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Global Politics Chapters 1-3 Chapter 1 Introduction: Into A New Country “Global politics is a complex congruence of physical and intellectual power, political structures and institutions, and personalities.” Approximately 83% of all Canadian exports are traded to the United States.

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global politics

Global Politics

Chapters 1-3

chapter 1

Chapter 1

Introduction: Into A New Country

“Global politics is a complex congruence of physical and intellectual power, political structures and institutions, and personalities.”
  • Approximately 83% of all Canadian exports are traded to the United States.
  • High Politics concern state security, grand strategies, and the use of military force.
  • Low Politics concern trade, investment, culture, and environmental problems.
  • Unilateral are actions performed by a single state.
  • Multilateral are actions performed by many states.
  • Post international politics is an age characterized by the “decline of long standing patterns” leaving us uncertain about “where the changes may be leading”.
the interdisciplinary yet divided discipline
The Interdisciplinary, Yet Divided, Discipline

“Indeed knowledge may be power, but it must make sense to be of any use.”

  • International Relations theory is a body of literature that seeks to explain the nature of the international system and the behaviour of the actors within it.
  • International security had traditionally involved the study of conflict and war and the attempts to prevent or control it.
  • International political economy is the study of issues. For example: trade, finance, foreign dept. Underdevelopment became increasingly prominent in international affairs.
  • International organization is the study of institutions. For example, the United Nations is generally focused on means of co-operation such as establishment of regimes or agreements among states, groups, or individuals.

Subfields of International Relations

three main levels of analysis
Three Main Levels of Analysis
  • Individual Level of Analysis focuses on the decisions of individuals, and the perceptions, values and experiences that motivate those decisions. It generally emphasizes the role of political leaders, for those individuals that have the most influence on history.
  • State or Group Level of Analysis focuses on the behaviours of the individual states, which is often attributed to the form of government one finds at a particular time.
  • Systemic Level of Analysis, the actions of states are seen as the result of external influences and pressures on them in relation to their attributes or position in the world politics.

An idealist perspective assumes the best of human nature: we are essentially cooperative political animals who are occasionally led astray by evil influences into war and conflict, and we have a natural affinity toward the communal as opposed to the individual good.

  • Human Nature is essentially good.
  • Evil is not innate to humanity.
  • Social progress is possible.
  • The main problem in international relations in war.
  • War can be prevented.
  • International cooperation will promote peace.

Classic realism, as it has come to be called, is less generous regarding human nature. People are generally viewed as nasty self-serving creatures, and political power merely corrupts them further.

structural realism
Structural Realism

The vision of realism focuses on the systematic level analysis, structure determine behaviour; the structure of the international system is anarchic, lacking a central political authority that can constrain individual states.

  • Liberalism suggests people can rationally co-operate in the name of self-interest (since what is good for what may be good for another as well), liberals emphasize the importance of private property, law, free markets, democracy and justice.
  • Great importance is placed on economic growth, both domestically and internationally.
  • Two popular variants in liberalism are in circulation today: complex interdependence and neoliberal instititionalism.
Complex Interdependence

Argues that economic factors are fast becoming as important as military matters, and that nonstate factors such as multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations play important roles alongside states

Neoliberal Institutionalism

  • Often called regimes, sets of principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around.
  • Reduces uncertainty and allows people to get on with important transnational business such as trade, investments, or pursuing human rights movements.
  • Overall essential argument: is that the anarchism is so instrumental in a structural realist understanding of global politics need not prevent states and individuals from achieving a more harmonious world.
Neomarxism and Dependency Theory

The central assumption behind these perspectives is that economic classes are the primary units of analysis in world affairs and hat the economic growth experienced by the rich Northern world has come at the cost of others, namely those in poor Southern world.


  • Primary focus of feminism of inequality and the critique of the partiachal system that perpetuate it.
  • Liberal feminists argue that women’s participation in world affairs had been too silent or marginalized and that this situation must be corrected.
  • Feminists who are more radical argue this correction would be insufficient and that deeper changes are necessary.
  • Primarily concerned with how people interpret the world around them and they act on understanding.
  • Reject the idea that realists, liberals, or Marxists can ever really know anything concrete about global politics or built objective about the world.
  • Strand of postmodernist: deconstructionists emphasize the importance of breaking down popular texts or discourses to understand the power relations they perpetuate.


  • Advocates reconceptualizing capitalism or redefining human relations.
  • Constructivism stresses the impact of intersubjective understandings among political actors on constituting their own ideas.
chapter 2

Chapter 2

History and Global Politics; War and Peace

history and global politics war and peace
History and Global Politics: War and Peace.
  • In order to understand wars and attacks that have occurred throughout history you must look at the relationship and beliefs of the participating countries.
  • Countries glorifying their actions
the ancient legacy the rise and fall of civilizations and empires
  • In history, the less powerful countries or empires suffered
  • The rise and fall of empires was dominated by Europe (referred to as rise of the West)
the modern state and the peace of westphalia
  • Modern International system is called the Westphalia state system
  • Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War in Europe in 1648 and brought about the beginning of the supremacy of the state as a sovereign territorial actor and the beginning of the end of the church’s influence in political European affairs.
  • 2/3 of German population was killed or displaced during Thirty Year’s War
the rise of the european empires
  • The 17th and 18th centuries in Europe were about territorial expansion of states
  • France was most powerful state in Europe in the mid to late 1600’s but became weakened in the 1800’s due to continual warfare and alliances that were built against France
  • Revolts rocked European empires in the late 1800’s, the most significant being the French revolution (1789-1794)
  • By 1914 the US became one of the world’s leading powers
patterns in the history of war and peace
  • The recurrence of war and conflict between civilizations, peoples, and empires
  • The rise and fall of civilizations and empires
  • The recorded political history is primarily history of the activities of great civilizations, empires, and states
  • The development of an intellectual tradition on statecraft, drawn from historical experience
  • The rise of political geography and geopolitics
world war i
  • Marked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914
  • Triple Alliance – Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Italy
  • Triple Entente – Great Britain, France, Russia
  • Austria delivered ultimatum to Belgrade and then declared was on July 28, 1914
  • The state, nationalism, and the Industrial Revolution combined to create “total war”
  • When Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles they agreed to not possess a large army, its’ colonies were distributed to the victors of the war, pay for all damages, and assume all guilt for the war
interwar period
  • Hitler came to power in Germany and he rebuilt their army taking over several colonies/countries
  • The great powers of the interwar period were Germany, Italy and Japan
world war ii total war
  • WWII began on September 3, 1939
  • On April 30, 1945 Hitler committed suicide
  • May 7, Germany surrendered
  • Two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan by the US to try and end the war (Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki on August 9)
  • September 2, 1945 Japan surrendered
  • End of WWII brought about two new powers: the US and the Soviet Union
history alliances and the balance of power concept
  • Military power and alliances are what realist believe to be the ordering mechanism of international politics since the ancient world: the balance of power
  • Balance of power exists to ensure survival of the state system and preservation of balance of power has often required war
  • Distribution of power is often described by polarity which describes the number of independent centers or concentrations of power in the system.
  • Multi-polar systems consist of 3-7 independent poles that are basically equal in power, these can be regional in scope, or localized
  • Bipolar systems consist of two centers of power which can either be two predominant states or two great rival alliance blocs
  • Uni-polar system is a single centre of power and they are often called hegemons.