Dr. Tabakian’s Political Science 7
Contemporary World Affairs – Spring/Fall 2014
Power Point Material #1
LECTURE HIGHLIGHTS (1)
Defining Political Science
Introducing International Relations
Rational Choice Theory
Elitism & Pluralism – Review From Political Science 1
Spheres Of Influence – Review From Political Science
• Manipulation – Review From Political Science 1
• Interdependency Theory – Review From Political
LECTURE HIGHLIGHTS (2)
• Power Theory
WHAT IS POLITICAL SCIENCE?
Political Science is a branch of the Social Sciences like Sociology. Both
fields are fairly similar as each is primarily interested in individual as well as
group behavior. Their fundamental difference is exhibited by what theory
serves as the foundation for each respective discipline. Social scientists are
biased towards elitism while political scientists are prone to pluralism. This
does not mean that elite theory is not utilized in the political sciences. It is
recognized, but only in contrast with pluralism. Both theories compliment
each other, but pluralism is generally favored by political scientists. Political
scientists examine how political behavior is influenced as Sociology, which
looks at individual behavior that is determined according to elite influence in
general. Elite theory serves as the primary basis of the social sciences
(sociology) while political scientists are biased towards pluralism or the
result of competing interests and the end result of conflict and compromise.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (1)
International relations theorize mainly on conflict in the world system and
how to prevent chaos from ensuing by managing power relations through
the use of deterrence. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr. states that decisions
made by foreign poly decision makers examines problems by equating
(1) the societal and individual values of their state and that of the case
(2) their own and the world’s understanding of the problem at hand;
(3) those capabilities available on hand and what the goals of their
nation in correlation to other nations;
(4) the bureaucratic and organizational framework where decisions
affecting foreign affairs are constructed; and
(5) how that individual defines the international system, whether it may
be bipolar, multipolar, classical balance of power, unilateral, etc.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (2)
International relations is like the philosophy of science as both are
defined as, “a symbolic construction, a series of inter-related constructs
or concepts, together with definitions, laws, theorems and axioms.” The
field of study came about following World War I by those who sought to
understand what causes conflict so that the barrage of conflict may not
be repeated again. The field consists of contending theories that some
have argued has not been able to reign uncontested. One can argue that
the field as a whole is wrought with contesting theoretical approaches,
which have yet to achieve recognition as a new paradigm or standing as
a law that all researchers can depend on. Found within the natural
sciences are certain laws retaining equal standing among researchers in
that field. None of the subfields of IR or the entire discipline for that
matter have yet achieved this state. All of the competing theoretical
approaches and methodologies applied in IR depend on each other to
form a nucleus of knowledge that researchers may utilize in different
configurations to strengthen or attack hypotheses.
ROLE OF THEORY
Everyone uses theory whether they know it or not. Many
of us devise our own theories through our childhood
socializations up to adulthood. Disagreements within the
field of political science for example come about when
there is no agreement over the basic forces that shape
the discipline. Students become disillusioned when
situations arise that sweep forecasts into the abyss.
Elitism and Pluralism serve as the foundation for the
social sciences with political science being more inclined
to adhere to pluralist arguments. Readers are encouraged
to utilize both theories throughout the text. This will assist
students of the political sciences to critically analyze
those arguments presented by the author in order to
devise their own methodologies concerning political
science. Theory also helps researches to classify certain
variables. It may be thought of as a pair of sunglasses
that helps us filter unwanted information.
EXAMPLE OF THEORY –
Realism accords that as human nature remains
the predominant factor in a nation-state’s
foreign policy, it is further determined that such
policies are focused upon self-interest. As the
inherent motive for man is survival, it applies to
the applied foreign policies of nation-states for
the actions of a state are determined according
to the actions of a state are determined according to the tenets of political
determination. Considered to be a synonym for power politics, though at times
construed as pragmatic and wrought with simplicity, it is a somewhat abrupt
philosophy focused on the inherent evils of mankind. Let us look at a clip from the
movie “Failsafe”. Walter Matthau plays the role of National Security Advisor who
applies rational choice and realist theory to explain why striking at the Soviet
Union is necessary to survive.
RATIONAL CHOICE (1)
What is the primary goal of the individual? The answer may be
summed up in one word: Survival. This basic human requirement
serves as the foundation for all action. If survival is the ultimate goal,
then one must assume that individual parties are determined to make
decisions that are based on rationality. This of course assumes that
people as individual units will base all decisions on self-interest. Let us
even assume that the decision maker is in possession of perfect
information. Why then do people make irrational or even foolhardy
decisions even when all signs point to negative or even disastrous
results? The answer is simply that human beings are not robots or
computers. We are fallible to emotions that encompass belief systems
like religion that in turn are great influences over individual behavior.
RATIONAL CHOICE (2)
Decisions are based on self-interest…as we define our self-interest to
be. Consider this example. We have a nun and a real-estate mogul.
The nun gives up all her worldly possessions and dedicating herself to
helping those in poverty. Her justification may be great rewards in the
afterlife. The real-estate mogul does not believe in an afterlife, but
does believe in making as much money as , spending it all on an
overly extravagant and abusive lifestyle. Who is acting rationally? Both
individuals are for they are fulfilling their self-interest…as they define
their self-interest to be.
POWER THEORY (1)
To exert power one must first possess adequate reserves to draw
upon. This is defined simply as “capacity of power”. Achieving higher
positions is dependent on various factors that may include: education;
wealth; profession; charisma and other talents either developed or
engrained from birth. This “capacity of power” is not determined
according to a single resource, ability or possession. It is instead a
combination of different variables that serve to make up the individual.
This is just like a battery consisting of energy resources drawn upon
when it comes time to draw power in order to achieve a set objective.
Just like a battery powering a flashlight so does one’s individual
“capacity of power” serve to assist one in achieving a set goal or in
this case influencing or affecting political behavior to maintain, expand
or protect one’s standing in order to survive in society.
POWER THEORY (2)
Our example of “capacity of power” is applicable to
individual capacity of power and all associations up to
the nation state as all combined units consist of
individuals pursuing their set of priorities or self-interest
that is in turn based on survival. Drawing upon these
reserves allows one to pursue agendas of self-interest.
Power is the ultimate pursuit, as the ultimate goal of
humanity is survival. Individual participants in pursuit of
these goals join together in common pursuits under the
umbrella of common interest. These resulting “spheres
of interest” in turn join under broader umbrellas that
also offer another distinct set of common goals that in
turn competes with respective peers.
POWER THEORY (3)
Power equals resources (capacity of power) times compliance
squared, divided by force. Every accounting of power theory is
taken into consideration in the construction of this formula. We
have explored the contention that the pursuit of self-interest
encourages man to engage in political behavior. This serves as
the foundation for rational choice theory, which in turn has led us
to power theory. One may argue that the pursuit of power
maintains the never ending cycle of political: conflict; compromise;
alliances; and wars.
POWER THEORY (4)
Many have countered this argument with a direct assault on the
statement that “there is no morality in politics”. These critics are
both right and wrong. It is true that morality has no direct
correlation with political science if the pursuit of self-interests and
power resources maintains utmost priority. On the other hand
they may be correct if one party sells their pursuit as a moral
cause in order to achieve their agenda. For example, one may
argue that good may come from conflict even if it leads to the
destruction of a nation-state and the slaughtering of thousands or
millions of people if the seed of democracy is planted and
nurtured to maturity.
America has grown from the days of a colony to major power,
superpower, and hegemon, to its present empire status. American
power is felt throughout the international community. Playing
poker requires one to adopt what is commonly known as a “poker
face”. Players will hide their true emotions, even faking their true
intentions to catch other players off guard. Some have even taken
to wearing sunglasses. The exact opposite tactic that the United
States has adopted is “Transparency”. This involves disclosing all
routes the nation-state will undertake with regards to all forms of
public policy pertaining to its political, economic and military
Alexander Hamilton initiated this
policy as the chief financial
philosopher of the United States
even if he did not coin the term.
Hamilton is regarded as the chief
architect of our economic policy,
which in turn was developed in order
to win the confidence of domestic
US business and financial elites as
well as gaining the confidence of
TRANSPARENCY EXAMPLE #1
America possesses the most
military hardware. This video
demonstrates one of the first
deployable force fields for light
“Trophy” was built in partnership
Corporation & Rafael. Welcome
to the 21st Century!
TRANSPARENCY EXAMPLE #2
America is not the only nation that
utilizes Transparency. This video
shows the Israeli Defense Force
demonstrating a new type of gun
that can shoot around corners. A
brief interview with the inventor of
this amazing weapon follows the
TRANSPARENCY EXAMPLE #3
Some forms of transparency are
both political and military in nature.
Ordinance Aerial Burst (MOAB). It is
commonly referred to as “The
Mother Of All Bombs”. It is the
largest conventional bomb in our
arsenal. There is a psychological
component to this bomb. A
mushroom cloud forms following
successful detonation. It looks
somewhat like a nuclear device
TRANSPARENCY EXAMPLE #4
Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile
with lock-on before launch and
automatic self-guidance. The system
takes a top-attack flight profile
against armored vehicles (attacking
the top armor which is generally
thinner) but can also take a directattack mode for use against
buildings or fortifications. This missile
also has the ability to engage
helicopters. Javelin is supplied by
JAVELIN Joint Venture.
Elitism does not promote elite rule. It merely helps us to
understand how the rules of a society, especially a democratic
one, may actually obstruct the social progress of the masses.
Elitism argues that elites are needed, due to the ignorance of the
masses and their unwillingness to act responsibly. One thing
that elites are particularly fearful of is the tendency for masses to
be vulnerable to demagogic appeals. Demagogues or counter
elites are mass-oriented leaders who express outright hostility
toward established order and appeal to the mass sentiments.
This can be from the far left or far right. This also helps to
explain why domestic elites remain fearful of direct democracy
and why the Founding Fathers were against the establishment
of national referenda.
1. Society is divided between the powerful few and the majority weak.
2. Governing few are not typical of the governed masses. Elites are not
drawn mostly from the upper class socioeconomic section of society.
3. Non-elites have to be given the opportunity to rise up to elite positions.
The masses have to believe that the process is continuous or revolution
may occur. Barriers prevent finite elite positions from being overtaken by
unqualified individuals. This is a classic rat and cheese scenario.
4. Elites share a common belief on the basic values of the elite. Any
change of public policy will be incrementally slow rather than
5. Elites may base their actions either on narrow, self-serving motives and
risk undermining mass support, or they may initiate reforms, curb abuse,
and undertake public-regarding programs to preserve the system.
6. Active elites are not typically influenced from apathetic masses. Elites
influence masses more than the masses influence elites.
Lack Of Cheese
ELITISM – HOW INFORMATION
Elite theory also argues that information flows
from opinion elites down to opinion leaders
who are looked to the public for information.
News is first “created” by opinion elites and
then sent to opinion leaders to help
disseminate the information. Those at the
very top of the elite network decide what
information is deemed as necessary to offer
society. These elites may be news makers
themselves or in charge of large media
corporations. Opinion leaders may be thought
of as journalists, news anchors, expert
pundits or even celebrities who possess
legitimacy among those in society.
MANIPULATION EXAMPLE #1
Governmental elites find it
necessary to manipulate the
masses if doing so serves a
vested interest. Here is a
great example of how a
safety video can serve as a
tool for manipulating the
masses from childhood. Who
does the monkey represent?
MANIPULATION & MIRROR MYTH
News media outlets possess a great
power. They are able to “decide what will
be decided”. Bias is exhibited throughout
the mainstream press. This is also true
for nontraditional news sources as
everyone is biased in some way. Many in
the news media stress that they are
nonbiased since they only reflect reality.
Even if the news is merely reflected or
reported, it is their choice of subjects that
proves their bias. All news is biased.
This is the “Mirror Myth”.
WHAT WE CALL THE NEWS
regarding the motivations behind
what stories are chosen by the
major media. Advertising revenue
greatly influences those stories
chosen. Securing market share is
vital, for without it, the major
media would lose advertising
revenue. It is really our fault that
the major news networks willfully
focus on sex, violence and
various negative pieces. This
short clip provides a humorous
spin to “What We Call The News”.
PLURALISM – SPHERES
Pluralism insures that groups are
restricted from single handedly
influencing public policy. Rather,
cross-cutting cleavages would form,
as groups seek compromise with
others to build coalitions that would
succeed in affecting change. This
helps to assure that minority factions
are protected from an overwhelming
among the “Spheres of Influence” are
formation of cross-cutting cleavages
in an effort to balance against
Political Parties “Checking” Each Other
PROPAGANDA – CITIZEN BASED
empowered common citizens with
creative minds to produce their own
propaganda. “The War On Terror”
sparked a great deal of media distributed
via the Internet. Elites no longer maintain
total control over distribution. Many
citizens may deem these video as
offensive. Keep in mind that propaganda
is meant to produce an “Us” versus
“Them” mindset. Does this video have
any impact over your belief system?
PLURALISM SUMMARIZED (1)
1. Society is divided into numerous groups with all making demands on
government while none of the participants are able to dominate all decisionmaking.
2. Citizens do not directly participate in decision-making, but they are able to
vote for leaders to make decisions through a process of bargaining,
accommodation, and compromise.
3. Competition among leadership groups helps protect individuals’ interests.
Countervailing centers of power – for example, competition among business
leaders, labor leaders and government leaders – can check one another and
keep each interest from abusing its power and oppressing the individual.
Each of these individual “spheres of influence” allies themselves with other
spheres that possess similar goals. See “Spheres Of Influence”.
4. Individuals may not participate directly in decision-making, but they can
exert influence through active participation in organized groups, political
parties and elections.
PLURALISM SUMMARIZED (2)
5. Leadership groups are open; new groups can form and gain access to the
6. Political influence in society is unequally distributed, but power is widely
dispersed. Access to decision making is often determined by how much
interest people have in a particular decision. Because leadership is fluid and
mobile, power depends on one’s interest in public affairs, skills in leadership,
information about issues, knowledge of democratic processes, and skill in
organization and public relations.
7. Multiple leadership groups operate within society. Those who exercise power
in one kind of decision do not necessarily exercise power in others. No
single elite dominates decision making in all issues.
8. Public policy does not necessarily reflect majority preference, but is an
equilibrium of interest interaction – competing interest group influences are
more or less balanced, and the resulting policy is therefore a reasonable
approximation of society’s preferences.
ELITISM VS. PLURALISM (1)
Comparing and contrasting elitism and pluralism allows us to observe
how they differ:
1. Elitism asserts that the most important division in society is between
elites and masses.
2. Elitism emphasizes the importance to leaders to maintain their
position of power – Pluralism emphasizes this devotion to their group
3. Elitism asserts that mass membership of organizations rarely
exercises influence on elite leadership. That these organizations
have no democratic processes and are controlled by leaders who
operate for their own self-interest. Pluralists offer no evidence that the
giant organizations represent the interests of their individual
ELITISM VS. PLURALISM (2)
4. Elitism takes into account of all power holders – private and public.
Pluralism focuses on governmental leaders and those who interact
directly with them.
5. Elitism emphasizes shared characteristics of leaders on top of their
interest in preserving the social diversity among leaders, differences
in backgrounds, ideologies, and viewpoints. Pluralism also argues
that decisions made by leaders are a product of their role perception,
institutional constraints, interest group pressure, public opinion, etc.
Elitism focuses on leadership consensus – Pluralism focuses on elite
SPHERES OF INFLUENCE
Pluralism is best in describing how competing
spheres of influence protect minority rights
against majority factions. These majority factions
may consist of individual powerful elite entities or
groups of “spheres of influence”. Alliances will
form among once competing spheres in order to
“check” another sphere or individual elite base
that acquires too much power. This constant
“checking” as described in the “competing
spheres of influence” diagram describes how this
plays out in all systems. Individual spheres of
influence are always on the alert for one of their
peers assuming too much power.
essentially check each other within the
political system. This is seen as essential
for the protection of minority rights
especially as it pertains to majority
factions. Elites in our society are not
defined according to race, gender, religion,
etc. They are seen mainly as those who
hold positions of power with society. Our
protection of minority rights as those few
individuals who retained control over
society. These individuals were property
holders, policy makers or those who
possessed positions of power.
Competition among spheres of interest produces great returns for humanity.
The constant strive for marketplace acceptance has resulted in America
progressing from a predominantly agricultural society to an industrial,
nuclear, and information based society. The United States is unique in that it
excels in more than one particular capitalist endeavor. Innovation has led to
advancements that have greatly influenced every aspect of society. Society
has benefited from constant advancements in energy harvesting,
computers, communication, water purification, medicine and all other areas
not listed for the list would be enormous. Every significant discovery has in
turn greatly influenced societal norms of behavior. Masses today view
internet communications as a vital necessity. It is nearly impossible to
operate in a complex society without easy access to the web. The majority
of masses did not have this belief fifteen years ago. Only society
determining that the internet allowed for greater efficiency was it adopted as
a societal norm. Those not willing to adapt became obsolete.
Sudden instability is the greatest threat to humanity for it threatens to
cause irreparable harm to the individual. One may never consider
harming another person in a state of nature. Elimination of one’s
sustenance throws the individual into a state of war, because their
survival is now threatened. Nation-states consist of multiple spheres of
interest in turn consisting of individual units consisting of people. As
survival is the primary goal of man, so it is the ultimate pursuit of
nation-states. The primary concern is that of stability. This philosophy
has prevented a major war from taking place over the last sixty years.
Instability is the primary cause of all conflict both within and between
SPHERES OF INFLUENCE CONTINUED
Spheres consist of individuals who share
a common set of interests and/or belief
systems. Individual participants are the
absolute micro-level of every sphere.
Here are some examples of spheres:
family, work, school, political parties, and
religion. Different spheres of influence
communicate with one another through
the individual who is a member of those
interactions influence individual behavior.
Elites are the true minority not
only within the United States,
but in all societies, regardless
illustration shows that the true
possession of large capacities
of power. Maximum level of
education acquired is used for
PLURALISM – ALLIANCES
Pluralism is best in describing how competing
spheres of influence protect minority rights against
majority factions. These majority factions may
consist of individual powerful elite entities or groups
of “spheres of influence”. Alliances will form among
once competing spheres in order to “check” another
sphere or individual elite base that acquires too
much power. This constant “checking” as described
in the “competing spheres of influence” diagram
describes how this plays out in all systems.
Individual spheres of influence are always on the
alert for one of their peers assuming too much
power. Certain situations may also call for certain
spheres of influence to realize that they share a
common agenda with one or more of their
respective peers. Cooperation among spheres
sharing a common agenda serves to hasten