Discussion Five: Future of International Order

8 Dec

We begin this fifth and final roundtable with a brief summary of the ideas we discussed in the previous four roundtables, then move into a discussion of the future of international order.  What will the world look like as we continue into the 21st century?  How will leaders respond to the inevitable shifts in state interests and in the balance of power between states?  Will our current order evolve to accomodate for and respond to these shifts without descending into violence?  We will analyze these questions with special consideration for the issues of war, integration, and scarcity.

What we see as central to the future of international order is: how will the world respond to the rise of China?  Will China’s rise remain a peaceful one?  Will China integrate into the order that the US and the western powers crafted in the wake of WWII?  How would a potential transfer of hegemonic power between the US and China play out? If it is peaceful, as we hope, it would be the first time in recent history that such a transfer of power has occurred without conflict.

Click here to listen to our final roundtable discussion.

To access the readings discussed in this podcast, click here.

Our discussion follows the following outline:

Framework for thinking about international order discussed in our seminar

  1. What is new about our present condition and what is not new? Many struggles are perennial.
  2. What can be changed and what cannot be changed?
  3. What should be changed?
  4. What should be prioritized?  What causes matter most?
  5. What strategies should be employed?

In the context of China’s rise, we discuss the following questions

  1. Is China’s rise new or are their similarities between China’s rise and the rise of present or former hegemonic powers?
  2. Assuming China is indeed rising, can we influence the process of its rise?
  3. Should we try to influence China’s rise?
  4. How should we go about trying to “manage” China’s rise?  What should we prioritize?  Human rights issues?  American interests?
  5. What are potential strategies for managing China’s rise so as to achieve the goals we have prioritized?

Discussion Four: State Sovereignty in the Context of International Integration

6 Dec

In this podcast, we discuss the importance of individual leaders and their ideas as these apply to the structure of the international order.  In particular, we discuss the ideas contained in “What Did We End the Cold War For?,” a piece written in 1996 by Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Francois Mitterrand, and Brian Mulroney.  This piece covers a lot of ground, laying out the structure of state interests and the international system as perceived by the leaders who were instrumental in the conclusion of the Cold War.  We concentrate on these leaders’ varying conceptions of state sovereignty and self-determination, particularly as these conceptions remain relevant in the context of international integration.

Click here to listen to our fourth roundtable discussion.

To access the readings discussed in this podcast, click here.

Our discussion follows the following outline:

Leaders’ Views of State Sovereignty and Self-Determination

  1. Thatcher
    1. Loyalty to the nation-state
    2. Empire is over
    3. Supported state sovereignty and self-determination so long as it aligned with British interests (ie not necessarily in the case of a unified Germany)
  2. Mitterand
    1. Must protect the diverse groups that emerge after the fall of empire
    2. Need to affirm individual personality, sovereignty and rights
  3. Gorbachev
    1. Sovereignty should be a gradual process and is not the be all and end all
    2. Cannot grant immediate sovereignty to all of the groups within the USSR
    3. Subjugation of sovereignty in favor of a pseudo-federalist system such as existed under the USSR positive in terms of the federation’s provision of common public goods
  4. Bush
    1. Supported state sovereignty and self-determination

Context of International Integration

  1. Thatcher
    1. Independent nation states operating in common markets
  2. Mitterand
    1. Synthesis needed between international integration and the protection of individual groups
    2. Must create a rule of law that protects minority groups while allowing for increased integration
    3. Sovereignty for each distinct cultural group is unfeasible
  3. Gorbachev
    1. Must balance our needs for international integration, global security and economic cooperation with a protection of cultural diversity and the rights of all groups

Discussion Three: Domestic vs. International Order

5 Dec

In this discussion, we explore the similarities and differences between domestic and international orders.  We generally agree that there are similarities between the two spheres and that we can apply lessons learned from how we achieve order domestically to the international sphere.  We compare the bipolar order that existed between the US and USSR during the Cold War with the two-party system of American domestic politics.  Ultimately, we are trying to see what relevant lessons and strategies can be applied from the arrangement that existed between the two powers during the Cold War to the American domestic sphere or vice-versa.

Click here to listen to our third roundtable discussion.

To access the readings discussed in this podcast, click here.

Our discussion follows the following outline:

Background of the Cold War Order

  1. Two distinct orders emerged between the great powers
  2. US and USSR: bipolar order
  3. US and Western Europe: multilateral

Cold War Order and American Domestic Politics

  1. US and USSR: bipolar order, strong ideological split, difficult to compromise on many issues as interests are inherently and ideologically opposed
  2. American domestic politics: two-party system, difficult to compromise on certain “key” issues, prone to strong ideological splits along party lines
  3. Western European domestic politics: generally multi-party systems, necessitate the formation of governing coalitions

Discussion Two: Theories of International Order

4 Dec

In this roundtable, we develop our own theories of international order.  With these theories, we attempt to answer the questions we began exploring in our first discussion: what is international order and how does it arise?  These theories will, in part, be used to frame our later discussions of the Cold War and post-Cold War orders.

Click here to listen to our second roundtable discussion.

To access the readings discussed in this podcast, click here.

Some of the salient points to emerge from this discussion of our theories are the differences between what we consider to be the primary unit of analysis and the applicability of various theories of international politics across the security and trade spheres.

  • Primary unit of analysis: Will and Vince see the sovereign state as the primary actor in the international system, whereas Erin and Christian allow for a more robust consideration of non-state actors.
  • Logics determining state behavior: theories of international politics that appear to apply well to the security sphere do not appear to apply as well to the trade and monetary sphere.  Erin argues that a segmentation of theory by issue area is necessary to gain a more complete understanding of international order.

Discussion One: International Order

26 Nov

This podcast begins our discussion of what order is and where order comes from.  It lays out the theoretical framework for the more empirics-focused discussions coming later in the series.

Click here to listen to our first roundtable discussion.

To access the readings discussed in this podcast, click here.

Our discussion follows the following outline:

Discussion of Order

  1. What is order?
  2. How do we know order when we see it?
  3. Stability v. instability in the international system
  4. What kind of “order” are we working towards? What kind of order should we be working towards?

Theoretical Building Blocks

  1. Review relevant theories of international politics.
  2. What can the theories explain?
  3. What can’t they explain?