SUSS POL 101 STUDY UNIT 6 GLOBAL POLITICS (Introducing International…
SUSS POL 101 STUDY UNIT 6 GLOBAL POLITICS
Introducing International Relations
Fundamentals of International Relations
What is International Relations
One of the four major subfields within political science, “IR” examines the
interactions among states
and other transnational actors
as they pursue political goals
International context: Perspectives on States’ Behaviour
While a state has sovereign rights to control what occurs within its territorial borders, every state faces a
in the global system because the politics between and among states occurs in an
that is generally
assumed to be anarchic
• Anarchic International system
The international system is assumed to be anarchic as there are
no international overall authority
that can ensure the security of a state - “a state’s security is always at risk because there is no overarching authority that can consistently impose order and ‘good behaviour’ on all the states.”
Goal in international relation
one of the goals of all states in the international system is
to protect their citizens
from the violent incursion of other states
have especially influenced international relations theory on international relations issues:
Constructivism, Key assumptions
Constructivism assumes that analysis of the politics across borders must recognize that
and the key actors who influence the state’s actions
develop unique understandings of the relevant events
and institutions based on their particular knowledge, experiences, norms, and habits
Constructivist analyses international politics by
focusing on the unique social constructs of individual states
and their understanding of particular events.
From the constructivist perspective, neither realism nor liberalism is
adequately sensitive to the “socially constructed” nature
of the identities and norms that shape beliefs and guide actions taken by individuals, groups, and states in the international system.
liberalism: Key assumptions
Liberalism assumes that each
will make decisions and act in the international system based on its own mix of principles, and these
might encourage cooperation
Liberalism suggest that states might also take actions in the politics across borders that
support other values
the spread of democracy
Aims to facilitate cooperative behavior among states,
establish rules of behavior that are somewhat stable, and create situations that are
—some gain, no one loses
Realism: key assumptions
Realism assumes that states, like people, act to
maximize its security goals
and serve its national interest
From the realist perspective, states are in constant
competition for power
, especially because power is a zero-sum commodity—an increase in power for one actor results in an equivalent decrease for others.
focuses on the security dilemma
There is no supreme authority internationally
no transborder institution, and
no international rules that will necessarily protect the state from predatory behaviour by other actors in the international system
ensure its own security
and survival, the key motivation of a state is to
in order to protect itself
as a theory, realsim has poor predictive qualities (Think mearscheimer's paper)
Cooperation and Dispute Resolution
Cooperation via IGOs
Political actors whose members are states
, not private groups or individuals.
IGOs can shape the cooperative relations among states, some or all of which are their members.
States form IGOs to:
provide a forum of
communication among states
laws and treaties
intervene in disputes
Forming an IGO
The creation of such intergovernmental organisations usually
occurs through the signing of treaties
Treaties can be understood as
formal agreements between states
that they will cooperate or assist one another, whether economically, militarily, environmentally, or otherwise
There are several types of groupings characterised by IGOs
Many intergovernmental organisations are formed around
regional groupings of states
, such as the European Union (EU) and ASEAN
EU has sought high levels of member-state assimilation in terms of integrating its member states’ economies, resource and risk pooling, and collective policy initiatives such as those pertaining to the environment
Some IGOs are formed around groupings of states with
shared economic standings
Example of an IGO: United Nations
The United Nations (UN) was created in 1945 (after World War II) as an international organization dedicated to managing international security.
In pursuit of this objective, the UN has
five principal organs with specific functions
Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
promotes economic and social cooperation and development
To achieve this goal, ECOSOC works with the General Assembly to coordinate and oversee most UN committees
The Secretariat is the central bureaucracy,
responsible for the UN’s day-to-day operations
It is headed by the UN’s most visible representative, the secretarygeneral (currently, Ban Ki-moon).
The General Assembly
The General Assembly has representatives from all 193 member states of the UN and
serves as a forum for discussion of global issues
Although the General Assembly lacks the legal authority to pass binding resolutions, it
oversees the entire UN budget as well as many specialized bodies
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the UN’s primary judicial body.
responsible for interpreting international law
(described in the previous section).
The Security Council
The Security Council is the body within the UN that has the
authority to directly manage international conflicts
pass binding resolutions that
the use of force
peacekeeping missions, and
Its membership includes 5 permanent members with veto power (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 rotating members.
Cooperation via International Regimes
One other way in which states cooperate in the international arena is through what are called
Danziger states that these can be understood as a set of
norms, rules, and procedures accepted by many countries
that guide their behaviours regarding a particular issue area.
Example of international Regime
One example of such a regime would be a state’s subscription to the
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
which rules on issues pertaining to international law, such as on the laws governing the seas or those governing appropriate behaviour in conflicts.
By allowing the ICJ to try their citizens
when they have been accused of violating international law and accepting the verdict of the court once it has been made,
the state shows its commitment to international standards of justice
as well as impartiality.
Unfortunately for the ICJ, less than 1/3 of states have agreed to automatically accept the rulings of the ICJ.
Diplomacy and Ambassadors
Diplomacy is a mechanisms through which states communicate to enhance cooperation and resolve dispute
This is done through negotioatios frontted by satte ambassadors (i.e. the sate's representative)
There are many instances in which states
negotiate head-to-head, without any involvement of an external organisation
or a third party in an effore to resolve disputes.
This is known as Bilateral negotiations
i.e. trump-kim summit
an action in the international arena is unilateral when
upon another without the agreement of any other parties
Example: unilateral economic sanctions
there are times whereby negotiations over disputes are not enough to resolve a dispute
In such cases, depending on the strength of the states involved in the dispute, one state may resort to unilateral economic sanctions in an effort to get the other state to comply with its demands
Other modes of cooperation
The most commonly discussed form of international conflict is
war can be understood as
that is sustained and organised and (usually) involves hostilities
between the regular military forces of the states.
Characteristics of a state primed for war
seven state characteristics
that are generally correlated with the likelihood of war
The most warlike states have
, though they are not the very poorest states.
Countries with desirable geopolitical features (i.e. natural resources) may be viewed as a regional target and have a higher probability of warfare.
War is more likely in states that have effectively
socialized their citizens to accept the government’s actions
on national security. (i.e. security indoctrination by the gov)
Countries not well linked to the global economy are more likely to engage in war
are more likely to initiate war than are mature states
States that are most highly militarized, and especially those that are rapidly expanding their military power, are more warlike.
Countries whose political culture reflects a high degree of nationalism are more warlike.
War and resolution
there are three broad alternative explanations
for the causes of war
inadequacy of institutions
War can be attributed to the inadequacy of institutions. In this view,
neither the existing
the conduct among states are
adequate to prevent states from using force to achieve their objectives.
Thus, states are
guided by self-interest
, and there are no conflict-resolution mechanisms that prevent the occasional eruption of large-scale interstate violence.
Resolution to inadequate instituitions
If the problem is inadequate institutions, the need is for
—the creation of organizational arrangements that
more effectively structure the relations among individuals and states
. In the political domain, this might ultimately entail the creation of a viable world government.
War can be explained by human nature. From this perspective, humans are innately aggressive as a biological species (Hobbessian).
Humans are nearly the only species that engages in widespread killing of its own kind.
Resolution to Human nature
If the problem is human nature, the solution is found in
by means of comprehensive
or perhaps even genetic manipulation to create a population with nonaggressive, “peace-loving” qualities.
Scarcity in resources
War can be attributed to scarcity in nature. Because the consumption goals of states are greater than the natural resources available,
states undertake war to protect or capture resources from other states
Thus, states struggle with one another for the control of resources such as energy, food, minerals, and strategic locations
Resolution to scarity
If the problem is scarcity of natural resources, one might look to technological solutions as states
develop new techniques to use natural resources more efficiently
and to develop abundant substitutes for scarce resources.
What influences the
Behaviour of States
one of the other determining factors that influences the behaviour of states in the international system is the state’s level of power.
Power is: a situation in which actor A can get actor B to act in a way that it would not otherwise do
In the international system, power can be determined by several factors including
soft power, and
Consist of Appealing to
shared ideas and Persuading other states to act in their interests
Countries with vast natural resources, such as oil-rich Saudi Arabia can exert regional and global influence with its “economic power” by limiting its trade and resources export or controlling export prices.
Raw power, use threat of coercion to advance interests/expenditures
Includes coercive aparatus i.e air force and missile forces, and possession of nuclear weapons
i.e. Full-scale Invasion or limited air/ drone strikes
of diverse economic, sociocultural, military, and environmental phenomena
by means of dense networks
of actions and information that span vast distances around the world.
These networks dramatically
increase interdependence among actors
within the international system and within environments such as the economic system and the environmental system.
the long-distance flows of goods, services, capital, and information that shape market exchanges
An approach to economic development that
emphasises reliance on a local and global free-market
that is guided by entrepreneurs who shape decisions about the production and distributions of goods.
state plays a minimal role in the political economy,
and public spending is focused on infrastructure support (e.g. transportation, education) rather than welfare distribution.