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Chapter 1. Thinking and Caring About World Politics. Who is a Part of International Relations?. Independent, sovereign states (same as the term “country” for purposes of this class) Nearly 200 states in the international system today

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Chapter 1

Thinking and Caring


World Politics

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Who is a Part of International Relations?

  • Independent, sovereign states (same as the term “country” for purposes of this class)

  • Nearly 200 states in the international system today

  • Anarchical international system: a system where there is no higher authority over the sovereign states

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  • International Governmental Organizations (IGOs): international organization made up of states (examples: United Nations and European Union); roughly 300+

  • Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs): organizations that cross country boundaries (examples: churches and multinational corporations; innumberable

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  • Leaders

  • Protestors

  • Politicians

  • Businesses

  • Special Interests

  • Political parties

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Structure of Text

  • World Politics is at a cross-roads

  • Traditional route of competition and conflict vs. the alternative route of cooperation

  • How foreign policy is made (individual human, state, and system level)

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Importance of International Relations

  • Money

  • Trade

  • Economic Balance

  • Financial Markets

  • Defense and Safety

  • Environment

  • Human Rights

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World Politics & You

  • World population puts pressure on all previously mentioned issues

  • Transnational diseases

  • Violence

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Ways to Influence International Relations

  • Direct Actions: Consumer boycotts, protests, etc.

  • Voting for Candidates: who gets elected definitely influences policy

  • Direct voting: more common in other countries (European Union)

  • Become a policymaker

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  • Realism: political theory with those who prescribe to the idea that the world is and should be following the traditional road (other terms for this: realpolitick, balance of power, nationalism, state-centric)

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  • Pessimistic by nature

  • Little political trust

  • Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan)

  • Neorealists focus on anarchic nature of world system based on competition.

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  • Emphasis on Power

  • Results because of national interest struggles

  • See policy as Darwinian in nature

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  • Liberalism: political theory where some believe the world is beginning to go on a new course (other terms: liberal institutionalism, idealist, globalism, cosmopolitan and internationalist)

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  • More positive in nature

  • Reject idea of political predators though they recognize that difficulties do exist

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)

  • Neoliberals believe conflict occurs because of competition in an anarchical world system

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  • Believe policies can be based on ethics and principles

  • Dismiss idea that pursuing ethical policy often works against nation’s interests