience, intellectuals, other actors  ideas
cutting edge view of ip theories
Cutting Edge View of IP Theories
  • Take each small theory on its own terms
  • Unpack relevant actors, constraints, and ideas
  • Theories offer wide variation along these several dimensions
ii theories of ip old and new views36
II. Theories of IP: Old and new views

Old school

Cutting edge

Conclusion

slide38
But there is an important question: can we organize all of these different theories into clear, distinct categories?
slide40

New approach says, “No—there is more difference than similarity; and the ‘schools’ issue is a distraction from taking theories one at a time.”

slide41
This question matters because much of what you’ll read this term is influenced by this timely debate.
will this tension be resolved
Will this tension be resolved?
  • “Founders” themselves disagree
    • Mearsheimer: Constructivism is fundamentally different from realism.
    • Wendt: I started with your assumptions and changed just one variable to construct my theories.
what approach will we take
What approach will we take?

 Both.

Why choose when you don’t have to?

how we ll do it
How we’ll Do it
  • Syllabus is organized around schools
    • Present schools
    • Read classics
  • But in lecture and discussion, we’ll take each theory on its own terms
  • And we’ll examine whether there might be tenets around which schools are organized
part i approaching ip45
Part I. Approaching IP
  • The scientific study of IP
  • Theories of IP: Old and new views
  • Classical Realism
slide46

The classical realists elucidated some of the key issues in international politics.They also staked out some of the “classic” premises of realism.

iii classical realism
III. Classical Realism

Morality & Power

Anarchy

Competing interests

slide48

The first question in international politics is simple: What should states be allowed to do? What is permissible in the international system?

slide49
“[R]ight…is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

-- The Athenians in “The Melian Dialogue,” from Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. (431 BC)

iii classical realism52
III. Classical Realism

Morality & Power

Anarchy

Competing interests

slide53

Virtually all theories of international politics start with anarchy as the defining feature of the international system.So, what is “anarchy”?

slide54
Anarchy is “absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power.”

Definition from the Oxford English Dictionary.

slide56

“[D]uring the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man…In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short. ”

-- Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. 1651. Ch 13.

slide59
That works for individuals, but, as Bull points out, we don’t have a super-leviathan to keep states in order.The result?
the life of states in the international system tends to be solitary poore nasty brutish and short
The life of states in the international system tends to be solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
iii classical realism61
III. Classical Realism

Morality & Power

Anarchy

Competing interests

slide64

“The doctrine of the harmony of interests thus serves as aningenious moral device invoked, in perfect sincerity, by privileged groups in order to justify and maintain their dominant position... In so far, therefore, as the alleged natural harmony of interests has any reality, it is created by the overwhelming power of the privileged group, and is an excellent illustration of the Machiavellian maxim that morality is the product of power.”

-- EH Carr. Twenty Years’ Crisis. 1939. pp 80-81.

some tenets of classical realism
Some Tenets of Classical Realism
  • Might makes right
  • Anarchy leads to conflict
  • Nation-states pursue mutually exclusive interests
today s discussion
Today’s Discussion
  • Analyze each reading:
    • Who are actors?
    • What are the constraints and opportunities?
    • What are the ideas?
  • Do the readings share some tenets?
  • What is the relationship between “might” and “right”?