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;;;POL 210: Introduction to International Relations
Midterm Examination – Spring 2015
Due: In class W March 4th – Total Possible Points: 100


Instructions: This exam is open-book and open notes. You may use your text, readings, and any materials we have used in class. You should cite to the actual readings, not to the PPTs. You may not use the Internet or any material that we have not used in class. Type your answers under each question. Each question is worth 25 points. You should aim for an answer that is not longer than 750 words, so do not waste time on jargon and get to the point. Please proofread and edit your paper, as there will be deductions taken for grammar and spelling mistakes. Use in-text citations to cite your sources. This exam is due in class on Wednesday, March 4th. Late work will not be accepted and will receive a grade of 0.

1. Analyze the U.S.’s decision to enter Iraq in 2003 from the international, state, and individual levels of analysis. Define each level of analysis as you proceed. How did each of these perspectives inform the U.S.’s decision? What was the role of public opinion in influencing that decision?

The international state of analysis involves the system in which a state resides as a whole. As described by the billiard ball model “International relations are shaped exclusively by the structure of the international system and the external interactions of the states within that model” (Pg. 71). This means that the U.S. made the decision on an international level because of the theory that Iraq had the potential to produce and use nuclear weapons. If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) this would upset the hypothetical billiard table of states and bring a potential shift in power. Given the recent attack on 9/11 and also the fragility of the Middle East, this power shift was a dangerous one that the U.S. was not willing to risk. The state of America will have reduced physical security on its borders, as an attack has already occurred and now that WMD’s are involved this is not in America’s national interest. Why should a leader be allowed to commit genocide without penalty, it would make way for other leaders thinking they could commit the same without consequence. Allowing that to have happened will lead to the deaths of many more innocent people and further upset international affairs.

The state level of analysis looks at many variables in a state, from its history, identity, culture and economic system (Pg. 73-74). A look at the U.S. and its cultural identity would suggest that because of our pride in national freedom, and also the freedom and security of other states, the administration would not allow such activity. The history of the U.S. is one of great pride, having our borders breached and innocent lives taken was very offensive and therefore a reaction was to be taken place. The feared connections between Al Qaeda and Sadam Hussein affected Bush’s credibility, the leader of America, had made it clear that there would be consequences following 9/11. His audience cost would have increased dramatically if nothing was done. Alongside this, asserting his power in the Middle East would help prevent any loss of big oil, of which America consumes a lot of and therefore is a heavily invested stakeholder. The Idealist policy that America employs also puts it in a much more involved position with current affairs because it believes that its borders are safe, and has more consideration into affairs of those around which do not have the capability of defending themselves.

The individual level of analysis looks at the role of individuals in world politics, so in this case a look at Bush as person and how his ideology informed the U.S’s decision to invade Iraq. He cared a lot about the public opinion especially because he was only in his first term as President and therefore wanted to secure a second. As a result of this he wanted to appease to the majority of citizens and following the victory in Afghanistan he had enough political momentum to start another in Iraq under the guise of liberation. His belief system would suggest that he is inclined to use military solutions over diplomatic ones, however, he cannot be blamed for this considering the hostility that Sadam Hussein had shown his and other states citizens. Personally I believe, at the time Americans were vulnerable and this allowed Bush to become a “super empowered individual” (P.g. 80). This is how he convinced the people it was necessary.

2. The field of international relations is dominated by two theories of how the international system operates: realism and idealism (liberalism). In your essay, define these two theories and provide one example of each theory in world politics (either currently or in the past). How relevant, and why, would realists and idealists say these theories are for understanding the concepts of: sovereign states and state alliances (e.g. NATO, the European Union)?

Realism is the “assumption that international relations is a constant struggle for power among sovereign states”(P.g. 8). So this brings human nature into consideration, as humans we have always sought power usually through violence either direct or indirect. If this is the case, states are run by humans and therefore will have most of the characteristics of such. It is based upon certain principles. The first being that the world is anarchic, meaning that there is no higher power controlling the states, and as a result there is greater and more unpredictable threats from others. This is one of the reasons that state alliances such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which had an original goal of keeping the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. This was a quote used by the first general secretary of NATO and reinforces why such an organization is needed to help prevent anarchy. Secondly, states are all sovereign and there is no supreme authority. All action within states affects neighboring economies through trade, access to resources and the movement of citizens. This was part of the ideology used when creating the European Union, the movement of free trade to benefit states that are all located closely together and the common currency that is in place to benefit all parties. In other words, realism suggests that in order to defend ones self you must assert power. In today’s politics this could be related to Americas defenses. The department of defense is aware that there are many dangers facing them, and there is a very real chance that another state may push for power, for example North Korea which is in a very fragile state at the moment. This realism is what helped form the alliance between South Korea and the United States, on the border with North Korea.

Idealism is the assumption that “ideas about reform of the international system could move us beyond the world of power politics emphasized by realism” (P.g. 19)

3. Miguel Centeno discusses the relationship between war and democracy. What role has war played in democratic societies? How has war changed post-WW II? What challenges do these changes pose for state security and state sovereignty?

4. Compare and contrast the concert and collective security models. Which model do you think would best address the security challenges of the 21st C world? In your opinion, specifically identify what you think the major security challenges are and give support for why you think a certain model – or a combination thereof – would most effectively meet those challenges.

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