SOCS 633
Peace versus Power: International Relations in the Modern Age

Giulio Gallarotti

Course Description

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:

Participation: 33%  
Paper 1: 33% Due on March 5
Paper 2: 33% Due at Presentations

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 The following books will be used extensively and are recommended for purchase: 

**Robert Art and Robert Jervis, Eds., International Politics, 8th Edition
**Bruce Russett , Harvey Starr,, and David Kinsella,  World Politics, 8th  Edition
Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days 

**readings from Art/Jervis and Russett/Starr/Kinsella are spread throughout the course, hence it would be especially convenient to own these particular books

Course Outline
January 22

1.BASIC CONCEPTS, PROCESSES, AND THE NATURE OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS                                                               
A.        The Changing World Today: Global Society versus National Society             
Walter LeFeber, “Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism”                                   
Sam Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations”

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?       
B.         Theories of International Politics                                   
1.         International Anarchy and Realism                                                                                                   Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapter 13                                                  
Art and Jervis, International Politics,  pp. 1-14, 50-82

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?  
2.         Alternatives to Realism                                                        
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, pp. 27‑48                                                
Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 15-27

Discussion Questions: What are the alternatives to Realism? Are idealism and feminism a better way to approach world politics?

January 29

C. The Means of Foreign Policy                                     
1.         Power                                                            
Arnold Wolfers, "Power and Influence" in Discord,  Chapter 7                                                           
Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, Chapter 3                                                                                          
Joseph Nye, The Paradox of American Power, pp. 4-12                                          
Giulio Gallarotti, “Nice Guys Finish First”

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 Force                                                                                                                      
Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 137-176, 199-214, 205-220

Discussion Questions: In the nuclear age, is the large scale use of force still a useful means of statecraft?

3.    Balance of Power                                                                                          
Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 96-103                                                           
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, pp. 96-101 

Discussion Questions: What is a balance of power?  When will nations prefer to bandwagon as opposed to balance according to Walt? What are the necessary conditions for a balance of power? Do we have a balance of power today?
February 5

D.        Strategic Interaction: Bargaining and the Games States Play

1.     Game Theory                                                                                                                                   
Robert Jervis, "Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma"                                                            
Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, Chapters 1,4

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?

2.         Bargaining                                                           
Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict, Chapter 2 up to p. 46 and Chapter 3 up to p. 58               
Russett, Starr,, Kinsella World Politics, pp. 122-127 

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?

February 12

 2. DETERMINANTS OF FOREIGN POLICY                                                                                                                         
A.        The Levels of Analysis                                                                       
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 1     

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                                                                        
Russett, Starr,  Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 4                                    
John Mearsheimer, "Why We Will Miss the Cold War"            

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?                  

February 19

C.        Domestic Causes of Foreign Policy                                                                                
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 6                                                                                
Woodrow Wilson, excepts from Public Papers, in Wolfers and Martin, Anglo‑American Tradition in Foreign Affairs (look under Wilson "Excerpts" in Reserve Room)                                                                   
Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 83-95      

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?                  

D. Bureaucratic Politics                                                                                                           
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, pp. 169-181             

Discussion Questions: What are the main principles of the bureaucratic politics approach to explaining foreign policy?                      

February 26

E.         Decision Making and Psychological Sources of Foreign Policy                                    
1.         Psychological Theories of Foreign Policy                                                                                    
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 7 

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                                                                                                                                                                     
The class will watch the documentary "The Decision to Drop the Bomb."  The film analyzes the formative events which led to Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb. While watching the film, think about which levels of analysis best explain Truman's decision. The film will be followed by a discussion of the decision to drop the bomb and levels of analysis.

March 5

First Paper Due March 5 

 3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE NUCLEAR AGE                                                                                           
The class will watch the documentary "War Plans."The film discusses the problem of national security in the nuclear age. We will discuss the film and the following readings:                                               

Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 149-162, 239-260                                               
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapters 8, 9                                               
Michael Mandelbaum, The Nuclear Future, Chapter1,2  

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?

March 26

 4. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION                                                                    
A.        The Structure and Role of the United Nations in Historical Perspective                          
We will be watching the documentary "The United Nations in a Revolutionary World." The film explores the growth of the UN and primary functions of the UN system in an historical context.                   

B. Determinants of the Growth of International Organization                                               
Harold Jacobson, Networks of Interdependence, Chapters 1, 3                                                           
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 10 

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)?

April 2

A.        Theories of International Political Economy                                                                             
Art and Jervis, International Politics, pp. 267-282 

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 
The class will watch "Talking Tough to Tokyo" a broadcast of a roundtable discussion among trade specialists about the current state of Japanese‑U.S. trade relations and prospects for future U.S. trade policy. We will discuss the film in light of the following readings:                                   
Steven Hanke "U.S.‑Japanese Trade: Myths and Realities"                                                
Jacob Schlesinger, "U.S. Chip Makers"            

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?

April 9

C.        OPEC                                                                                                                 
Stephen Krasner "Oil is the Exception"                                                
C. Fred Bergsten "The Treat is Real"                                               
(look under Foreign Policy 14 in Reserve) 

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                                         
Art and Jervis, International Politcs, pp. 495-507                                               
Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 16

April 16

Kirk: "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 way?"

Spock: "Yes Captain, violent and brutal indeed. But it is true of you humans that you so often obtain that which you least desire."

Mr. Spock's comments ring true of the environment. Surely, no one wants the environmental degradation which now exists on our planet, but we do indeed experience such degradation. How do you explain it? Is the environment indeed in serious trouble or are environmentalists overstating the problem?                        

E.         Underdevelopment                                                                                                                        
We will watch the documentary "The Tools of Exploitation" from the film series "The Africans."  The film, on reserve at the Science Library, explores the roots of  economic under­development in Africa. We will discuss the film in light of the following readings: 

Russett, Starr, Kinsella, World Politics, Chapter 15                                                
Theotonio Dos Santos, "The Structure of Dependence"                                               
Peter Kilby, "The Internal Forces Afflicting Africa"                                               
Bauer and Yamey, "Against the New Economic Order" 

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

April 23

Presentations on research project

April 30

Presentations on research project

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