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International Relations Theory and Latin America

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Alejandres Gannon. International Relations Theory and Latin America. Video of the Day. Level of Analysis. Section Uno (One). A) What is a state. Unit of political organization Territorial boundaries Sovereignty Monopoly on the legitimate use of force. B) Origins of the state.

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level of analysis
Level of Analysis

Section Uno (One)

a what is a state
A) What is a state
  • Unit of political organization
  • Territorial boundaries
  • Sovereignty
  • Monopoly on the legitimate use of force
b origins of the state
B) Origins of the state
  • 1648 Treaty of Westphalia
  • Church lost control of territories
c problems with this definition
C) Problems with this definition
  • Failed states
  • States as actors vs actors within states
  • State vs nation vs country
    • Nation shares history, culture, language, and religion
    • States that aren’t nation-states
  • States not recognized as such

Section Dos (Tw0)

a what is a theory
A) What is a theory?
  • Lens to explain, predict, and prescribe something about an event by selecting information
  • Patterns
  • A theory doesn’t need to explain all the facts, every theory is suited to explain some facts but not others
b what is a good theory
B) What is a good theory?
  • Quality of a theory is determined by
    • Cost – how complicated it is to collect the necessary data, use the theory, or understand what it means
    • Benefit – how much and how well does this theory explain or predict
  • Bang for the buck
    • How much data do I need in order to operate the theory


    • How much new data can the theory explain or predict
c parsimony
C) Parsimony
  • A parsimonious theory is a theory that explains or predicts a great deal using relatively little data
c parsimony1
C) Parsimony
  • Example
    • Based on the number of times someone has sneezed in their lifetime, one can predict their debate win-loss record with 90% accuracy
    • Based on someone’s height, one can predict their debate win-loss record with 80% accuracy
    • Based on someone’s weight, age, and place of birth, one can predict their debate win-loss record with 70% accuracy
d theories and maps1
D) Theories and Maps
  • Theories should not try to explain everything, if they do then they cease to be theories
  • A good theory tries to explain a specific occurrence or event in the world and isolates that factor

Section Tres (Three)

a background
A) Background
  • Dominant during the Cold War
  • “is” vs “ought to be”
b thucydides
B) Thucydides
  • Peloponnesian War (431BC-404BC)
  • Balance of power
    • Power is central and conflict is inevitable
    • Only power can stop power and ignoring that principle causes messier politics and more bloodshed
c machiavelli
C) Machiavelli
  • Human nature and the thirst for power
    • Politics is run according to the way people are
    • No super-state can tell states how to run, the international system is anarchic
  • Self-Interest
    • States must pursue survival and they do that through power
  • Morality
    • States are absolved of any moral duties
    • States that pursue moral rather than political ends cause worse situations for their people
d morgenthau and waltz
D) Morgenthau and Waltz
  • Reaction to idealism and Wilsonian Internationalism
  • Idealists emphasized international law, morality, international organization, etc
d morgenthau and waltz1
D) Morgenthau and Waltz
  • The distribution of power between states explains all important events in international relations

Kenneth Waltz (1924-May 13, 2013)

e tenets of neorealism
E) Tenets of Neorealism

1) States are inevitable

  • States are the primary actors in international politics and will be for the foreseeable future
  • The practice of great power politics is inevitable
e tenets of neorealism1
E) Tenets of Neorealism

2. International system is anarchy

  • There is no hierarchy and no overriding authority
  • Anytime there is a conflict of interest it can be resolved through the use of force
e tenets of neorealism2
E) Tenets of Neorealism

3. Security and survival

  • States pursue one primary goal of security and survival
  • Because of this, all states behave in similar ways despite having different cultures and economic systems
e tenets of neorealism3
E) Tenets of Neorealism

4. Unitary and Rational

  • Unitary – states are single cohesive entities that pursue the goal of survival
  • Rationality – states are goal-directed which makes their behaviour relatively predictable
e tenets of neorealism4
E) Tenets of Neorealism

5. Power

  • Power is the most important factor in determining how states can behave
  • States enhance security by accumulating power and it takes power to enhance security
  • Relative power
f implications
F) Implications

1) Pursuit of power

  • All states seek to survive in anarchy, a self-help system
  • States must strive for power in order to succeed
  • States constantly compare their power in relation to others
  • States worry about relative gains
f implications1
F) Implications

2) Absolute vs Relative Gains

  • An interest in relative gains makes cooperation between states very difficult because states will only cooperate if they think that they will gain more from the cooperation than their partners
f implications2
F) Implications

3) Arming, bandwagoning, and balancing

  • States arm when they can afford to do so
  • States balance with (bandwagon with) a great power when they have little power of their own (free riding)
  • States balance against a great power when they have power of their own
f implications3
F) Implications

4) Security Dilemma

  • Arming/balancing + Relative gains = Security dilemma
  • When a state balances/arms successfully, it increases its own security. At the same time, it decreases the security of others
  • If other states respond by also arming/balancing, a cycle of arming occurs (arms race) and alliances shift constantly
g weaknesses of neorealism
G) Weaknesses of Neorealism
  • States are the only actors
  • States are only interested in power, usually military power
  • States are only interested in relative gains
  • Bias towards interaction between, not within, states
  • Bias towards explaining war
neo liberalism

Section Cuatro (Four)

a key tenants
A) Key Tenants
  • Humans seek survival, but also happiness and freedom
  • Anarchy is not lethal, it is state authority that is dangerous
  • Rulers have a duty to maximize the freedom and happiness of citizens
  • Relations between states are about power, cooperation, and mutual gain
  • History shows that progress is possible
b free trade
B) Free Trade
  • Economic growth rather than military conquest
  • Not zero sum
  • Absolute vs relative gains
c democracy
C) Democracy
  • Democratic systems are more peaceful than autocracies
  • States less likely to go to war when consent of the citizens is necessary
  • Reciprocal recognition of common principles
  • States should join confederations to ensure they don’t fight
d collective security
D) Collective Security
  • States cooperate when in their interest
  • International regimes can set rules for how states should operate
e role of the state
E) Role of the State
  • State might no longer be primary actor
    • Assumes frequent wars
    • Transboundary issues
    • Interdependence
    • Information flows to citizens
    • Rise of democracy
f comparing neorealism and neoliberalism
F) Comparing Neorealism and Neoliberalism

Realist Assumptions

Neoliberal Assumptions

1. States are not the only important actors in IR.

2. States interested in power, military or economic.

3. States are often interested in absolute gains.

4. Bias towards interactions between, not within, states.

5. Explain cooperation, as well as conflict.

Materialist bias.

Order within anarchy

1. States are the only actors.

2. States are only interested in power, usually military power.

3. States are only interested in relative gains.

4. Bias towards interactions between, not within, states.

5. Bias towards explaining war.

  • Materialist bias.
  • International system anarchic

Section Cinco (Five)

a origins
A) Origins
  • Cold War unexplainable
  • Where do states interests come from?
b what is it
B) What is it?
  • Application of sociology to IR
  • Ideas, norms, taboos, and cultures held by interactional actors produce the goals and preferences of those actors
  • What states want is a function of who they are
c intersubjectivity
C) Intersubjectivity
  • Constructivists are interested in intersubjective ideas
  • Ideas not located in the thoughts of a single subject, but “between” the thoughts of several subjects
  • Ideas held by a group
d social constructivism wendt
D) Social Constructivism (Wendt)
  • “If states find themselves in a self-help system, this is because their practices made it that way. Changing the practice will change the intersubjective knowledge that constitutes the system.” (Wendt, p 189)
    • Anarchy does not force self-help
    • Interaction of states creates a social structure that shapes their behaviour because states create the social structure and once that exists it then affects states
e norms and taboos finnemore
E) Norms and Taboos (Finnemore)
  • Standards of appropriate and legitimate behaviour are intersubjectively shared
  • Norm – accepted behaviour
    • Humanitarian intervention
  • Taboo – prohibited behaviour
    • Taboos don’t have to be written, or enforced, law
    • Compliance occurs due to fear of social disapproval

Section Seis (Six)

nuclear weapons
Nuclear Weapons
  • Why hasn’t the most powerful weapon in the world been used even once in the past 60 years?
a realist answer
A) Realist Answer
  • Security and survival are best guaranteed by non-use
    • Deterrence
    • Damage is too devastating
    • Alternatives are available
    • Using nuclear weapons is irrational
b liberalist answer
B) Liberalist Answer
  • Interest in freedom and cooperation causes non-use
    • Economic interdependence
    • Alliance ties and treaties
    • Democratic constraints on use
c constructivist answer
C) Constructivist Answer
  • The international community of states shares a taboo against nuclear weapons
    • States choose weapons based not only on cost and effectiveness
    • States act as a community, with shared ideas
    • These ideas (values, norms, taboos) actually affect how states act
latin america
Latin America

Section Siete (Seven)

a things to explain predict prescribe
A) Things to explain, predict, prescribe
  • Lack of political and economic development
  • Presence of international peace but absence of domestic peace
  • Lack of power projection
  • Marginalization in shaping major world events
  • Relevance of regional international relations
b strengths of explanation
B) Strengths of Explanation
  • Absence of inter-state war since 1883
    • Realist – satisfied with territorial squo
    • Liberal – spread of democracy and economic interdependence
    • Constructivist – cultural framework that prefers peaceful resolution over war
c limits of current explanations
C) Limits of Current Explanations
  • Realist
    • Security dilemma vs insecurity dilemma
  • Liberal
    • Democratic peace theory
  • Constructivist
    • Is there a different “Latin American” identity?
d realism
D) Realism
  • US relationship characterized by self-interest
  • Search for autonomy from the US
e liberalism
E) Liberalism
  • Poverty remains the primary socio-economic problem
  • Failure to take advantage of globalization
    • Effects of global capitalism
    • Weakness of political institutions
    • Role of the state
f constructivism
F) Constructivism
  • Latin American “diplomatic culture” established international law to regulate behaviour (Holsti, 1993)
    • Principle of nonintervention
    • Consensus-seeking
    • utipossidetis(recognition of former colonial borders)
    • Equality of states