Chapter 3: Idealism

Report
Chapter 3: Idealism
Is there an international society?
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
Learning aims:
Understand the
“international
society myth”
Understand how
the “domestic
analogy” functions
To understand the
differences
between Kegley’s
and Waltz’s
explanations for
war
To critically
interrogate the
“international
society myth” as an
extension of US
domestic society
through
Independence Day
(1996)
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
Last week
Myth: “international anarchy is the permissive
cause of war”
Key concepts: Sovereign states, human nature,
international anarchy
“Fear is what is always missing from Waltz’s
theory”
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
(Neo) Idealism Flashcard
Key thinkers:
Woodrow
Wilson &
Charles Kegley
Concepts:
International
society
Communication
“Domestic
analogy”
Leadership
Myth: “there is an
international
society”
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
How do Waltz and Kegley differently
characterize international politics?
Waltz
Kegley
• International politics is anarchical, and
anarchy is the permissive cause of war
• Therefore, war and conflict are
ultimately located at the international
level and cannot be eliminated
because anarchy cannot be eliminated
International politics can be reorganized
around international society rather than
international anarchy, potentially
eliminating problems like war and conflict
without replacing international anarchy
with international hierarchy (world
government)
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
What can realism explain and what
can’t realism explain? (table 3.2)
Realism can explain
Realism cannot explain
Cold War conflictual activities among
sovereign nation-states, e.g.:
“lust for power”
“appetite for imperial expansion”
“struggle for hegemony”
“superpower arms race”
“obsession with national security”
Post-Cold War realities of cooperation
among sovereign nation-states, e.g.:
“march of democracy”
“increase in liberal free trade
agreements”
“renewed role of the United Nations”
“proliferation of arms control
agreements”
“international humanitarianism”
Source: Kegley, 1993, 1995
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
How does Kegley enact the “domestic
analogy”? (figure 3.4)
People

Government
People

Government
International
Society
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
People

Government
Theory activity
• How can Kegley be so optimistic about postCold War politics and is that optimism still
valid, twenty years on?
• Two (sets of) groups – US and Russia
• Two timeframes – 1993 and 2013
• Two scenarios
– Environmental disaster happening in Vladivostok
with implications for Alaska in particular
– Civil war and possible humanitarian intervention
in an oil rich Middle East country
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
Independence Day
The heroes in Independence Day (table 3.4)
Hero
What makes him heroic
US President Bill Whitmore
This President cannot tell a lie and therefore symbolizes the
incorruptibility of communication. As such, he is able to
conceive of a morally just plan to beat the aliens and to
mobilize a moral society through pure communication
David, the computer trouble-shooter
for a satellite television company
He is a morally good man who understands the technical
workings of impure/alien communication well enough to
disable them. He does this by planting a virus in the alien
computer
Steve, the US military fighter pilot
A man of courage and adventure who actively unites goodness
of purpose (the President’s agenda) with technical know-how
(David’s plan to plant the virus) by flying an alien craft into the
mother-ship
Russell, the Vietnam veteran who is
now a drunken cropduster and who
claims to have been abducted by aliens
years ago
Russell sacrifices himself for his children and the rest of
humanity by carrying out a suicide mission that destroys an
alien ship. He proves that he is a good man who was always
speaking the truth but who was just misunderstood
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
Independence Day
What is typical in the world of
Independence Day (box 3.1)
What is deviant in the world of
Independence Day (box 3.2)
- Good people do good deeds in
good organizations
- Bad aliens do bad deeds not
because they are badly organized
- Bad things follow from impaired but because their communication
is impaired and because they are
communication
morally corrupt
- Human beings are morally
- Alien communication is
progressive
corrupted and corrupting
- Aliens are not morally
progressive
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
How US leadership is extended in
Independence Day (figure 3.5)
US
Other
states
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
“In Independence
Day, there is no
international
society. There
appears to be an
international
society because US
domestic society is
extended globally”
(Weber, 2013)
Film activity: International Society in
Independence Day and Mars Attacks!
Aim: Being able to read Independence Day as a
neoidealist script by analysing it alongside Mars Attacks!
• Two (sets of) groups, one watching Independence Day
and one watching Mars Attacks!
• Compare the two films by paying attention to what
they say about progress, learning and communication
combined with “fear”
Aliens
I.D
M.A
US
I.D
Progress
Learning
Communication
© 2014 Cynthia Weber
International Community
M.A
I.D
M.A
Next week: Constructivism
Film:
Wag
the Dog
Practice,
seduction
and dead
authorship
Is anarchy what
states make of
it?
© 2014 Cynthia Weber

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