GOVT 2060 International Relations: Theories and Approaches Fall 2017

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1 THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES ST. AUGUSTINE FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE GOVT 2060 International Relations: Theories and Approaches Fall 2017 Topic 4 Neorealism The end of the seventies saw a revised and modified version of classical realism which came to be known as neo-realism and more popularly, as Kenneth Waltz s structural realism. Structural realism would later be critiqued leading to the emergence of postclassical realism as scholars grappled with the role of the state and foreign policy in the international system. This new version of realism and the contending debates between structural and post-classical realists would constitute the topics of this session. 1/22

2 ab1234.yolasite.com 2/22

3 Course content The History and Evolution of the International System Levels of Analysis and Foreign Policy MAINSTREAM APPROACHES Liberalism Realism Neorealism Neoliberalism POSITIVIST THEORIES STRUCTURALIST APPROACHES Classical Marxism Dependency Theory Structural Imperialism Worlds System Theory International Society Theory (The English School) POST-POSITIVIST THEORIES Constructivism Postmodernism Critical Theory Feminism 3/22

4 Readings: 1. Mansbach, Richard W. Neo-this and neo-that: Or, `Play it Sam' (again and again). International Studies Quarterly, Apr 96 Supplement 1, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p 90 Ebsco Host (6p) 2. Bhansali, Krish. Neorealism and its Critics (Book Review). Journal of Politics, May 87, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p 631 Ebsco Host (3p) 3. Powell, Robert. Anarchy in international relations theory: the neorealistneoliberal debate. International Organization, Spring 94, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p Ebsco Host (32p) 4.Brooks, Stephen G. Dueling Realism. International Organization, Summer 97, Vol. 51, Issue 3. Business Source Premier- Ebsco Host. (33p) At the Caspian Sea University: Robert Jackson and Georg Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations. Theories and Approaches, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013 (5th edition), 'The Voice of Behaviouralism in IR' (from Ch.2, pp.43-46) John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens, The Globalization of World Politics: an Introduction to International Relations. N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2008 (4th edition), Ch. 7 Neo-Realism and Neo-Liberalism. P. Viotti and M. Kauppi, International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond (see Topic 3 Realism). 4/22

5 First IR Great Debate: Realism - Liberalism Utopian (Marxism-Leninism) Utopian liberalism 1920s Focus: International law International organizations Interdependence Cooperation Peace Realist response 1930s-1950s Focus: Power politics Security Aggression Conflict War 5/22

6 Second IR Great Debate: Traditionalism - Behaviouralism late 1950s-1960s 6/22

7 Traditional Approaches Focus: Understanding Norms and values Judgement Historical knowledge Theorists inside subject A methodological debate Behaviouralist Reponse Focus: Explaining Hypothesis Collection of data Scientific knowledge Theorists outside subject Robert Jackson, Georg Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p.48 7/22

8 An extreme example: a behaviouralist text of international relations 8/22

9 The Intra-Paradigm Debate (Neorealism vs. Neoliberalism, based on the same paradigm; not a Great Debate) or The Inter-Paradigm Debate (Neorealism vs. Neoliberalism vs. Radical Theories=Neo-Marxism, based on different paradigms; a Great Debate) known as The Third IR Great Debate or The first stage of the Third Great Debate 1970s the general neoclassical theories: neorealism and neoliberalism - realist and liberal ideas + - elements of economy, psychology, mathematics, game theory (rational choice) 9/22

10 10/22

11 Realism (see the previous lecture) Taxonomy of Realisms (Baylis and Smith, Table 5.1, p.96) Classical realism Author Work Thucydides The Peloponnesian War (includes 'The Melian Dialogue') IV c. BC Machiavelli The Prince 1532 E. H. Carr The Twenty Years Crisis: Hans Morgenthau Politics among Nations 1948 Cause of insecurity Human nature 11/22

12 Neorealism Structural realism (Neorealism) Neoclassical / post-classical realism (Neorealism) Rousseau The State of War 1750 Theory of Int. Politics 'Defensive realism' Kenneth states=security Waltz maximizers 1979 Goal: status quo John Mearsheimer Fareed Zakaria Neoclassical realism Stephen Brooks Post-classical realism Tragedy of Great Power politics 'Offensive realism' states=power maximizers Goal: hegemony From Wealth to Power Systemic, cognitive and domestic factors 'Dueling Realisms', IO An alternative to structural realism Anarchical system How power is perceived How leadership is exercised 12/22

13 Structural realism Kenneth Waltz (Theory of International Politics, 1979) - microeconomic approach (RATIONAL CHOICE): State = rational actor economic agent (maximize benefits, minimize losses) Anarchy int. system = anarchic chaotic states = offensive military capability states = mistrustful self-help system fundamental goal = survival - systemic theory: int. system imposes the behaviour of states (as market imposes the behaviour of companies) Power main actors = great powers Power economic and technological resources Balance of power The international system never changes. Only the distribution of power can change. An Interview with Kenneth Waltz (circa 2011) (55min55) 47m23s-52m44s Realists about Interdependence and Anarchy 13/22

14 John Mearsheimer (b. 1947) Kenneth N. Waltz ( ) 14/22

15 Kenneth Waltz John Mearsheimer Defensive / offensive realism 'Defensive realism' states=security maximizers Goal: status quo 'Offensive realism' states=power maximizers Goal: hegemony Theory of Int. Politics 1979 Tragedy of Great Power Politics 2001 Conversations with History: John Mearsheimer (circa 2002) (58min28) 47min10-51min31 Values vs Power in IR Cooperation? IR=zero sum game importance of relative gains (Joseph Grieco: a state should cooperate only if it gains more) e.g. US cooperates economically with China without gaining more it helps China become an effective challenger of American hegemony Interdependence = mutual vulnerability (the EU imposition of sanctions against Russia was difficult because of the cost for EU companies) Economic cooperation possible only if imposed by a hegemon Decline of the hegemon = destabilisation 15/22

16 Charles Kindleberger - the theory of hegemonic stability (the realist theory of regimes:) C. Kindleberger ( ) The hegemon imposes cooperation to its own benefit States cooperate as long as the hegemon is strong enough to force them to do so 16/22

17 Three Important Characteristics of Structural Realism: 1. the ordering principle of the system = anarchy it forces states to behave in the same way 2. the character of the units in the system self-help environment states perform the same primary function regardless of their capacity 3. the distribution of capabilities across units (states) states = a difference of capability, not of function the distribution of power overrides internal factors (ex. ideology) 17/22

18 Critiques of structural realism states can induce systemic change states can alter the system: o economic interdependence o Democratic Peace theory the international system is normatively regulated too focused on structure/power; ignores ethnic identities, social relations 18/22

19 Comparison between realism and structural realism Realism Structural realism perspective individualist systemic analyzes inspired by behaviour of states conditioned by characteristics the actions and interactions of the units (state level) history (traditionalist approach) human nature interests defined in terms of power the behaviour of statesmen the behaviour of states from the level of the system microeconomics (behaviouralist approach) the international system the ordering principle the character of the units the distribution of the capabilities Conversations with History: John Mearsheimer (circa 2002) (58min28) 11min55-16min28 Three Realisms (Morgenthau, Waltz, Mearsheimer) 19/22

20 Neoclassical realism looks inside the states statesmen, not states make foreign policy decision-makers and state apparatus are important Fareed Zakaria From Wealth to Power William Wohlforth etc. How power is perceived How leadership is exercised Types of variables Variables distribution of power capabilities systemic balance of power cognitive domestic perception and misperception of the international situation state institutions elites societal actors affect the freedom of action of decision-makers foreign policy actions 20/22

21 Post-classical realism = an alternative to structural realism Stephen Brooks, 'Dueling Realisms', International Organization, Vol. 51, No. 3, July 1997, pp Similarities between structural realism and post-classical realism systemic focus state-centric int. politics = inherently competitive emphasize material factors (not ideas and institutions) states = egoistic actors that pursue self-help military security = state's primary responsibility military capacity state's productive base Differences between structural realism and post-classical realism structural realism post-classical realism states make the possibility of conflict; probabilities of conflict; decisions based on adopt a worst-case scenario do not adopt a worst-case scenario Actors favor short-term military preparedness; heavily discount the future long term security objectives Military preparedness always trumps economic capacity may be traded off if economic gains are greater than security losses 21/22

22 Strengths Good explanation of a pessimistic age (WWII, Cold War): competition inevitability of conflict military security cooperation divergence of national interest among selfish states + Continuing large scale perception: world politics global tension Realism/Neorealism Weaknesses Contradictions in the use of terms like power, national interest and balance of power Only considers big powers Many assumptions are not testable Cannot explain change in the int. system (end of Cold War, int. cooperation, globalization) Disregards ethical principles and social costs to military expenditure 22/22

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