Ikenberry, Mastanduno, and Wohlforth: Unipolarity (#3)

To what extent-and how-does the current “distinctive distribution of capabilities among state. . . matter for patterns of international politics”?

“The core contention is that polarity structures the horizon os states’ probable actions and reactions, narrowing the range of choice and providing subtle incentives or disincentives for certain types of behaviour”.  Indeed, as the textbook points out, there will be serious disincentives for Iran as long as they are perceived to be main nuclear weapons, even if they are not.  If Iran were to obtain nuclear capabilities, the US fears that it will impact the unipolarity spectrum out of their favour, even if slightly, it is enough of a tilt  to cause serious concern for the Americans (and Israelis for that matter).  The USA has the largest distribution of capabilities in the world, which leads directly to its influence on material resources.  The unipolar dominance on Americas control over distribution capabilities has the potential to cause unease amongst states who are opposed to certain moves it may make.  Increasingly, it has become apparent that Americas distribution of capabilities and status as the unipolar power is heavily reliant on the use of oil.  Oil runs their military and economy, without it, a major disruption to their system would occur.  Increasing their influence and policies over regions which disagree with them and also have oil could explain the reason for recent wars in Libya and Iraq.  It is quite obvious that even if a few key countries abstain from supplying the Americans with oil is cause for them to panic.  Lack of oil is a great threat to their distribution of capabilities as well as their unipolar position.  I would suspect countries like China, may encourage an unstable supply of oil to the US for the purpose of deflecting attention away from themselves.  From a Chinese point of of view, the more resources the Americans commit to ensuring their distribution of capabilities, including committing to military operations, the more time it gives China to emerge as a new bipolar power as well is increase their distribution of capabilities as well.


Dialogue for the Greater Good (#1)

Jonas Store makes some excellent points in this TED talk.  It only makes sense that the resolution to major international and domestic conflicts will reach a true peace on the heels of meaningful and calculated dialogue.  I would further add to Mr.  Stores thoughts that dialogue between groups and nations must allow for concessions, probably on both sides of the table.  While getting to the table with groups to which we once pushed away is a great feat in itself.  An even greater feat would be for such negotiations to bear fruit.  The “Western powers” (and China) of the world usually enter negotiations with a zero sum stance, rarely allowing for any movement on demands.  The Western powers must be able to agree to variable sum situations which allow for more movement at the table.  So, Jonas’ point of getting to the table with “outlawed” groups or rogue states is very important, but it is also crucial to note the importance of political cooperation for the advancement of diplomacy with such groups and states as well.  Without meaningful dialogue between global players, the earth will continue to be a shifting dune of conflict based on ignorance, stubbornness and centralized state interests based on zero sum mentalities.  Such an alternative approach to International Relations is necessary for the development and implementation of new core concepts in the international community.