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Waltz, Theory of International Politics

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Context.

Cold War bi-polar international relations in a post-Vietnam domestic culture

Scope.

Theory of theories in social sciences, defining the international political environment

Evidence.

Deconstruction of past international relations theories; past and contemporary power balances

Central Proposition.

  • Each state arrives at policies and decides on actions according to its own internal processes, but its decisions are shaped by the very presence of other states as well as by interactions with them.

Other Major Propositions.

  • Both induction and deduction are indispensable in the construction of theory, but using them in combination gives rise to a theory only if a creative idea emerges.
  • Major reasons for the material well-being of rich states are found within their own borders—in their use of technology and in their ability to organize their economies on a national scale
  • We are led to suspect that reductionist explanations of international politics are insufficient and that analytic approaches must give way to systemic ones.
  • One cannot infer the condition of international politics from the internal composition of states, nor can one arrive at an understanding of international politics by summing the foreign policies and the external behaviors of states.
  • The enduring anarchic character of international politics accounts for the striking sameness in the quality of international life through the millennia
  • Domestic systems are centralized and hierarchic. … International systems are decentralized and anarchic.
  • States seek to ensure their survival … beyond the survival motive, the aims of states may be endlessly varied; they may range from the ambition to conquer the world to the desire merely to be left alone.
  • National politics is the realm of authority, of administration, and of law. International politics is the realm of power, of struggle, and of accommodation.
  • Extreme equality is associated with instability
  • Politics have always turned upon inequalities
  • Power maintains an order; the use of force signals a possible breakdown. … Powerful states need to use force less often than their weaker neighbors because the strong can more often protect their interest or work their wills in other ways—by persuasion and cajolery, by economic bargaining and bribery, by the extension of aid, and finally by posing deterrent threats.
  • System; Is composed of structure and interacting unites. Three principles:
    • Ordering; Int order is decentralized and anarchic
    • Unites, As long as anarchy prevails, states act as unites which cope with internal/external problems, they are not free to do as they please. Sovereign and dependent
    • Distribution of capabilities, comparing capabilities gives the relative power.
  • Anarchy; the international system is one of self-help. Weak states have freedom due to their relative low impact and larger states let them maneuver since they are not threat.
  • Balance of power; States seek as a minimum to preserve its power, at maximum to drive for universal dominance. (Use internal efforts; mil strength, strategy etc and external efforts; alliance). BOP work if staes wishes to survice and that there is anarchy.
  • Few is better; due to interaction, bargaining and transparency smaller no is better for int politics, bad for economics.
  • Bipolarity is best: Stability, (with three two can gang up). More actors increase the uncertainty, more diffuse and responsibility is unclear, and harder to determine interests. Cold War should in his eyes lasted longer…
  • Security dilemma; states are unsure of others intentions. Feel threatened and lack of communication, misperception plays part. Can lead to arms race, attack (creates a spiral of increasing unstability)
  • Power; the ability to get someone to do what you want.
  • Free rider; relies on other for security etc. NATO …
  • Had long periods with uni-polarity that was stabile; Sweden, Rome,
  • International politics; action, reaction between sovereign states and theory of internationalpolitics explains their relationship.
  • Structure; constrains a state ability to live out their intentions

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