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International Relations Theory. Week 2 Contemporary Context: From Cold War to 9-11. Last Week. Lecture slides and other materials will be uploaded here: Read both the module document and the PG handbook very carefully

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international relations theory

International Relations Theory

Week 2

Contemporary Context: From Cold War to 9-11

last week
Last Week
  • Lecture slides and other materials will be uploaded here:
  • Read both the module document and the PG handbook very carefully
  • Getting key reading skills early on is crucial
  • Theory is useful tool in thinking about IR in systematic way
  • Theory selection and political implications
lecture outline
Lecture Outline
  • Cold War and IR
  • End of the Cold War
  • End of history and democratic peace
  • Clash of civilisations
  • Neoconservatism and US policy
  • Group exercise
  • Conclusion
cold war and ir
Cold War and IR
  • International affairs and disciplinary development
    • First World War and the rise and fall of Liberal Internationalism
    • Cold War and the dominance of Classical Realism
    • Scientific turn and the birth of Neo-Realism and Neo-Liberalism
    • End of the Cold War and the Constructivist challenge
  • IR theory as European experience?
    • Westphalian system, state-centric nature, diplomacy
    • Is Realpolitik the “common sense” of doing ir?
    • Euro-centricity and postcolonialism
end of the cold war
End of the Cold War
  • End of Cold War and the “unipolar moment”
    • Shift from bipolar to unipolar system
    • Unprecedented US primacy
  • Belief that superpower can impose its solutions at will and ignore restraints that previously modified its conduct
    • “Benevolent hegemony” and American exceptionalism
    • “Empire lite” (Michael Ignatieff)
  • Series of US-led interventions during the Clinton and Bush Administrations
end of history and democratic peace
End of History and Democratic Peace
  • Optimistic response to end of Cold War
  • Fukuyama: end of history
    • CW: clash of ideas
    • Post-CW: triumph of Western liberal ideas  “end of history”
    • Post-CW international relations: cooperation never been better
      • IR to concentrate on technical question of improving cooperation
  • Democratic peace theory
    • Democracy do not fight other democracies
    • High level of political support
  • Globalisation
    • How does this fit with mainstream theories’ state-centrism?
clash of civilisations
Clash of Civilisations
  • Pessimistic response to end of Cold War
  • Huntington: clash of civilisations
    • Ir moves out of Western-dominated phase with end of CW
    • Central interaction between Western and non-Western civilisations (and among non-Western civilisations)
    • “Fault lines” between civilisations replacing political and ideological boundaries of Cold War as flash points
  • Huntington’s recommendation for Western policy
    • Western policy makers should cooperate more and unify their own civilisation with this new trend in mind
    • West needs to develop greater understanding of basic philosophical assumptions of other civilisations
  • Re-emergence of culture
neoconservatism and us policy
Neoconservatism and US policy
  • Influential body of thought behind Bush’s foreign policy
    • Project for the New American Century
  • Four principles (Fukuyama 2006, 48)
    • Internal character of regimes matters for its external behaviour
    • American power should be used for moral purposes: US has a “special responsibility” in security
    • Scepticism about social engineering
    • International law and institutions are poor generators of peace and security
  • These principles underpin the assertion of the right of the US to take “anticipatory action”
    • To “act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense” (NSS 2002, 18)
group exercise
Group Exercise
  • You are a peace activist. You are agitated by the fact that many people are hailing Huntington’s clash of civilisation thesis as “predicting” 9/11 and the following conflict, and you decide to argue against it. Using real-life examples come up with an argument against Huntington.
    • Think about the uniqueness of Huntington’s arguments, comparing it to mainstream IR thinking
    • How can 9/11 and the following developments be captured in IR?
    • Who are the main actors in international relations?
  • Cold War and the dominance of Realism still sets the tone for IR theories today
  • End of the Cold War had major impact on both the practice of international relations and how we see it
  • 1990s dominated by optimistic response with Liberal views of Fukuyama, DPT and globalisation championed
  • 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq made pessimistic views of Huntington and clash of civilisation difficult to ignore
  • Post-Cold War also saw unprecedented US primacy and the rise of Neoconservatist US foreign policy
  • Next week: Realism