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Power Politics. CHAPTER TWO. Dr. Clayton Thyne PS 235-001: World Politics Spring 2009 Goldstein & Pevehouse, International Relations , 8/e Student notes version. Realism. Central position in the study of IR Foundation is the principle of dominance. 3-part framework: 3. . Realism.

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power politics

Power Politics


Dr. Clayton Thyne

PS 235-001: World Politics

Spring 2009

Goldstein & Pevehouse, International Relations, 8/e

Student notes version

  • Central position in the study of IR
  • Foundation is the principle of dominance.
  • 3-part framework:


  • Realism developed in reaction to a liberal tradition that realists called ____________________.
    • Idealism:
  • Since WWII, realists have blamed idealists for looking too much at how the world ______________rather than _________________________.
  • Realist tradition
    • Sun Tzu:
    • Thucydides:
    • Machiavelli (around 16th century):
    • Thomas Hobbes (17th century):
    • Hans Morgenthau:
defining and estimating power
Defining and Estimating Power
  • A central concept, but difficult to measure
  • Power (theoretical definition):
  • Power (empirical definition):
    • Material elements (tangible capabilities):
    • Nonmaterial elements (intangible capabilities):
    • Power can only explain so much. Real-world IR depends on many other elements, including ________________________.
  • Relational concept: Relative power is…
estimating power
Estimating Power
  • The logic of power suggests:
    • However…
elements of power
Elements of Power
  • State power is a mix of many ingredients.
  • Long-term elements of power:
    • Tangible:
    • In/less tangible:
  • Short-term elements of power:
    • Tangible:
    • In/less tangible:
  • Trade-offs among possible capabilities always exist.
    • Fungible:
  • Realists: _____________________ is the most important element of national power
elements of power8
Elements of Power
  • Tanks versus Gold
  • Geopolitics
  • Morality
the international system
The International System
  • States interact within a set of long-established “rules of the game” governing what is considered a state and how states treat each other.
  • Together these rules shape the international system.
anarchy and sovereignty
Anarchy and Sovereignty
  • Anarchy (def):
  • Sovereignty (def):
    • Lack of a “world police” to punish states if they break an agreement  _________________________________________
    • In practice, most states have a harder and harder time warding off interference in their affairs.
  • Security dilemma:
balance of power bop
Balance of Power (BOP)
  • Def:
  • BOP theory:
  • BOP and US dominance:
    • Russia, China & France seem to be balancing against US power
    • World support of US foreign policy is very low
great powers and middle powers
Great Powers and Middle Powers
  • Great powers (def):
  • Get the most attention from IR scholars because they exert the most influence
  • Generally have the world’s strongest military forces and the strongest economies
  • Until the past century, the club was exclusively…
  • Today’s great powers include:
  • _____________________: the world’s only superpower
  • _____________________: the world’s largest population, rapid economic growth, large military, credible nuclear arsenal
great powers and middle powers16
Great Powers and Middle Powers
  • Middle powers
    • Rank somewhat below the great powers
    • Some are large but not highly industrialized
    • Others may be small with specialized capabilities
    • Examples:
      • midsized countries:
      • Larger or influential countries in the global South:
power distribution
Power Distribution
  • The concept of the distribution of power among states in the international system
  • Neorealism, or structural realism
    • Explains patterns of international events in terms of the _____________________________________ rather than the ___________________________________.
power distribution18
Power Distribution
  • Polarity refers to the __________________________________________.
    • Multipolar system:
    • Bipolar system:
    • Unipolar system:
  • Power transition theory
  • Hegemony (def):
  • The hegemon can dominate the rules and arrangements by which international political and economic relations are conducted
  • Instances:
    • ___________________ in the 19th century following defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars
    • ___________________ after WWII after defeat of Japan/Germany and exhaustion of USSR, France, UK and China
    • ___________________ after the end of the Cold War
  • Hegemonic stability theory
  • For the hegemon to provide stability, it must:
  • Ambivalence of U.S. hegemony
    • Internationalist (e.g., ____________________) versus isolationist moods (________________________)
    • Unilateralism versus multilateralism
the great power system 1500 2000
The Great-Power System, 1500-2000
  • Treaty of Westphalia, 1648
    • Rules of state relations
    • Originated in Europe in the 16th century
    • Key to this system was…
purposes of alliances
Purposes of Alliances
  • Alliance (def):
    • Most are formalized in ________________________
    • Endure across a range of issues and a period of time
  • Purposes of alliances:
    • Pooling capabilities …
    • For smaller states, alliances can be their most important power element.
    • Most form in response to a ________________________.
  • Dilemmas:
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    • 1 of the 2 most important alliances
    • Encompasses Western Europe and North America
    • Founded in 1949 to oppose and deter Soviet power in Europe
    • Countered by the Warsaw Pact (1955); disbanded in 1991
    • Article 5:
    • Includes ½ of world’s GDP
    • First use of force by NATO was in Bosnia in 1994 in support of the UN.
  • Biggest issue for NATO is …
other alliances
Other Alliances
  • U.S.-Japanese Security Treaty
    • 2nd of 2 most important treaties
    • A _____________________________alliance
    • U.S. maintains nearly 50,000 troops in Japan.
    • Japan pays the U.S. several billion dollars annually to offset about half the cost of maintaining these troops.
    • Created in 1951 against the potential Soviet threat to Japan.
    • Asymmetrical : …
  • Other U.S. alliances:
  • De facto alliances:
strategy statecraft
Strategy: Statecraft
  • Statecraft (def):
  • Key aspect of strategy:
strategy statecraft31
Strategy: Statecraft
  • Deterrence (def):
  • Compellence (def):
  • Arms race (def):
  • Most realists assume that…
  • Two implications for IR:
    • States and other international actors can _____________________ and ____________________their interests

2. Actors are able to perform _______________________ – calculating the costs incurred by a possible action and the benefits it is likely to bring.

the prisoner s dilemma
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • Prisoner’s Dilemma:
    • 2 rational actors, A and B
    • Preferences for A:
    • Defect while B cooperates
    • Cooperate while B cooperates
    • Defect while B defects
    • Cooperate while B defects
    • Preferences for B: the same as A
the prisoner s dilemma34
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • India/Pakistan nuke example: Should each state build nukes?
    • 2 rational actors, India (A) and Pakistan (B)
    • Preferences for India:
    • Build nukes while Pakistan doesn’t
    • Neither side builds nukes
    • Both sides build nukes
    • Don’t build nukes while Pakistan does
    • Preferences for Pakistan: the same as India