Friday, October 1, 2010

Theory of International Relations


According to Stephen M. Walt since the cold war saw various changes in the theory of international relations. Various theories and methods developed. Also accompanied by the emergence of a variety of new issues such as ethnic conflict, the environment and the future of the nation-state ¬.
There are three paradigms discussed by Walt in her article, namely, Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism. In the discussion on the Walt extensively covered the developments that occurred in each paradigm.

Realism
One contribution of realism is its attention to issues relative gains and absolute gains. Responding to the institutionalists who argue that international institutions allows countries to leave short-term profits to achieve long-term benefits, the realists such as Joseph Grieco and Stephen Krasner claimed that the system that anarchy forces states to pay attention simultaneously: 1) absolute gains from cooperation and, 2 ) rules of the game in the distribution of benefits among participants. The logic is, if a state benefit is greater than the other then it will gradually become stronger. While other countries will be more susceptible (vulnerable).
In addition, the realists have also been quick in responding to new issues. Barry Possen offers a realist explanation of ethnic conflict. He noted that the breakup of multiethnic countries of ethnic groups put the opponent in an anarchic situation. Intensity sparking fear and seduce (tempting) for each group to use force to improve their relative position. This problem will get worse when in the territory of each group there are pockets (enclaves) which was inhabited by ethnic opponents. Because each party will be tempted to do the cleaning (cleanse) - are preemptive - a minority group and its expansion to include members of their group who are outside their borders.
But according to Walt, the development of the most interesting concept of the realist paradigm is the emergence of differences in thinking between "defensive" and "offensive". Such defensive realists among Waltz, Van Evera and Jack Snyder assumes that states have little intrinsic interest in the military conquest (military Conquest). With reason, costs incurred for the expansion, generally, is greater than the benefits. For them, most of the great war (the great power wars) is caused by domestic groups that exaggerate the perception of threat and the belief that high against the efficacy of military force.
These circles see that war is more likely to occur when the possibility to make conquests among countries is very easy to do. But when the defense is easier than offense, security would appear everywhere, the drive for expansion is reduced and cooperation will flourish. And if the defense had the advantage and countries are able to distinguish between a weapon for defense and attack, then the countries can acquire the means to defend themselves without threatening other countries. Thus rid of the effects of the system that anarchy. In view of the realist-defensive, "states merely sought to survive and guarantee great powers Could Their balancing security by forming alliances and choosing defensive military postures (Such as retaliatory nuclear forces)"
But that view was challenged from a number of other theorists. Among them are Peter Liberman, who wrote the opposite, that the benefits of doing conquest (Conquest) is often greater than the costs. Liberman put forward his argument by giving a number of such cases, the Nazi occupation of Western Europe and Soviet hegemony over Eastern European countries. Thereby throwing doubt on claims that the military expansion is not effective anymore.
Criticism also came from the offensive realists such as, Eric Labs, John Mearsheimer and Fareed Zakaria, who claimed that the situation of anarchy encourages states to try to maximize their relative power because no one country can be sure when a revisionist power will actually appear.
These differences lead to differences in views between the realist view of international issues, such as the future of Europe. For the defensive realists such as Van Evera, war is not only less profitable and often born of militarism, hypernationalism, or a variety of distortions arising from domestic factors. Van Evera believe that the majority of military force has no role (absent) in the post-cold war era. He concluded that "the region is" primed for peace "." Instead the offensive realists argue that the system that anarchy encourages big powers to compete regardless of their internal characteristics and the competition will return to European security.
 
LiberalismIn writing this review about the development of Walt's theory of 'democratic peace'. This theory argues, although democracy seems "sponsoring" the war but he seldom make war between them. Because democratic norms against the use of violence against each other.
But the belief is currently getting some shots of new developments from a number of theoreticians. Snyder and Edward Mansfield stressed that these countries will be easier to fight if they are in the midst of transition to democracy. Thus, efforts to export democracy will further exacerbate the situation.
Strong evidence of democracy at war with each other not only in times of post-1945. As stated Joanne Gowa that emptiness conflict in post-1945 period was due importance to confront the Soviet Union than to share the principles of democracy.
Similarly, from the ranks of liberal-institutionalists, a number of new developments. At present for them, the institution is seen as a facilitator for cooperation among the countries that have similar interests. And agreed that countries can not be forced to cooperate if it is contrary to the interests of the country.
While the liberal-economic stream of the opinion that "globalization" of the world market, the emergence of transnational networks and NGOs and the rapid spread of global communications technology to reduce the power of countries and change the world's attention from the question of military security to economic and social welfare issues.
For Walt despite changes in thinking this but essentially remains the same logic that is, the global community are trapped into the web of economic and social issues related to each other and the risk of damaging jejalinan effectively block the actions of unilateralist countries, especially in terms of use of violence (force). This perspective implicitly declared that the war will remain an option is deep in the countries of the advanced industrial democracies (the Advanced Industrial Democracies.) For them to bring China and Russia into the world of capitalism is the best way to promote prosperity and peace, especially if this process produces a strong middle class in the country and strengthen the pressure for democratization.
 
Constructivism
If realism and liberalism focuses on factors that are material (visible) such as power and trade, the constructivist focus on the idea. Constructivist give attention to state interests and identity as a product that can be formed from a particular historical process. They pay attention to the existing public discourse in the community because discourse reflects and form beliefs and interests, and maintain norms that became the foundation of society act (accepted norms of behavior). Thus constructivists pay attention to the sources of change (sources of change). With this approach, the constructivist replaced marxism as the preeminent radical perspective on international relations.
According to the constructivist perspective, the main issues in the post cold war issues related to how social groups conceive of different (to prepare and understand) the interests and identity.
Constructivist studies give attention to the problems how ideas and identities are formed, how ideas and identities are developed and how ideas and identities to form the state of understanding and responding to conditions in the vicinity.
One characteristic of constructivism is a non-universalist. There is no singularity analysis of the phenomenon. Walt pointed out if Wendt focuses on the question of how anarchy is understood by the countries, then the other constructivist emphasis on the problems the future of the territorial state. They argue that transnational communication and dissemination of the values of civil (civic values) to change the traditional national loyalty and generate radically new forms of political ties (political association).
In the table below, Walt provides a number of differences among the three thought.
Table: Perspectives on the Difference Between HI
Competing Liberalism Realism Constructivism Paradigm
Main theoretical proposition states Self-interest Constantly Compete for power or security Concern for power overridden by economic / political considerations (desire for prosperity, commitment to liberal values) State behavior shaped by elite beliefs, collective norms, and social identities
Main unit of analysis Individual States States (especially elites)
Main Economic instruments and especially military power Varies (international institutions, economic exchange, democracy promotion) Ideas and discourse
Modern theories Hans Morgenthau
Kenneth Waltz Michael Doyle
Robert Keohane Alexander Wendt
John Ruggie
Representative works of modern Waltz, Theory of International Politics.
Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future: instability in Europe after the Cold War" (International Security, 1990) Keohane, After Hegemony.
Fukuyama, "The End of History?" (National Interest, 1989) Wendt, "Anarchy Is What States Make of It" (International Organization, 1992)
Koslowski and Kratochwil, "Understanding Changes in International Politics" (International Organization, 1994)
Post-cold war event prediction Resurgence of great power competition Increased cooperation as liberal values, free market, spreads and international institution. Agnostic Because it can not Predict the content of ideas
Main limitation Does not account for international change Tends to ignore the role of power of describing the past Better Than anticipating the future
Source: Walt, Foreign Policy, No. 110, Spring 1998.
While Steve Smith wrote, to understand current international theories, there are two distinction which must be understood first. First, the difference between "explanatory theory" and "constitutive theory". Both of the "foundational theory" and "anti-foundational theory".
For an explanatory theory, the world outside the theory. Conversely constitutive theory states that the existing theories of constructing the world. That is, for the self-explanatory to understand the world not affected by subjectivity factor dynamics of actors in social dunai. The world is objective. But instead, the constitutive view the world as a result of individual understanding of their social environment.
About the difference between the foundational theory and anti-foundational theory lie in the issue of whether the conviction (belief) about the world can be tested or evaluated using a procedure that is neutral and objective. For the foundationalist truth can be measured so that the justification of right or wrong can be done. In contrast, anti-foundationalist believes that that is true or false justification of truth claims can not be done because there is never anything neutral that can do that. In fact, every theory determines its own so-called facts.
Explanatory theory tends to foundationalism and the constitutive theory tends to anti-foundationalism. Most recent international theories are in groups such as the anti-foundational theory, postmodernism, some feminist theories and most of the normative theory (normative theory).
While historical sociology (historical Sociology) and critical theory tends to be in a position foundationalisme. But in between these two poles there is social constructivism (social constructivism), which was in the middle.
Also in the dynamics of international theories there is also debate between positivism and non-positivism yangmenyebabkan occurrence of three major groups, namely:
1. Rationalism. Within this group there are neo-liberalism and neo-realism.
2. Reflektivisme. Within this group there is postmodernism, feminist theory, normative theory (normative theory), critical theory, and historical sociology (historical Sociology).
3. Social constructivism. Located in the middle of the two poles.
Neo-Neo Synthesis
In this article Smith explains that in further development, especially since the 1980s, realism and liberalism reached a point in common. "Essentially EACH Same looked at the issue from different sides: That issue was the effect of international institutions on the behavior of states in a situations of International Anarchy."
In the debates that went on between these two perspectives, there are two points that need to be observed is, first, the neo-realist emphasis on relative gains while the neo-liberal emphasis on absolute gains. The difference is, say there is a cake, if then the countries thought to get the biggest slice of cake from the other without regard to the size of the cake so he put more emphasis on relative gains. Meanwhile, if the countries thought to enlarge the size of the pie for the whole country to get a big piece of cake then these countries put more emphasis on absolute gains.
Second, neo-realists do not believe that international institutions can overcome the results of international anarchy. In contrast to the neo-liberal, reduce the occurrence of misunderstanding and cooperation between countries to prevent the effects posed by international anarchy. Then too, if the neo-realist emphasis on security issues, neo-liberal emphasis on issues of political economy.
Smith also noted, following Baldwin, there are four weaknesses that are owned by the 'neo-neo synthesis':
1. Both perspectives leave issues the use of force is the key to the main difference between realism and liberalism in the decades-decade earlier. Both perspectives seem to try to undermine the relevance of these issues in the modern world today.
2. If previously liberalism see actors as moral agents and realist view of actors as power maximizers then in the development of 'neo-neo debate "both agree that the actors are value maximizers.
3. If before a debate in which the realists emphasize the state as an actor and liberalism emphasizes the non-state actors ¬ then in the 'neo-neo debate "both agree that the state is a major actor in international politics.
4. If realism see the conflict as the key to understanding international politics and liberalism see collaboration as something that is important then the neo-neo debate saw both of them, both cooperation and conflict as the focus of attention.
'Neo-neo synthesis' can be said is born as a response to the failure of realism and classical liberalism in analyzing international phenomenon that is not completely gone as what diteorisasikan by two paradigm. That was caused by the behavior of international actors who tend to be pragmatic, in the sense of utilizing both approaches in achieving its interests, causing an international social reality can not be viewed in black and white from the perspective of each approach.
The phenomenon of 'neo-neo synthesis' is not just changing the number of pre-existing views on each approach but also gave birth to a number of similarities second opinion on this thought that caused the decreasing gap between the (neo) realism and (neo) liberalism.
Social Constructivism: Bridging The Gap
If we follow the pattern of distribution made by Lapid him over then in the chart, the three major groups that will look like this:

Constructivist position is between rationalism and reflektivisme for Smith's own benefit because it can be a bridge connecting both sides of mutual "fighting" and difficult to reach common ground. As written by him,
"I am sure That it Promises to be one of the most Important theoretical development of recent decades; the reason Is That Is That if it deliver what it Promises Could It would then it would be the dominant theory in the discipline, since it Could Relate to the all other approaches on Their own terms, whereas at the moment there is virtually no contact Between rationalist theories and reflectivist since They do not share the Same view of how to build knowledge.
To complete the explanation above regarding constructivism Walt's good to see some of the core of Alexander Wendt thinking that has been summarized by Steve Smith in his article entitled New Approaches to International Theory. According to Wendt, the neo-realists and neo-liberal identity and interest is something given, something already granted. Wendt did not believe so, he saw that the identities and interests are the result of inter-subjective practices between actors. In other words the identity and interests are the result of an interaction process. Although neo-realists and neo-liberals admit that the process of interaction affects the behavior of the actors but not for the identity and interests.
In addition, Wendt also stated that determine the structure of collective meaning that govern our actions. And the actors acquire the interests and identity melalaui participation in the collective meaning. Identities and interests are relational and are defined As We defined situations.
It seems increasingly clear that in contrast to (neo) realism and (neo) liberalism, constructivism provides a different explanation in analyzing social phenomena, particularly international phenomenon. Constructivist view of social phenomenon is the result of formation of the interaction between international actors, in contrast with the realism and liberalism. Who see there are elements that just there without the intervention of international actors (given).
The model analysis provided by constructivism can not be separated from development trends influence current social discourse more focus on the issues "world of ideas" which focuses on issues of social construction of reality. The development of theories of this model can not be discharged influence of a group of German social scientists known as madhhabs Frankfurt (Frankfurt School), where one of his famous thinker is Juergen Habermas. From this Frakfurt madhhabs then developed theories reflektivisme with different variants.
If related to the contemporary era, where the mobility and the amount of information daily milling is very high (information age), this theory has a very significant relevance. Because the current rule is no longer perpetuated by force of arms alone but also through the media information that can construct the public consciousness.
It's just about the idea of constructivism (especially constructivism Wendt), Steve Smith gave Wendt criticism that the idea is not entirely to be the bridge that connects the gap between rationalism (neo-realism and neo-liberalism) and reflektivisme (critical theory, postmodernism, etc.) . There are five reasons stated Smith:
1. Wendt constructivist thinking is not good enough for the likes reflektivis among the more radical views than Wendt.
2. Wendt too "smelly" realist. It can be seen from the opinion which states "to That extent, I am a statist and realist." Wendt means that the country is still looking at the main actors and the state continues to dominate. And who wants to change this thinking by reflektivisme.
3. Wendt's desire to combine rationalist and reflektivis for Smith was not possible mainly concerned about the issue "how to construct knowledge." Rationalists have temporary basis reflektivis positivist post-positivist. These two views differ so much that it is difficult to combine.
4. The concept of 'structure' which suggested Wendt less material. Because for Wendt structure is what is understood at the head of the actor. While for many scientists understood the structure as a reflection of material interests.
5. Wendt argues that identity comes from the interaction process. Smith's criticism given above opinion is that we do not come into an interaction without carrying identity previously obtained. This means that the identity we've gained previously will affect other parties involved in a process of interaction, and vice versa.
Stephen M. Walt also gave his criticism of constructivism that konstruksivisme weakness lies in its inability to provide a solution to the problem (of describing the past Better Than anticipating the future).

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