3 Approaches in International Relations


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3 Approaches in International Relations

  1. 1. Topic 2: 3 Approaches to IR JOU 103 (Updated on September 20, 2007)
  2. 2. 2 Concepts  Is a general idea about something, usually expressed in a single word or a short phrase  Essential step in the process of reasoning: “tools” with which we think, criticize, argue, explain and analyze  Value-laden  meaning may be the subject to argument and debate  greater substance and significance than they actually possesses
  3. 3. 3 Facts and values [1] Facts:  Things that happened and are happening  Involve what, when, where, who, why, and how (5w1h)  Regardless of what we feel, things that happened in the past cannot be changed  I ate an apple  Tung Chee-hwa stepped down in 2005  Anson Chan declared that she will contest the by-election of the Legislative Council in December this year
  4. 4. 4 Facts and values [2] Values:  Personal judgments (from positive to negative)  Even though the fact is same, but values can be different and divergent  Not necessarily based on facts to judge  (I like apples): I ate a tasty apple  (A businessman who supported Tung Chee-hwa): Tung was a kind person  (A pro-Beijing supporter): Anson Chan will contest the by-election of the Legislative Council that will disturb the domestic politics
  5. 5. 5 Facts and values [3] Values can be determined by the following factors 1. Life experiences 2. Educational level 3. Income level 4. Interests 5. Gender 6. Ethnicity 7. Family 8. Peer group 9. Level of understanding 10. political ideologies, etc.
  6. 6. 6 3 Approaches to IR [1] Realism Idealism Radicalism
  7. 7. 7 3 Approaches to IR [2]  3 approaches/concepts in explaining international relations: Realism, liberalism /idealism, and radicalism  The emergence of such approaches is attributed to two world wars  To be great powers: realism (e.g., Germany, Italy, Soviet Union, United States)  Peace, harmony, and order through organizations and laws: liberalism (e.g., the League of Nations, the United Nations)  Self-interest and conflicts are inevitable: radicalism (e.g., Soviet Union VS United States after World War II)
  8. 8. 8 3 Approaches to IR [3] Realism Idealism Radicalism Other labels Realpolitik, power politics Liberalism, liberal international- ism, utopianism Marxism, socialism Nature A struggle for power, dominance, force, national interest, self-help (in order to uphold sovereignty) Peace, human progress, social harmony, individual rights, moral values, legal norms Conflicting/ dominant interests of social classes, (rich VS poor), dominance, trans-national
  9. 9. 9 3 Approaches to IR [4] Realism Liberalism Radicalism Actors Nation-states Nation-states and nonstate actors (e.g., UN) Nation-state, nonstate actors and transnational economic/ social classes Interact- ions Competitive, conflictual, short-term cooperation Competitive, but also cooperative in economic and diplomatic issues Competitive, exploitative in North-South relations, transnational cooperative relations
  10. 10. 10 3 Approaches to IR [5] Realism Liberalism Radicalism E.g., Germany in World War I & II, U.S and U.S.S.R. after World War II U.N., World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank A worldwide anti-WTO protests against economic exploitation and dominance
  11. 11. 11 3 Approaches to IR [6]  No single approach is perfect in understanding IR  Given the complexity of world politics, three of them can be applied in varying degrees, as well as in different contexts  Consider the following factors while applying the chosen approach 1. The nature of the issue (e.g., political, diplomatic, and/or economic ones) 2. Using keywords and points mentioned in features and interactions to judge 3. Using examples (e.g., events, actions) to illustrate your arguments