Peace versus Power: International Relations in the Modern Age
While globalization and international organizations have currently integrated the world into networks of peace; ethnic, religious and regional conflict have driven nations and groups further apart. This coexistence of conflict and cooperation marks the evolution of the international system. This course represents an attempt to understand the foundations of this coexistence through an analysis of the central concepts, theories, and empirical findings in the study of international politics. The principal actors, structures, and processes of international relations will be analyzed in a theoretical and historical context. Major topics include: nationalism and the national interest, power, diplomacy, game theory and bargaining, the causes of foreign policy, nuclear weapons and international security, underdevelopment, globalization, international organizations, international resource management, the environment, trade, and transnational actors. In terms of case studies, we will pay special attention to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Truman’s decision to drop the A-bomb and development in West Africa.
Final course grades will be based on two papers on subjects to be announced, and class participation. It is essential that you keep up with the readings so as to enhance participation, as well as avoiding excess reading before assignments. The lectures and discussions will be based upon the readings for the day. Preparation questions which highlight the major issues to discussed will be in your handouts.
Grades will be assigned based on the following weights:
All the readings on this syllabus will be required. I have prepared packets of readings which can be purchased at PIP Printing at 179 Main Street Middletown (344-9001). You can order them online at www.pip.com. The following books will be used extensively and are recommended for purchase:
**Robert Art and Robert Jervis, Eds., International Politics, 8th Edition
**readings from Art/Jervis and Russett/Starr/Kinsella are spread throughout the course, hence it would be especially convenient to own these particular books
1.BASIC CONCEPTS, PROCESSES, AND THE NATURE OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
Discussion Questions: There is debate over the nature of our changing world
system. Some see globalization as creating a new age in which nations are
withering in the face of a growing international society. Others, like
Huntington, believe other forces which are far less harmonious will mark our
future. What do you think?
Discussion Questions: The Realist school of international politics has
traditionally looked to Hobbes' Leviathan as an intellectual precursor. In
Chapter 13 Hobbes paints a picture of what a community would be like without
central organization or rule. How would you describe this state-of-nature
existence? What is anarchy all about? Can we draw realistic parallels
between this state of nature and the world of international politics?
Discussion Questions: What are the alternatives to Realism? Are idealism and feminism a better way to approach world politics?
C. The Means of Foreign Policy
Discussion Questions: What is the national interest? Whose interest is it really? What are Wolfer's "goals of foreign policy?" Is Morgenthau correct in saying a general national interest exists for all nations, and that this national interest can be defined in terms of the accumulation of power? What is this power of which he speaks? If this were true, would it make the world a more dangerous place or peaceful place? What would Gallarotti and Nye, who talk about how power-seeking can backfire, say about the realist principle of power maximization?
2. The Use of
Discussion Questions: In the nuclear age, is the large scale use of force still a useful means of statecraft?
Balance of Power
D. Strategic Interaction: Bargaining and the Games States Play
Discussion Questions: We will discuss our experience in the simulation game.
Think fully about how the Prisoner's Dilemma can be used to explain world
politics. What reasons can you give for why you followed the strategy that
you did? What relation does this have to international politics?
Discussion Questions: Schelling presents numerous strategies for bargaining. Especially interesting are his concepts of "the power through binding oneself," "the advantage of the last clear chance," and the whole idea of the rationality of irrationality. What are these strategies? How can they be used to win a chicken game?
2. DETERMINANTS OF FOREIGN POLICY
Discussion Questions: What is the whole concept of levels of analysis? How does Waltz' 3 levels (which he calls images) explain war? Russett and Starr present an alternative "menu" of levels. Which of Russett and Starr's levels do Waltz' levels correspond to?
B. Structural Causes of Foreign Policy
Discussion Questions: How does the structural level explain foreign policy? What are its advantages and disadvantages? How would you explain the Gulf War on a structural level? Why does Mearsheimer say we will miss the Cold War? Do you agree with his argument?
C. Domestic Causes of Foreign Policy
Discussion Questions: Woodrow Wilson, former teacher and football coach at Wesleyan University, argued that a democratic world (i.e., where all nations are governed by democratic principles) was a safe world. Michael Doyle has recently restated the argument in terms of the passivity of liberal states. What is the logic of their argument? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Consider the evidence too (pay attention to Doyle's use of the evidence). In democracies, popular views are supposedly the primary shapers of foreign policy. Is this true of the U.S.? Does the U.S. have a truly democratic foreign policy?
Discussion Questions: What are the main principles of the bureaucratic politics approach to explaining foreign policy?
E. Decision Making and Psychological Sources of Foreign Policy
Discussion Questions: The decision-making level of analysis explains foreign policy by looking at the belief systems and thought processes of leaders. Hence, it proposes that we learn abut foreign policy through a familiarity with the psychology of leaders. What are the principal psychological processes that affect foreign policy decisions?
2. Psychological Sources and the Cuban Missile Crisis Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days
Discussion Questions: Which of these psychological processes were especially visible and important in the Cuban Missile Crisis case?
F. Levels of Analysis and the Decision to Drop the A‑Bomb
First Paper Due March 5
3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE NUCLEAR AGE
Discussion Questions: What is the best nuclear strategy for nations to follow in order to assure ongoing peaceful relations? There has been a long debate between MAD (mutual assured destruction) advocates and counter-force (aim at and destroy weapons rather than cities). MAD proponents argue that you animize peace when you aim at cities (i.e., when you hold the other nation's population hostage). Which do you think is a more stabilizing strategy? Where is the best place to aim your weapons? Moreover, what should our plan be if we begin fighting a war? Which targets would we attack first? What kind of retaliation can we expect? Some people (e.g., MAD advocates) might argue that the best plan is no plan because other nations will be convinced that the war will get out of hand and therefore be deterred from starting hostilities. (In this case, "no plan" would signal an irrational conduct of war which would be akin to using the strategy of the rationality of irrationality in a Chicken game). Can nuclear deterrence be better modeled as Chicken or Prisoner's Dilemma?
Determinants of the Growth of International Organization
Discussion Questions: Inspect the graph which shows the growth of international organization over the last two centuries. Based on these trends you see, what forces would you say cause the growth of international organization. For example, notice the sharp rise in the number of international organizations after World War I and World War II. Based on this one, would you say that international organizations tend to increase sharply in number after major wars (why is this?) Look over the graph carefully and try to come up with other explanations of the growth and timing of international organization.
C. Competing Theories of International Organization Harold Jacobson, Networks of Interdependence, Chapter 4
Discussion Questions: How would you describe or characterize the four major theories of international organization: federalism, functionalism, neofunctionalism, and neo-Marxism? Which best describes the growth of international organization in our own times (let us say over the last century)?
INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY
Discussion Questions: Gilpin describes and analyzes the three major theories of international economic relations: liberalism, Marxism, and mercantilism. What are the major tenets of each theory? Which theory best describes international economic relations today?
B. Trade: The U.S.‑Japanese Dimension
Discussion Questions: We can learn a good deal from present day Japanese-U.S. trade relations: there is no question that they represent a microcosm of international trade relations. The main source of friction has been the enormous bilateral trade deficit the U.S. presently runs against Japan (over the past 10 years, U.S. has been consistently buying 50 billion more in goods from Japan than Japan buys from the U.S.). Where is the main cause of this uneven trade relationship? Many in the U.S. contend it stems from unfair and restrictive trade practices in Japan (barriers, and export subsidies). Many in Japan contend it stems from the growing uncompetitiveness of American industry. What do you think? What should be done about the problem?
Discussion Questions: OPEC is the most powerful international resource cartel in history. It has survived the ongoing problem of cheating among its member states (i.e., countries producing more than their quotas) and, more recently, have survived two devastating wars among its members (Iran-Iraq and the Gulf War). What has been the secret of its success? More specifically, why has OPEC achieved and maintained the strength it has enjoyed? Furthermore, can we expect the cartel to last into the future, or are its days numbered? What can governments do to reduce their dependence on OPEC?
D. The Tragedy of the Commons: Preserving Our Global Environment
"Spock, our planet has been ravaged by war for so many years. How can you
explain it? It is so brutal and violent. Surely, there must be a better
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 15
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the main causes of underdevelopment. What are the best solutions to this problem?
Last Paper Due at Presentations
Presentations on research project
Presentations on research project