FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, August 13, 2012

Notes on Nye's "Understanding International Conflicts"

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Notes on Nye's "Understanding International Conflicts"

Below are my grad school notes on the first four chapters of Nye's Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History (7th Edition) .

Another IR Essay I wrote.

Chapter 1: Is there an enduring logic of conflict in world politics?

INTRO:  The world is shrinking and making conditions we once knew nothing about in remotie countries relevant. The new century will yield more states (vs. the idea of globalization/homogenization)—since 1989 intrastate war has been on the rise.

*What is international politics?
            3 forms of world politics:  world imperial, feudal and anarachic system of states (aka territorial states)
            Order and justice: national concerns outweigh concerns for international justice
            What does the 21st century hold?

*Differing views of anarachic politics:
            Realist and liberal approach to international politics view the state of nature differently.

Realist: Hobbes/Thucydides, continuity, state actors only, military force only
Liberal: Locke, state of trade prevents war, change, globalization due to disease, climate change, nations want to just survive

“Theories are roadmaps to unfamiliar territory”

*Building blocks: actors, goals and instruments
            There are no longer just state actors—there’s now IBM, Shell etc
            There is no longer just military security—there’s human security etc
            There’s no longer just military force alone—there’s economic etc

*Peloponnesian War (in which Athens was eventually defeated by Sparta)
            - Thucydides says it was because Sparta feared Athen’s rise.
            - But perhaps it was actually a prisoner’s dilemma (security dilemma) where the   best outcome collectively isn’t the best one individually.
            - But this requires communication, trust (difficult in anarchy), and    credibility

Is War with China inevitable?

*Ethical Questions in International Politics
            - There exist moral arguments for and against war.  A good argument considers motives, means and consequences.
            - Ethic’s role in international politics is smaller because of the varied scale of  morals and causation

*3 Moral categories: Skeptics, State Moralists and Cosmopolitans

Skeptics: Might makes right, Morals have no place, no choices exists

State Moralists: good fences make good neighbors, state sovereignty trumps all, society of states

Cosmopolitans: no borders only humanity, redistribution, society of individuals

*Just war doctrine prohibit killings of civilians

Chapter 2:  Origins of Great 20th Century Conflicts (10 JAN 2012)

International Systems and Levels of Causation
*The international political system is the pattern of relationships among the states
            The system produces the consequences, which can ones unintended by the actors (Ex. From Bolshevik revolution to Stalin entering a pact with Hitler)
*Geopolitics has a role with half of all conflicts between 1816 and 1992 occurring between neighbors.
            - There’s also a propensity to checkerboard alliance to counterbalance neighbor.

Levels of Analysis
*Waltz’s 3 levels of causation: the individual, the state and the international system
*Idea that if all countries were democratic there’d be less war

- System level analysis is explanation from outside-in (how the system constrains the state)
- second level is inside-out (outcomes explained by happenings inside state)

*The rule of parsimony (occam’s razor) = say a lot with a little
            Range of a theory is also important and how many possibilities/anomalies it addresses

Systems and Process
*Structure of a system refers to its distribution of power and process refers to patterns and types of interactions among its units

- Unipolar, bipolar, multipolar:
            Unipolar system tend to degrade as states rise to challenge sole leader
            Bipolar system breeds rigid alliances and increase risk of global war
            Multipolar tend to have flexible alliances and if war, it’s a limited one

***Author touts that during bipolar cold war no central war occurred for more than 40 yearsbut a lot of SMALL conflicts did (ex. Proxy wars in Africa)

- International system process is determined by: it’s structure, the surrounding cultural and institutional context and whether states are revolutionary or moderate

Revolutionary and Moderate Goals and Instruments
*A realist structural theory can be added to by constructivist work as was the case with the French Revolution
- States can change their goals and their means          
            Sometimes these means are technical like the advent of the machine gun and
            Sometimes social like Napoleon conscription

The Structure and Process of 19th Century System
- For structural realists the big change came with Germany’s unification in 1870.  This disrupted the balance of power.  They were either strong enough to take on both France and Russia or if not, they might be weak enough to be invade
            However, an individual prevented mayhem: Bismarck was a gifted and focused interlocutor who formed and maintained a complex systems or treaty’s and alliance that prevented full scale war from 1870 to 1890. 

*WWI was not inevitablehuman choice played a role, as did the post-Napoleonic changes in Europe (process)
            - Shock from Napoleonic war setup the 1815 Congress of Vienna.
*Constructivist attention to process reminds us not be blind to social change

A Modern Sequel
*There were similar worries in Europe when East and West Germany united but there were several reasons the past wasn’t repeated:
            - American stayed involved
            - The EU played a uniting role
            - Domestically, Germany had the benefits of 50 years of democratic process in     
            West Germany

Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy
- Neorealism: state act similiarly because of international systemHOWEVER, domestic politics DO matter
            EX: Peloponnesian War started with domestic conflict between the oligarchs and   democrats in Epidamnus

- Classic Liberalism: War is bad for business, thus capitalist states are peaceful….HOWEVER WWI quashed this notion.          
            ***I would add that war itself is a business stimulant from an economic     perspective though

Liberalism Revived
*Resurgence of liberalism in 1960s and 70s along the lines of economic, social and political
            - Trade gives states a way to transform their standing through economic growth     vice military conquest.  The Japan example is often used, HOWEVER the US was         providing their security for them!

- Neoliberalism emphasize the importance of institutions because they stabilize (and thereby provide escape from security dilemma) in 4 ways:
            1. provide sense of continuity (EU)
            2. provide opportunity for reciprocity (time will balance out unevenness)
            3. provide flow of information and transparency
            4. provide method/means for conflict resolution (EU Commision and Court of        Justice)
*Today’s liberals seek islands of peace or pluralistic security communities

Liberal Democracy and War
- Liberalists and constructivists both tout power of democratic values
            They say liberal democracies don’t fight each other, however they do still vote to go to war at times
            *Furthermore, states transitioning to democracy are MORE likely to engage in       conflict

Defining National Interests
- Realists = states have little choice in defining their national interest due to the international system which dictate their national interests and foreign policy
            - However, liberalists and constructivist say there’s much more to it domestically
            Than that
Variations in Foreign Policies
* Can be due to revolutions, changes in bureaucracy (***p. 51 Vietnam example is a bit simplistic

- These are contrary to fact conditionals, and they illuminate the role of the accidental and give us a way to examine significance of causal factors

*You can tell if a counterfactual is good using:
            1. Plausibilty (cotenability)- must be reasonable
            2. Proximity in time- closeness of two events in chain of causation
            3. Relation to Theory- this makes them useful by tieing into broader knowledge
            4. Fact- need to be accurate (multiple CFs just confuse the issue)



- WWI often blamed on balance of power.  Some say that BoP causes stability BUT that doesn’t mean peace (but does mean preserving independence).
            *BoP has preserved the anarchic system


- The ability to achieve one’s purpose/goals; to affect others to get a desired outcomes.  It can also mean holding resources. 
            Power conversion is the capacity to convert potential power to realized power (measured by other’s changed behaviors).  However, power resources are context dependent. 
            EX: Bismark’s use of railway technology

- Hard power: can depend on carrorts (inducements) or sticks (threats)
- Soft (attractive) power: getting others to want what you want
            It’s not necessarily more effective or ethical than hard power (e.g. OBL)
EX: Hard power necessary against hardened terrorists, but soft power needed to win hearts and minds of mainstream populace

Balances as distributions of power

*BoP can mean:
1. Distribution of power
            Hegemonic stability theory: imbalanced power = peace
2. Policy of balancing requires two assumptions to predict behavior:
            - Structure of international politics is anarchic system of states
            - States value their independence above all else
            *State will join the side that seems weaker
            *Efforts to use ideology to predict state behavior are often wrong, whereas            counterintuitive balancing of power predictions are often correct.
                        China, USSR, Vietnam and Cambodia were not in fact, all the same
            *However important to note that perceptions of threat are influenced by the          proximity of that threat
3. Describe multipower historical cases: this depends on structure and process to explain 
            Structure is in alliances whereas the process is in nationalism and meetings etc.

- As the alliance system became less flexible, the BoP became less multipolar and the likelihood of war increased

Three Levels of Analysis:
- system level (structure and process), domestic societal level, Individuals

- system level: rise of German Power and increased alliance system rigidity
            Rise of nationalism
            Rise in complacency about peace
            German policy vague and confusing
- domestic societal level:
            Internal crisis of declining Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires
            Domestic political situation in Germany: Rye and Iron Coalition
- individuals:
            Mediocrity of leadership: Franz Joseph, Count Berchtold, Czar Nicholas II and Kaiser wilhem II. 

Was War Inevitable?
- No.
            - Deep causes were changes in the structure of BoP and parts of domestic political            systems.  Also big was rise of German strength, bipolar alliance development, nationalism etc….
            - Intermediate causes were German policy, complacency and leadership      idiosyncrasies.
            - Precipitating cause was Franz Ferdinand assassination

What Kind of War?

-  Using counterfactuals can help explore this issue, but ultimately human choices matters
            EX: In June 1914, Britain sent 4 battleships to Germany for a state visit—SO probable doesn’t equal inevitable

Lessons of History Again:

- Beware of:
            *complacency about peace
            *next crisis will fit same pattern as last crisis (Iraq)
*Today the ideology and acceptance of war is much weaker than the prevailing fatalist Darwinist argument of the era
****Is this really true, where does NYE get this from?


The Rise and Fall of Collective Security
- Wilson a classic liberal/idealist who viewed BoP as immoral
- BoP seeks to preserve sovereign state system—NOT peace
- Wilson sought to change this international system from BoP to collective security
The League of Nations
- Collective sec:
            Make aggression illegal and outlaw offensive war
            Deter aggression through coalition on non-aggressors
            If deter fails, ALL states punish
*International law supercedes domestic law
- 3 differences between CS and BoP
            In CS, focus is on aggressive policies NOT capacity
            In CS, coalitions are NOT predetermined until aggressor acts, but then requires ALL
            CS is global and universal, NO neutrals
- Ambiguity of LoN undermined it from the start
            US refusing to join
            Article 16 not specific—states can decide not join in sanctions or actions

1 comment:

  1. So funny, I like your questions in the notes. -------A girl from China 2015/4/6