Before you begin this assignment, please review the course materials from the first three weeks
Before you begin this assignment, please review the course materials from the first three weeks of class with a special focus on the three mainstream theoretical perspectives: realism, liberalism and constructivism. Please pay particular attention to the definition of each and avoid pairing them with domestic perceptions of conservatives, liberals, etc. I also recommend reviewing the week 2 forum.
For this assignment, please write a well-formulated paragraph on the theoretical perspective you think is the most prominent for each the 3 leaders identified below. I have provided links to relevant information on each person. Don’t be surprised if you find information that reflects each of the three mainstream theoretical perspectives for each person. What you’re looking for is the theory that is the most prominent. Which one stands out the most and why? Be sure to demonstrate your understanding of the theoretical perspectives and to include specific evidence (e.g. words and/or actions of the leader) to support your analysis in each paragraph. To organize your thoughts, I recommend usingthe MEAL plan.
Russia’s President Putin The United States' President Obama Iran's President Rouhani
Materials for President Putin:
Address byRussian President Putin to the Federal Assembly
Materials for President Obama:
In bold move on Cuba,Obama asserts powers
Obama'sForeign Policy Summed Up in One Quote
Materials for President Rouhani:
Iran'sPresident Rouhani warns against corruption
Iranian President:We will stick to our promises on nuclear deal
Each of the three paragraphs should be a minimum of 250 words long and quotes should make up no more than 10% of your submission. Please exclusively use the course materials and the sources provided specifically for this assignment.
Please be sure to put quotation marks around material copied word-for-word from another source and to cite the source. Also, be sure to cite paraphrased information. Please use the Turabian citation style. For examples, please see the Turabian Quick Guide located under the resources link.
Please use 12 pitch, Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins.
Theory in actionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnKEFSVAiNQ
Realism - A Pessimistic View - Its a Dog Eat Dog World!
The following excerpts are from Rourke and Boyer (2010).
“The name given to a particular theoretical approach to the study of international relations. According to its proponents, realism has been around for a very long time. Some scholars trace its intellectual origins all the way back to Thucydides, the chronicler of the Peloponnesian wars. Thucydides argued that the cause of the war between the Athenians and the Spartans (around 420 BC) was an increase in Athenian military power and the insecurity that it created among the Spartans. In making this and other observations about state behavior, Thucydides is said to have begun one of the main traditions of thinking about international relations. Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Max Weber are also regarded as seminal thinkers in this intellectual tradition, although it is quite possible to find statements by a large number of past philosophers, theologians, historians, and political commentators that might be called realist. It is important to recognize, however, that none of these early writers actually thought of himself as a realist. Thus while the origins of realism may lie in the writings of these early thinkers, its formulation as a theoretical approach to the study of international relations is a relatively recent development beginning in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
“E.H. Car and Hans J. Morgenthau are crucial figures in that development. They were among the first scholars to use the term ‘realism’ and to elaborate its fundamental assumptions by contrast with the allegedly idealistic study of international relations that prevailed during the interwar period. They claimed that there was no natural harmony of interests among states that it was foolish and even dangerous to hope that the struggle for power among states could be tamed by international law, democratization, and international commerce. For both these writers, the failure of idealist students as well as some diplomats to understand these basic points was part of the reason why the League of Nations failed to stop the outbreak of the Second World War and why Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering Europe.
“Whatever their other differences, and there are many, all realists share a common premise; that the realm of interstate behavior is sufficient unto itself for the purposes of explanation and normative justification. Realism conjures up a grim image of international politics. Within the territorial boundaries of the formally sovereign state, politics is an activity of potential moral progress through the social construction of constitutional government. Beyond the exclusionary borders of its sovereign presence, politics is essentially the realm of survival rather than progress. Necessity, not freedom, is the appropriate or realistic starting-point for understanding international relations. A precarious form of order through the balance of power, not cosmopolitan justice, is the best we can hope for in the international anarchy: a realm of continual struggles for power and security among states. . . .
“Despite its dominance throughout the post-1945 era, realism has been the subject of endless criticism and elaboration, much of it from those sympathetic to some of its fundamental assumptions. . . .
“Today, some scholars are asking whether realism still has any relevance in an allegedly shrinking and globalizing world where interstate violence seems to have taken the place of interstate war. Only time will tell. But realism does have an extraordinary capacity for adaptation and modification. Those who are hopeful of its demise, therefore, are likely to be in for a long wait to see their ambitions fulfilled.
Liberal Internationalism - An Optimistic View - Cooperation is Key!
“Although some realists condemned it as a form of idealism in the late 1930s and just after the Second World War, liberal internationalism became the focus of renewed attention at the end the twentieth century. At least for a short time in the early 1990s, particularly after the Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as communism, it seemed to many that the dream of world order – most often associated with the statecraft of President Woodrow Wilson during and after the First World War – had a chance of being realized. Some of the optimism of that period has since disappeared, and it is becoming clear that liberal internationalism faces many theoretical and practical challenges.
“Liberal international is essentially a project to transform international relations so that they conform to models of peace, freedom, and prosperity allegedly enjoyed within constitutional liberal democracies such as the United States. Indeed, at least in terms of political rhetoric, the United States has been the leader in promoting liberal internationalism of one kind or another in the twentieth century.
“Whilst such a project envisages a wide variety of ways to achieve its lofty goals, three stand out as particularly worthy of note. First, commercial liberalism promotes the idea of free trade and commerce across state borders on the assumption that economic interdependence among states will reduce incentives to use force and raise the cost of doing so. . . . [Second,] if commercial liberalism operates at a transnational level, what is often referred to as republican liberalism is directed at the relationship between states and their citizens. Republican liberalism endorses the spread of democracy among states so that governments will be accountable to their citizens and find it difficult to pursue policies that promote the sectional interests of economic and military elites. . . . Finally, what is called regulatory or institutional liberalism operates at the level of the international political structure. At this level liberal internationalism stands in contrast to the realist insistence that the structural anarchy of the international political system must always subordinate collective interests to national interests. Many liberal internationalists believe that it is possible to promote the rule of law and develop international institutions and practices that moderate the security dilemma among states.
“It should be noted that liberal internationalism is fundamentally reformist rather than revolutionary. It seeks not to transform the basic structure of the states system, but rather to moderate those elements that realists have identified as the fundamental causes of war.
“At the beginning of the twenty-first century, liberal internationalism faces many challenges, among which the following three are the most daunting.
“First, it is clear that the three main types of liberal internationalism do not necessarily support one another; in fact they are often contradictory. . . . Second, not all liberal internationalist values can be enjoyed simultaneously. Peace, individual freedom, and the rule of law may coexist within some liberal democratic states, but the domestic analogy breaks down at the international level. . . . Third, there is a powerful tension between liberal cosmopolitanism and liberal internationalism. The former is based on the subordination of the state to the liberal value of individual autonomy and freedom. In theory, liberals have always viewed the state with suspicion. In contrast, liberal internationalism tends to take the state for granted. . . .
“In response to these dilemmas, liberal internationalism either places its faith in the idea of historical progress to overcome the challenges confronting it, or it mutates in a more radical, cosmopolitan direction. The problem with the first stance is a tendency towards complacency, whilst the latter stance is vulnerable to realist accusations of idealism. In the end, however, being called an idealist may be a small price to pay for sticking to one’s ethical principles!
Constructivism (or Identity) - A Neutral View - Things are as they are and that must be understood!
“Constructivism is a distinctive approach to international relations that emphasizes the social, or intersubjective, dimension of world politics. Constructivists insist that international relations cannot be reduced to rational action and interaction within material constraints (as some realists claim) or within institutional constraints at the international and national levels (as argued by some liberal internationalists). For constructivists, state interaction is not among fixed national interests, but must be understood as a pattern of action that shapes and is shaped by identities over time. In contrast to other theoretical approaches, social constructivism presents a model of international interaction that explores the normative influence of fundamental institutional structures and the connection between normative changes and state identity and interests. At the same time, however, institutions themselves are constantly reproduced and, potentially, changed by the activities of states and other actors. Institutions and actors are mutually conditioning entities.
“According to constructivists, international institutions have both regulative and constitutive functions. Regulative norms set the basic rules for standards of conduct by prescribing or proscribing certain behaviors. Constitutive norms define a behavior and assign meanings to that behavior. Without constitutive norms, actions would be unintelligible. The familiar analogy that constructivists use to explain constitutive norms is that the rules of the game, such as chess. Constitutive norms enable the actors to play the game and provide the actors with the knowledge necessary to respond to each other’s moves in a meaningful way.
“States have a corporate identity that generates basic state goals, such as physical security, stability, recognition by others, and economic development. However, how states fulfill their goals depends upon their social identities, i.e. how states see themselves in relation to other states in international society. On the basis of these identities, states construct their national interests. Constructivists accept that anarchy is the characteristic condition of the international system, but argue that, by itself, it means nothing. . . .
“Constructivism emphasizes that the international system consists of social relationships as well as material capabilities. Indeed, social relationships give meaning to material capabilities. Intersubjective systemic structures consist of the shared understandings, expectations, and social knowledge embedded in international institutions. . . .
“Constructivists focus most of their attention on institutions that exist at a fundamental level of international society, such as international law, diplomacy, and sovereignty. However, regimes are also important. Constructivists argue that these regimes also reproduce constitutive as well as regulative norms. . . .
“As a theoretical approach, constructivism is difficult to employ. Constructivism, for example, does not predict any particular social structure to govern the behavior of states. Rather, it requires that a given social relationship be examined, articulated and, ultimately understood. When this is done, then it may be possible to predict states behavior within that particular structure. However, if these predictions prove false, it could be that the governing social structures were not properly understood or have simply changed. . . .
Pease, Kelly-Kate S. 2010. International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-first Century. 4th ed. New York: Longman.
Rourke, John T, and Mark A Boyer. 2010. International Politics on the World Stage. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.