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Basics of IR. One World, Many Theories Stephen Walt. Intro. Why should/would policymakers care about theories? Helps organize info, construct robust policies China Culture, identity, perceptions NATO, Iran, N. Korea, etc. Realism. Says Int’l affairs is a… Struggle for power

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basics of ir

Basics of IR

One World, Many Theories

Stephen Walt

intro
Intro
  • Why should/would policymakers care about theories?
    • Helps organize info, construct robust policies
  • China
    • Culture, identity, perceptions
  • NATO, Iran, N. Korea, etc
realism
Realism
  • Says Int’l affairs is a…
    • Struggle for power
    • State-centric
  • Pessimism and danger
    • Innate desire to dominate
    • Multipolar is best
  • “Neo-Realism”
    • Systemic focus; anarchic
    • Balance, not bandwagon
    • States seek to survive
liberalism
Liberalism
  • Neo-Libs - Economic interdependence
  • Cooperation leads to prosperity
  • Wilson and the spread of democracy as a force for peace
  • Promote virtues of IGOs and NGOs to “overcome selfish state behavior”
radical
Radical
  • Marxists = Capitalism is to be blamed for int’l conflict
  • Dependency Th’y = focus on relationship of exploitation of LDCs by MDCs
    • Empirical setbacks:
    • Participation is good
    • LDCs can bargain successfully w/MDCs
old paradigms new directions
Old Paradigms, New Directions
  • Realism
    • Greico, Krasner: new focus on both the absolute and relative gains; a twist on “zero-sum” thinking
    • New issues explored: ethnic conflict, NATO w/o enemy
    • Defensive and Offensive Realism
  • Liberalism
    • Democratic Peace Theory: democracies rarely fight each other; became basis of US policy
    • Liberal Institutionalism: institutions foster cooperation when it’s in each state’s interest to do so. (IL)
  • Constructivism
    • Focus on impact of ideas; interests and identities of states are malleable; how ideas and identities are created and evolve
    • Able to predict the end of the Cold War; but not a unified theory
    • “Anarchy is what states make of it.” (Wendt)
    • Effect of norms and IL on sovereignty
to the future
To the Future…
  • We see a convergence of Theories?!
  • Yet realism seems to be the “most compelling general framework for understanding IR.”
    • Ex.: Impact of US dominance and policy-setting (incl. NATO)
  • Liberalism fill gaps, explains “liberal peace,” multilateralism, etc.
  • Constructivism does better to explain how ideas and identities change over time, thus affecting state policy choices