States: The Traditional Structure PS130 World Politics Michael R. Baysdell Saginaw Valley State University
The Nature and Purpose of the State • Definition: A territorially defined political unit that exercises ultimate internal authority and recognizes no external authority over itself • Most important unit in defining the political identity of most people • States have not always existed • Core of political organization and form of governance in the modern system • Not necessarily permanent
Theories About the Origins of the State • Force Theory—strong person made others submit to their will • Evolutionary Theory—primitive family leads to a clan, clan leads to a tribe, tribe gives up nomadic behavior • Divine Right Theory—ruler’s authority granted by the grace of God • Social Contract Theory—humans fear violence and danger, so they give up some freedom (to punish) in exchange for promised safety (Locke/Harrington/Hobbes/Rousseau)
Six Common Characteristics of States • Sovereignty • Territory • Population • Diplomatic recognition • Internal organization (government) • Domestic support
Sovereignty • Most important characteristic of a state • THE POWER TO CONTROL YOUR INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS • Implies legal equality among states, but legal equality does not mean real equality in the international arena (compare San Marino and China) • In theory, synonymous with independence • In practice, power is relative and sovereignty is not always absolute • Concept is continually being challenged (for example, trials of Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia)
Territory • States generally have a geographic area and physical boundaries, but there are exceptions • State boundaries can expand, contract, or shift dramatically • Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestinians are a state without territory • Limited Pakistani territorial authority over northwestern Pakistan near Afghanistan, a Pashtun-controlled region serving as a hide-out and base for Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
Population • Obviously a minimal requirement • Size varies widely (Vatican City vs. China) • Citizenship has become more fluid—EU Citizenship, Mexican immigration to the United States • Phenomenon of dual citizenship • U.S. does not recognize; Canada does • Advantages of dual citizenship/EU citizenship • Olympic Rules(!)
Diplomatic Recognition • A state must have recognition by some other countries in order for it to be accepted as a state • Technically “Right of Legation” • Standard of diplomatic recognition is still hazy • Done by the President more than Congress in the U.S. • U.S. did not afford diplomatic recognition to Russia until 1934. • Israel recognition in 1948 started war • Taiwan a special case (“One China, Two Systems” is U.S. policy, U.S. recognized Red China, 1979) • Tibet not recognized • Palestinians not recognized • Germany was first to recognize Croatia, 1991. Why? • Benefits of recognition: 1) Can sell government bonds 2) can purchase arms 3) can establish trade relations
Internal Organization • There must be some level of political and economic structure • Can be democratic, autocratic, or somewhere in-between • But states continue even in times of turmoil and anarchy: • Examples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Somalia
Domestic Support • There must be support from and belief in the state by some part of the population (for example, the attitude of citizens of former republics toward the Soviet Union) • Population must be loyal and grant the government authority • Separatist impulses can pose a grave threat and lead to a “Failed State” like Afghanistan under the Taliban • Failed States are especially dangerous—create a power vaccuum that may be filled by bad actors • Current challenges to state-building in Iraq among badly divided Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds, all of whom have their own internal divisions
Purposes of the State • Instrumental Theory of Government: governments serve utilitarian purposes • Laid out well in Preamble of U.S. Constitution • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. • Hobbes: People join together out of fear and create governments for protection • Locke: People join together because cooperation improves the lives of all • Rousseau’s Social Contract Theory: People join together in societies surrendering some sovereign powers for individual betterment
Thomas Hobbes • Wrote The Leviathan • Believed that people are naturally selfish and greedy, self-centered. • Life in the state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” • People fear violence and death, so they allocate power to an absolute monarch which imposes order and demands obedience • Innate human greed makes people unable to govern themselves
John Locke • Wrote Two Treatises of Government • Agreed with Hobbes that humans are basically self-centered, but believed humans can be rational and moral • Locke argued that people have natural rights from the state of nature—the right to life, liberty, and property • To secure these rights, people form a government through social contracts. • The only valid or legitimate government is one that is based on the consent of the governed • If, for any reason, government breaks the contract by neglect or violating rights, the people have the opportunity to replace the government. • Thomas Jefferson later argues people have an “obligation” to eliminate oppressive regimes.
Authoritarian Government: Allows little or no participation in decision-making by individuals or groups Democratic Government: Allows much broader and more meaningful participation Theories of Governance
Authoritarian Governance • Theocracy: rule by spiritual leaders (the Vatican and partly in Iran) • Monarchism: rule by the divine rights of kings and other hereditary rulers (Saudi Arabia) • Communism: dictatorship of proletariat over bourgeoisie in transitional socialist period (China, Cuba, North Korea & Vietnam) • Totalitarianism: Complete social, economic, and political control by leader
8 Tenets of Fascism • Rejection of rationality; reliance on emotion to govern • Superiority of some over others • Legitimacy of subjugating "inferior" countries (Italy/Ethiopia 1935-36) • Rejection of individual rights in favor of corporatism • All economic activity supports the state • Anthropomorphic view of state • Individual's highest expression is in people • Highest expression of people is the leader, who rules as totalitarian dictator • Spawned Neofascism: LePen in France, Haider in Austria
Democratic Theory • Democratization: Spread of democracy • Standards of democracy: • Process versus outcome: (Fareed Zakaria) • Procedural (Illiberal) versus substantive (liberal) democracy • Exclusiveness versus inclusiveness: • Role of gender • Individualism versus communitarianism: • Individualism: Rights and liberties of individual are supreme • Communitarianism: Welfare of the collective is most important • Three Waves of Democratization (Huntington) • But let’s examine the causes of democracy before we get to Huntington
Causes of Democracy • Wealth. A higher GDP per capita correlates with democracy and the wealthiest democracies have never been observed to fall into authoritarianism.There is also the general observation that democracy was very rare before the industrial revolution. Empirical research thus lead many to believe that economic development either increases chances for a transition to democracy (modernization theory), or helps newly established democracies consolidate.Some campaigners for democracy even believe that as economic development progresses, democratization will become inevitable. However, the debate about whether democracy is a consequence of wealth, a cause of it, or both processes are unrelated, is far from conclusion. • Education. Wealth also correlates with education, though their effects on democratic consolidation seem to be independent. Better educated people tend to share more liberal and pro-democratic values. On the other hand, a poorly educated and illiterate population may elect populist politicians who soon abandon democracy and become dictators even if there have been free elections. • Fewer Natural Resources. The resource curse theory suggests that states whose sole source of wealth derives from abundant natural resources, such as oil, often fail to democratize because the well-being of the elite depends more on the direct control of the resource than on the popular support. On the other hand, elites who invested in the physical capital rather than in land or oil, fear that their investment can be easily damaged in case of a revolution. Consequently, they would rather make concessions and democratize than risk a violent clash with the opposition. • Capitalism. Some claim that democracy and capitalism are intrinsically linked. This belief generally centers on the idea that democracy and capitalism are simply two different aspects of freedom. A widespread capitalist market culture may encourage norms such as individualism, negotiations, compromise, respect for the law, and equality before the law. These are seen as supportive for democratization. By contrast, many Marxists would claim that capitalism is inherently undemocratic, and that true democracy can only be achieved if the economy is controlled by the people as a whole rather than by private individuals.
Causes of Democracy Cont’d • Social equality. Acemoglu and Robinson argued that the relationship between social equality and democratic transition should be nonlinear: People have less incentive to revolt in an egalitarian society (Singapore), so the likelihood of democratization is lower. In a highly unequal society (South Africa under Apartheid), the redistribution of wealth and power in a democracy would be so harmful to elites that these would do everything to prevent democratization. Democratization is more likely to emerge somewhere in the middle, in the countries, whose elites offer concessions because (1) they consider the threat of a revolution credible and (2) the cost of the concessions is not too high. This expectation is in line with the empirical research showing that democracy is more stable in egalitarian societies. • Middle class. According to some models, the existence of a substantial body of citizens who are of intermediate wealth can exert a stabilizing influence, allowing democracy to flourish. This is usually explained by saying that while the upper classes may want political power to preserve their position, and the lower classes may want it to lift themselves up, the middle class balances these extreme positions. • Civil society. A healthy civil society (NGOs, unions, academia, human rights organizations, LINKAGE INSTITUTIONS—MEDIA, POLITICAL PARTIES, ELECTIONS, INTEREST GROUPS) are considered by some theorists to be important for democratization, as they give people a unity and a common purpose, and a social network through which to organize and challenge the power of the state hierarchy. Involvement in civic associations also prepares citizens for their future political participation in a democratic regime. Finally, horizontally organized social networks build trust among people and trust is essential for functioning of democratic institutions.
Causes of Democracy cont’d • Civic culture. In The Civic Culture and The Civic Culture Revisited, Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba conducted a comprehensive study of civic cultures. The main findings is that a certain civic culture is necessary for the survival of democracy. This study truly challenged the common thought that cultures can preserve their uniqueness and practices and still remain democratic. • Culture. It is claimed by some that certain cultures are simply more conductive to democratic values than others. This view is likely to be ethnocentric. Typically, it is Western culture which is cited as "best suited" to democracy, with other cultures portrayed as containing values which make democracy difficult or undesirable. This argument is sometimes used by undemocratic regimes to justify their failure to implement democratic reforms. Today, however, there are many non-Western democracies. Examples include India, Japan, Indonesia, Namibia, Botswana, Taiwan, and South Korea. • Human Empowerment and Emancipative Values. In Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy, Ronald Inlgehart and Christian Welzel explain democratization as the result of a broader process of human development which empowers ordinary people in a three-step sequence. First, modernization gives more resources into the hands of people, which empowers capability-wise, enabling people to practice freedom. This tends to give rise to emancipative values that emphasize freedom of expression and equality of opportunities. These values empower people motivation-wise in making them willing to practice freedom. Democratization occurs as the third stage of empowerment: it empowers people legally in entitling them to practice freedom. In this context, the rise of emancipative values has been shown to be the strongest factor of all in both giving rise to new democracies and sustaining old democracies. Specifically, it has been shown that the effects of modernization and other structural factors on democratization are mediated by these factors tendencies to promote or hinder the rise of emancipative values. Further evidence suggests that emancipative values motivate people to engage in elite-challenging collective actions that aim at democratic achievements, either to sustain and improve democracy when it is granted or to establish it when it is denied.
Causes of Democracy cont’d • Homogeneous population. Some believe that a country which is deeply divided, whether by ethnic group, religion, or language, have difficulty establishing a working democracy. The basis of this theory is that the different components of the country will be more interested in advancing their own position than in sharing power with each other. India is one prominent example of a nation being democratic despite its great heterogeneity. • Previous experience with democracy. According to some theorists, the presence or absence of democracy in a country's past can have a significant effect on its later dealings with democracy. Some argue, for example, that it is very difficult (or even impossible) for democracy to be implemented immediately in a country that has no prior experience with it. Instead, they say, democracy must evolve gradually. Others, however, say that past experiences with democracy can actually be bad for democratization — a country, such as Pakistan, in which democracy has previously failed may be less willing or able to go down the same path again. • Foreign intervention. Some believe that foreign involvement in a democratization is a crucial factor in its success or failure. For some, foreign involvement is advantageous for democracy—these people believe that democracy should be actively promoted and fostered by those countries which have already established it, and that democracy may not otherwise take hold. Others, however, take the opposite stance, and say that democratization must come "from the bottom up", and that attempts to impose democracy from the outside are often doomed to failure. The most extreme form is military intervention to create democracy, with advocates pointing to the creation of stable democracies in Japan and Germany (disputed)  after WWII, while critics point out, for example, the failures of colonialism and decolonization to create stable democracies in most developing nations, where dictators often quickly took power after a brief democratic period following independence. • Age distribution. Countries which have a higher degree of elderly people seems to be able to maintain democracy, when it has evolved once, according to a thesis brought forward by Richard P. Concotta. When the young population (defined as people aged 29 and under) is less than 40%, a democracy is more secure.
Samuel Huntington, “The Third Wave” (1991) • 3 Waves of Democratization: • The first one brought democracy to Western Europe and Northern America in the 19th century. It was followed by a rise of dictatorships between 1918-1939. • The second wave began after World War II, but lost steam between 1962 and the mid-1970s. • The latest wave began in 1974 and is still ongoing. Democratization of Latin America and post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe is part of this third wave. • Recall Zakaria’s article on Illiberal Democracies—mostly 3rd wave • Two-turnover test determines if consolidation is complete
Causes of “The Third Wave” • Loss of legitimacy of authoritarian regimes due to increased popular expectation of periodic and competitive election, and/or poor economic performance or military failure. • Growth in global economic output helped modernize many less developed economies. Economic modernization, which includes structural changes like increased rates of urbanization, education, and a rising middle class, unleashes a constellation of social forces with the organizational capacity and education to press for democratic governance. • Changes in the Catholic Church brought about by Vatican II emphasized individual rights and opposition to authoritarian rule. This shift in world view was especially important for the Catholic countries of the Mediterranean and Latin America, as well as the Philippines, Poland and Hungary. • Regional Contingency Factor (Snowball effect. For Soviet equivalent see Domino Theory), also known as demonstration effects, happens when success of democracy in one country causes other countries to democratize. • External factors, most notably the efforts to spread democracy by the European Union and the United States.
Democratization as a Policy Goal • Increased democratization in recent times • Linked with economic development and education level—more investment in education, consumer products • Classic question: Does economic liberalization precede or follow political liberalization • Attitudes: Freedom is not always the first priority of citizens • Inevitability? Francis Fukuyama
Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History and the Last Man” (1992) • The end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.“ • Fukuyama's thesis consists of 2 main elements: • The empirical argument: Since the beginning of the 19th Century, there has been a move for States to adopt some form of liberal democracy as its government. • The philosophical argument: Fukuyama examines the influence of thymos (or human spiritedness). His argument is democracy hinders risky behavior. Enlightened rational thought shows that the roles of master and slave are unsatisfying and self-defeating and hence not adopted by lofty spirts. This type of argument was originally taken up by Hegel and John Locke.
Problems With Spreading Democracy • Many countries are not “ready” • May hinder a country’s economy • Different standards of democracy (if illiberal democracy is adopted, may never get liberal) • Limited public support in many areas due to perception of government corruption, lack of education (Democracy requires educated citizenry)
Democracy, Foreign Policy, & Security • The new global standard of acceptable governance? • Implications for world politics: • Foreign policy success • Democracies more successful at war (but is this a tautology?) • Women and political participation • Democratic Peace Theory-- Democracies Are Unlikely to Fight Each Other
Criticisms of Democratic Peace Theory • Peace is an anomaly—war the normal condition • Democracies are not always peaceful • What about the United States and its war record? • Feminists would argue need for positive peace
States and the Future • States are increasing in number (200+) • Yet concept of state sovereignty remains under fire • International Criminal Court • International War Crimes Trials of Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Charles Taylor of Liberia at The Hague • The Indictment: Are states obsolete or are they as powerful as ever?
States Are Obsolete • States are no longer utilitarian: Key roles of the state are not being satisfactorily fulfilled: • Providing physical safety • Providing economic prosperity • Providing for the general welfare • Protecting public health • Preserving the environment and managing natural resources responsibly • States do not pursue the interests of their people • Should national interests guide foreign policy? • Yes – realist argument • No – critics point to subjectivity and heterogeneity of national interest • Criticisms also include the undermining of international stability and the shortsightedness of foreign policy guided by national interests
States Are Obsolete, continued • States are ineffective in managing or solving transnational problems (e.g., global climate change and international public health threats such as AIDS) • States are destructive: • Average citizens bear the brunt of war and/or economic sanctions • States often perpetrate violence on their own citizens • Alternatives to States exist
Alternatives to National Interest • Advocates of global interest: The world is best served if all see themselves as global citizens • National interest and human interest are synonymous • Advocates of individual interests: • Consideration of own interest leads to better world political system
The State: The Defense • Nationalism has proved to be resilient • States are learning to cooperate and live in peace • Increased membership in IGOs denotes willingness to adapt, conform, work together • IGOs have yet to prove themselves an effective alternative to the state • Strengthening of states as a result of increasingly complex domestic and international system demands for services • Sovereignty is a relative, dynamic concept • Realists: Self-interest and conflict cannot be eliminated—states are best in this Darwinian world
The State: The Verdict • The world is dynamic and the system of sovereign states evolving • States continue to be the principal focus of political identity • Power of states is changing, but states are by no means disappearing • The verdict is still out….
CHAPTER OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, students should be able to: • 1. Define states as political organizations and list their 6 necessary components. • 2. Explain various theories of governance. • 3. Analyze forms of authoritarian and democratic governance. • 4. Examine the drive to institute democracy globally and the related implications for global and national security. • 5. Understand how democracy affects foreign policy, international security, and domestic security. • 6. Identify trends that point to a weakening of the state system. • 7. Outline the democratic peace thesis. • 8. Discuss the critique that the state system is ineffective and counter productive • 9.Present the defense of the state system from the charges that it is ineffective and counter productive. • 10. Discuss the future of states as principal actors in the world system.