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There is a domestic orientation, people care more about domestic affairs and hope
government does the same.
Less people care about what happens in the world. However, the world drama is
important and it deserves our careful attention. Be more than a mere observer.
World politics affects the personal economic conditions of each of us. Impact of
international economics on domestic societies continues to expand as world
industrial and financial structures are more intertwined. Trade wins and loses jobs.
Theres a dependency on foreign resources for vital resources. Inflation is tied into
foreign affairs, as is the domestic allocation of our own resources.
Most important actors states. Source of political divisionnational boundaries.
Nationalism the strongest source of political identification.
A key change in the international system since WWII has been the rapid rise in the
number of states (200).
Intermestic is a term used by scientists to symbolize the merger of international
and domestic concerns.
International economy affects your job, aspects of your financial security and
defense spending affects you too.

The international economy and your job

Trade, international investment and tourismthree ways to understand how world
economy affects jobs.
Trade affects employment opportunities; exports to other countries create jobs. US
is the worlds largest exporter employing 15.7 million Americans in 1995 (12.8% of
the total US workforce).
NAFTA started in 1994.
Jobs are also lost to service imports.
The availability of foreign products through international trade also helps determine
what you pay for things and how much you can buy. When an importing country
imposes trade restrictions, one impact is that its consumers have either to do
without or pay higher prices for similar, domestically produced items.
Foreign investment influences the job market. Many familiar US companies that
provide jobs for Americans are owned by foreign investors and the product and
MKT decisions they make have an impact. In some cases, companies are saved
by the infusion of foreign capital. In others, the inflow of foreign investment capital
creates jobs.
International financial markets are another connection with global economy. Stock
and bond markets concern everyone.

Defense spending and your economic circumstances

Governments distribution of economic resources affects you economically. You
pay taxes to support your countrys involvement in world affairs. In 1995, 16.9% of
the US budget was for defense ($1,088 per American). US accounts for 37% of the
worlds military spending. The more devoted to military spending, less is available
for private use and for domestic government spending.
One way to think about defense spending and to relate it to yourself is to compare
defense spending with federal spending on higher education.
However, many national economies, industries and workers are heavily dependent
on defense spending.

World Politics and your living space

International politics can determine the quality of air, water and other aspects of
the globe.
The growth of the worlds population and its pressure on resources threaten to
change the quality of life. The world carbon dioxide level is rising. Global warming
& violent weather. Chemicals affect the Earths ozone layer and there are higher
levels of ultraviolet rays.
Deleterious environmental trends.

World Politics and your life

International politics has the potential of extinguishing most or all of the human
race. Civilians have become a target of military operations. War deaths. More
civilians than soldiers are killed.
Vulnerability caused by economic interdependence is just one of the many factors
that may propel a country into war.
Military combat affects men and women. Women are pressing for equal access to
all military units.
We are all involved economically and environmentally.

Can we make a difference?

Direct action (protests, activism, consumer boycotts) is one way to influence policy.
Students are important agents of political change.
Voting for candidates is another way and direct voting on international questions is
also possible in some countries (example: deciding on joining the European


The traditional road is a continuation of the path that world politics has mostly
followed for at least 5 centuries. Its characteristics are: male-dominated, self-
interested states struggling to secure their self-interests in a largely anarchistic
international system. The alternative direction claims that states need to abandon
the pursuit of short-term self-interest and take more cooperative and globalist
approach. It also favors the decline of states as main actors and favors the
international institutions for constraining individual countries. This alternative road
advocates for the empowerment of women and others who have lacked equal
political power

Realism and Idealism: some travel notes on 2 roads

Realism and idealism are broad categories, multitudinous views about the nature of
politics and the common names for their schools of thought in IR theory.
The traditional path is associated with words such as realist (realism, realpolitik), balance
of power, national (nationalist), conservative and state-centered (state-centric, state-
The alternative approach is associated with such words as idealism (idealist), globalism,
(new) world order, liberal, liberal institutionalism, and internationalist.
It is possible to consider realism and idealism from 3 perspectives: descriptive, predictive
and prescriptive.
Descriptive approach: is concerned with what is. It uses empirical evidence to
determine the degree to which realism or idealism influences policy.
Predictive approach: tries to estimate what will be. It tries to explain what has
occurred and also to predict what is likely to occur.
The prescriptive approach: asks the normative question What ought to be?

The disagreement between realists and idealists about the nature of politics is perhaps the
most fundamental division in all of political discourse.
The 2 disagree over the nature of homo politicus (political humankind). Realists are
pessimists about human nature and idealists are optimists.

Realism and the Nature of Politics

Political struggle among humans is probably inevitable because people have an

inherent dark side.
- Hobbes: humans possess an urge to dominate, an animus dominandi,
a natural, animal-like instinct to gain power as an end in itself. His book
is Leviathan. If 2 men want the same thing and it can satisfy both, they
become enemies, try to destroy the other.
- Morgenthau represents the classic realist school. He wrote an ubiquity
of evil in human actions inevitably turns churches into political
organizations, revolutions into dictatorships and love of country into
- Neorealists focus on the anarchic nature of a world system based on
competition among sovereign states, rather than on human nature, as
the factor that shapes world politics. There is no higher authority (no
world government) that provides security and order, so states are their
own judges. It is an anarchic and self-help system. Each state must rely
on its own resources to survive and flourish. World is competitive. They
think there is no scape of this system. They also think that the most
powerful states create and shape international institutions to maintain
their share of world power or increase it.

Idealism and the Nature of Politics

It rejects the notion that most humans are inherently political predators.
Idealists think humans and their countries are capable of achieving more
cooperative, less conflictive relations.
- Rousseau (The Social Contract 1762). He thinks that humans had
joined together in civil societies to better their existence. Then, in the
future a cooperative and peaceful global society.
- Neoidealists and neorealists agree that the cause of world conflict is the
anarchic world system based on competition. But, neoidealists believe
that human can cooperate and achieve mutual benefits. They consider
that the anarchic system hinders cooperation, so the best way is to build
effective international organizations and then facilitate reciprocity.
Neoidealists are also called liberal institutionalists.

The roles of power and justice: Realism and Idealism

Realists the might makes right school of thought. Idealists right
makes right.
Realism: An emphasis on Power

Struggles between states are the main action on the world stage.
Power determines which country prevails. Politics is aimed at increasing
power, keeping power or demonstrating it. Essence of politics is struggle for
Foreign policy is based on the existence of a supposedly Darwinian,
country-eat-country world. Power is the key to the national survival.
National interest: whatever that enhances or preserves the states security,
its influence, and its military and economic power.
Realists are not amoral. The highest moral duty of state is to do good for its
citizens. Moral principle of national survival. More benefits than costs.

Idealism: An emphasis on Justice

Idealists do not believe that acquiring, preserving and applying power must
be the essence of IR.
FP should be formulated according to cooperative and ethical standards.
The right thing to do.
Being idealist does not mean being out of touch with reality. Idealists also
dismiss the charge of some realists that pursuing ethical policy works against
the national interest.

Prospects for competition and cooperation: Realism & Idealism

Realism and the competitive future

Both classic realists and neorealist consider that the international anarchic order is
static no change. But they dismiss the growing number of international
organizations and other evidence of what idealists claim to be a movement toward
greater global order. Realism returns when conflict reoccurs.
Realist advocate a pragmatic approach to world politics, sometimes called
Principles of realpolitik:
- To secure your own countrys interests first, others help only if it is in
their own interest.
- Countries should practice balance-of-power politics to achieve an
equilibrium of power in the world in order to prevent any other country or
coalition from dominating the system. Methods to do it: building up your
own strength, allying with others or dividing opponents
- The best way to maintain peace is being powerfulbe armed because
the world is dangerous. Idealists might say that it is dangerous because
countries are heavily armed. This does not cast realists as warmongers
- You should neither waste power on peripheral goals nor pursue goals
that you do not have the power to achieve. Realists are reluctant
warriors. Prudence is a watchword for them.

Idealism and the cooperative future

Humanity can and must seek a new system of world order. Idealists are not
comfortable with a world system based on sovereignty. They advocate for new
organizational paths to cooperation, so increase the authority of international orgs
(UN) and decrease state sovereignty.
Humans must learn to cooperate more fully because they are in grave danger of a
Idealists are divided. Classical idealists believe that the growth of international
economic interdependence or the spread of global culture will create a much spirit of
cooperation among countries. Creen que los humanos han logrado formar sociedades
cooperativas sin renunciar a su individualidad as como los Estados pueden aprender
a cooperar sin dejar su independencia. Neoidealists instead believe that countries
cannot retain full sovereignty. They have to surrender some of it to international orgs
to promote more cooperation and enforce good behavior, improve themselves.
Idealists condemn realpolitik since power politics leads to an unending cycle of
conflict and misery. Idealists further assert that the pursuit of power in the nuclear age
may one day lead to ultimate destruction. This does not mean that idealists are
unwilling to use military force, economic sanctions and other forms of coercion. They
are willing to use it when necessary to halt aggression or to end oppression. Use of
might to restore right is acceptable if it is made by cooperative efforts (UN
peacekeeping forces); for some even unilateral action is ok with those purposes.

Assessing reality: Realism and idealism

Throughout history competition rather than cooperation has dominated IR. Even
when countries were at peace it was because they were not clashing rather than
because they were cooperating.
Realpolitik is still the order of the day, especially where important national interests
are involved.
The short answer to the what is question is almost certainly that both realism and
idealism influence policy. Realpolitik self-interest has been the dominant impulse of
countries. But, it is also true that countries can also be cooperative at times. In a
rapidly changing world, the idealist approach is gaining ground as states recognize
that competition and conflict are dangerous and destructive and that peaceful
cooperation is in everyones self-interest. However, we cannot say that self-interest
and global interests are synonymous.


Political scientists and world politics

Why political scientists study world politics?
Scholars study world politics with 3 goals in mind: description, prediction and
- Description is the oldest and most fundamental goal of political science.
This should focus on patterns. When a political scientist studies a single
event, the object is not to just describe it, but to relate it to a pattern of
other events.
- Prediction is more difficult than description because of the complexity of
human nature. Political scientists can use careful research as a basis for
analytical forescasting to give a reasoned argument for what they expect
to happen.
- Prescription is the 3rd goal. This means coming to normative conclusions
(what is right or wrong) and prescribe policy.
Some political scientists enter directly into policy-making (adviser of presidents) or
influence indirectly through think tanks.

How political scientists conduct research

The most fundamental thinggather evidence. These can be done 3 basic
methodologies: logic, traditional observation and quantitative analysis.
- Logical analysis supports political observations. Some of the best work
on nuclear deterrence has been done by analysts who employ deductive
logic (general to specific).
- Traditional observation can use methods such as: historical analysis or
a case study. Learn by reading.
- Quantitative analysis: measurable phenomena and use of mathematical

The analytical orientations of political scientists

Perhaps all political analysis, inevitably can trace its roots back to realism
(pessimistic view, struggle for power, the norm of politics is conflict) and idealism
(optimistic approach, struggle for human betterment, the norm of politics is
Many other orientations that combine or are rooted in realism and idealism. It is
worth to mention feminism and economics.
In feminist theory the unit of analysis is gender. This theory is diverse and has
many interpretations. Some aspects related to realism: the role that power plays in
politics. Gender is one of the basic sources of division and definition in political
society. But for the most part, feminism is related to idealism since it advocates
change. Feminists believe that justice requires the elimination of gender
discrimination. Many also hold that eliminating gender discrimination will improve
the state of the world, that because aggression is associated with maleness.
In economics the unit of analysis is wealth. From the International Political
Economy perspective, the economic forces and conditions play the primary role in
IR. There is a degree of realist-idealist split among its 3 principal subdivisions:
mercantilism, liberalism and structuralism.
- Mercantilism: is an economic nationalist theory that maintains that world
political relations are heavily influenced by the competition among
countries for resources, wealth, and power. Countries use tools of
economic statecraft (trade & foreign aid) to further their national
- Liberalism: it resembles the idealist school of thought. Economic liberals
believe that many of the world ills (conflict, poverty) result from
protectionism and other political barriers to free trade and international
economic interchange. World free trade is peace.
- Structuralism: it studies political structure and process from the
perspective of economic structure, which economic class or type of
countries controls economic resources. It shares the sense of conflict
and the importance of power, but for it, the international political policy is
the result of economic struggle (not political) for power. It also believes
in change.

What to study: Levels of Analysis

Level of focus is another analytical approach. The question is what do we study? so

divide the study into levels of analysis. These refer to levels of the factors that affect
international politics. Scheme of 3 levels:
1. System-level analysis: top-down approach to analyze global politics. This level
theorizes that the worlds social-economic-political structure and pattern of
interaction (the international system) influence the policies of states and other
international actors. So, understanding the structure and pattern of the system will
lead to understand how international politics operates.
2. State-level analysis: characteristics of an individual country and the impact of those
traits on the countrys behavior. States are the key international actors. So,
understanding how states decide policy will lead to understand how international
politics operates.
3. Individual-level analysis: the focus is on people. In the end it is people who make
policy. So, understanding how people (individually or in groups) decide policy will
lead to understand how international politics operates.
Focusing on one level does not mean excluding the other. Think of the levels as a scale
from the general to the specific.


The concept of an international system represents the notion that it is possible to describe
global relations as a whole. Actions do not occur randomly; instead general global patterns
of actions occur among the systems actors.
The international system evolved slowly for several centuries, then shifted rapidly during
the XX century.

The evolving world system: early development

The evolution of the current world political system began in about the 15th century
modern states began to merge. The emergence of states as the focus of political
authority involved integration and disintegration.

- The integration process began because of the weakening of small feudal units
(dukedoms, principalities) and city-states to maintain their political viability and
autonomy. Small units declined, so kings gained power to consolidate their
authority and to end the independence of the feudal states.
- The disintegration process involved the unwillingness of people to accept
distant, overarching authority secularization of politics, especially the
resistance in Europe to the Roman Catholic Church. This process also
included revolts and the collapse of empiresthat began with the fall of the
Holy Roman Empire (16&17 centuries) and also is include the fall of the USSR

- The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) symbolizes this eclipse of overarching authority and
the foundation of modern states. This ended the Thirty Years War, declaring the
independence of Netherlands and many German states. It separated religion from
- In the post-Westphalian system, states became the primary actors, which is the same
today. That is partly the result of possessing sovereigntystates do not recognize any
higher legitimate authority. So IR occur in an anarchical political system, which does not
mean chaos. Actually, the system operates with regularity. Anarchy=lack of central

The evolving world system; the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Many of the events occurred during 1700-1900 shaped the structure and operation of the
international system as it exists now. 3 themes stand out: the coming of popular
sovereignty, the Westernization of the international system, and the culmination of the
multipolar system.

The concept popular sovereignty marked a change in the notion of who owned the state
and how it should be governed.
- 1700 and early 1800, the theory of the divine right of kings held that the
monarch was the sovereign and that the people in the sovereigns
realm were subjects. It was the monarch (he had legitimate political
authority), not the people, who owned the state. The American and
French Revolutions challenged this philosophy. Democracies were
established on the principle that sovereign political power rests with the
people. The notion of popular sovereignty expanded the concept of
nationalism to include mass identification with the participation in the
affairs of the state. One symbol of this change was the Napoleonic
France (1799-1815) that had a true patriotic draft.
- America and France with their democratic nationalism spread
undermined monarchical government and the divine right. The collapse
of the dynasties in China, Germany, Russia, the Ottoman Empire
marked the real end of strong monarchical government.

The domination and shaping of the international system by the West was another
characteristic of the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Growth of European power: UK, France and others controlled North and
South America and other regions
- Non-European empires or dynasties began to decline.
- The domination of the West accelerated in the 19th century.
- One reason for the Westernization of the international system was the
scientific and tech advances from the Renaissance. Besides, the
Industrial Revolution, which was a western phenomenon that started in
- The European powers gained in strength compared with
nonindustrialized Asia and Africa since the industrialized ones needed
resources and markets to their capitalist expansion promoted by
colonialism, which also represented prestige. Eurowhite domination,
Euro-American imperialism. China was never technically colonized, but
after 1840 it was divided into spheres of influence: UK (Hong Kong),
Japan (Taiwan).
- Americans also had colonial possessions. USA acquired Pacific
territories (Hawaii and Samoa) and the victory of the Spanish-American
War (1898) added Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. US also
dominated the Caribbean and Central American countries.
- The imperialist subjugation of Asians, Africans and others by Europeans
and Americans set the stage for establishing the North-South Axis. The
anticolonial movement began, so these empires did not last long.
Independence: Haiti (1804) from France, by 1824 all of Spains colonies
in America and Brazil from Portugal.

The 3rd characteristic of these centuries is the multipolar system

- The international system was multipolar in the sense that political affairs
were dominated by numerous major powers (UK, France,
Prussia/Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia).
- The balance of power system that existed between 1648 and 1945 was
characterized by shifting alliances designed to prevent any single power
or combination of powers from dominating the European continent, and
by extension the world. The balance of power process succeeded for 3
centuries in preventing any single power from controlling Europe.

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The evolving world system: the twentieth century
When the XX century began there were no airplanes, monarchs ruled Russia, Germany,
Italy and most other countries there were no important and the population of the world
were about 1.5 billion people in the world. Now, there are intercontinental ballistic
weapons, elected officials govern most countries, UN, WTO, World Bank and other
organizations play an important role.
Technology has been the prime mover of this rapid change. Many innovations such as
television, radio, nuclear power, antibiotics, crack cocaine, and a host of other innovations
that can benefit or bedevil us, keep us together or tear us apart. The worlds economy has
expanded vastly; it has brought positive changes and also illness, including pollution,
deforestation, ozone buildup and the extinction of some animals. It seems that the world is
evolving much faster than ever before.
The Twentieth Century: the years to World War II
Democracy was rapidly eroding the legitimacy of dynastic monarchs. Nationalism was
similarly continuing to undermine the foundations of multiethnic empires
World War I allowed the creation of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia with the loss
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria with the loss of the
Ottoman Empire and came under the mandate of the League of Nations and finally
became independent after World War II.
The end of the balance of power in European relations during the 1800s was marked by
the two world wars. The European system changed from being one that was fluid and that
permitted to have many alliances to a system dominated by two rigid and hostile alliances.
Some examples: In World War I (1914-1918) the Central Powers included Germany,
Austria, Hungary and Turkey. The allied powers consisted of France, Russia and Great
Britain which were joined after by Italy. With Germany defeated, UK worried that France
might dominate Europe again like with the Napoleons empire. For that reason, UK tried to
offset France by supporting Germany and its rearmament industry and diplomatic
demands. For Great Britain, it was a fatal mistake. The events in Russia also served to
accept a rearmed Germany because the West feared the power of the communist Russia.
Germany was seen as a bulwark against the red menace.
When Adolf Hitler came to power, he rearmed his country, Great Britain and France
vacillated timorously over taking action. Then in the Munich Conference, GB and France
gave way to Hitlers demands for the annexation of part of Czechoslovakia. British prime
minister and other leaders held the false hope that an appeasement policy toward
Germany would maintain peace.
In the rest of the world, US and Japan began to play a more significant role. China began
the century with a decaying imperial government and foreign domination, then it rid itself of
foreign domination and to reestablish its role as a major power. Although international
relations still focused on Europe in the four decades of the century, Africa, Asia and Latin
America began to be heard in the world stage.
The twentieth Century; the Cold War begins and ends
World War II marked major changes in the nature of the world political system. This war
destroyed the most European based multipolar structure. It was replaced by a bipolar
system dominated by the Soviet Union and the US.
The Rise and Decline of the Bipolar System
After the World War II, US emerged as a military and economic superpower and the leader
of one power pole. The Soviet Union, though incredibly damaged, emerged as the leader
of the other pole but it didnt have the same economic power as the US. The East-West
Axis was established, the world politics was centered on the confrontation between the two
The American reaction to the soviet threat was the containment doctrine. This principle
transformed US foreign policy from isolationism to a postwar globalism against the Soviet
Union and later the communist China. The US sponsored many regional alliances such as
NATO. The Soviets responded with the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Both sides gave
arms and money to various governments and rebel groups in the ongoing communist-
anticommunist contest.
The fact that both superpowers possessed nuclear weapons avoids direct confrontation.
However, there were some key moments of crisis such as the Cuban missile crisis of
1962. The containment doctrine also led to the US involvement in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh
and his communist/nationalist forces defeated the Frances colonial army in 1954 and
achieved the independence. Nonetheless, the south of the country was ruled by pro-
western leaders. The US intervened militarily in 1964 but the war became a domestic
trauma due to the enormous casualties on the ground and the popular rejection to the war.
Finally, US left Vietnam and Hos forces triumphed and Vietnam was unified in 1975.
With the presidents Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev, the East-West relations began to
improve. Nixon accurately assessed the changing balance of power, especially the rise of
China, and he moved to better relations through a policy of dtente with Moscow and
The End of the Bipolar System
East-West relations continued to warm during 1970s and 1980s; in 1985 relations began
to change when Gorbachev became the Soviet leader. He promoted a reform in the soviet
political system allowing a greater degree of openness (glasnost). He also sought to
restructure (perestroika) the Soviet bureaucratic and economic system. The objective for
Gorbachev was to seek better relations with the West in order to allow him to reduce the
militarys budget. Better relations with the West would also allow Moscow to import more
technology, more favorable trade terms and economic benefits. Besides, Gorbachev also
withdrew Soviet forces from Afghanistan and announced that the USSR would let Eastern
Europeans follow their own domestic policies. The final moments of the USSR were the
unification of Germany and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. In 1991, the Soviet Union
was no more.
The bipolar era has ended, and a new polar structure is emerging. It will have many power
centers but it will probably not fully parallel the multipolar systems of earlier times. One
reason is that regional or global groups may join countries as poles. Possible poles are the
UN or the EU, the NAFTA or the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) in the
Western hemisphere or the Association of Southeast Asian Nationals (ASEAN)/ the Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Asia.
Toward the Twenty-First Century: Changes and Choices
Political Structure and Orientation: Changes and Choices
The Western orientation of the system is weakening, and the authority of the State is being
challenged from without and from within.
-The Emerging Polar Structure: The most likely possibility is a renewed multipolar
system in the future shape of the now-evolving international system. The countries that are
most likely to play a polar role include the US, China, Germany, Japan and Russia. A
future multipolar system will be characterized by patterns of alliances and enmity that will
be more fluid and complicated than the relationships in the bipolar systems.
According to a US foreign policy adviser: it is a complex world and weve got to deal with it
the way it is, old enemies are finding new accommodation. The US has extended aid to
Russia. Old friends have experienced new or intensified tensions. Trade relations among
countries of the West are strained.
Most scholars agree that the multipolar system of the international systems is a modified
multipolar system. This means a system in which states are not the only poles or a
system in which the power of even the major states is considerably restrained by
international organizations, international law and interdependence. One modification is that
the UN or other global organization might become a more independent and potent actor.
Other regionals poles such as the EU could develop. As a result, even the most powerful
countries are not as free as they once were to pursue their unilateral national interests.
The Weakening Western Orientation of the International System
The dominant western orientation of the international system is weakening as a result of
the expansion of the number and power of non-Western states.
With the collapse of the colonial empires, over 100 new countries gained independence
and most of them are located in Africa, Asia and other non-Western regions. These
countries have become a stronger voice in international affairs and a few like China have
gained enough power to command center stage. They also have formed some
organizations as the Group of 77 in order to promote their causes; they also command the
majority in the United Nations General Assembly and other UN agencies and bodies.
It should not be surprising, then, that many of these new or newly empowered countries
support extensive changes in the international system. These countries want a new
climate in world affairs, upheld the equality of race, economic justice between rich and
poor nations, cultural liberation and the repudiation of the hegemonic intellectuality of the

Challenges to the Authority of the State:

The system is also being affected by the fact that state no longer stands virtually alone an
actor in the world drama. There are an increasing number of both external and internal
challenges to the authority of the State.
External challenges: alternative international actors erode the basis of the state
sovereignty, what has changed are the increased number and importance of international
organizations, transnational corporations and other international actors. Many such as the
UN are in the forefront of the struggle for the order in the political arena.
Transnationalism is a second external challenge to the authority of the state and the
nationalism that blinds a state and the citizenry together. Ex: the world is being brought
together by the habits of cooperation and economic interdependence, rapid travel,
communications, worldwide news such as CNN, English as a global language, fast food
brands. All of this shows that worlds people are moving toward living in a more culturally
homogenized global village.
Internal challenges: jihad, ethnic rivalries that threaten the unity of States. Ex: the
hostility between Chechens and Russia, Yugoslavia and its ethnic conflicts, Rwanda
genocide, etc.
Security: changes and choices
Military security in todays world is provided primarily by individual countries. Each state is
responsible for its own protection and for maintaining its national interests. Other countries
aid to another country that has been attacked only if they have found it in their national
interests to become allies. Ex: US support to Kuwait because of the oil.
One disadvantage of military security is the cost for states; another critic is that security
fails sometimes to protect lives very well since violence continues. What has intensified
are the ways to kill one another in much greater numbers than ever before. Here we have
the development of nuclear weapons.
In the face of these realities, the approach to providing security has begun to change
slowly. Over 40,000 nuclear weapons exist in the world, some countries are trying to
acquire nuclear weapons and others are building chemical weapons plants.
International security forces are another new thrust in the quest for security. UN
peacekeeping forces provide the most notorious example of this alternative approach of
International Economics: Changes and choices
Economic interdependence
Since WWII, economic interdependence has growth. There is more free trade, investment
capital, national currencies across national borders, etc. Trade has been the most obvious
aspect of this change, now almost all countries rely on foreign markets to provide jobs for
their workers. Almost all countries depend on foreign sources to supply vital resources and
desired goods and services. The transnational flow of investment capital has also mounted
steadily since it is more common for individuals, retirement funds, and other investors to
buy companies, real estate, and bonds of other countries. The financial health of any
country and its citizens is more interdependent with the prosperity of the global economy.
In terms of monetary exchange, countries have tried to regulate exchange rates and other
such matters. The IMF has been the most important organization involved in exchange
rate stabilization and it continues to play a vital role in monetary relations. The two global
currencies are the dollar and euro. Even the rapid growth of economic interdependence,
trade and monetary tensions exist among the trilateral countries (Canada/US, Japan and
Western Europe). The free trade philosophy still dominates but in recent years there has
been strengthened pressure to practice protectionism. Nationalists in many countries
oppose trade and other agreements because for them that represents a loss of national
Economic disparity between the North and South
There is a wide disparity in economic circumstance between the relatively affluent life of a
small percentage of the world population who live in a few countries and the majority of
humanity who live in most countries. The North symbolizes wealthy and industrialization.
The South represents the less developed countries. There are some countries of the
South that have achieved substantial industrialization and whose standards of living have
risen rapidly. These countries are called newly industrializing countries (NICs)
There is a vast economic gap between the North and South. The North is predominantly a
place of reasonable economic security, literacy and adequate health care. The South is
marked by poverty, illiteracy, rampant disease and early death.
The gap in wealth between the North and South is also big. In the South the GNP per
capita increased from $840 to $1090, an increase of $250. In the North from $19,590 to
$23420, an increase of $3830. This means that the wealth of the North is growing 15 times
faster than of the South.
Another change in the international system is the tension between the North-South axes.
The Less Developed Countries are no longer willing to accept a world system in which
wealth is not well distributed. They blame much of their poverty on their history of
colonialist suppression.
The Quality of Life: Changes and Choices
Human Rights
The world is beginning to take notice across borders of human rights violations and
beginning to react negatively to them. The change involves the norms of behavior that help
regulate and characterize any political system. Behavior in all political systems is governed
by a mix of coercion and voluntary compliance. For example, the values about the conduct
of war are changing and attacks on civilians are losing whatever legitimacy they may once
have had. The international tribunal trying war crimes in Bosnia exemplifies this. There are
numerous other areas in which the demand for the protection of human rights is stronger.
For example, the rights of women remarked in the Beijing Platform.
Sometimes, if still not usually, countries take action based on another countrys human
rights record. Human rights conferences are no longer unnoticed, peripheral affairs. A
significant number of human rights treaties have been signed by a majority of the worlds
The Environment
The mounting degradation of the biosphere has its origins in the Industrial Revolution. Now
this theme is more important and the international efforts to protect the environment have
begun. One of the critical issues during the coming century will be how to a) continue to
develop economically while b) simultaneously protecting the environment.
To achieve a sustainable development wont be easy. Some analysts contend that people
in developed countries will have to curtail their lifestyles in an effort to consume fewer
resources and to discharge fewer pollutants. Even if that Is not necessary, the cost of
assisting the less developed countries will be high. Many from the South argue that the
North is responsible for most of the past and present degradation of our environment.
Delegates from the South contended that the North should pay for the cleaning of the
ecosphere and they should also aid the South to achieve environmentally sound economic
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Understanding Political Systems Far and Near
System-level analysis adopts essentially a top down approach to studying world politics.
It begins with the view that countries and other international actors operate in a global
social-economic-political-geographic environment and that the specific characteristics of
the system help determine the pattern of interaction among the actors. System analysts
believe that any system operates in somewhat predictable ways, that there are behavioral
tendencies that countries usually follow.
The operation of each of these systems is based on a similar set of four factors: structural
characteristics, power relationships, economic realities and norms. Structural
characteristics are one key to understanding system, how authority is organized. Power
relationships shape the conduct of any system. Certainly, no system operates with perfect
predictability. Humans and their organizations sometimes act in an unexpected ways.
However, normally a system operates with a degree of regularity based on its structural
characteristics, power relationships, economic patterns and norms.
Structural Characteristics
The Organization of Authority: the authority of a system is for making and enforcing
rules, for allocating assets and for conducting other authoritative tasks can range from very
hierarchical to anarchical.
Hierarchical system: vertical authority structure with subordination. Vertical systems: it
has central authorities that are responsible for making, enforcing and adjudicating rules.
Other systems have a horizontal authority structure in which authority is fragmented. The
international system has commonly a horizontal authority structure. It is based on the
sovereignty of states. Sovereignty means that countries are not legally answerable to any
higher authority for their international or domestic conduct. As such, the international
system is anarchic, it has no overarching authority to make rules, settle disputes and
provide protection.
States in the international system must rely on their own resources to survive and flourish.
If conflict erupts, there is no international 911 in order to help for a country. There is no
authoritative, impartial method of settling these disputes, no world government. Basically,
states are their own judges, juries and hangmen, and often resort to force to achieve their
security interests.
Change in the authority structure in the international system is under way. Many analysts
believe that sovereignty is declining even most powerful states are subject to an increasing
number of authoritative rules made by international organizations and by international law.
Sovereignty certainly continues as a cornerstone of the authority structure of the
international system. There is, however, a growing view that sovereignty is to be limited
especially in terms of abuse of basic human rights and in particular the oppression of
The actors
National actors: States. The leading role that states play in the international system
derives from several factors, including state sovereignty, the states as the primary focus of
peoples political loyalty and the states command of the preponderance of economic and
military power. States dominate the action and act with independence.
International governmental actors (IGO): Those are international organizations. The
main characteristic of an IGO is that it has individual countries as members. Almost all
IGOs have central administrative structure. Ex: UN is headquartered in New York.
More and more States have to come to share the stage with this relatively new type of
actor. There are numerous ways to classify IGOs. Some have multiple functions, the UN
for example is a general-purpose IGO that works to protect or improve environment,
human rights, economic conditions, peace, etc. Others are more specialized like the World
Health Organization.
Geographic scope is another way to classify IGOs. The UN, the IMF or the World Bank for
example have member countries from all parts of the world and, in fact, are approaching
universal membership. Other IGOs have a more limited geographic scope to their
membership, for example regional organizations like UE, Organizations of African Unity.
Others are regional organizations with specific function such as trade. Ex: ASEAN,
Alliances are a special type of IGO. Some alliances are merely treaties and others like
NATO have organizational structure. Alliances can be based on a desire to dominate, on a
defensive reaction to either a specific threat, desire to gain hegemony or on common
attributes or good feelings between the alliance partners. Alliances are seldom based on
equal contributions by all members, this sometimes causes friction. Ex: US complaint
about the economic contribution to NATO compared to the European members. On the
surface that is true, but it is also the case that a division of labor among the allies
regarding alliance security has evolved in supplying what is called a public good. For
example, while supplying the public good (in this security), the US spends more on
alliance weapons that do the other allies. But those other allies contribute to the alliance
weapons than do the other allies in other ways. Germany, for instance, contribute to the
alliance providing military bases and by maintaining the facilities for those bases.
NATO: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 to save Western
Europe from the Soviet Union threat. The alliance has 4.7 million men and women at arms
and a vast array of weaponry including 32,431 battle tanks, 8320 combat aircraft and 438
major combat ships.
IGO Authority: Traditionally, IGOs have had little independent authority. Instead they
have been and remain primarily vehicles for the diplomacy of their member states.
Countries try to build a coalition IGO in order to garner enough votes to have it pursue a
particular policy. Change is occurring, however, in the authority of IGOs. It can even be
said that some IGOs demonstrate early signs of becoming supranational organizations.
Such organizations are those whose authority, at least theoretically, supersedes the
sovereignty of their individual members. For example, the WTO and its ability to review the
laws and policies of the US and other members countries to ensure that they meet the
standards agreed to in the GATT, which the WTO administers. Another example is the UE
and its members that has evolved further than any other IGO toward supranational
Transnational actors:
Organizations that operate internationally, but whose membership, unlike IGOs, is private.
There are two types: Nongovernmental organizations and transnational corporations.
Nongovernmental organizations: they operate across borders but is different from IGOs
in that it has individual as members. Ex: Amnesty International, Greenpeace. They also
have organizational structures. The influence and range of activities of transnational actors
growing as their numbers increase and as technological advances allow them to operate
and communicate more effectively across political boundaries. The role of NGOs has
become more important and they have achieved a degree of formal recognition by the UN
and other international actors.
Transnational corporations: the expansion of international trade, investment, and other
financial interactions has brought with it the rise of huge TNCs, which are also called
multinational corporations. These businesses have operations in more than one country
that extend beyond merely sales to production and other functions. Their economic power
gives them a substantial role in international affairs. There are some transnationals that
have a bigger GDP than many countries.
Scope and level of interaction:
A third structural character of any political system is the range (scope) of areas in which
the actors interact and the frequency and intensity (level) of those interactions. The scope
and level of interaction in the international system are very much higher than the last
Economic interdependence provides the most obvious example of the escalating scope
and level of interaction. It is hard to imagine that any country can be isolated even for
powerful countries such as the US that depends for example on foreign oil. Trade is one
factor that explains the growing level of interaction in the world. Besides, other factors
such as modern telecommunications and travel explain this phenomenon. It is important to
note that the range and intensity of interaction has important political implications. Some
theorists argue that large-scale, extended war is becoming difficult or impossible between
economically interdependent countries.
Having examined the structural characteristics of the international system, we study:
Power relationships: the distribution of power affects within a system affects the way
that the system operates.
Number of system poles: Traditionally a system pole has consisted of either 1) single
country or empire or 2) a group of countries that form an alliance or a bloc. There are
several ways that the number of poles affects the conduct of the international system.
The Rules of the Game: the pattern of interaction varies according to the number of poles
that a system has. We can identify patterns or rules of the game for unipolar, bipolar,
tripolar and multipolar systems.
Unipolar systems: a unipolar international system would occur if a country achieved
complete global hegemony. It could also occur through the establishment of a world
government. In the latter case, subordinate actors, such as the current states, might have
a level of autonomy, but they would not be sovereign. In this system, the rules might be: 1)
the central power establishes and enforces rules for matters that affect the system. The
central power especially dominates or even monopolizes military and economic
instruments. 2) The central power settles disputes between subordinate units. 3) The
central power resists attempts by subordinate units to achieve independence or greater
autonomy and may gradually attempt to lessen or eliminate the autonomy of subordinate
Bipolar Systems: this system is characterized by two equal actors or coalition of actors.
There may be important nonaligned actors but they are neutral and do not threaten the two
dominant poles. Hostility between the two poles is the central features of a bipolar system.
In this system, the rules are: 1) try to eliminate the other bloc by undermining if it is
possible and fighting it is necessary and if the risks are acceptable. 2) Increase power
relative to the other bloc
Tripolar systems: among the various permutations of a triangular relationship, one
analysis postulated that the ideal position for any country is to be the pivot player in the
triangle. This occurs when the country good relations with other both countries, which, in
turn, are hostile toward one another. In this position, the other two need you, and you can
gain concessions for your continued friendship. The least favorable position is to be the
odd country out in a triangle where the other two players are friendly, and both are hostile
toward you. In this system, the rules are: 1) Try to have good relations with both other
players or try to avoid having hostile relations 2) Try to prevent close cooperation between
the other two players.
Multipolar systems: it contains four or more major powers, it is a relatively fluid and
competitive system in which the countries involved form shifting alliances. Since the
amassing of too much power by any one actor or alliance threatens all the other actors,
there is a tendency to form counterbalancing alliances and to try to win allies away from
the predominant coalition. This type of system is also sometimes characterized as a
balance of power system. The rules of this system are: 1) oppose any actor or alliance that
threatens to become hegemonic (Central principle of balance of power). 2) Optimally
increase power and minimally preserve your power. Do so by negotiating if possible but by
fighting if necessary. 3) even if fighting do not destabilize the system by destroying another
major actor. Therefore, permit defeated major actors to maintain/regain their status. This
third rule is based on the recognition that todays opponent may be tomorrows partner in a
coalition to block the hegemonic ambitions of todays ally.
A multipolar system also means that major actors can rise or fall without significantly
changing the basic multipolarity of the system.
Balance of power:
Any discussion of how international systems operate must also address the concept of
balance of power. Realists believe that the practice of balance of power politics is
necessary and proper, idealists disagree on both counts.
Fundamentally, those who believe in the efficacy of balance of power theory assume that:
1. There is a possibility and perhaps a natural tendency, for some states to seek
regional or even global hegemony.
2. Other states will seek to prevent hegemony by strengthening themselves or
entering ant hegemonic alliances with other threatened states.
3. A balance of power is desirable because a) preserves the independence of
countries b) creates an equilibrium that promotes order and peace.
Balance of power theory is applicable to any of the polar configuration but it is most
associated with multipolar systems.

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The propensity of a system for Instability and War

One study found that a system with two poles (bipolar) has a medium chance of war,
three/pole (tripolar) system has a low propensity toward war and that systems with four or
more poles (multipolar) have the highest probability of war.
However, another analysis states 3 important things: 1)that the increased complexity of
tripolar systems made them less stable than bipolar systems; 2)the global polar structure
is just one independent variable that affects the dependent variable of war 3)there are
scholars who question the impact of poles at all.
A variation to this argument is to argue that poles may have been important in the past but
their impact on the action of the major powers has declined.

*A pole can be a single country, a powerful country or an alliance.


Most of the analysts Japan is a major power that constitutes a pole in the evolving
multipolar system. Japans $2.6 trillion GDP makes it an economic powerhouse. It also
posses other power assets such as educated and able population and technological
It is not clear whether Japan will acquire military forces and the political will to use those
forces to achieve the uncontested status of major power (realism).
The II World war and the cold war provide the external setting for Japans policies to date.
Even though there was a tacit arrangement between Washington and Tokyo where USA
assumed the burdens and benefits of leadership by providing most of Japans defense,
and that Japan is pacifist (1% of its GDP is for military budget, it does not have aircraft
carriers and bombers, no possession of nuclear weapons). At a system level
(internationally) there is a explanation at the end of cold war to understand Japan-s
changing role.
Japan has legitimate concerns about the growth of Chinas power and about the policy of
an unstable, perhaps nuclear/armed North Korea. In addition to the isolationist pressures
in the US that weakening its commitment to defend Japan and to promote stability of Asia.
*These worries intensify Japan to increase its arms to defend itself and its interest in the
region. --->Changing its role.
Even the US has added external pressure to encourage Japan to play more actively in the
military role, when it asked to send troops as UN peace Keepers to the Persian Gulf War.
The possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons is also beginning to be occasionally
discussed in Japan.

Concentration of power

A pole is a major power center, but not all major powers are equal. System stability varies
in part to the degree to which power is concentrated or diffused among the various poles.
For some scholars war is more likely to happen when antagonistic poles have relative
equal power, because they perceive the successful use of force, and is less likely to
happen when there is disequilibrium, when power is concentrated in one camp. Other
scholar disagree, they believe that conflict of countries of unequal power is more likely,
because when the two antagonists are equal in power, they are deterred from war by the
fear of being defeated. A weak country can attack when the country has no choice and the
aggressor attacks.
Emotions are other option.
Decision makers are willing to accept much greater risks to prevent losses than gain an
Other scholars say that conflict is least likely when power is equal or very unequal. It is
most likely to happen when there is moderate power between antagonists-> it
miscalculates the relative power or their opponent.

Power Changes: Causes and Effects

There are different theories about power-based changes in the international system. Some
scholars propound cycle theories, which means cycles that are demarcated by great
power or systemic wars that reflect strains created. These systemic wars alter the system
by destroying the major power status of declining powers and rising powers to pole status.
Then the process of power decay and formation begins anew.
Another study proposes chaos theory saying that there is an evolution to power in the
system, this evolution is chaotic and that patterns of global power are not strict
chronological cycles but variable patterns.
At the end, all agree that international system does change and that shifts are important,
therefore how power change is a key concern.

The causes of Changes in Power

Power changes in two ways:

1) Change may occur in the sources of power or in their relative importance.
2) Power shifts may occur when conditions change within the major actors.

The sources of power:

Power is based on a wide variety of sources. Development in any of them affect. The
importance of economics has increased as a source of power. The military might and the
economy capacity remains the cornerstones of state power but such factors as
technological sophistication and leadership capacity may grow in importance.

Conditions within Major Actors

Conditions within countries and the resulting policies decisions can also change the
system. Its conditions may also affect its willingness to act abnormally (abnormally is not
to play an expected role in global affairs). When they are abnormally aggressive, this can
upset and even transform the system.
When they are abnormally passivity, it may undermine the global balance of power.

The effects of changes in power

Specific effects of changes in power:

Changes in the sources of power or the distribution of power among other actors is likely
to alter the operation system.
Ex. The development of nuclear weapons provides an example of the impact that a
change in the sources of power has on the system.
Changes in the distribution of power also affect the system-> this occurs when the system
shifts from one polar configuration to another. The recent move from bipolar to multipolar
configuration is an example.

Power Transitions and system stability

The world is most prone to violence during times of transitions. Wars between major
powers are most likely when the power of ne or more of them is declining and the power of
other is rising. It is harder for antagonists to judge their relative power, so the declining
power may try to maintain its dominant position by attacking the rising power before it
becomes too powerful while the rising power dissatisfied with its second status may try to
improve it by confronting the dominant but declining country. A recent study has concluded
that war is most likely when the power of a rising, dissatisfied power becomes equal to that
of a dominant power.

Other variables are important to estimate the impact of power shifts. One study found that
rapid shifts created more instability than slower transitions. Other scholars say that global
war is most probable when power changes in a pattern in which power is becoming more
concentrated in the most important region (Europe in the past, Asia in the future).

Transitional systems tend toward instability when hegemonic powers are no longer able or
willing to control events in countries that were once part of theory sphere of influence.

Economic Patterns

The operation of the international system is also a product in part of its economic patterns.
These patterns can be> interdependence, natural resource location and use, and the
maldistribution of development.
Economic interdependence is one pattern that have noted repeatedly. There is some
controversy over whether interdependence promotes peace or creates tensions, but there
is no disagreement that it profoundly affects the international system.
The pattern of where natural resources are produced and consumed also influences the
operation of the system. The strong reaction of the industrialized (and petroleum import-
dependent) countries to Iraqs aggression in 1990 was based significantly on the
distribution of resources.
The maldistribution of development has consequences for the international system. The
main actors, the states, in the system are dived into relative haves and have-nots. At the
most general level, this economic division pits the less developed countries (LDCs), &
demands for equity against the economically developed countries. There is a connection
between the poor economic conditions in LDCs and such problems as rapid political
oppression and instability, population growth and environmental degradation. The disparity
also creates resentments, which leads to systemic violence.

Norms of behavior

The values or standards constitute the norms of a system. Norms must be generally
recognized and followed and they need not to be either accepted or practiced universally.
Violations of norms can lead to social pressures and even formal sanctions.
Systems develop norms for 2 reasons: 1) various psychological and social factors prompt
humans to adopt values to define what is the ethical and moral.
2) Humans tend to favor regularized patterns of behavior because of the pragmatic need
to interact and to avoid the anxiety and disruption caused bt the random or unwanted
behavior of others.
Changes that are occurring in international norms are an important aspect of the evolving
The dominant countries of the north influenced norms but the south now disagrees with
some of them, increasing the number of challenges of the prevailing norms of the system.
Travel and trade are transnational forces that are eroding cultural differences; tv is another
transnational force that is changing norms.

System Level Analysis: Predicting Tomorrow

An authority structure based on the sovereign state has created an anarchical international
system marked by standards of self-interest and self help. Power is a second determining
characteristic of the system. So, how power is distributed within the system operation and
its stability bases a characteristic of the system. Norms also help to determine international

While countries are theoretically free to make any decision, they are often restrained by
the realities of the system in which they exist. The impact of the system on a countrys
policy will vary according to the specific issues and circumstances involved.
States decides to ignore the rules or to change them.

The changes may be 3:

1.One direction is along the traditional state-centric road.
2.Nationalism remains the most potent political idea in the world today.
3. Another direction is the state sovereignty that is unlikely to be the distinguishing
principle of political organization in the future.

The answer to predict is uncertain because there are pressures in the state centric system
from two directions: Some pressures pushes the system toward greater international
cooperation and supranational governance and other pressures to subnational o
transnational political organizations. This movement toward more global structures is
called MacWorld-> based on the buildup of economic and ecological forces that demand
cooperation and integration, one commercially homogeneous global network, tied together
by technology, ecology, communications and commerce.
There is an increment of transnational identifications as religion and gender.

Analysts believe that stated will remain strong, integral units and that the system will
remain state-centric. Others believe that the worlds complex interdependence will result in
a much higher level of global authority. A third school argues that disintegration will prevail.
The coming anarchy predicts is going to be replaced by jagged-glass pattern of city-
states poor, shanty-states and nebulous and anarchic regionalisms.


Understanding State-Level Analysis

State level analysts and system level analysts recognize that states have long been the
most powerful actors on the world stage. State level analysts contend that states are
relatively free to decide what policies to follow. State-level analysts concentrate on what
countries do and how they decide which policy to follow.
Studying what countries do is based on the view that the course of world politics is mostly
a sum of the actions and reactions of individual stated -> these interactions are called
Event data analysis is useful for analyzing matters such as reciprocity between countries.
Analyzing how countries decide to adopt one of a range of possible policies is the second
concern of state level analysts. It is necessary to understand domestic factors and a
countrys foreign policy decision-making processes. Combined these factors, determines
how states act and how the international system works as a sum of these actions.

State: Tangible political entity. It is a country. States can generally be identified by such
objective criteria as having a defined territory and a government.

Nation: cultural term that refers to a group of people who identify with one another
politically because of common characteristics, such as shared history, language, culture,
religion or race. It means that they are not based on objective criteria; nations are
intangible and based on peoples perceptions.
--->Difference between ethnic group and a nation: nation has active or latent aspirations
for independence or autonomy, ethnics groups not.

Government: It is used in two ways

1. it can referred to a type of government (democratic system in Canada)
2. Designated to a specific regime in power (government of prime minister in Canada)

Making foreign policy: complexity and fragmentation

The freedom of all foreign policy decision makers whether in democratic or dictatorial
states is limited by an intricate web of governmental and societal restraints.

Making foreign policy: types of government, situations and policy.

Types of government:
This is one variable that affects the foreign policy process whether is a countrys type of
domestic political system. Which means how policy is decided will result in differences in
policy substance which policy is adopted.

Democratic and Authoritarian governments

To identify one another:

One standard is how many and what types of people can participate in making political
decisions. Participation may be limited to an elite based on an individuals political party,
economic standing or some other factor.
How many forms of participation are available is a second criterion for judging forms of
It is important to noted that policy debates occur even in authoritarian states.

Democracy and Foreign Policy Choices

Differences between democracy and autocracy are important to international relations

because they have foreign policy impact. How many and what types of people can
participate effectively in making political decisions is one standard by which to judge
whether or not a country is democratic and how democratic it is.
Gender provides another relevant standard of democracy, males continue to dominate
political decision making globally. But studies have shown that the greater the roe of
women in policymaking, the less likely a country is to be bellicose.
Women on average cannot be described confidently antiwar, because majority of women
in 3 countries favors the uses of military forces, this was because females tend to perceive
more negative risk, more potential harm and the view losses as more certain than males.
- Cultural beliefs may also play a role.

Types of situations

Situation is one variable that determines the exact nature of the foreign policy process.
Crisis situations are one factor that affects how policy is made. Crisis circumstances, in
which decisions makers are surprised by an event, feel threatened and believe that they
have only a short time to make decisions. Decisions normally made by small groups made
up of high-level political leaders.
Public opinion is apt to rally in support of actions of the political leaders.

During non-crisis policy making and subnational actors are more likely to be active and
influential. During crisis leaders usually strive to make rational decisions. It is a challenge
to gather and analyze information hampered by the exigency of time. Crisis also increases
the emotional content of decisions.

Another variable is the situation that fits the existing pattern of relations or portends a
radical change.
Status quo situations are those that fall within existing world pattern. When government
analyze problems in term of the conventional wisdom and choose policies that follow
established policies or make minor changes is called incremental policy.

Types of policy

How foreign policy is decided varies according the nature of the issue involved. One theory
holds that presidents, premiers and other leaders have more power to decide foreign
policy than they do to determine domestic policy. The latter are is one in which
legislatures, interest groups and public opinion play a greater role.
Policies cannot be neither purely domestic nor purely foreign, instead have elements of
both and constitute a third type called interested policy. An example of this is foreign trade.
The theory of it says that the influence of political leaders is less on such interested issues
of domestic issues because it directly impacts and activates interest groups, legislators,
etc. more than do foreign policy issues.

Making Foreign policy: Political Culture

This environment on all foreign policy decisions includes political culture of a society.
Political culture refers to a societys general long held and fundamental practices and
attitudes. It has two main sources
1. National historical experience: the sum of events and practices that have shaped a
country and its citizens.
2. National belief system: the ideas and ideologies that people hold.
Political culture does not usually create specific policy but pressures leaders or allow them
to move in a general direction. It is important in establishing a countrys broad sense of its
national interest.
However political culture changes, usually evolutionary because it is rooted far back in a
countries history and is resistant to change.

3. Society political culture is not monolithic. The leadership of a country may come
from a limited segment of the society that does not have the same values of the
general public.
- Political culture impact policy in 3 attitudes:
1. Protecting and enhancing the national core
2. Creating and maintaining a favorable world order
3. Projecting values.

China is the example, as it has tremendous consciousness of and pride od their 3,000
year old culture and history.

National Core: Its foreign policy principle is maintaining independence, self reliance and
national sovereignty

Sinocentrism: this notion is an expression of the Chinese tendency to see themselves as

the political and cultural center of the world. It leads Chinese to assert that their principles
are immutable and not subject to negotiation or compromise.

Insistent sovereignty: Chinese culture is also marked by prickly insistence on

sovereignty. It defines its territory from the fact of humiliation they suffered in the 1800s
and early 1900 when it was surrendering considerably by European countries and to
japan. A great deal of chinas history in this century can be interpreted as part of the
struggle of the Chinese people to regain their pride and to rid their country of the last
vestiges of outside influence. And to regain the territories it lost during its period of
China is one of the countries that strongly rejects the right of the US to comment on
human rights or any other topic, alleging that they are just strategies to awaken their
For china, Taiwan is one of the most important territories, it means the core principle of
territorial integrity and the cause of reunification

Sense of being beset: by foreign peril is a third of the core orientations of the Chineses
political culture. One of their most symbolic senses of being besieged is the Great Wall. It
was reinforces by the communist ideological view in the attempt of the capitalist to destroy
the communist movement.
For Chinese, the cold war has not lessened the international threat to China. US is
nervous about China becoming powerful day by day.

Favorable World Order: China is curious mixture of a former great power that once
dominated its region and a currently developing and still officially communist country.
These factors favors China in the status quo. It is an ambitious nation. Its world view is
increased international economic interchange, modernizing itself and realize the needs of
the western technology and investment to do so.
Pgs 102, 135

Projecting Values
The political culture of a nation determines how this nation can apply it, based on its own
values to judge others. For example: Americans have a missionary idea of reshaping the
world and making others follow the US model because it is the best for all nations. But in
countries like China the political culture values are different. Although they are proud of
their culture, they dont have the need of imposing it on others. Even when the communist
ideology was part of the FP it was less active than what Russia did. This has to do with
historical background such as Confucianism. China adopts what it sees as foreign values
but they do it based on their culture, they dont like pressures at face value because it is
like a campaign used to subvert them

MAKING FOREIGN POLICY: ACTORS IN THE PROCESS: No state (national actor) is a

unitary structure. The state is like a shell that encapsulates a foreign policy process in
which subnational actors take part. These subnational actors include political executives,
bureaucracies, legislatures, political opposition, interest groups and people. All of them are
part of the internal foreign policy making process

Political executives: official whose tenure is variable and depends on the political
contest for power in their country. They are the strongest subnational actors in the FP
They are in the executive branch: presidents, prime ministers, chancellors or kings or
emirs. They have important legal or formal powers. Most chiefs are commanders in chief
of their countries in armed forces (they have unilaterally power over the military)
The reasons why they are predominant in FP making process are:
1. Kings controlled the armed forces and they kept authority after they lost control of
domestic affairs and parliament.
2. There is a widespread that successful conduct of FP requires concentration of the
executive power
3. FP sparks limited activity on other subnational actors who tend to worry only about
domestic events.
4. Most political leaders have advantage over other subnational actors. Leaders can
act, and the legislative for instance can debate
Another advantage is that they can have much greater information than other actors
But leaders are not monarchs- widespread of democracy
Political leaders are involved in a 2 level game: that is be successful diplomats they
have to negotiate at the international level but also at the local level with legislators,
bureaucrats, interest groups and the public.

Bureaucracies: bureaucracy influences every state. Bureaucrat: are career

governmental personnel, distinguished from those or are elected or are political
appointees. Leaders complain that sometimes it is difficult to deal with all the structure of
government because sometimes they resist to what leaders do. We have to focus on 2

- Bureaucratic perspective: it refers to the fact that bureaucrats favor a policy

over another based on their sense or perspective and how should they conduct
themselves. Here we consider how an approved policy can affect the
organization. For instance: the military will oppose to a policy to reduce arms,
but they are not the ones that promulgate to go to war. As Powell said
politicians start wars, soldiers fight and die in them

- Bureaucratic methods: organizations shape policies according to their view,

by filtering information, tailoring recommendations and implementing policy.
- Filtering information: bureaucracies can do this to influence policy
because decision makers need information and these organizations are
the ones that decide what to choose, what to pass or not. Subordinates
can be afraid that unwelcome news will endanger their careers.
- Recommendations: bureaucracies are a source of expertise which they
use to push a position. They narrow the range of options to give them to
leaders, this leads to a cultural penchant (they often decide what leaders
would do before they considered a situation
- Implementation: it is a powerful bureaucratic tool, bureaucrats influence
policy by the way they carry it out. One example of how implementation
affects policy is when in 1995 the Dayton Peace Accord said that
authorities in the Balkans are to surrender accused war criminals.
President Clinton said that the ones accused of war crimes were still
free. Later the IFOR from the USA had to intervene.

Legislatures: it is less than the executive branch, and the bureaucratic. However,
legislatures are not powerless they can influence among countries. But for instance in
countries that are nondemocratic like China, the legislatures follow the decision of the
political leadership (Chinas National Peoples Congress). But even in democratic
countries sometimes they are inhibited by factors like tradition, second is because politics
should stop at a waters edge, that is the belief that a unified national voice is important
for a successful FP. Third, is because often leaders have extensive constitutional power.
Fourth, legislators focus more on domestic affairs rather than international. The thing is
that if the focus more on the international then they are not considering the constituents
interests. But legislatures can play an important role in foreign affairs too. Especially when
a high-profile issue captures public attention and public opinion opposes to the presidents
policy. Congress was 1 of the push factors so that during Nixons administration, USA had
to go out of the Vietnam war.

Political Opposition: those who are in power face rivals who would replace them to
change policy or to gain power. In democracies, opposition is legitimate and is organized
in political parties, but there can also be rival politicians in the same party. In
nondemocratic systems, opposition is less peaceful.
There is a division in opposition between the ones that want to change policy and the ones
who want to get control of the government. A second division is between those who are
inside and outside of the government

Interest Groups: private (nongovernmental) peoples who have similar view and who
pressure the government to adopt those views as policy. Interest groups are becoming
more important in the FP process. There are many types of groups.

Cultural groups: ethnic, racial, religious, or other cultural groups. One example is
the USA, a country made up of immigrants where you have Cubans, Irish, Mexican,
Polish, etc. Groups that are active on behalf of policies that favor their ancestral
Economic groups: they make contradictory demands for protection from foreign
competition and for pressure on other countries to open their markets. They lobby
with governments for favorable domestic legislation and for support when a
company is having a dispute with the government. Labor unions also affect trade
issues and some other types of foreign policy. They often favor policies that will
protect workers in industries threatened by foreign competition.

Issue Oriented groups: it is composed by people who share a common policy

goal. The concerns can be general or specific. For example: para mi pueden ser
grupos ambientalistas que tienen el objetivo de cuidar del medio ambiente

Transnational interest groups: some are NGOs of like minded individual from
various countries that use resources on their own to press the governments to
adopt policies that they desire. They lobby in countries where they have interests,
but there are also countries that try to influence specific policy in other countries,
like Taiwan that wants to improve its international standing.


In 1996, in Russia there was the most important national election where Boris N. Yeltsin
won, ahead of the other candidate Zyuganov in the first and second round of elections.
This was the election for Yeltsin to continue HIS SECOND TERM.
In the same year president Clinton travelled to Moscow to support Yeltsins candidacy.
Given that support especially to build foreign relations, it was expected that Yeltsin would
be cooperative with the West. But this led to accusations from the left. Ojo: Zyuganov was
a communist (he supported the idea of restoration of the URSS, the greatness of Russia,
and its power) mientras que Yeltsin era pro USA.
Popularity decreased and in the parliament he had the most seats of members of
their party but in second place where seats of the oppositions party. The leader of the
opposition was Zhirinovsky, people thought that Zhirinovsky would replace Yeltsin. With
elections in the legislative, the one that won was Zyuganovs Communist with 44%, then
Zhirinovskys with 14%, and Yeltsins party (who was the president) only got a 3%.
Zyuaganov later attacked Yeltsin because Russia was losing its independence, its policy
is decided by the IMG and not the parliament. This, because Yeltsin implemented
financial policies that the IMF demanded in return for loans it had granted to Moscow.
There was a debate between Russia was controlled by the West (USA) or if it should show
its independence again, and great power.
Zhirinovsky was from the right but he waged like Zyoganov a nationalist campaign. His
slogan was I will rise this country off its knees, he appeared in czarist- era costumes.
With this, Yeltsin was pushed to have a more nationalistic direction. The guards outside
Kremlin started to wear czarist uniforms, and he said that Russia could intervene in the
Former Soviets Republic. His discourse now was Russia is predestined to be a great
But this scared president Clinton because he saw that there was the possibility that Russia
could want to create an empire again.
One outcome of the nationalist pressure is that Yeltsin had to fire Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev who was pro West, and changed him for Yevgeny Primakov who was a veteran of
Soviet diplomacy, he said Russias FP should respond to the status of the great power
that it was.
With these moves (were under the first term of Yeltsin) in the elections for second term,
Yeltsin got 35%, Zyoganov 32%, the third Aleksandr I. Lebed and in 4th place Zhirinovsky.
Yeltsin had to ally with the one that was in third place ( Aleksandr ) so he named Lebed
head of Russias extensive and armed internal security forces.
This selection, gave power to him that was a nationalist who had been forced out of the
army. But Lebed once in power, acted on his own, for example: he intervened when
Russians were fighting to establish an autonomous region near Moldova. Lebed
intervened in Moldova without consulting anyone. Yeltsin later forced him to resign in
1994. Although Lebed was out of power he continued being involved with government he
acted on his own to negotiate with Chechyn rebels. Yeltsin was criticized for being too
weak to act. In 1996, he finally fired Lebel because we has splitting the government apart.
Lebel said that he would run for elections in 2000 or even earlier, he said that Yeltsin was
sich and was dying from hear disease. It is likely to know that the pressure to Yeltsin would
continue for his second term.

The People: they play a role which is more important in democratic systems than in
authoritarian. But in any system the public is not totally ignored by leaders

Variations in opinion and opinion interest People are normally focused on domestic
fairs like unemployment, taxes or social issues like abortion rather that in international
events. There is only few people who are interested in foreign policy and world events.
The public gets interested in foreign policy depending on the situation and issues, usually
they pay attention to things like crisis. Opinion varies, one reason is ideology. Opinions of
individuals depend on their general ideological orientation. Gender is another variation,
another is societies elites and the mass.
Another thing to consider is its quality, because sometimes people are ignorant of
uninformed. There is a disagreement of the statemen that uninformed public can create
instability to FP, but for others opinion is reasonable and stable. This responds to the idea
that people do not pay close attention to news but also there is the study that what people
know varies from country to country. Researchers suggest that you can see quality of
opinion by comparing what people say with events, to see si la idea va de acuerdo o no a
la noticia.

The influence of public opinion on Foreign Policy

The key is the impact that opinion can have in FP, it varies among countries and depends
on the policy issue.One study found out that it had the biggest impact in the US, then in
West Germany, Japan and France. There are direct and indirect channels. Direct: people
decide through referendums. Indirect: is more common. Policy makers are politicians. So
when voters chose politicians they know that they are watching what they do, also policy
makers believe that the chances of the FP success depend on public opinion at home.
Last, public opinion is a legitimate factor that should be considered when a policy is


This chapter analyzes humans as actors on the world stage. Fundamental human
characteristics can influence policy and is the central concern of human nature policy.
Intellectually, physically and sometimes emotionally humans are unable to learn and
process all the information to take full rational decisions.

Cognitive factors: decision making is involved with cybernetics (the study of control and
communications systems). But humans dont approach to a prefect cybernetic system so
there is cognitive decision making. It means that humans make decisions within the limits
of what they know or consider. Cognitive decision making is also called bounded
There are external and internal boundaries that affect this cognitive decision.
External boundaries include factors like missing erroneous information and the inability to
know exactly what decisions other politicians in other countries are taking or what they are
Internal boundaries: intellectual and physical limits of individuals.
*Emotions: too human internal restraint on rational decision making
Foreign policy decisions are made withing this limits, so the key issue is how policy
makers cope with cognitive limits on rational decision making. To cope with them they
- Cognitive consistency: decision makers attempt to suppress ideas and
information to reduce a majority accepted interpretations, o sea es reprimir info
o ocultar cosas a la gente para que la mayora no cambie de opinion y acepten
y haya apoyo comn
- Wishful thinking: individuals have emotional stakes in its wisdom so they
believe that their choice will succeed, so it is so hard to reverse that decision
once it was made
- Limitating the scope of the decision: decide on small things rather than on
big ones, to limit what must be decided. Incrementalism is one way: choose the
safest choice, following the established policy or making small changes.
Satisficing is another option: adopting the first option presented that meets
minimal goals to continue looking for the best solution.

- Using Heuristic devices: 4th strategy to deal with cognitive limits. It is a mental
tool or frame of reference that helps to evaluate information, to reach decisions
quickly like experiences of policy makers. Also, national belief systems are one
such culture-based heuristic like the US shared a common national belief that
the Soviet Union was communist and authoritarian. A second one is
stereotypes among countries- arabs speak English with no accent or English
speaking Israelis

Psychological factors The frustration- aggression theory is one approach: frustrated

societies become collectively aggressive, the mass frustration promoted the rise of Adolf
Hitler and German aggression in WWII. Hitler told the people that the fault of the situation
in Germany was of Jewish and Bolshevik. Hitler believe that Germany would become a
world power. There are similarities with Russia when it emerged from the collapse of the
Soviet Union, Zhirinovsky for example said that Jews have come to dominate politics and
commerce, and that Russians are in danger. Also he saw the they were under an attack
from the West (pilas esto se relaciona con el caso de arriba). We can see how psycology
affected them (esto lo digo yo por si acaso, no la lectura).
The nature versus nurture is a controversy. The question is the degree to which human
actions are based on animal instinct and other innate emotional and physical drives or
based on socialization and intellect (nurture). Biopolitics: relationship between the physical
nature and political behavior of humans.

Ethology: it is the comparison between animal and human behavior. Like animals,
human behave in a way that is based party on innate characteristics. For example is
territoriality when leaders defend the piece of property and even territorial disputes are a
common cause of war. Example: War between Peru and Ecuador 1995 Guerra del

Gender: power seeking is mainly a male sexual impulse. Males tend to act and increase
power as means of increasing their reproductive success. Political scientists analyze if
gender makes a difference in political attitudes and if there are differences because of our
biological origin or because of divergent ways by which males and females are socialized.
The question is if an equal representation of women among policy makers that reverses
tradition would make a difference in global affairs. Because the attitudes of women in
authority may be different. There are different attitudes about violence but they are socially
constructed. The thing is that biology is the sole cause of behavior so because of that
there are differences between male and female

SO SAY THE MAMAS: A FEMMINIST WORLD It was one of the projects developed
during the undergraduate of the author in 1990. This project and story was thought in the
year 2050 it consisted on the fact that a group of women thought the violence and
inequality in the world would never end. So the idea to change this would be by creating a
new society only made up by women in a planet called Xylos. And that women could have
frozen sperm to have only baby females, this to preserve the all female population in the
planet, they would be called So say the mamas.


A second approach in the individual level of analysis is to examine how people act in
organizations. Here it is important to see organizational behavior and to see 2 concepts:
role behavior and decision making group behavior.

Role Behavior: we all play a variety of roles, they are attitudes and behaviors that people
adopt according to the position that they hold. It depends on the job, family situation. Roles
influence how you think. Presidents and policy makers play roles and it derives 2 sets of
expectations about how an actor should think or behave.
Self expectations are one important source of roles, is based on what the individual
expects from himself
Expectations of others: the second source is how we behave because we thing about what
others thinks of ourselves, those expectations can be transmitted by critics, public opinion,
Role is not immutable for any give position; there is a less rigid position.

Group Decision Making behavior: people behave differently when they are in group than
-Causes of groupthink: the primary cause of groupthink is pressure within
decision making groups to achieve consensus. Consensus may be a true meeting
of minds but also the result of ignoring dissidents.

Ignoring or surpressing dissidents, information- in groupthink there is

information that is discarded and rejection is made by leaders.
Reluctance of subordinates to offer discordant opinions- although this can
happen it usually doesnt because subordinates are careful to not contradict
what they know are the preferences of the group or of leaders.

Effects of groupthink: the urge for consensus limits the policy choice available
and that the chances of a policy can be successful. Limited policy choices- the
adviser of Clinton said once that there is danger when people world well together
you can take the edge off options. One thing is that decision makers adhere to a
established policy or makes only marginal changes. Another thing is that they
adopt the lowest common denominator policy, the least objectional but not the
The quality of policy choices- when there are poor decision they result in policy


A third approach focuses on humans as individual. Idiosyncratic means individual, and it
assumes that individuals make FP decision and that different individual make different
decisions. This approach includes to look at biographies and memoirs as political histories.
The point is not what a leader decided but why he decided that decision, what motivated
him or her, like their personality, their physical and mental health, their egos and
ambitions, their sense of political history, personal experience and perceptions.

Personality: a leaders personality is a decisive element in the making of foreign policy.

Personality types and attributes impact on policy like basic orientations, behavioral
patterns, and attitudes. The most well known categories in political personality are active
passive scale and positive negative scale. Active leaders are innovators and passive are
reactors. Positive personalities have egos and negative are abused by political criticism.
Many scholars favor active positive leaders. But there are many combinations, the worse
is active negative. The more active a leader, the more criticism he or she receives.

Physical and mental health: this is also important for example President Woodrow
Wilsons health and psychological symptoms influence him to make the Treaty of
Versailles that ended WWI. He suffered from cardiovascular difficulties that is why he had
diminished emotional control, good suspicion, secrecy and lapses in judgment,
Few leaders suffer from mental problems maybe Stalin suffered from paranoia, Hitler
was disturbed things like alcohol or drugs can make matters worse for example in Hitlers
cases would have been worse. Another example is Yeltsin in Russia, he had cardio
surgery and he was weakened and incapacitated, he survived but during his mandate his
health was a worry.
Also egos and personal ambitions can influence policy mainly the ego. And also ambition
to remain in power, that happen in the missile crises where John said that Nikita cant do
that to him referring that the conflict was personal.
The past is a fourth factor that shapes the political leaders approach to world problems
Political history: historical analogies and how we interpret hictorical events creates
supposed lessons from the past to implement in policy making. For example when Bush
give a discourse when Hussein attacked Kuwait he said Saddam Hussein is an
aggressive dictator, half a century ago we had the change to stop a ruthless aggressor
and missed it. We will not make that mistake again. So historical analogies are used to
avoid thinking rather than to inform decision but also policy makers sometimes make
decision and then use a historical analogy to justify them
Personal experiences: they create negative impulses or positive for example
Jacque Chirac improved relations between Paris and Washington when he was
president, this because in part he liked American when he studied in Harvard

Perceptions: there is a real world but also the world that we perceive and these
perceptions are not the same, they are different.
-Characteristics of perceptions: one is the common characteristic of
thinking that other people and leaders see the world as we do. Second there is a
tendency to see the other counties as more hostile than ours. Third, we see the
behaviors of others as more centralized than ours. Finally, we tend to assume that
the others see our good intentions and that they are not suspicious or afraid of us
-The impact of perception: when perceptions are not accurate they distort
our images both of ourselves and of others. The degree of distortion depends on
how thick the lenses are. The link between perception and politics is the concept of
operational reality, not only reality is distorted by perceptions but we act based on
those perceptions. Also there is the operational code that describes how and
individual acts when faces specific types of situations and considering that leaders
take decisions on how they see politics works and what is the best way to act like
with rewards, threats, force or diplomacy.