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Lecture_Week_3.ppt

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Lecture_Week_3.ppt

  1. 1. 1 Understanding Global Politics Lecture 3: Classical Realism
  2. 2. 2 What is realist about realism?  Avoids the ‘hopeless utopianism’ of idealism  Based on empirical analysis of the human condition and the way the world works  Some aspects of behaviour are universal and eternal.
  3. 3. 3 Sun Tzu  The Art of War (written in the 6th century BC)  One of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy in the world  National interests should be the top priority  There is no place for ethics in inter-state relations  Statesmen who pay too much attention to ethical principles would do so at their peril
  4. 4. 4 Thucydides (471-400 B.C.)  The first Western writer in the realist tradition.  The Peloponnesian War (between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century B.C.).  A study of the struggle for military and political power.  The cause of the War—fear, a dominant characteristic and a motivating factor for arms races and war itself.
  5. 5. 5 Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)  The Prince  Power, balance of power, formation of alliances, and causes of conflicts  The end—security of the state—is understood to justify any means necessary to achieve the end  The world as it is, not the world as it should be—ethics and politics are separated
  6. 6. 6 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)  The Leviathan (1660) http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302 /texts/hobbes/leviathan- contents.html
  7. 7. 7 Hobbes and his ideas  A creature of his time: Concerned with nature of political power, basis of order, and origin of state.  ‘State of nature’ which was ‘nasty, brutish and short’  Mutual vulnerability and self- preservation mean setting up of sovereign body.  But only in domestic context: an international Leviathan is impossible.
  8. 8. 8 E.H. Carr  The Twenty Years’ Crisis (1939)  Events of 1930s demonstrate fragility of international institutions and the underlying struggle for power.
  9. 9. 9 Main assumptions  Sovereign states are key actors— unitary and rational  States are motivated by self-interest (drive for power and survival)  Main problem = anarchy (lack of central sovereign authority to regulate state relations)  Therefore, conflict is an ever-present reality of international relations.
  10. 10. 10 Therefore …  The history of global relations is a struggle for power: ‘every state for itself’.  This means leaders have little freedom to organise the world and solve its problems.  Respect for law is only achieved if it is reinforced by the threat of force.  Conflict is inevitable, so must be strong in face of aggression; preparation for war is the main concern of states.
  11. 11. 11 Classical Realism … is an attempt to understand the world from the point of view of statesman/diplomat forced to operate in dangerous and uncertain world. … provides a guide to action based on realpolitik (power and power politics among states) in the interests of the preservation of nation-states.
  12. 12. 12 Criticisms  Too simple  Fails to allow for possibility of change  Centrality of state  No room for co-operation  Rationality

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