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Lecture1. Realism and Liberalism

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Lecture1. Realism and Liberalism

  1. 1. Theme “Major International Relations Theories” Lecture 1. Political Realism and Liberalism The Story of Confrontation and Inter- action January 15th, 2015 Anna A. Dekalchuk, Lecturer at the Department of Applied Politics, Higher School of Economics – St. Petersburg
  2. 2. Lecture's outline 1. Realism: who is who? 2. Realism: what is it about? 3. Realism: one or many? 4. Liberalism: what is it? 5. Liberalism: who is who? 6. Liberalism: contradictions
  3. 3. 1. Realism: who are these people? Hans J. Morgenthau (1904-1980) “Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” (1948) E.H. Carr (1882-1982) “The Twenty Years Crisis, 1919–1939: an Introduction to the Study of International Relations” (1939) Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) “Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics” (1932)
  4. 4. 1. Realism: 6 principles o Political realism believes that politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature. o The main signpost of political realism is the concept of interest defined in terms of power, which infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics, and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. Political realism avoids concerns with the motives and ideology of statesmen. Political realism avoids reinterpreting reality to fit the policy. A good foreign policy minimizes risks and maximizes benefits. o Realism recognizes that the determining kind of interest varies depending on the political and cultural context in which foreign policy, not to be confused with a theory of international politics, is made. It does not give "interest defined as power" a meaning that is fixed once and for all.
  5. 5. 1. Realism: 6 principles o Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the tension between the moral command and the requirements of successful political action. Realism maintains that universal moral principles must be filtered through the concrete circumstances of time and place, because they cannot be applied to the actions of states in their abstract universal formulation. o Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe. o The political realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere; the statesman asks "How does this policy affect the power and interests of the nation?" Political realism is based on a pluralistic conception of human nature. The political realist must show where the nation's interests differ from the moralistic and legalistic viewpoints.
  6. 6. 1. Realism: who are these weirdos? Thucydides (c. 460-406 B.C.) “The Peloponnesian War” Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) “The Prince” Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) “Leviathan” Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) “The State of War” What is raison d’état?
  7. 7. 1. Realism: what is raison d’état? o “It tells the statesman what he must do to preserve the health and strength of the State.” o “The state, which is identified as the key actor in international politics, must pursue power, and it is the duty of the statesperson to calculate rationally the most appropriate steps that should be taken so as to perpetuate the life of the state in a hostile and threatening environment.” o Morals and ethics and dual moral standards (“It is kind to be cruel”).
  8. 8. 2. Realism: what is it about? 1. Statism 2. Survival 3. Self-help
  9. 9. 2. Realism: what is it about? Statism, or state-centric assumption o Group as the unit of analysis, beginning with polis and then… o 1648 – Osnabrück and Münster peace treaties (Peace of Westphalia), the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Westphalian sovereignty (till 1814 and the Congress of Vienna). o “Cujus regio, ejus religio” = “Whose realm, his religion”. o Sovereignty inside and anarchy outside. o State is the legitimate representative of the collective will of the people + “the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory”. o States as billiard balls of different size = power differentials of states.
  10. 10. 2. Realism: what is it about? Survival o Condition of anarchy – key characteristic of international politics (no overarching central authority above the individual collection of sovereign states; no hierarchy, just a set of sovereign states). o Under anarchy, the survival of the state cannot be guaranteed, therefore first priority for state leaders is to ensure the survival of their state in a hostile environment. o States as billiard balls of different size = power differentials of states. o Power is crucial to the realist lexicon and has traditionally been defined narrowly in military strategic terms and, therefore, in terms of national interests. o Core national interest of any state is survival. What do realists mean when talking about power?
  11. 11. 2. Realism: what is it about? Self-help o In order to survive states should not depend on other states to ensure their own security (no international institutions). o If a state feels threatened, it should seek to augment its own power capabilities by engaging, e.g., in a military arms build-up, or… o through the balance of power (Cold War, NATO and Warsaw Pact). o Emphasis on relative gains / comparative advantage (vs. absolute gains) => zero-sum game and stag hunt game. o Security dilemma. (+) (+) (-) What’s that? о_О
  12. 12. 3. Realism: one or many? Where do classical realism and structural realism differ?
  13. 13. 3. Realism: one or many? Kenneth Waltz (1924-2013), Defensive structural realism John Mearsheimer (1947), Offensive structural realism The relative distribution of power in the international system is the key independent variable in understanding important international outcomes such as war and peace, alliance politics, and the balance of power.
  14. 14. 3. Realism: one or many? Kenneth Waltz (1924-2013), Defensive structural realism o Power is a means to the end of security. o Rather than being power maximizers, states are security maximizers. o Power maximization often proves to be dysfunctional because it triggers a counter-balancing coalition.
  15. 15. 3. Realism: one or many? John Mearsheimer (b. 1947), Offensive structural realism o The structure of the international system compels states to maximize their relative power as there is always a great deal of uncertainty about the intentions of other states. o There are no satisfied or status quo states; rather all states are continuously searching for opportunities to gain power at the expense of other states. o The ideal position is to be the global hegemon of the international system.
  16. 16. 3. Realism: one or many? Meet John Mearsheimer (11:55-15:55) Realism is …
  17. 17. 3. Realism: one or many?
  18. 18. 4. Liberalism: what is it? Inter-war Idealism New World Order and the End of History – end of the Cold War Four-fold definition of liberalism by Doyle (1997) 4. 3. 2. 1. All citizens are juridically equal and possess certain basic rights. The legislative assembly of the state possesses only the authority invested in it by the people, whose basic rights it is not permitted to abuse. A key dimension of the liberty of the individual is the rights to own property including productive forces. Liberalism contends that the most effective system of economic exchange is one that is largely market driven. What is the contradiction here?
  19. 19. 4. Liberalism: what is it? 4. 3. 2. 1. All citizens are juridically equal and possess certain basic rights. The legislative assembly of the state possesses only the authority invested in it by the people, whose basic rights it is not permitted to abuse. A key dimension of the liberty of the individual is the rights to own property including productive forces. Liberalism contends that the most effective system of economic exchange is one that is largely market driven. How do we apply those premises to IR? The historical project of liberalism is the domestication of the international (analogy) Four-fold definition of liberalism by Doyle (1997)
  20. 20. 5. Liberalism: who are these weirdos? Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch” (1795) Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
  21. 21. 5. Liberalism: who are these weirdos? Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch” (1795) o First Definitive Article: The Civil Constitution of Every State shall be Republican. o Second Definitive Article: The Right of Nations shall be based on a Federation of Free States. o Third Definitive Article: Cosmopolitan Right shall be limited to Condition of Universal Hospitality. o The Kant’s federation can be likened to a permanent peace treaty, rather than a “superstate” actor or world government.
  22. 22. 5. Liberalism: who are these weirdos? o A legal and institutional framework must be established that includes states with different cultures and traditions. o “Establish a common tribunal” and “the necessity for war no longer follows from a difference of opinion”. o “between the interests of nations there is nowhere any real conflict”. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
  23. 23. 5. Liberalism: who are these weirdos? o Free trade would create a more peaceful world order (19th centuary liberal idea). o Trade brings mutual gains to all the players, irrespective of their size or the nature of their economies (natural harmony of interests). o BUT: o There was never an admission that free trade among countries at different stages of development would lead to relations of dominance and subservience. o The Great War and the economic interdependence between Germany and the UK. Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
  24. 24. 5. Liberalism: who are these people? Leonard Woolf (1880-1969) Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
  25. 25. 5. Liberalism: who are these people? o WWI shifted liberal thinking towards a recognition that peace is not a natural condition but is one that must be constructed. o Peace and prosperity require “consciously devised machinery”. o Virginia Woolf’s husband. Leonard Woolf (1880-1969)
  26. 26. 5. Liberalism: who are these weirdos? o Peace could only be secured with the creation of an international organization to regulate international anarchy. o Just as peace had to be enforced in domestic society, the international domain had to have a system of regulation for coping with disputes and an international force that could be mobilized if non-violent conflict resolution failed (domestic analogy). o “Forteen Points” (1918) and the creation of the League of Nations (1919). o Idea of collective security – what’s that? o Idea of self-determination – what’s that? Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
  27. 27. 5. Liberalism: who are these people? Francis Fukuyama (born 1952) “The End of History and the Last Man” (1992) Michael Doyle (born 1948) “Liberalism and World Politics” (1986) Democratic peace thesis and the End of history thesis
  28. 28. 6. Liberalism: some contradictions o Liberalism of privilege (embedded liberalism) o VS o Radical liberalism (cosmopolitan model of democracy + “globalization from below”, etc)

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