Lectures 4-6

Introduction to International Relations: Lectures 4-6 - Theory, Part #1: The Constraints and Incentives of Anarchy

The Constraints and Incentives of Anarchy

Jervis and the Security Dilemma

  1. Starting point for realism: structure
    1. anarchy vs hierarchy
  2. Anarchy leads to:
    1. War is always possible
      1. Self-help (aka, sort of, functional similarity)
        1. Concerns for Relative Gains
          1. security dilemma
        2. Collective action problems
          1. tragedy of the commons

What is the security dilemma? 

The dilemma: "An increase in one state's security decreases the security of others."

Anarchy → Fears → Security dilemma

Security dilemma is: ↑ My security = ↓ Your security

Security dilemma → Arms Races, Security Spirals

↑ Offense Dominance → ↑ Arms Races, Security Spirals (and vice versa with defense dominance)

↑ Offense Dominance → ↑ Instability (and vice versa with defense dominance)

Often only means weapons, but I think it also describes a general level of fear and threat assessment

Manipulating the severity of the security dilemma:

    Jervis, Deterrence and Spiral:

    Two strategies for dealing threats and enemies

    1. When threatened do you deter or appease?
      1. Deterrence
        1. capability
        2. resolve
        3. communication
        4. rationality
      2. Costs of Deterrence = spirals
        1. security dilemma
      3. How to Choose?
      4. How to Choose?
    Deterrence Model:
    ⇑ Strength  → Back Down (Prevent War)
    Spiral Model:
    ⇑ Strength  → Rear Up (Arms Races, Security Spirals)

    ⇑ ⇓ ↑ ↓

    Reward Risk
    (sometimes similar to balancing)
    Deterrence works: no war Backfires: leads to spiral, arms race, tension
    Appease (or despiral)
    (sometimes similar to bandwagoning)
    Appeasement works: no war
    Fails: whets appetite of aggressor, so not just war, but war against stronger adversary
    Continuum of non-balancing policies:
    Bandwagon ↔ Appease ↔ Despiral
    Continuum of balancing policies:
    Pre-empt ↔ Misc. denial ↔ Build up/Ally w\others

    Jervis, Hypotheses on Misperception

    1. How does psychology influence decision-making?
      1. Newtonian Psychology hypothesis
      2. pre-Copernican Psychology
      3. Bowling Shoe hypothesis
    2. How do these relate to other theories?

    Walt and Balance of Threat

    1. Question: Where do friends and alliances come from?
    2. Answer: Balancing against threats.
      1. vs. bandwagoning
      2. any other options/strategies?
    3. Four components of (influences on) threat are:
      1. aggregate power
      2. geography
      3. offensive power
      4. intentions
    4. Note competing explanations and structure of argument
    5. Note policy implications


    1. Three problems that hinder cooperation, all caused or exacerbated by anarchy:
      1. Tragedy of the Commons
      2. Prisoners’ Dilemma
      3. Collective Action Problems
    2. How can one fix these problems? (for future classes)
      1. Hints: enforcement, communication, reciprocity, shadow of the future/concern for reputation.

    Prisoner's Dilemma

    Prisoner # 1
    Prisoner # 1

    Prisoner#2  Silent

    Prisoner#2 Confess



    CC: Both silent, nailed on minor charge, both get 1 year in jail
    DC, CD:
    One confesses (rats), the other silent. Silent guy is major league evil, gets 15 years. Rat gets time served.
    DD: Both rat, both pretty evil, both get 10 years.

    Game highlights basic incentives to cheat given certain assumptions: bad guys that can not talk to each other. One shot iteration.     

    Fisherperson’s Dilemma

    Fisher # 1
    Fisher # 1

    Fisher #2  Cooperate

    Fisher #2 Cheat



    CC: Both gain and pre-crisis stocks are eventually restored.
    CD, DC: One gaining twice and one losing from cheating and thinning fish
    DD: Both losing everything from no fish, having to use savings to look for job, etc.

    Game highlights Common Goods/Tragedy of the Commons Problems (CPRs common pooled resources)

    Also relevant: Stag Hunt

    Review of Realism

    Questions for next section:

    How much anarchy is there? How can it be mitigated?

    Citation: Lindley, D. (2011, January 21). Lectures 4-6. Retrieved November 23, 2014, from Notre Dame OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.nd.edu/political-science/introduction-to-international-relations/lectures/lecture-4.
    Copyright 2012, by the Contributing Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License