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  1. #11
    Senior Member cogdecree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I used to annoy my International Relations professor by refusing to commit to any preference; I guess I'm somewhat more Constructivist than anything else, and more Liberal than Realist. I also draw a clear distinction between the relations of (liberal) democratic states, and relations between democracies and non-democracies, and relations between non-democracies (with Realism playing a far more important role in the latter two scenarios). Also, while Constructivism explains and predicts more than the other two theories, capacities for deliberate state action are overwhelmingly "liberal" or "realist" in nature.

    Just to make all this even more complicated...

    "unconsolidated" and illiberal democracies are different from both liberal democracies and non-democracies.
    The number of state actors in play also plays a large role.
    I'm very skeptical of the usefulness of the "unitary actor" assumption as far as democracies with at least two viable parties are concerned, and generally look to domestic sources to explain and predict foreign policy.

    To put all this (and more) succinctly, I consider such labels to be highly simplistic and largely misleading.
    Good point on that first distinction in regards to different types of governments and the unitary actor, but it would be hard to deny the self interest aspect which derives out of the social contract, and unifying factors that due bring us to together on issues, with 9/11 being a good example of that.

    Just to make known my bias, I'm a realist, then constructivist, then liberal.

    In regards to the two party conflict and simplicity, a country can switch between modes of thought, both Russia and the US have done so in such little time, and each label can be examined further to decide the current actions or direction of government. But as you said, it may very well be constructivism due to states tendencies toward liberalism or realism, so point taken.

    At the moment the US is trying to follow liberal and constructivist behavior, "spreading democracy" "certain rights for all". moving away from it's hard core realist tendicies during the 50's.

  2. #12
    Senior Member cogdecree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    That's really "Liberal Institutionalism". Would you label Kant (probably the theoretical grandfather of the "democratic peace" theory) as more of a "liberal" or a "constructivist"?
    To be quite honest, I don't know how I would classify him, because he can be interpreted differently to fit either or, does this mean you must spread democracy and such ideas? Or is he a realist leaning liberal, which only applies to democratic states, and one must simple wait till all switch to democracies which then realism no longer applies?

    I couldn't say

    liberal institutionalism is when the ideology starts moving, so I count that as the first implementation of such, I have less ability to judge ideas if they aren’t even in effect.

  3. #13
    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cogdecree View Post
    (Realist and Liberal are Positivists which believe)

    International anarchy is natural (no world gov), States are the supreme players, states are self interested.

    Realism- International relations are mostly influenced by state's fiscal and military power, the world exist within a zero sum game, and that competition and conflict are natural and eternal. It believes that the role of the state is to better itself, concerned about relative power.

    Liberalism- wants growth in economic dependency, interdependence and international organizations, believes that domestic goals should match foreign goals (like being a world citizen vs a citizen of a country). Believes in a variable sum game, not concerned with relative gains, that conflict isn't necessary.

    Post-Positivist

    Constructivist- believe that international anarchy isn't necessary, Believes ideas and culture as being the strongest factors influencing international relations, goal of foreign policies are to assimilate others into your ideology, conflict and competition aren't necessary and can be overcome .

    These are the three main philosophies dealing with international affairs, which one do you agree with the most.
    Rather odd definitions. I'd have to go with realist myself though, with liberal tendancies.

    Things really are in a zero sum game, and conflict in one shape or form is inevitable. However, conflicts can take many forms, not just wars. They can be economic, they can be beneficial, take a look at the cold war, without it, many of the technologies we rely on today never would've happened. The whole 'one upmanship' thing that went on was highly beneficial, even if people were scared senseless during the process.

    I do believe that conflict is going to occur, however we should strive to ensure that it remains as a controlled, beneficial form, rather than just letting it spin wildly out of control with no direction placed into it.

    The Constructivist method is only true if yeu're hoping to do a backdoor invaision, force their culture to adapt to yeurs, and then they'll give yeu better rates. This's rarely the case, and completely different cultures can work quite well in harmony.

    Whot're the main production facilities on the planet? Japan, china, germany, canada, etc, they have completely different cultures and concepts, but with people who understand both sides, mediation is fully possible to ensure a peaceful transition of goods and services from one country to the other.

    And no, to the obvious americans who're going to complain they got left out of that. Yes, the states has production facilities, but due to the culture and costs associated, it's preferable to put the same manufacturing facilities in canada or mexico due to different regulations and production standards, and quality of workmanship. The USA tends to have relatively weak production per capita due to a wide varity of factors. China has insanely high ones, which's why yeu always see 'made in china' stuff. Japan and germany produce more cars than the USA despite a lower population as well as an example, it's all in how it's set up. In terms of worldwide trade, the states isn't a major player in terms of production of goods, but focuses more on resources than manufactured products. I shouldn't even have to explain this but this's just in here to keep people from lynching me >.>


    In any case, there will be clashes of culture, desire for limited resources, and so on. All those fanciful assumptions of "zomg if we had infinite renewable clean energy all the wars would be over!" is silly. There's still cultural issues, money from other services and goods, land, and so on. Energy is only a small sliver of the issues.

    That being said, we don't HAVE to go to war every time we want something from our neighbours... and most of the civilized world other than the USA has realized that such is counterproductive for the most part, and that getting along togeather in the worship of the almighty dollar works far better than anything else. Yeu want goods? We can produce them cheaper than yeu can, how's about yeu pay us more than it costs us to produce, but less than it would cost yeu to do it yeurself? This kind of reasoning IS a form of conflict, over exactly how much can be charged fairly. But it is conflict. Such beneficial ones are far more effective than warfare, and people who think that anything can be solved without some conflict are just not understanding the definition of the word.

  4. #14
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    I'm a mix of Realist and Constructivist - at least going by the definitions given.

  5. #15
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I'm not so much thinking of the world as one as I am thinking less than state. All three points of view would probably benefit from thinking about how much dysfunction there is within a state.

    I think constructivism is unreasonable because there will be no way around conflicts and dischord. Conflict is unavoidable, within states, no less between states. There are real, objective needs, that cause conflict, which are far more important than culture. In fact, all culture may just be methods of adaption to those needs. The conflict over the needs (and wants for that matter) prevail. On top of that, no single place will ever succeed in converting the world to its culture. Maybe, if globalization goes really far, everyone will have practically be within one culture, but I imagine it would be an unconsciously developed alloy culture, not the intended ascent of one source's culture. Even then, I think culture essentially fits to scale. If the world were under one culture, it would have sub-cultures so huge that they would effectively be the differences we already have. If a such thing were possible, I'd be against it. I don't think worldwide cultural uniformity would be of much benefit to the human race.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I think constructivism is unreasonable because there will be no way around conflicts and dischord.

    If a such thing were possible, I'd be against it. I don't think worldwide cultural uniformity would be of much benefit to the human race.
    1.) Its not about erasing conflict and discord, its about channeling the manifestations of the same through avenues other than warfare.

    2.) Constructivism, at least so far as the "democratic peace" is concerned, is not about assimilating all aspects of diverse cultures but rather integrating the values and ideas necessary for sustainable liberal democracy into pre-existing cultures. The East Asian liberal democracies (de jure or de facto) are notable in this regard, as is India (though the sustainability of such in India is threatened by the problems associated with under-development and centrifugal pressures).

  7. #17
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I'm not so much thinking of the world as one as I am thinking less than state. All three points of view would probably benefit from thinking about how much dysfunction there is within a state.

    I think constructivism is unreasonable because there will be no way around conflicts and dischord. Conflict is unavoidable, within states, no less between states. There are real, objective needs, that cause conflict, which are far more important than culture. In fact, all culture may just be methods of adaption to those needs. The conflict over the needs (and wants for that matter) prevail. On top of that, no single place will ever succeed in converting the world to its culture. Maybe, if globalization goes really far, everyone will have practically be within one culture, but I imagine it would be an unconsciously developed alloy culture, not the intended ascent of one source's culture. Even then, I think culture essentially fits to scale. If the world were under one culture, it would have sub-cultures so huge that they would effectively be the differences we already have. If a such thing were possible, I'd be against it. I don't think worldwide cultural uniformity would be of much benefit to the human race.
    I am an idealist who has been mugged by reality. And the reality is that there are three civilizations extant. The Indian civilization based on Hinduism, the Chinese civilization based on Confucianism and Western Civilization based on Christianity.

    So globalization means that these three ciivilizations are brought into contact with one another. And importantly not one can dominate the other two. And even more important, there is no significant conflict between any of these civilizations. In fact all are growing and developing together.

    And interestingly all three have a common enemy - a violent political religion.

  8. #18
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    Why isn't Marxism up there? Marxists argue the political decision-making apparatus of states is really instrumental to serve the interests of the wealthy class. Just because communism fell out of vogue after the Soviet Union went away does not make Marxist analysis dubious. It's very pertinent to IR.

    Anyhow, when it comes to international relations, I identify strongly with the realist camp when it comes to the core issues. Classical realism holds four assumptions. First, that states are the main actors in global politics. Second, that states are defined as a self-interested and power-seeking lot. Third, because there is no world Leviathan, states operate within a context of anarchy, which creates a zero-sum dynamic, and makes security interests a primary concern of states. Finally, realists see conflict as inevitable, though it can be minimized by establishing a balance of power in the international system. The liberal myth of man as a perfectable being is a fiction that does not square well with historical realities. Historically, war has been a natural occurance just as earthquakes are a natural occurance. Indeed, this can be traced all the way back to the cro-magnons who waged genocide on the neaderthals. As such, the international arena is a jungle where the strongest set the rules and the strongest get their way. Now, often theories depend on a set of conditions if they are to yield any fruit. If the conditions are met, the scholar can dispassionately apply the theory that will help explain a given phenomenon (perhaps allow the scholar to derive a diagnosis and prognosis). But should a case arise that exists outside the conditions within which the theory is applicable, the theory won't yield fruit. Historically, scholars have sought to introduce extensions, innovations, and departures in theories to rectify this problem and allow the theories to be updated to new circumstances. As for realism, while the theory is fundamentally good, there are many shortcomings, such as explaining why Gorbachev and Reagan got together and negotiated an end to the Cold War, which goes against realist assumptions. In a hope of updating realism, there has been Kenneth Waltz's Man, the State and War, which establishes neo-realism, which pays more attention to the role of structures in IR, and also neo-classical realism. Jennifer Sterling-Folker is a neo-classical realist and holds that the content of IR can change but the fundamental structure is constant. Yet, much remains to be explained. At the moment, I am currently reading a range of realist literature and am aiming to produce a 50 page publishable paper that can fill some of the gaps of realism in our present context.

  9. #19
    Senior Member cogdecree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    1.) Its not about erasing conflict and discord, its about channeling the manifestations of the same through avenues other than warfare.

    2.) Constructivism, at least so far as the "democratic peace" is concerned, is not about assimilating all aspects of diverse cultures but rather integrating the values and ideas necessary for sustainable liberal democracy into pre-existing cultures. The East Asian liberal democracies (de jure or de facto) are notable in this regard, as is India (though the sustainability of such in India is threatened by the problems associated with under-development and centrifugal pressures).
    I think it expands past warfare, to also include economic blockades or deals and technological bans, remember most international relations takes place through trade. So it's not just limited to warefare, in fact it would mostly apply to economics.

    It can be assimilating or it can be “integrating”, that all depends on the force placed in such.

    Constructivism would best be represented by the EU's standards, requiring countries to ban the death penalty, adopt the Euro, and ultimately think and ultimately political and social unison, and the changes Turkey is trying to make for such. Also, one of the reasons going into Iraq was to "spread democracy", which is due to constructivist thinking.

  10. #20
    Senior Member cogdecree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Why isn't Marxism up there? Marxists argue the political decision-making apparatus of states is really instrumental to serve the interests of the wealthy class. Just because communism fell out of vogue after the Soviet Union went away does not make Marxist analysis dubious. It's very pertinent to IR.

    Anyhow, when it comes to international relations, I identify strongly with the realist camp when it comes to the core issues. Classical realism holds four assumptions. First, that states are the main actors in global politics. Second, that states are defined as a self-interested and power-seeking lot. Third, because there is no world Leviathan, states operate within a context of anarchy, which creates a zero-sum dynamic, and makes security interests a primary concern of states. Finally, realists see conflict as inevitable, though it can be minimized by establishing a balance of power in the international system. The liberal myth of man as a perfectable being is a fiction that does not square well with historical realities. Historically, war has been a natural occurance just as earthquakes are a natural occurance. Indeed, this can be traced all the way back to the cro-magnons who waged genocide on the neaderthals. As such, the international arena is a jungle where the strongest set the rules and the strongest get their way. Now, often theories depend on a set of conditions if they are to yield any fruit. If the conditions are met, the scholar can dispassionately apply the theory that will help explain a given phenomenon (perhaps allow the scholar to derive a diagnosis and prognosis). But should a case arise that exists outside the conditions within which the theory is applicable, the theory won't yield fruit. Historically, scholars have sought to introduce extensions, innovations, and departures in theories to rectify this problem and allow the theories to be updated to new circumstances. As for realism, while the theory is fundamentally good, there are many shortcomings, such as explaining why Gorbachev and Reagan got together and negotiated an end to the Cold War, which goes against realist assumptions. In a hope of updating realism, there has been Kenneth Waltz's Man, the State and War, which establishes neo-realism, which pays more attention to the role of structures in IR, and also neo-classical realism. Jennifer Sterling-Folker is a neo-classical realist and holds that the content of IR can change but the fundamental structure is constant. Yet, much remains to be explained. At the moment, I am currently reading a range of realist literature and am aiming to produce a 50 page publishable paper that can fill some of the gaps of realism in our present context.
    I believe we would agree the US came out of the cold war on top, a realist would say that Russia's higher rate of decline and expenditures made it benificial for themselves to end the war, so they wanted it to end. The US had the soviet union break apart, USSR losing it's newly gained lands, which was benifical for the US, that seems to be the realist equation here.

    Realism takes on more forms than just warfare, in regard to warefare though, with the destruction of weapons increasing, it becomes less inticing to start a war against another super power. Also islamic terrorists hurt the state supremacy claim, which might force realism to adopt nations as the supreme, that or we are getting worked up over a non issue and should be concerned over super powers.

    Edit:

    Marxism isn't up there because, A) it could fall under a type of constructivism, for those wanting to spread Marxism or against B) if the wealthy are connected to the health of the state, it can fall under realism, monarchies were realists, Marx has no weight to throw around as it's own special group.

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