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Theories of International Relations Theories of IR: Features Realism, liberalism, marxism ( crit ) Constructivism, feminism, rationalism, post-modernism, post-colonialism Theory as generalizable accounts of how world works that go beyond the specific details of one unique case

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theories of ir features
Theories of IR: Features
  • Realism, liberalism, marxism (crit)
  • Constructivism, feminism, rationalism, post-modernism, post-colonialism
  • Theory as generalizable accounts of how world works that go beyond the specific details of one unique case
    • E.g., if you want peace, prepare for war
    • E.g., if you want peace, democratize – as democracies do not wage war vs. each other
theories
Theories
  • There has been a fatal car crash. Why did the victim die?
  • Prioritize your answers into a single list, beginning with the most important reasons.
theories of ir features4
Theories of IR: Features
  • What factors are most important?
    • The causes that are most common
    • Causes that have the biggest impact, affecting the most people
    • The causes that we can do something about and change
      • Long-term, underlying causes vs. immediate
  • With limited resources, if we want to prevent war, famine, injustice and repression, where should we put our efforts? Answers = theories of IR
theories of ir features5
Theories of IR: Features
  • Theories are generalizable accounts of how world works that go beyond the specific details of one unique case
    • E.g., globalization increases disparities / increases global wealth
    • E.g., democracies do not wage war vs. each other
  • Limits of IR theories: No single theory can always explain everything
  • Competing vs. complementary alternatives
  • Theory as tool: Don’t just (be a) hammer!
  • Why do we choose & use theories?
    • Unavoidable: Our understandings of the world are all informed by theoretical assumptions
      • how explicit, self-conscious we are
      • Different degrees of abstraction
    • We often have to make choices & decide: Theories tell us how to act - Prescription
realism central assumptions and propositions
RealismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history
    • Repetitive / cyclical: no progress
    • Conflictual: focus on military power
    • World politics as history of great power war
  • Key actors - States
  • State Behavior: Self-interest
    • States seek to maximize power
    • Relative Gains / World Politics as Zero-Sum Game
    • Game Theory / Prisoner’s Dilemma
slide7
Prisoner’s Dilemma& Nuclear ProliferationCooperate = don’t build nuclear arsenalDefect = build nuclear arsenal

How would you rank the possible outcomes, from best (4) to worst (1)?

CC CD DC DD

prisoner s dilemma cooperate don t build nuclear arsenal defect build nuclear arsenal
Prisoner’s DilemmaCooperate = don’t build nuclear arsenalDefect = build nuclear arsenal

1st number = India’s payoff

2nd number = Pakistan’s payoff

Rational solution = defect no matter what other side does

realism central assumptions and propositions9
RealismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history - Repetitive (no progress) / Conflictual (focus on military power): World politics as history of great power war
  • Key actors - States
  • State Behavior: Self-interest
    • States as Rational Power-Seekers
    • Relative Gains / Zero-Sum Game
    • Game Theory / Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • Sources of Conflict
    • Structural (Neo)Realism: Anarchical system = self-help system
    • Classical Realism: Human Nature: Self-interested, desire for power
realism policy prescriptions
Realism: Policy Prescriptions
  • I) Balance Power:
    • Ignore culture, moral considerations in foreign policy; obey only dictates of maximizing your power relative to others. Human rights, etc. of other countries = none of our business.
    • “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”
    • Problems with balance of power
      • Which is more stable? Bipolar, multipolar, hegemony?
      • Difficulties in measuring power
        • “soft power”
      • Focus on military capabilities = worst case scenario, conduct foreign policy based on possibilities of threat
        • Criticism: We act usually on probabilities: intentions, common ideas, shared norms matter also
realism policy prescriptions11
Realism: Policy Prescriptions

I) Power Balancing

II) Deterrence and Compellence: Threat / Use of Military Force

  • Deterrence = “DON’T!” (or else…)
  • Dissuade another from taking an action by threat of punishment
    • E.g., Nuclear strategy: don’t attack or you will be destroyed in retaliation
    • E.g., China to Taiwan: don’t declare independence
    • Can explain, e.g.: Why did Iraq not use CW during Gulf War of 1991?
realism policy prescriptions12
Realism: Policy Prescriptions
  • II) Deterrence and Compellence: Threat / Use of Military Force
    • Deterrence = “DON’T!” Dissuade another from taking an action by threat of punishment (don’t attack)
    • Compellence = “DO!” Force another to stop something they are doing, or do something they otherwise wouldn’t do, by threat or use of force
      • Truman and atomic bomb threat to Japan, 1945: surrender
      • Gulf War, 1991 = leave Kuwait
      • NATO vs. Milosevic 1999: Stop repression in Kosovo or else…
      • Non-proliferation - US 2003 to Saddam Hussein: disarm or be attacked
realism criticisms
Realism: Criticisms
  • Often wrong as description or explanation:
    • Human nature more complex: not just narrow material self-interest, but moral & self-defeating impulses (hatred, envy).
      • E.g., Hitler attacking USSR, nuclear proliferation (Germany, Japan, etc.), NATO in Kosovo
    • Does not account for peaceful & progressive change
      • E.g., desuetude of great power war, Democratic Peace, human rights (arrest of Pinochet, Milosevic, etc.), end of Cold War, abolition of slave trade, etc.
realism criticisms14
Realism: Criticisms
  • Often wrong as description or explanation:
    • Realist response: States should have acted in other ways (or will be punished by system).
  • Problem: Can’t have it both ways - either claim to be empirically correct (more “realistic”) or admit the theory is more prescriptive (like “idealists”).
  • Implications:
    • Not inherently superior empirically (not more realistic than rival theories)
    • Not as scientific as claimed: Predictions often fail
    • National interest can too easily be a tautology (circular)
    • Strength = ‘bad apple’ problem
  • Can be dangerous and unnecessary ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. E.g., Ukraine and nuclear weapons
final exam
Final Exam
  • Final Exam:
    • Thursday, December 10, 12:00 – 2:30 pm
    • Location: TBA
liberalism central assumptions and propositions
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history: progressive change possible
    • Increased material prosperity through market liberalization, technology & economic interdependence (free trade)
liberalism central assumptions and propositions17
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history: progressive change possible
    • Increased material prosperity through market liberalization, technology & interdependence (free trade)
    • Justice: abolition of slave trade & apartheid, human rights (ICTR, ICTY, ICC), etc..
    • Peace: End of the cold war / liberal democratic peace
liberalism central assumptions and propositions18
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history: progressive change possible
    • Material prosperity, justice, peace
  • Key actors: International Society
    • State interests as product of domestic actor’s preferences (not balance of capabilities)
    • Non-state transnational actors:
      • IOs (UN, WTO, ICC)
      • NGOs (Medecins Sans Frontiers, Greenpeace, Amnesty International)
        • Transnational networks = Global civil society?
      • Individuals / Moral Entrepreneurs
liberalism central assumptions and propositions20
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history: progressive change possible
    • Material prosperity, justice, peace
  • Key actors: International Society
    • State interests as product of domestic group preferences (not balance of capabilities)
    • Non-state transnational actors & institutions:
      • IOs (UN, WTO, ICC)
      • NGOs (Medecins Sans Frontiers, Greenpeace, Amnesty International)
        • Transnational networks = Global civil society?
      • Individuals / Moral Entrepreneurs: Henri Dunant, Jody Williams, Bono, etc.
liberalism central assumptions and propositions21
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • View of history - progressive change possible
  • Key actors: Pluralist / International Society
  • Behavior
    • Benign / Cooperative / Humanitarian
      • E.g.: How to explain foreign aid / Canada and WTO waiver of patent protections for AIDS drugs, etc?
  • Sources of cooperative behavior
international society
International Society
  • What were the last several times you obeyed the law?
  • Why did you do it?
      • Coercion (“forced to”):
        • Realism / critical theories
      • Self-interested gain (“voluntarily for benefits/costs”):
        • (Neo-) liberalism / rational choice
      • Justice (“because it was right”) / Socialized (“taken for granted”):
        • (liberal) constructivism
liberalism central assumptions and propositions23
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • Sources of Cooperation:
    • I) (Enlightened) self-interest
      • Absolute gains from cooperation
      • Reciprocity
      • International trade as positive sum game (liberal economic / trade theory)
can we cooperate for our mutual advantage
Can we cooperate for our mutual advantage?
  • Collective goods: A benefit available to all regardless of one’s contribution. One can still gain while lowering one’s own contribution, but if everyone or even too many “free ride”, the good won’t be provided.
  • Example: Clean environment and air pollution
  • 11 = 90 (A+)
  • 10 = 79 (B+)
  • 9 = 67 (C+)
liberalism central assumptions and propositions27
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • Implications:
    • World Politics not predominantly as a conflictual self-help system of anarchy, but interdependent global society with international institutions facilitating cooperation
liberalism central assumptions and propositions28
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • Sources of Cooperation:
    • I) Enlightened (material) self-interest
      • Reciprocity
      • Learning
    • II) Communication, Information & Coordination and Verification
      • Overcome problems of distrust and cheating (Prisoner’s Dilemma, Collective Action)
      • Monitoring & verification for compliance:
        • CWC / NPT & IAEA / CTBT
liberalism central assumptions and propositions30
LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • Sources of Cooperation:
    • I) Enlightened (material) self-interest (Neo-liberalism) & reciprocity
    • II) Communication, Information & Coordination and Verification
      • Overcome problems of distrust and cheating (Prisoner’s Dilemma, Collective Action)
      • Monitoring & verification for compliance:
        • CWC / NPT & IAEA / CTBT
    • III) Power of Shared Ideas: (liberal constructivism)
      • Humanitarianism / Justice & Legitimacy
      • Why cooperate / seek justice & peace? “Because it is right / that’s who we are”
        • Human Rights / sanctions vs. Apartheid
international law
Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Environment (Ozone, Pollution, Species, Kyoto Protocol)

Laws of war (Geneva Conventions / ICTY / ICTR / ICC)

Arms control (NPT, CTBT, CWC, Landmines)

Communications / travel

Economics / trade (WTO, copyright)

Human Rights

International Criminal Law (piracy, slavery, genocide, ICC)

International Law
liberalism policy prescriptions
Liberalism: Policy Prescriptions
  • Multilateralism: IOs & International Law
    • vs. isolationism and unilateralism
  • “Enlargement”: Encourage democracies
    • Liberal Democratic peace theory
  • Cosmopolitanism: Common humanity and foreign policy
    • Foreign Aid / Human Rights
    • Humanitarian Intervention: R2P
    • Stability requires justice (vs. amnesties): Criminal Tribunals / ICC
  • Reassurance & Bargaining Incentives (vs deterrence)
    • Iran / North Korea
liberalism criticisms
LiberalismCriticisms
  • Too optimistic / Naïve:
    • Persistence of self-interest & conflict
    • Reassurance / “carrots” subject to blackmail / cheating
  • Moral crusades / Cultural imperialism
    • Moral values / identity politics as source of conflict
      • Condoleezza Rice: “American values are universal.”
    • Problem: Imperialism / Wage war to prevent war?
  • Injustice & Inequalities
slide36
“… inequality, exclusion, famine and thus economic oppression [have never] affected as many human beings in the history of the Earth and of humanity” as today

Jacques Derrida

gap between rich and poor
Gap Between Rich and Poor
  • Richest 1% of world’s population = income of poorest 57%
  • Assets of top 3 billionaires > GNP of 600 million people in least developed countries
  • 1960, average GNP of wealthy nations = $6520 / poor = $361:
    • Difference = $6159
  • 2001: Average GNP of high-income countries = $26,989 / least developed = $1274
    • Difference = $25,715
the global south 4 billion people
The Global South: >4 Billion People
  • 2.4 billion lack basic sanitation
  • 1 billion lack safe drinking water
  • 1.1 billion lack housing
  • 900 million undernourished
  • 1.2 billion (one in five) live on < $1 / day
  • / 2.8 billion live on < $2 / day
  • 1.5 billion can expect to die before 40
consequences of inequalities poverty
Consequences of Inequalities & Poverty
  • Per capita public spending on health:
    • Least developed countries: $6
    • High-income countries: $1356
  • 10 million children < 5 die annually from preventable causes: 30,000 a day
    • Diarrhea killed more children in 1990s than all people killed in armed conflict since WWII
    • 42 million living with HIV/AIDS, 39 million in developing world

1997 Figures: UN Development Report 2003

un human development report human development index
UN Human Development Report / Human Development Index
  • http://hdr.undp.org/
  • Human Development Index:
    • Living a long and healthy life (life expectancy)
    • Being educated
    • Having a decent standard of living (purchasing power parity, PPP, income)
slide46

'The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to consumption in every country…All old-fashioned national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed…In place of the old wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of different lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations…

Marx and Engels on Global reach of Capitalism

marxism imperialism
Marxism / Imperialism
  • Economic Inequalities / Redistributive Justice
  • Oppression
  • Transformation / Replacement of system (as opposed to maintenance / reform)
  • Critique of Capitalism and Globalization
why study marxism today
Why study Marxism today?
  • Heirs of Marxist tradition animate contemporary critiques of globalization and inequality
  • Historical Importance - One-third of humanity live(d) under Marxist-inspired regimes
  • Intellectual tool to analyze inequality: Emphasis on revolutionary impact of capitalism upon human society major contribution to history of thought
largest economies us billions
Largest Economies US$ Billions

Source: 1998 World Bank Atlas; 1997 Fortune Global 500

marxism imperialism central assumptions and propositions
Marxism/ImperialismCentral Assumptions and Propositions
  • Key actors
    • Classes
      • Capitalists (owners) exploit workers (proletariat)
  • View of History: Teleological / Dialectical
    • Classical Marxism: Stages of History – progressive evolution
    • Imperialism – inter-imperial competition
    • Dependency Theory – Extrapolation of Classical Marxism
    • Crises of Capitalism: Unjust inequalities require oppression to sustain
marxism imperialism53
Marxism / Imperialism

World Systems theory: Core & Periphery

  • Core (“North”/ global capital / MNCs) vs. periphery (providers of raw materials, cheap labour)
  • Hierarchical structure of world politics: wealthy exploit the poor

Human Nature: Malleable

  • Product of forces of production: From Alienation to Emancipation
  • Conditioned by ideology (Gramsci)
  • Hegemony – coercion and consent
marxism imperialism55
Marxism / Imperialism
  • What is the role of the state?
    • ‘Instrumental’ Marxism: State as “Executive Committee of the Ruling (Corporate) Class,” doing the bidding of corporations
    • ‘Structural Marxism’: Role of state is to ensure overall stability of global capitalist economy
    • Evidence? Interventions in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Dominican Republic (1965)
    • Problems: When government policy is against business interests or no business interests exist (Korean War, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc.)
marxism imperialism57
Marxism / Imperialism
  • Key actors
    • Classes
      • Capitalists (owners) exploit workers (proletariat)
    • World Systems theory: Core vs. periphery
    • What is the role of the state?
      • ‘Instrumental’ Marxism: State as “Executive Committee of the Ruling (Corporate) Class,” doing the bidding of corporations
      • Evidence? Interventions in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Dominican Republic (1965)
      • Iraq 2003?
marxism critical theory
Marxism / Critical Theory
  • Key actors
    • Classes
    • World Systems theory: Core vs. periphery
    • What is the role of the state?
      • ‘Instrumental’ Marxism: Individual government policy is controlled by corporate interests
      • ‘Structural Marxism’: Role of state is to ensure overall stability of global capitalist economy
        • Gramsci: ‘Hegemonic Blocs’ (state, corporations, media) perpetuate ideology / myths to perpetuate inequalities
        • Example: “IMF - Wall Street - Treasury Complex” perpetuate myth of corruption and “crony capitalism” to explain Asian economic crisis of 1997
the 1997 8 asian economic crisis
The 1997-8 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Steepest economic decline affecting so many people since Great Depression of 1930s:
    • Bankruptcies, unemployment, currency devaluaton, inflation, stock market crashes
      • Economic Growth:
        • Thailand: 1998: -7.5%
        • South Korea: 1998: -7%
        • Indonesia: 1998/99: -16%
    • Political Instability & chaos:
      • Indonesia
        • “The most dramatic economic collapse anywhere in 50 years”
the 1997 asian economic crisis
The 1997 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Steepest economic decline affecting so many people since Great Depression of 1930s:
  • Implications: Do states have adequate control over their economic destiny in the face of globalization?
  • Was the crisis the result of poor domestic policy choices or external forces (too) difficult to resist?
origins of asian economic crisis 1997 thailand
Origins of Asian Economic Crisis, 1997Thailand

Source: WGBH Video, 'Commanding Heights'

asian economic crisis 1997 malaysia indonesia
Asian Economic Crisis, 1997:Malaysia & Indonesia

Source: Commanding Heights, WGBH Video

asian economic crisis 1997 south korea
Asian Economic Crisis, 1997:South Korea

Source: Commanding Heights, WGBH Video

the 1997 asian economic crisis68
The 1997 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Steepest economic decline affecting so many people since Great Depression of 1930s: Bankruptcies, unemployment.
  • Whose fault, what lessons should be learned?
    • Was the crisis the result of domestic policy choices or external forces too powerful to resist?
1997 asian economic crisis
1997 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Explanations:
    • 1) Domestic Policy preferences (“capitalist accumulation”/liberal):
      • Risky speculation
      • Corrupt banking / bad loans (“Crony capitalism”)
      • Liberalized financial controls to welcome investment
      • Strengths: Helps explain variation between countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan vs. Thailand, SKorea, Indonesia)
      • Weakness: Underestimates market and political pressure to open financial markets?
1997 asian economic crisis70
1997 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Explanations: Why?
    • 1) Domestic Preferences (Liberal):
      • Financial liberalization / Corrupt banking / risky speculation
    • 2) Neo-Imperialism: Globalization & the “IMF – Wall St. – Treasury Complex” (Critical Theory)
      • Rapid / enormous capital inflows / outflow
        • Global investors: Uncontrollable Speculation
        • US / IMF: Did they just encourage, or pressure / coerce liberalization?
          • E.g, Korea: Price for OECD membership
        • Failure to intervene with bailout
          • Lessons: Moral hazard of Mexican bail-out, 1995
1997 asian economic crisis72
1997 Asian Economic Crisis
  • Explanations: Why?
    • 1) Domestic Preferences (Liberal):
      • Financial liberalization / Corrupt banking / risky speculation
    • 2) Neo-Imperialism: Globalization & the “IMF – Wall St. – Treasury Complex” (Critical Theory)
      • Rapid / enormous capital inflows / outflow
        • Global investors:
        • US / IMF: Did they just encourage, or pressure / coerce liberalization?
        • Failure to intervene early enough with bailout: why?
          • Liberal: Moral hazard of Mexican bail-out, 1995
          • Critical: Finance / wealthy state collusion & contradictions of capitalism
marxism critical theory policy prescriptions
Marxism / Critical TheoryPolicy Prescriptions
  • So, how to respond to vast inequalities and recurrent crises? What are the possible options that you would advocate for your own and your country’s well-being?
  • Why?
  • Would your prescriptions differ if you were among the global poor?
marxism imperialism policy prescriptions81
Marxism / ImperialismPolicy Prescriptions
  • Resistance
  • Revolution
  • Autarky
    • Import substitution
marxism imperialism policy prescriptions83
Marxism / ImperialismPolicy Prescriptions
  • Local / Global Resistance to exploitation / domination
  • Revolution
  • Autarky
    • Import substitution
  • Redistribution
    • NIEO 1970s
    • Commodity Prices / Subsidies
    • Reparations
marxism imperialism criticisms
Marxism/Imperialism: Criticisms
  • Determinism/Reductionism
    • Importance of state & nationalism
    • Resiliency of capitalism
  • Practice: Repression of marxist-inspired regimes
marxism imperialism criticisms86
Marxism/ImperialismCriticisms
  • Determinism/Reductionism
  • Practice: Repression of marxist-inspired regimes
  • Empirical accuracy of theories of underdevelopment / exploitation:
    • “NICs”
marxism imperialism criticisms88
Marxism/ImperialismCriticisms
  • Determinism/Reductionism
  • Practice: Repression of marxist-inspired regimes
  • Empirical accuracy of theories of underdevelopment / exploitation:
    • “NICs” (“4 Tigers”)
      • SKorea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan
    • “Celtic Tiger”
    • Contemporary growth of China, Brazil, India, etc.
slide89
Is reform enough to deal with inequalities?
  • Are crises of capitalism a tolerable price of growth?
slide90
Is reform enough to deal with inequalities? Are crises of capitalism a tolerable price of growth? Is economic globalization a blessing or a curse?
  • UN Human Development Report
    • http://hdr.undp.org/external/gapminder/2005/2005.html
is economic globalization a blessing or a curse
Is economic globalization a blessing or a curse?
  • Over past 30 years:
    • Life expectancy has >ed 8 years
    • Illiteracy cut in half, to 25%
    • # of people living on < $1 a day in East Asia almost halved in 1990s
  • In 1990s:
    • China lifted 150 million - 10% - out of poverty
    • Share of world’s population in severe poverty <ed from 30% to 23% BUT
    • Excluding China, # of extremely poor >ed by 28 million
    • 54 nations grew poorer, in 34 nations life expectancy <ed, in 21 a larger % went hungry
    • Soaring food prices: rose 52% 2007-08, -> 75 million more below hunger threshold in 2007
is economic globalization a blessing or a curse is reform of the system enough
Is economic globalization a blessing or a curse? Is reform of the system enough?
  • What matters most? Relative losses (equality/justice) or absolute gains?