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Theories of International Relations

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  1. Theories ofInternational Relations

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Final Exam • Final Exam: • Thursday, December 10, 12:00 – 2:30 pm • Location: TBA

  16. LiberalismCentral Assumptions and Propositions • View of history: progressive change possible • Increased material prosperity through market liberalization, technology & economic interdependence (free trade)

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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)

  23. Liberalism: Globalization as positive sumVicente Fox, President of Mexico, 2000-2006

  24. Complex Interdependence:The Global Car

  25. 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+)

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. Do International Institutions Matter? Verification and Inspections

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. Critical TheoriesMarxism / Imperialism

  34. Why Study Marxism/Imperialism today?

  35. “… 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

  36. The Global Poor

  37. 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

  38. Gap Between Rich and Poor

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. Life Expectancy at Birth, 2002

  42. Inequality in Globalized World

  43. 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)

  44. Spot a billionaire...

  45. '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

  46. Marxism / Imperialism • Economic Inequalities / Redistributive Justice • Oppression • Transformation / Replacement of system (as opposed to maintenance / reform) • Critique of Capitalism and Globalization

  47. 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

  48. Why study Marxism today?

  49. Largest Economies US$ Billions Source: 1998 World Bank Atlas; 1997 Fortune Global 500