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Classes 8-11: Theories of Security and International Relations. Class 8: Realism and Neorealism Class 9: Classical Liberalism Class 10: Institutional Liberalism Class 11: Marxism Class 12: General Discussion and Take-Home Examinations Turned in . Procedure.

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Classes 8-11: Theories of Security and International Relations

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classes 8 11 theories of security and international relations
Classes 8-11: Theories of Security and International Relations
  • Class 8: Realism and Neorealism
  • Class 9: Classical Liberalism
  • Class 10: Institutional Liberalism
  • Class 11: Marxism
  • Class 12: General Discussion and Take-Home Examinations Turned in
  • Identify key assumptions of each school of security theory
  • Evaluate and critique each school with respect to its capacity
    • to explain why and how state actors use force or coercive threats
    • or decide to use non-coercive means to achieve their aims, interests and values
    • or some mix of these two options
  • We will then evaluate the capacity of each position to explain why the Cold War began and why it ended so abruptly with the implosion of the Soviet Union
organization of the presentation of realism
Organization of the Presentation of Realism
  • Principal assumptions of classical realism
  • Pessimistic school of realism: neorealism and Kenneth Waltz
  • Optimistic school of realism: Hedley Bull and the English School and Robert Axelrod
  • Evaluation of Realism to explain the Cold War
the founder of classical realism
The Founder of Classical Realism
  • Classical realist theory is drawn from Hobbes
    • Realism is consistent with the Clausewitz’On War
    • And Thucydides account of the Peloponnesian War and, specifically, his recounting of the Melian Dialogue
  • Principal Assumption: The aims, interests, and values of states do not convergence
    • Conflict between states is inherent in the interdependent relations of states
    • Conflicts over aims, interests, and values are ultimately resolved, when all other means to arrive at consensus or accord fail, by force and coercion
    • Force and coercive threats are embedded in all state relations
principal assumptions of classical realism today
Principal Assumptions of Classical Realism Today
  • The state is the principal actor in international relations and global politics
  • Why? Because only the state, given its claim to sovereignty, possesses the monopoly of legitimate force to resolve conflicts
    • Between individuals and groups over which it rules with a defined territorial space
    • Between itself and other states and international actors
other properties of states as the principal actor in international relations
Other Properties of States as the Principal Actor in International Relations
  • Only states can recognize other states and enter into relations with them
  • Contemporary International Law and Moral Norms acknowledge the special or privileged status and authority of states
  • International organizations, notably the United Nations, are subordinate to the states that create them
failed states paradoxically bolster realist theory
Failed States (Paradoxically) Bolster Realist Theory
  • A Failed State -- A state which is unable to perform its domestic and international security obligations do not undermine realist theory:
    • Failure and the state’s dependence on other states evidences the centrality of authority and power of the state
    • Note that communities that do not yet form a state, strive for this status -- Kurds, Palestinians, Chechnyans,
the principal aim of states power
The Principal Aim of States: Power
  • To ensure their security and survival, states must pursue power
    • They must always be concerned about their relative position other states
    • Power is the essential means or instruments to realize state preferences -- for material gain, status, support for the interests of their people, etc.
    • The most important form of power is military force
hans morgenthau politics among states
Hans Morgenthau, Politics among States
  • States Morgenthau:

“We assume that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power, and the evidence of history bears that assumption out”

how can states achieve power
How Can States Achieve Power?
  • By the state’s own means
    • Population
    • Industrialization
    • Science and Technology, etc
  • By alliances
    • All alliances are conditional: they apply only if they remain in the power interests of the state
    • A shared ideology is no guarantee that an alliance will be reliable
      • Francis I of France allied with a Muslim ruler against his neighboring Christian states
      • Democratic India aligned with Communist Soviet Union against democratic United States, while an authoritarian Pakistan, the rival of India, aligned with the United States
what is the outcome of alliances
What Is the Outcome of Alliances
  • In seeking to maintain its relative power vis-à-vis other states, a shifting Balance of Power emerges
  • All states, according to realists, are then obliged (that is, constrained) to pursue a balance of power strategy
the history of the european states illustrates the balance of power
The History of the European States Illustrates the Balance of Power
  • 18th Century: Principal states were English, France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia which often changed sides to preserve the balance
  • Napoleonic France (1789-1815) attempted to destroy the European balance and establish French hegemony only to be defeated by a European coalition
  • The Concert of Europe (1815-1914) maintained peace through flexible and overlapping alliances to ensure a balance of power as a deterrent to war
the 20th century and balances of power
The 20th Century and Balances of Power
  • The rigidity of the balance of power in the decade before World War I partially explains the world war
    • The Triple Entente of two democratic states with authoritarian Russia vs. the Central Powers of semi-democratic/autocratic Germany and Austria-Hungary
  • World War II pitted two internally contradictory coalitions against each other
    • Racist Nazi Germany and Japan vs. democratic American and Britain and Communist Soviet Union
  • The Cold War produced a bipolar balance led by a democratic America vs. Communist Soviet Union
    • The coalitions were each ideological flawed in favor of each state’s estimate of its gain in power by belonging to one or the other of these coalitions
    • Or, remaining neutral to avoid subordination to one or both of the superpowers
pessimistic realism neorealism and kenneth waltz
Pessimistic Realism: Neorealism and Kenneth Waltz
  • The central determining cause of state behavior is the SYSTEM of nation-states
    • This anarchical system imposes an imperative of security and survival on each state
    • International relations “theory” is reduced to the system-state relation
    • States seek their survival, not power, nor is state behavior explained by the countless aims and interests it might pursue
    • States that ignore their relative power of power to other states will be selected out of the system or be subordinated to other states
    • The system is a self-help system; no other state can be relied upon to defend another state at the risk of its own power
    • Neorealist claim that their conception of international relations achieves the level of a scientific proposition
      • The anarchical system, defined by the distribution of coercive capabilities across states, cannot be surmounted
      • The bipolar system is allegedly more stable than a multi-polar system since the power balance between the superpowers can be more accurately and reliably calculated
      • Given the enormous military power of the United States and the Soviet Union, neorealist theory assumed that the Cold War would last indefinitely
how well does realism and neorealism explain the rise and demise of the cold war
How Well Does Realism and Neorealism Explain the Rise and Demise of the Cold War?
  • Realism explains the emergence of the Cold War
    • The United States and Soviet Union sought to impose their power and preferences on other states and the global system
    • Both developed global systems of alliances and alignments
    • These were in no small part defined by power balances and not ideology
      • The United States was allied with non-democratic regimes around the globe
      • The Soviet Union was allied with many non-Communist states, including democratic India
both superpowers pursued hegemonic military policies
Both Superpowers Pursued Hegemonic Military Policies
  • At a nuclear level, each side possessed (and still possesses) sufficient nuclear striking power to destroy each other and large segments of the planet and its population
  • Both created enormous conventional military power and these systems were largely pitted against each other in Europe as a deterrent to war or expansion
  • Both superpowers created a global network of military partners and dominated global arms markets throughout the Cold War
then why did the soviet union implode and the cold war end
Then Why Did the Soviet Union Implode and the Cold War End?
  • Two other challenges of power were not addressed by the Soviet Union
    • First, a centralized, state-bureaucratic economic system increasingly fell behind the economic growth of the Western market states
    • Both Communist China (earlier in 1979) and the Soviet Union later (in the 1980s) attempted to adapt their economic systems to the Western model
    • Only Communist China succeeded in adapting to the global, capitalistic market system without undermining the Communist Regime
the soviet union vs nationalism
The Soviet Union vs. Nationalism
  • The second principal explanation, and arguably the most important, was the internal weakness of the Soviet Union’s social composition
    • The Soviet Union was unable to control the national demands for independence of the Soviet Republic and those of the states of the Warsaw Pact
    • The key stake of the Cold War -- Germany -- was united under West European direction.
the central defects of realist and especially neorealist theory
The Central Defects of Realist and Especially Neorealist Theory
  • The Soviet state imploded -- what states are not predicted to do, notably so-called superpowers
  • The techno-economic power of the liberal Western market states were too great an attractive force and the attempted adaptation of the Soviet Union to the West’s non-military power produced a crisis and contributed to the collapse of the Soviet state
  • This process of self-destruction was accelerated by the “soft” power not only of subject populations but also, and ironically, by the Russian people who abandoned the pursuit of hegemony and world power