Dr. Tabakian’s Political Science 7
Modern World Governments – Spring/Fall 2014
Supplemental Power Point Material #2
Introducing International Relations
Rational Choice Theory
Dominance, Reciprocity & Identity
Actors & Influences
State and Nonstate Actors
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 five
(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.
American Foreign Policymakers generally believe that
morality is not a primary factor for basing policy in the
international arena. Morgenthau offers a prophetic
Hobbesian declaration that “there is neither morality nor law
outside the state”. He goes on to state, “There is a profound
and neglected truth hidden in Hobbes’s extreme dictum that
the state creates morality as well as law and there is neither
morality nor law outside the state. Universal moral
principles, such as justice or equality, are capable of guiding
political action only to the extent that they have been given
concrete content and have been related to political situations
Realists argue that anarchy is not only present in the international
system. It can also spring forth within territories as Barry Posen has
suggested about what possible end results may manifest following
the breakup of multiethnic states. This situation can suddenly place
ethnic groups in an anarchical setting with each division acting like
states in the international system. Each side fears one another to
the extent that each respective group forges ahead on a campaign
to acquire power over one another. Alexander Wendt claims
“Anarchy is what states make of it.” He has argued that realism
does not adequately explain why conflict erupts between states.
Walt brings to attention other strands of constructivism that claim
transnational communication and shared civic values have played a
distinct role in eroding national loyalties, creating radical strains of
political association that focus on international law and other
normative principles that focus on international concerns.
REALISM – HISTORICAL
Realists desired a return to understanding why nation states
act the way that they do by understanding what role history
has had on the actions undertaken by the present.
Examining historical occurrences allows one to identify
particular and predictable patterns of international behavior.
Power was isolated as a determining variable as states
sought to gain and/or maintain their current capacity to both
preserve their security in an anarchic world and to also gain
additional power when the situation warranted. Morgenthau
has suggested, “International politics, like all politics, is a
struggle for power.” If history has shown that the quest for
power is never ending then his assertion may be correct.
REALISM & THE NATIONAL
Robert L. Pfaltzgraff defines the national interest as, “…ultimately
the prudent use of power to safeguard those interests most vital to
the survival of the nation-state.” The author further states that by
studying history, realists are able to produce a generalization
about what certain preconditions have to exist for a nation-state to
pursue policies of aggression to secure their nation-interest.
Nation-states pursue their individual national-interests on a neverending basis, which in turn leads to a stable international system.
Defenders of a competitive security system suggest that states
are forever striving to increase their security in relation to that of
other states. This would entail ego’s gain as alter’s loss and as a
result is prone to security dilemmas. In a cooperative security
system, states equate the security of each as a contribution to the
collective good. National interests are seen to bolster international
REALISM – WINNERS & LOSERS
Ken Booth claims that traditional realist themes of power
and order will always be achieved at someone else’s
expense, forever maintaining political instability in the world
system. Emancipation should instead be given priority in the
security policies of states to reduce this instability.
Emancipation is defined by Booth as a means of freeing
people from constraints that prevent them from acting freely.
People are prevented by war, poverty, oppression and poor
educations from developing themselves to their fullest.
Security and emancipation are seen as two sides of the
REALISM & SELF HELP
States are succumbed to existing in a self-help system.
Robert Axelrod has demonstrated that this reality has
produced only one method for maximizing collective gain
and that is the “tit-for-tat” tactic. Kenneth Waltz argues that
the self-help system may lead the most powerful states to
further widen the gaps in economic, military and political
power between themselves and weaker members. Many
have argued as this author that conflict is rooted in human
nature and this will always remain so regardless of the
structure of the international system.
REALISM & CORE STATES
Realists are more likely to assume that core states are democratic,
whereas periphery states remain authoritarian. Core states are prone to
recognizing the sovereignty of other core states, but are willing to ignore
the sovereignty of periphery countries if it serves their interests. Thomas
Barnet is a professor at the US Naval War College who authored a
model that may enlighten students to how the Bush Administration
conducts foreign policy. Professor Barnett first splits the world in two
distinct areas. The first contains “The Functioning Core” which are
developed or those in the process of development that is entrenched in
the capitalist system and remains committed to globalization. In the
camp is the “Non-Integrating Gap” which contains poor, repressive and
unstable governments that have not been allowed in the globalization
club. Professor Barnet then goes on to state that the main security threat
for Core states is not one another as realists would presume, but the
threat presented by unstable regimes that emphatically voice their
disenchantment with the world order and in turn produce terrorists who
are further incensed over the gap between the two camps.
REALISM & INSTITUTIONS
Realism asserts that international institutions serve the
interests of the most powerful member states, not
international interests. The expansion of NATO is a good
example as this action satisfies the interests of member
states. Realists do not recognize institutions as possessing
the power to impact state behavior. These institutions are
instead a reflection of the distribution of the power in the
world, constructed to satisfy the self-interest of the most
Classical realists like Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold
Niebuhr believed that states acted like human beings as
both sought dominance over their respective competitors.
This in turn caused competition to morph into war.
Morgenthau stressed the virtues of classical realist with his
declaration that the bipolar system of rivalry was a
dangerous predicament that would lead to catastrophic
destruction. He instead called for multipolarity as a way to
construct a balance of power system that would maintain
REALISM / MULTILATERALISM
US foreign policy was based upon two strategies since the
1940s. The first was realist in its construction as it was
based on containment, deterrence, and maintaining a global
balance of power. The second strategy was forged over the
course of World War II as the US constructed a new system
of relations based on institutionalized political relations with
other integrated market democracies, along with continued
growth of new markets. Ikenberry gives an example of the
liberal grand strategy purported by the government by
quoting Richard Hass, policy-planning director at the State
Department: “…the principal aim of American foreign policy
is to integrate other countries and organizations into
arrangements that will sustain a world consistent with US
interests and values”.
REALIST FORCE CONCEPTION
E. H. Carr argues that there exist two opposite poles of utopian
feelings of right and realist conceptions of force. He stresses that there
exists a need for a combination of both utopia and reality so that
society can come to a favorable compromise between power and
morality. Politics and law is viewed as a ‘meeting place’ for ethics and
power where both can come together in order to facilitate continued
progress towards a utopian society. Classical realists like Thomas
Hobbes, Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau argued that egoism
and power politics stemmed from human nature. Structural realists or
neorealists moved away from human nature and instead stressed
anarchy. Kenneth Walt stated that anarchy allows conflict to brew as
“wars occur because there is nothing to prevent them”. He goes on to
infer that it is the actions of predator states whose behavior is fostered
from human nature or its domestic politics that forces other states to
respond in kind if they are to survive.
Classical realism focuses on human nature, whereas
neorealism has taken this assumption and applied it the
existing anarchic realm of “self-interested, competitive,
mutually suspicious and antagonistic states.” Neo-realism
sees the international political system as one unit with
interconnecting linkages existing between structural and
units. In contrast to old realism’s contention that human
nature is the drive for self-interest, neo-realists looks at the
entire system to understand how single actors, or states,
base their actions. States are seen as individual units that
pursue their self-interests with the most important one being
REALIST & MUTUAL
DETERRENCE THEORY (1)
Both the US and the Soviets have acted irrationally at the same
time, threatening to use nuclear weapons, while at the same time
assuming that the other side would remain rational and not
provoke the situation. This actually happened during the Berlin
crises, including other successive events, yet there has never
been a nuclear strike launched between the two superpowers.
Deterrence has worked because neither side really knew what the
other side was thinking. A problem with deterrence is that the
more times bluffs are made it may lead to a time when someone
is going to make the call. At this point there are only three
alternatives: resort to nuclear war, retreat, resort to conventional
war. Realists argue that the struggle for power remains constant
in the international system. The only variable is the makeup of the
balance of power.
REALIST & MUTUAL
DETERRENCE THEORY (2)
On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy
announced to the American public the
threat of Soviet nuclear capability in
Cuba. The proximity of these nuclear
missiles posed a threat to the East Coast
of the United States. After this speech,
many Americans felt nuclear war was
imminent as U.S. ships confronted Soviet
ships off the coast of Cuba. His speech is
rooted in realism: “I call upon Chairman
Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this
clandestine, reckless, and provocative
threat to world peace... He has an
opportunity now to move the world back
from the abyss of destruction.”
REALISM EXPLANATION FOR
END OF COLD WAR (1)
Realists have a simple explanation to the end of the Cold War.
They argue that Soviet power declined and that it could no
longer face the expense of continuing to challenge the United
States. Kenneth Waltz has emphasized that nuclear weapons
effectively insured that all out war would never erupt between
the US and the Soviets as each side possessed secure
second-strike capability (and some would argue a third and
fourth). Realists may argue that the Soviet Union was able to
disband, because its security could still be maintained with
nuclear weapons and that it was not necessary to maintain an
empire solely for the purpose of having a buffer zone around
Russia itself. Neorealists later took to the stage with their
argument that states were concerned primarily in security and
not further increasing their power, or conquering new lands.
REALISM EXPLANATION FOR
END OF COLD WAR (2)
The greatest power a US President
has at their possession is the bully
pulpit. Great care is necessary for a
president’s words have great
influence over the hearts and minds
not only of American citizens, but
people all over the world. This is a
Reagan’s famous speech, “Tear
Down This Wall” given at the Berlin
Wall on June 12, 1987.
REALISM EXPLANATION FOR
END OF COLD WAR (3)
On November 9, 1989, the world
stood in shock as the Berlin Wall, for
almost fifty years the symbolic divide
between the communist East and the
capitalist West, was torn down.
Constructed by the communist
government in 1961 to prevent East
Germans from fleeing to the West,
the Berlin Wall became the symbolic
representation of the Cold War. The
collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989
marked a fundamental transition in
the international system and the rise
of the post-Cold War order.
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.
IDEALISM / LIBERALISM (1)
Various liberal theories sought to challenge realism. One variant of
liberalism asserted that increased economic interdependence would
discourage war for engaging in conflict would insight more costs than
benefits. Warfare was seen as a threat to each side’s prosperity, especially
if both actors were deeply invested in each other’s prosperity. Woodrow
Wilson expounded another variant of liberalism that proposed that the
spread of democracy is the key to world peace under the banner that
democracies do not fight one another and that they are more peaceful than
authoritarian states. Another variant of liberalism argued that international
institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the International
Energy Agency would serve to restrict states from acting selfishly by
convincing participants that long-term gains should not be sacrificed for
short-term gains. Realists saw individuals as leading actors in international
affairs. Liberals in comparison saw states as the central players in
international affairs and that cooperation was possible, especially as it
came to issues of defense.
IDEALISM / LIBERALISM (2)
PREVENTING WARFARE: Political leaders need to
understand that although realism has served international
relations theory well that it does not explain everything.
Keeping other theoretical paradigms in mind helps to fill in
the gaps so to speak of realism. If we look at idealist for
example, it serves to identify those instruments available to
states so that they can achieve shared interests. It
demonstrates that capitalism has served as a highly
efficient as well as profitable system that has made states
interdependent on one another. Capitalism has also served
to prevent warfare among major powers for doing so would
present catastrophic returns instead of ever broadening
profits that capitalism provides.
IDEALISM / LIBERALISM (3)
Realism actually coincides with idealism in one respect.
The United States serves as the enforcer so to say of the
international economic order. American provisions of
military and economic security serves to protect against
mass eruptions of regional rivalries, in turn reinforcing the
“liberal peace” that followed 1945 to present. Stephen Walt
argues that as long as the United States remains dedicated
to playing the “enforcer” and continues to provide security
and stability in most regions of the world that the
international system will remain stable for the most part.
Neo-liberalism institutionalism accurately proclaimed that
NATO, the European Union and other institutions would not
disappear following the end of the Cold War as realists had
incorrectly assumed. Lisa Martin, Beth Simmons and Helen
Milner note that institutionalist research even drew on US
politics in order to better understand why these
organizations like NATO continued to exist. One argument
is that member states saw it to be in their best interests to
remain committed to institutions which preserved level
playing fields as well as serving as guarantees to their
security. Institutionalist thinking has even launched
research programs within IPE over the past 15 years that
made students aware of relationships existing between
interests, power, and institutions
LIBERAL CHALLENGE TO
Pluralism insured that groups could not single handedly
influence public policy. Rather, cross-cutting cleavages
would form, as groups would compromise with others to
build coalitions that would succeed in affecting change. One
can argue that this rebuts Marxism’s contention that major
capitalism can succeed in directing public policy.
International regimes was seen by liberals as a good way to
challenge realism. These regimes are based on longstanding traditions of international law. Regimes are a tool
for actors to pursue their interests. Peter J. Katzenstein,
Robery O. Keohane and Stephen D. Krasner suggest that
realism remain vulnerable due to the apparent problematic
nature of its core assumption.
LIBERAL CHALLENGE TO
Peter J. Katzenstein, Robery O. Keohane and Stephen D.
Krasner identify four: (1) states are the key actors in the
international system; (2) states are all similar in construction
as they all act on behalf of their self-interest; (3) analysis
can always conclude that states will act according to their
self-interest; and (4) the anarchical international system
presents a never ending risk of war and coercion whenever
there a conflict exists between self-interested states. They
list three major liberal challenges to realism’s assertion that
states could be regarded as fused rational actors:
neofunctionalism, bureaucratic politics, and transnational
relations and linkage politics, with all three adhering to how
pluralism affects state policies.
Francis Fukuyama asserts that liberal democracy was
preferred for its competition represented worse alternatives.
This also led to the acceptance of liberalism as the best
choice available at the time, thus delaying a needed debate
regarding whether a better regime is possible. Postmodernist
assumptions about the legitimacy of liberal democracy are
pessimistic. Postmodernists would not be able to bring forth
any adequate arguments regarding better alternatives to
liberal democracy, as they are unwilling to acknowledge its
overall success. To validate the future success of liberal
democracy does require a debate about potential successors.
This is fundamental for the scientific method encourages a
constant strive for perfection.
Individual actors also desire equal recognition among their
respective peers. This can not be deduced solely from
economic motives, but how the struggle for equal recognition
has influenced economic motivation. This runs contrary to
many economists and rational-choice theorists. Students
should not be disheartened with the homogenization of world
politics due to globalization or the seemingly democratization
of the world. Students can now compare various themes of
democracy worldwide. These areas include elections;
electoral systems; parties; party systems; legislatures; etc.
CORE PRINCIPLES (1)
• IR revolves around one key problem:
– How can a group – such as two or more nations – serve its
collective interests when doing so requires its members to
forego their individual interests?
• Example: Problem of global warning. Solving it can
only be achieved by many countries acting together.
– Collective goods problem.
• The problem of how to provide something that benefits
all members of a group regardless of what each
member contributes to it.
CORE PRINCIPLES (2)
• In general, collective goods are easier to provide in small
groups than large ones.
– Small group: defection (free riding) is harder to conceal
and has a greater impact on the overall collective good,
and is easier to punish.
• Collective goods problem occurs in all groups and societies
– Particularly acute in international affairs.
• No central authority such as a world government to
enforce on individual nations the necessary measures
to provide for the common good.
CORE PRINCIPLES (3)
• Three basic principles offer possible solutions for
this core problem of getting individuals to
cooperate for the common good without a
central authority to make them do so.
• Solves the collective goods problem by establishing a power
hierarchy in which those at the top control those below
– Status hierarchy
• Symbolic acts of submission and dominance reinforce
• The advantage of the dominance solution
– Forces members of a group to contribute to the common
– Minimizes open conflict within the group.
• Disadvantage of the dominance solution
– Stability comes at a cost of constant oppression of, and
resentment by, the lower-ranking members of the status
– Conflicts over position can sometimes harm the group’s
stability and well-being.
• Solves the collective goods problem by rewarding
behavior that contributes to the group and punishing
behavior that pursues self-interest at the cost of the
– Easy to understand and can be “enforced” without
any central authority.
– Positive and negative reciprocity.
– Disadvantage: It can lead to a downward spiral as
each side punishes what it believes to be the negative
acts of the other.
• Generally people overestimate their own good
intentions and underestimate those of opponents
• Identity principle does not rely on self-interest.
• Members of an identity community care about the
interests of others in the community enough to sacrifice
their own interests to benefit others.
– Family, extended family, kinship group roots.
• In IR, identity communities play important roles in
overcoming difficult collective goods problems.
– Nonstate actors also rely on identity politics.
ACTORS AND INFLUENCES
• Principal actors in IR are the world’s
• IR scholars traditionally study the decisions
and acts of those governments, in relation to
• Individual actors: Leaders and citizens,
bureaucratic agencies in foreign ministries,
multinational corporations, and terrorist
STATE ACTORS (1)
• Most important actors in IR are states.
• State: A territorial entity controlled by a
government and inhabited by a population.
– State government exercises sovereignty over
– Recognized as sovereign by other states.
– Population forms a civil society; group identity.
– Seat of government with a leader – head of
government or head of state.
STATE ACTORS (2)
• International system
– Set of relationships among the world’s states, structured
according to certain rules and patterns of interaction.
– Modern international system has existed for less than 500
– Major source of conflict: Frequent mismatch between
perceived nations and actual borders.
– Populations vary dramatically.
– Great variation in terms of the size of states’ total annual
• Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
– Great powers.
• Most powerful of these states are called superpowers.
STATE ACTORS (4)
• Some political entities are not formally recognized as
– Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Martinique, French
Guiana, the Netherlands Antilles, the Falkland
Islands, and Guam.
– The Vatican.
• Including various such territorial entities with states
brings the world total to about 200 state or quasi-state
• Other would-be states, such as Kurdistan (Iraq),
Abkhazia (Georgia), and Somaliland (Somalia) may fully
control the territory they claim but are not internationally
NONSTATE ACTORS (1)
• State actors are strongly influenced by a
variety of nonstate actors.
– Called transnational actors when they
operate across international borders.
• Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)
– Examples: OPEC, WTO, African Union,
– Vary in size from a few states to the
whole UN membership.
NONSTATE ACTORS (2)
• Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
– Private organizations; no single pattern.
– Examples: Amnesty International, Red Cross.
• Multinational corporations
– Companies that span multiple countries
• Substate actors
– Exist within one country but either influence that
country’s foreign policy or operate internationally, or
– Example: State of Ohio (entirely a U.S. entity)
operates an International Trade Division.