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As more and more data are collected, one must be tolerant of ambiguity, concerned about probabilities, and distrustful of absolutes. International relations theories come in a variety of forms, and this chapter will introduce three general theories and one newer perspective.

Theory and the Levels of Analysis In a categorization first used by Kenneth Waltz, three different sources of explanations are offered. The purpose of theory is to guide us toward an understanding of which of these various explanations are the necessary and sufficient explanations for the invasion.

Good theory should be able to explain phenomena at a particular level of analysis; better theory should also offer explanations across different levels of analysis. Realism and Neorealism Realism is based on a view of the individual as primarily selfish and power seeking.

Individuals are organized in states, each of which acts in a unitary way in pursuit of its own national interest, defined in terms of power. Power is primarily thought of in terms of material resources necessary to physically harm or coerce other states.

States exist in an anarchic international system, characterized by the absence of an authoritative hierarchy. States most important concern is to manage their insecurity, and the y rely primarily on balancing the power of other states and deterrence to keep the international system intact.

Four of the essential assumptions of realism are found in Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. The state is the principal actor in war and politics in general. The state is assumed to be a unitary actor: once a decision is made to go to war or capitulate, the state speaks and acts with one voice. Decision makers acting in the name of the state are assumed to be rational actors. Rational decision making leads to the advance of the national interest. A states need to protect itself from enemies both foreign and domestic.

A state augments its security by building up its economic prowess and forming alliances with other states. Augustine added an assumption, arguing that humanity is flawed, egoistic, and selfish, although not predetermined to be so. He blames war on this basic characteristic of humanity. Niccol Machiavelli argued that a leader needs to be ever mindful of threats to his personal security and the security of the state The central tenet accepted by virtually all realists is that states exist in an anarchic international system.

Thomas Hobbes originally articulated this tenet, and maintained that each state has the right to preserve themselves. Hans Morgenthau , whose textbook, Politics among Nations, became the realist bible following World War II, argued that international politics is a struggle for power that can be explained at three levels of analysis: 1.

The flawed individual in the state of nature struggles for self-preservation. The autonomous and unitary state is constantly involved in power struggles, balancing power with power and preserving the national interest.

Because the international system is anarchicthere is no higher power to put the competition to an endthe struggle is continuous. Not all realists agree on the correct policy. Defensive realists argue that all states should pursue policies of restraint.

Offensive realists argue that under conditions of international anarchy, all states should seek opportunities to improve their relative positions and that states should strive for power. Neorealism, as delineated by Kenneth Waltzs theory of international politics, gives precedence to the structure of the international system as an explanatory factor, over states.

This structure determines outcomes. However, neorealists believe that the balance of power is largely determined by the structure of the system. The awareness that such possibilities exist, combined with states rational desire to protect their own interests, tends to preclude cooperation among states Robert Gilpin offers another interpretation of realism.

Gilpin adds the notion of dynamism: history as a series of cyclescycles of birth, expansion, and demise of dominant powers. Whereas classical realism offers no satisfactory rationale for the decline of powers, Gilpin does, on the basis of the importance of economic power. Hegemons decline because of three processes: The increasingly marginal returns of controlling an empire, a statelevel phenomenon The tendency for economic hegemons to consume over time and invest less, also a state-level phenomenon The diffusion of technology, a system-level phenomenon through which new powers challenge the hegemon.

Ann Tickner adds gender to realism. She argues that human nature is not fixed and inalterable, but multidimensional and contextual. Power cannot be equated exclusively with control and domination, but must be reoriented toward a more inclusive notion of power, where power is the ability to act in concert not just conflict or to be in a symbiotic relationship instead of outright competition. Liberalism and Neoliberal Institutionalism Liberalism holds that human nature is basically good and that people can improve their moral and material conditions, making societal progress possible.

Bad or evil behavior is the product of inadequate social institutions and misunderstandings among leaders. French philosopher Montesquieu argued that it is not human nature that is defective, but problems arise as man enters civil society. War is a product of society. To overcome defects in society, education is imperative. According to Immanuel Kant, international anarchy can be overcome through some kind of collective actiona federation of states in which sovereignties would be left intact.

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This liberalism saw man as capable of satisfying his natural needs and wants in rational ways. Individual freedom and autonomy can best be realized in a democratic states unfettered by excessive governmental restrictions 3. Free markets must be allowed to flourish and governments must permit the free flow of trade and commerce.

This will create interdependencies between states, thus raising the cost of war. War is preventable; more than half of the League covenants provisions focused on preventing war. The covenant also included a provision legitimizing the notion of collective security, wherein aggression by one state would be countered by collective action, embodied in a league of nations.

Liberals also place faith in international law and legal instruments mediation, arbitration, and international courts. One answer is the story of the prisoners dilemma, developed by Robert Axelrod and Robert Keohane.

Two prisoners are interrogated separately for a crime. Each prisoner is faced with a onetime choice. Neither prisoner knows how the other will respond; the cost of not confessing if the other does is high. So both sides will confess.

Similarly, states are not faced with a onetime situation; confront each other over and over again. The prisoners dilemma provides neoliberal institutionalists with a rationale for mutual cooperation in an environment 2.

Cooperation emerges because for actors having continuous interactions with each other, it is in the self-interest of each to cooperate. With the end of the Cold War, liberalism has achieved new credibility. Shared democratic norms and culture inhibit aggression and international institutions that bind democracies together act to constrain behavior. Large-scale conflict is less frequent than in earlier eras. Thus, as Francis Fukuyama argues, there is an absence of any viable theoretical alternatives.

The Radical Perspective Radicalism assumes the primacy of economics for explaining virtually all other phenomena. According to Marx, private interests control labor and market exchanges. A clash inevitably arises between the controlling, capitalist bourgeois class and the controlled proletariat workers.

Radicals are concerned with explaining the relationship between the means of production, social relations, and power. That structure is the by-product of imperialism, or the expansion of certain economic forms into other areas of the world. Hobson theorized that expansion occurs because of three conditions: 1.

Overproduction of goods and services in developed countries 2.

Essentials of International Relations 7th Edition by Karen A. Mingst PDF eTextBook

Underconsumption by workers and the lower classes in developed nations because of low wages 3. Oversavings by the upper classes and the bourgeoisie in the dominant developed countries To solve these problems, developed states have expanded abroad, and radicals argue that developing countries are increasingly constrained and dependent on the actions of the developed world.

Theorists emphasize the techniques of domination and suppression that arises from uneven economic development is inherent in the capitalist system, enabling the dominant states to exploit the underdogs. Contemporary radicals, such as dependency theorists, attribute primary importance to the role of multinational corporations MNCs and international banks based in developed countries in exerting fundamental controls over the developing countries.

Dependency theorists are pessimistic about the possibility of change. Virtually all radical theorists are uniformly normative in their orientation. They evaluate the hierarchical capitalist structure as bad and its methods as exploitive. Some have discredited radicalism as an international relations theory because it cannot explain the cooperation between capitalist and socialist states at the end of the Cold War, why and how some developing countries have escaped dependency, and did not foresee or predict the demise of the Soviet Union.

Constructivism The major theoretical proposition that all constructivists subscribe to is that neither individual, state, nor international community interests are predetermined or fixed. Individuals in collectivities forge, shape, and change culture through ideas and practices.

State and national interests are the result of the social identities of these actors. Constructivists eschew the concept of material structures.

Constructivist theorist Alexander Wendt argues that political structure explains nothing and tells us little about state behavior. Many constructivists emphasize normative structures. What we need to know its identity, and identities change as a result of cooperative behavior and learning.


Constructivists see power in discursive termsthe power of ideas, culture, and language. Power exists in every exchange among actors, and the goal of constructivists is to find the sources of power and how it shapes identity.

Constructivists claim there is no objective reality, if the world is in the eye of the beholder, then there can be no right or wrong answers, only individual perspectives. Thus, they see sovereignty not as an absolute, but as a contested concept. Realists would focus on state-level and international-level factors. Realists see the international system as anarchic and few states other than the United States would be able and willing to rid the world of the Iraq threat.

Iraq posed a security threat to the United States and the only way to eliminate this threat was to oust the Baathist regime from power. Not all realists agree that the policy the United States pursued was the right one: both John Mearsheimer, an offensive realist, and Stephen Walt, a defensive realist, have jointly argued that the war was not necessary. George W. Bush and other realist theorists believe that Saddam was not being effectively deterred.

Bush argued that Saddams use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in the past meant that it was probable he would use them to threaten the United States. The Liberal Interpretation Liberals would utilize all three levels of analysis. Individual: Saddam was clearly an abusive leader and committed atrocities against his own population 2. State: The Iraqi state had an authoritarian nature, and replacement by a democracy would lessen the coercive threat of the state and enhance stability in the Middle East 3.

International level: Iraq was not confronting to its obligations under various UN Security Council resolutions; thus, there was an obligation for the international community to take collective action. The international community did not respond as some liberals would have predicted because the UN Security Council did not endorse the action, and there was insufficient evidence for the presence of weapons of mass destruction. Radical Interpretation Radicals would focus mainly on the international system structure Political colonialism spawned an imperialist system in which the economic needs of the capitalist states were paramount.

In the Middle East, that meant imperialism by the West to secure oil resources. The instability of the oil supply coming from Iraq explains the U. Many radicals believe the United States wants to control Iraqs oil, pointing to the fact that U.

World-system and dependency theorists would not be surprised at all that the core states of the capitalist systemthe United States and its alliesresponded with force with Iraq threatened their critical interests in oil. A constructivist view of the war would focus on the social construction of the threat. How the threat of Saddam Hussein was portrayed is a key part of the analysis.

The concept of legitimacy was also key. The United States recognized the need for legitimacy of its actions, though in the long run, the efforts to gain legitimacy through the United Nations failed. In Sum: Seeing the World through Theoretical Lenses How each of us sees international relations depends on his or her own theoretical lens. These perspectives hold different views about the possibility and desirability of change in the international system.

Chapter 4 The International System I. The Notion of a System A system is an assemblage of units, objects, or parts united by some form of regular interaction. In the s, the behavioral revolution in the social sciences and growing acceptance of political realism in international relations led scholars to conceptualize international politics as a system, using the language of systems theory.

The International System According to Realists All realists characterize the international system as anarchic. No authority exists above the state, which is sovereign. Each state must therefore look out for its own interests above all. Polarity: system polarity refers to the number of blocs of states that exert power in the international system. There are three types of polarity: 1. Multipolarity: if there are a number of influential actors in the international system, a balance-of-power or multipolar system is formed.

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In a balance-of-power system, the essential norms of the system are clear to each of the state actors. In classical balance of power, the actors are exclusively states and there should be at least five of them.

If an actor does not follow these norms, the balance-of-power system may become unstable. When alliances are formed, they are formed for a specific purpose, have a short duration, and shift according to advantage rather than ideology. Bipolarity: in the bipolar system of the Cold War, each of the blocs the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, and the Warsaw Pact sought to negotiate rather than fight, to fight minor wars rather than major ones, and to fight major wars rather than fail to eliminate the rival bloc.

Alliances tend to be long term, based on relatively permanent, not shifting, interests.

In a tight bipolar system, international organizations either do not develop or are ineffective. In a looser system, international organizations may develop primarily to mediate between the two blocs. Hegemony: one state that commands influence in the international system.

Immediately after the Gulf War in , many states grew concerned that the international system had become unipolar, with no effective counterweight to the power of the United States.

System Management and Stability: Realists do not agree among themselves on how polarity matters. Informal regulation may be easier. He argues that more conflict pairs would develop and hence more possibilities for war.

Under multipolarity, numerous interactions take place among all the various parties, and thus there is less opportunity to dwell on a specific relationship or respond to an arms buildup by just one party in the system. Paul Kennedy argues that it was the hegemony of Britain in the nineteenth century and that of the United States after World War II that led to the greatest stability. When the hegemon loses power and declines, then system stability is jeopardized. The international system of the twenty-first century is confronted by a unique problem: the United States dominates both militarily and economically.

What are the implications of such a world? Will it lead to international peace? Realists and International System Change o Changes in either the number of major actors or the relative power relationship among the actors may result in a change in the international system. Wars are usually responsible for changes in power relationships.

The war brought the demise of Great Britain and France, and signaled an end to Germanys and Japans imperial aspirations. The United States and Soviet Union emerged into dominant positions; the multipolar world had been replaced by a bipolar one.

Such changes occur because states respond at different rates to political, economic, and technological developments. Advances in technology not only have expanded the boundaries of accessible geographic space, but also brought about changes in the boundaries of the international system.

With these changes came an explosion of new actors. Although these weapons have not been used since , the weapons remain much feared, and efforts by nonnuclear states to develop such weapons, or threat to do so, has met sharp resistance. The nuclear states do not want a change in the status quo and do not want them in the hands of rogue states. The International System According to Liberals The international system is not central to the view of liberals.

Thus, there are three different conceptions of the international system: o Not as a structure but as a process, in which multiple interactions occur among different parties and where various actors learn from the interaction. Actors include, not only states, but also international governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, and substate actors.

Each actor has interactions with all of the other ones. Thus, a great many national interests define the system, including economic and social issues and not just security. Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye describe the international system as interdependent.

There are multiple channels connecting states, and multiple issues and agendas arise in the interdependent system. Actors share a common identity, a sense of we-ness; without such an identity, a society cannot exist. This conception has normative implications: the international system is an arena and process for positive interactions o An anarchic one in which each individual state acts in its self-interest: This is also called neoliberal institutionalism, a view that comes closer to realist thinking.

But, unlike many realists, they see the product of the interaction among actors as a potentially positive one, where institutions created out of self-interest serve to moderate state behavior. Liberals and International System Change o Changes come from several sources: 1. Changes occur as the result of exogenous technological developmentsthat is, progress occurring independently. Examples are communication and transportation systems. Change may occur because of changes in the relative importance of different issues areas.

In the last decades of the twentieth century, economic issues replaced national security issues. Globalizing issues such as human rights may assume primacy in the twenty-first century. Change may occur as new actors, including multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations, augment or replace state actors. The International System According to Radicals Radicals seek to describe and explain the structure of the system in terms of stratification: the uneven division of resources among different groups of states.

The system is stratified according to which states have vital resources. From the stratification of power and resources comes the division between the haves, characterized by the North, and have-nots, positioned in the South. Economic disparities are built into the structure and all actions are constrained by this structure. The Implications for Stratification o When the dominant powers are challenged by those states just beneath them in terms of access to resources, the system may become highly unstable.

The rising powers seek first-tier status and are willing to fight wars to get it. Top powers may begin a war to quell the threat. Capitalism dominates international institutions whose rules are structured by capitalist states to facilitate capitalist processes, and MNCs whose headquarters are in capitalist states but whose loci of activity are in dependent states.

They sought changes such as debt forgiveness, how commodities were priced, and controls on multinational corporations MNCs. Constructivism and International System Change Constructivists argue that the whole concept of an international system is a European idea.

Nothing can be explained by material structures alone Martha Finnemore suggests that there have been different international orders with changing purposes. Constructivists believe that what does change are social norms.

Allows comparison and contrasts between systems 2. Comprehensiveness: it enables scholars to organize the seemingly disjointed parts into a whole. Systems theory is a holistic approach. Although it cannot provide descriptions of events at the micro level, it does allow plausible explanations at the more general level.

For realists, generalizations provide fodder for prediction. For liberals and radicals, these generalizations have normative implications. Disadvantages 1. The emphasis at the international system level means that the stuff of politics is often neglected, while the generalizations are broad and obvious.

The testing of systems theories is very difficult. Most theorists are constrained by a lack of historical information and thus the ability to test specific hypotheses over a long time period is restricted. The problem of boundaries: does the notion of the international system mean the political system?

What factors lie outside the system? What shapes the system? The idea of a single international system is largely a creation of European thought. It may be better to think of multiple international systems over time 1. Imperial China 2. The umma as a community of Muslims VII. In Sum: From the International System to the State Of all theoretical approaches, realists and radicals pay the most attention to the international system of analysis.

For realists, the defining characteristic is polarity; for radicals, it is stratification. Constructivists emphasize how changes in norms and ideas shape the system, seeing little differentiation between the international and domestic system and eschewing the importance attached to international system structure. Constraints are viewed by realists as positive, by radicals as negative, and by liberals as neutral as an arena and process for interaction.

Chapter 5 The State I. The State and the Nation For an entity to be considered a state, four fundamental conditions must be met although these legal criteria are not absolute : o A state must have a territorial base. A nation is a group of people who share a set of characteristics. At the core of the concept of a nation is the notion that people having commonalities owe their allegiance to the nation and to its legal representative, the state.

With improved methods of transportation and invention of the printing press, people could travel, witnessing firsthand similarities and differences among peoples. Some nations, liked Denmark and Italy, formed their own states. This coincidence between state and nation, the nation-state, is the foundation for national self-determination, the idea that peoples sharing nationhood have a right to determine how and under what conditions they should live.

Other nations are spread among several states; in these cases, the state and the nation do not coincide.

Not all ethnonationalists aspire to the same goals. Contending Conceptualizations of the State The Realist View of the State o Realists hold a state-centric view: the state is an autonomous actor constrained only by the structural anarchy of the international system. As a sovereign entity, the state has a consistent set of goalsthat is, a national interestdefined in terms of power. Once the state acts, it does so as an autonomous, unitary actor.

These readings have been selected to provide in depth analysis for students on certain questions, to offer competing views on controversial issues, and to provide policy relevance. The two books may also be usefully paired with other books in the Norton series. These included writing original research papers and collaborating with colleagues; serving as department chair; enjoying a year's sabbatical, which took me to several and functioning as wife and as a mother of different parts of the two teenagers.

Time is always precious and encouragement imperative. I have been fortunate to have received both. The Roman Empire, c. He believed that faculty were "clamoring for smart, short textbooks with a clear sense of what's essential and what's not. I was asked to write the overview book based ori that seminal idea. He thought that, because I had taught the introductory international relations course at several large public universities, I might have insight into students' knowledge and their needs, as well as an eye for how to present the material.

Jack Snyder, the general editor of the series, signed on to write the book on nationalism; he was joined by Stephen Krasner writ! Richard Harknett came on board to create a website for the series. Having to think about how to present the rich and complex subject of international relations in a text of only pages was a challenging and enlightening task-challenging, of course, because we academics always want to say more, not less, about our favorite topics, and enlightening because being forced to make difficult choices about what topics to address strengthened my belief in what the roots of the discipline are.

I felt strongly about beginning with a discussion of the history of international relations, so that students can underst,Hld why we study the subject and how current scholarship is always informed hy what has preceded it. This discussion Icads naturally into Chapter 2, which lraces lhc hislory of the state and the international system.

II How have history and philosophy been used to study international relations? But these events-bombings in Israel, starvation in Somalia and Mozambique, a summit meeting in Moscow, steep fluctuations in the value of the Japanese yen, and intense competition for investment opportunities in Vietnammay seem to most of us to be distant and unrelated to our own lives.

Yet these seemingly remote events quickly can become both highly related and personally salient to any or all of us. Those bombings killed visiting students from your university; your sibling or your uncle was called into active duty in the National Guard to deliver food to Somalia; the price of the new computer or television set you want has plummeted because of the favorable dollar-yen exchange rate; Vietnam, once the symbol of protest and pain for your parents' generation, is now a hotly contested terrain for your employer's investment dollars.

A slight change of the story line immediately transforms events 'out there" to matters of immediate concern. downloaders of quality carpets and clothing learn that those goods often are produced by 2 CH.

Historically, international activities such as these were overwhelmingly the results of decisions taken by central governments and heads of state, not by ordinary citizens. Increasingly, however, these activities involve different actors, some of whom you directly influence.

In all likelihood, you, too, will be participating in international relations as you travel to foreign lands, download products made abroad, or work for a multinational corporation headquartered in another country.

You may be a member of a nongovernmental organization-Amnesty International, the Red Cross, or Greenpeace-with a local chapter in your community or at your college. With your fellow members around the globe, you may try to influence the local, as well as the national and international, agenda.

Your city or state may be actively courting foreign private investment, competing against both neighboring municipalities and other countries.

These activities can directly affect the job situation in your community, creating new employment possibilities or taking away jobs to areas with cheaper wages. As a businessperson, you may be liberated or constrained by business regulations-internationally mandated standards established by the World Trade Organization to facilitate the movement of goods and commerce across national borders.

Thus the variety of actors in international relations includes not just the states recognized in the world today, and their leaders and government bureaucracies, but also municipalities, for-profit and not-for-profit private organizations, international ,organizations, and you. International relations is the study of the interactions among the various actors that participate in international politics, including states, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, subnational entities like bureaucracies and local governments, and individuals.

It is the study of the behaviors of these nctors as they participate individt13l1y and together in international political processes.

How can we begin to think theor.Italy was unified in Although the methods of behavioralismhave never been an end in themselves.. Good theory should be able to explain phenomena at a particular level of analysis; better theory should also offer explanations across different levels of analysis. During the SixDay War in They have taken the integration of national economies beyond trade and money to include the internationalization of production o Liberals see MNCs as positive 1.

He argues in The Prince that a leader needs to be ever mindful of threats to his personal security and the security of the state.

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