PLS 370-A01

critique of realism:

  • problem-solving theory
    • takes existing structures as given
    • works to maintain system
      • may or may not be desirable
  • state-centric (gt. powers)
    • no consideration of NGO’s, etc


  • seems more cooperation than conflict in the world; emphasizes common goals; intl politics variable sum game rather than zero sum
  • focuses on intl society & interdependence
  • intl institutions becomeing more impt. — facilitates collective security (alt to bal. of pwr) brings countries together to extalish rules for the peaceful settlement of disputes — creating a preponderance of power to punish the aggressor — collective security encourages disarmament, arms reduction, etc
  • believe in nonzero sum outcomes — in which all win (overall pie grows) — collective goods like clean air — peace and security considered to be collective goods, indivisible, esp. in present nuclear & globalized world (security can be converted from natl good to collective good)
  • emphasizes intl law/intl institutions
  • learning process, people capable of learning, history need not repeat
  • intl regimes mitigate anarchy & facilitate cooperation
  • role of diplomacy highlighted in settling disputes
  • broader conception of huan security — wars within states, genocide, diseases, pollution, natural disasters, population displacement — focuses on threats to weak states (unlike to strong states, emphasized by the realist perspective)
  • focuses not just on states, but also on nonstates and global actors — EU, UN, MNC’s etc
  • concerned more with interdependence and coexistence than independence and survival of separate states
  • emphasis on the type of govt — democratic peace thesis posits that democracies do not engage in wars (considered by realists to be inherent or inevitable in an anarchic intl system)

how to view involvement w/Iraq? Liberalism — promote democracy & human rights?

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