2019 Summer Online – Politics 212: International Relations
Week 2: July 8
Welcome to Politics 212: International Relations – Week 2
This week we ask a number of introductory questions about What is it that we are really looking at here? What do we mean by “International Relations”? (You might remember the video Charli Carpenter from last week.) Most of all, I want us to look deeply at the four models of International Relations. We’ll do this every week. You’ll remember them eventually, I promise!
Intro remarks (13 minutes). I made this video for a previous course – I tried to remake it better today, but I kept messing up, so we’ll use this one – it is almost identical to the one I tried to make today. It introduces a couple of key ideas for this week and for the rest of the semester. Please watch. Then proceed with the readings and assignments below.
There are a couple of important notes about this video. First, it references our work on facebook – that was mandatory in that class but optional in this class. In any case, I ask you to find the link on Bb and join our group if you haven’t already. Second, in the video I refer to two big shifts in IR that happened sometime in the 1990s/early 2000s – from realism to liberalism, and adding in constructivism. There are many people who would judge that in the last few years — with the rise of China, some Obama policies, and Trump’s scoldings of allies, embraces of adversaries, and sanctions and tariffs against everyone — that the world has returned to its historical norm of realism. We can talk about that as we go forward.
Let’s begin with my introduction to this week’s material – 13 minute video
What are some useful ways of looking at the world? There are historically three, and now four, approaches. Each of these is summarized in these two charts.
- Holsti in Ikenberry AFP: Theo.Essays (2005): Three Models of IR
- Nye, Understanding Global Conflict… (8th ed.): Four Models of IR, page 57
- Kenneth Waltz, on anarchy as the key to understanding international relations – watch 15 minutes: from 11:41-27:28 Waltz is at the heart of understanding Realism – states in conflict – and the starting point for examining other models (“columns”) – skip to 11:41 and watch through 27:28
Is International Relations a misnomer?
Why do we still call it “international relations” instead of something else that would include the other columns? Liberalism/globalism is a fundamental part of “IR”:
- Vorjes, “Microsoft Bids to Acquire Catholic Church” (1994) This is 1994 – you can imagine Amazon or Google instead today…
- Thomas Friedman, foreign affair columnist for the New York Times and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree. First, watch this wonderful introduction to the shift, in his opinion, from the realist Cold War model to the liberal/global globalization model. (watch 13 minutes, from 4:48 to 17:48 – you should watch much more if you are interested, of course; his talk ends at 47:11) It’s from 1999, more than two years before September 11, 2001. Today, Friedman is widely criticized as a pollyannish cheerleader for globalization. Skip if you like to 4:48 and watch through 17:48
Then read these selections (posted in Bb) from that book: chapter 3 “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and chapter 12 “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention”. For the moment, they are also available on the web here and elsewhere; I urge you to buy this book, it’s very interesting time travel and quite unintentionally has some of the roots of Trump’s election and policies. Friedman’s not a scholar – we’ll see Kehonae & Nye’s “complex interdependence” later. We’ll also get to whether/how IR has returned to realism – in later weeks.
Who are these countries that we are talking about, and how do their problems affect each other?
- Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2017
- Fragile States Index – Map and analysis of where the world is in trouble. What criteria do they use, and what does each country look like?
- It’s useful to compare these 2017 maps with two from just two years later – Freedom in the World 2019 and Fragile States Index 2019 – click and scroll down
What do Washington Policymakers Know and How Do They Use It?
Ok, we’ve looked so far seen perspectives of realism and liberalism/globalism. Let’s shift gears here for a moment and get a little meta – what do IR scholars say about IR scholarship? What is the relationship between the study of international relations and actual international relations?
- F. H. Cardoso, “Scholarship and Statemanship,” Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World (2004), Journal of Democracy, April 2005 – a nice read, take your time
- skim: Foreign Policy Jan 2012: The Ivory Tower Survey
- skim: 2011 Policymaker Survey, University of Notre Dame, July 2013
- skim/read for highlights: Walt, America’s IR Schools are Broken (2018)
- skim/read for highlights: Gavin, It’s Never Been a Better Time to Study IR(2018)
Is this what Kissinger is really talking about?
Ok, one more, from the dean of American foreign policy – the loved and loathed scholar-practitioner (he is still busy and influential – he had a recent piece on AI in the Atlantic (an interesting but not a required read).
(You can listen to the whole book read by someone else, if you have a very long drive ahead of you.) Trump is asking important, unusual questions, Kissinger says. If Trump can assess and manipulate the international scene as well as he did the U.S. electorate, Kissinger says (and I am paraphrasing), then he could be “a very considerable president.” Let’s not discuss Trump’s personality or competency at this moment; instead, I want you to hear Kissinger and think of the last 18 months and ask yourself whether DJT fits into one of the IR models – one of our four columns.
Sure, one more on Kissinger. Kissinger says there are norms of international behavior that many countries share, but that implies not interfering in the domestic policies of other countries. What example does this short video use for criticizing intervention? What other (better?) examples can you think of?
Ok, your turn — Prompts for Week 2
Before you move on, please go back and look at our What Makes a Good Post page.
This week there’s really a lot going on here. For starters, if you don’t know anything else in six weeks, you should know the four models of international relations. My goal – successful with many students – is that if I ask you in five or ten years, What are the four models of IR?, you’ll remember. All the rest of the semester is getting you to think about these models in history, today, and in the future.
Thomas Friedman is a journalist, not an academic. But his views of globalization were enormously influential in this and subsequent books, talk-show circuits, etc. Do you see relevance to our models? And why is it important at the end of our 13 minutes with him that mention a couple of particular super-empowered individuals? Can you think of some others, good or bad?
The Freedom House and Fragile States Index are almost more Comparative Politics, in that they assess single states at a time. But look at the criteria for assessing each state – they include many transnational influences.
Take a careful look at the Ivory Tower and policymaker surveys – it’s some “inside baseball” that’s helpful to know as you walk around D.C. at internships, cocktail parties, reading and writing reports, etc.
Finally, Kissinger’s World Order is a giant, sweeping in intellectual history and analysis, and he has been a foreign policy advisor to presidents for more than 40 years. Based on these small samples offered here, how do you fit him into our models?
Or maybe something else from these readings moved you – or you relate something from this week to something from last week, or something else. If yes, then pose your question(s) and pursue for us…
Consider any two or more of these ideas, in about 300 words (max 400), and then reply to at least two of your classmates’ posts in about 100 words each.
For all this, be sure to review the What Makes a Good Post notes.
Yes, you post your short essays (400-500 words total, probably) in the box below. Please use your @cua.edu email – no one will be able to see it but me. The first time you post, it won’t appear until I “approve” it – it’s the only way to keep out a lot of NSFW spam.
And yes, these first weeks are a lot of work – we’ll lighten up as we shift more emphasis to your writing your final papers – more on which next week.
Ok, let’s have fun –
by Tuesday night, July 9 – in the What do you think? box at the bottom of this page, please post a short introduction of yourself – I am a rising junior from just outside Philadelphia, a politics major and business minor, working with Syrian refugees (and scooping ice cream) in Atlantic City this summer, and a proud member of the Socialist Party of New Jersey. 20-40 words is probably fine, but as much as you like is welcome
by Thursday night, July 11 – your “essay” post (probably 400-500 words) at the bottom of this page, based on the essay prompts above
by Sunday night, July 14 – comment (approx 100 words each) on at least two classmates’ essay posts at the bottom of this page. Might be 70 words on one and 130 on another, sure, no problem. *Please be sure to review What Makes a Good Post
SPECIAL NOTE on GOVT396.com:
It seems like it should go without saying, but just in case: this is academic work, not the place for screeds, ad hominem attacks, or other unpleasantness. That’s not really suitable for your personal twitter account either, but it is certainly not appropriate here. This is “classroom online”, not “locker-room online”. Open, sincere, fact-based, and analytical, and even partisan, but not mean or rude. Thanks.
Thanks, everyone. Semester moves fast – keep up, get smart, have fun!