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States: The Traditional Structure


Title: STATES: The Traditional Structure Author: Mike Baysdell Last modified by: user Created Date: 10/27/2009 11:53:52 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: States: The Traditional Structure

States The Traditional Structure
  • PS130 World Politics
  • Michael R. Baysdell
  • Saginaw Valley State University

The Nature and Purpose of the State
  • Definition A territorially defined political
    unit that exercises ultimate internal authority
    and recognizes no external authority over itself
  • Most important unit in defining the political
    identity of most people
  • States have not always existed
  • Core of political organization and form of
    governance in the modern system
  • Not necessarily permanent

Theories About the Origins of the State
  • Force Theorystrong person made others submit to
    their will
  • Evolutionary Theoryprimitive family leads to a
    clan, clan leads to a tribe, tribe gives up
    nomadic behavior
  • Divine Right Theoryrulers authority granted by
    the grace of God
  • Social Contract Theoryhumans fear violence and
    danger, so they give up some freedom (to punish)
    in exchange for promised safety

Six Common Characteristics of States
  • Sovereignty
  • Territory
  • Population
  • Diplomatic recognition
  • Internal organization (government)
  • Domestic support

  • Most important characteristic of a state
  • Implies legal equality among states, but legal
    equality does not mean real equality in the
    international arena (compare San Marino and
  • In theory, synonymous with independence
  • In practice, power is relative and sovereignty is
    not always absolute
  • Concept is continually being challenged (for
    example, trials of Slobodan Milosevic of

  • States generally have a geographic area and
    physical boundaries, but there are exceptions
  • State boundaries can expand, contract, or shift
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict Palestinians are a
    state without territory
  • Limited Pakistani territorial authority over
    northwestern Pakistan near Afghanistan, a
    Pashtun-controlled region serving as a hide-out
    and base for Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

  • Obviously a minimal requirement
  • Size varies widely (Vatican City vs. China)
  • Citizenship has become more fluidEU
    Citizenship, Mexican immigration to the United
  • Phenomenon of dual citizenship
  • U.S. does not recognize Canada does
  • Advantages of dual citizenship/EU citizenship
  • Olympic Rules(!)

Diplomatic Recognition
  • A state must have recognition by some other
    countries in order for it to be accepted as a
  • Technically Right of Legation
  • Standard of diplomatic recognition is still hazy
  • Done by the President more than Congress in the
  • U.S. did not afford diplomatic recognition to
    Russia until 1934.
  • Israel recognition in 1948 started war
  • Taiwan a special case (One China, Two Systems
    is U.S. policy, U.S. recognized Red China, 1979)
  • Tibet not recognized
  • Palestinians not recognized
  • Germany was first to recognize Croatia, 1991.
  • Benefits of recognition 1) Can sell government
    bonds 2) can purchase arms 3) can establish trade

Internal Organization
  • There must be some level of political and
    economic structure
  • Can be democratic, autocratic, or somewhere
  • But states continue even in times of turmoil and
  • Examples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra
    Leone, and Somalia

Domestic Support
  • There must be support from and belief in the
    state by some part of the population (for
    example, the attitude of citizens of former
    republics toward the Soviet Union)
  • Population must be loyal and grant the government
  • Separatist impulses can pose a grave threat and
    lead to a Failed State like Afghanistan under
    the Taliban
  • Failed States are especially dangerouscreate a
    power vaccuum that may be filled by bad actors
  • Current challenges to state-building in Iraq
    among badly divided Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds,
    all of whom have their own internal divisions

Purposes of the State
  • Instrumental Theory of Government governments
    serve utilitarian purposes
  • Laid out well in Preamble of U.S. Constitution
  • We the People of the United States, in Order to
    form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
    insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
    common defense, promote the general Welfare, and
    secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and
    our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
    Constitution for the United States of America.
  • Hobbes People join together out of fear and
    create governments for protection
  • Locke People join together because cooperation
    improves the lives of all
  • Rousseaus Social Contract Theory People join
    together in societies surrendering some sovereign
    powers for individual betterment

Thomas Hobbes
  • Wrote The Leviathan
  • Believed that people are naturally selfish and
    greedy, self-centered.
  • Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor,
    nasty, brutish, and short.
  • People fear violence and death, so they allocate
    power to an absolute monarch which imposes order
    and demands obedience
  • Innate human greed makes people unable to govern

John Locke
  • Wrote Two Treatises of Government
  • Agreed with Hobbes that humans are basically
    self-centered, but believed humans can be
    rational and moral
  • Locke argued that people have natural rights from
    the state of naturethe right to life, liberty,
    and property
  • To secure these rights, people form a government
    through social contracts.
  • The only valid or legitimate government is one
    that is based on the consent of the governed
  • If, for any reason, government breaks the
    contract by neglect or violating rights, the
    people have the opportunity to replace the
  • Thomas Jefferson later argues people have an
    obligation to eliminate oppressive regimes.

Theories of Governance
  • Authoritarian Government
  • Allows little or no participation in
    decision-making by individuals or groups
  • Democratic
  • Government
  • Allows much broader and more meaningful

Authoritarian Governance
  • Theocracy rule by spiritual leaders (the Vatican
    and partly in Iran)
  • Monarchism rule by the divine rights of kings
    and other hereditary rulers (Saudi Arabia)
  • Communism dictatorship of proletariat over
    bourgeoisie in transitional socialist period
    (China, Cuba, North Korea Vietnam)
  • Totalitarianism Complete social, economic, and
    political control by leader

8 Tenets of Fascism
  • Rejection of rationality reliance on emotion to
  • Superiority of some over others
  • Legitimacy of subjugating "inferior" countries
    (Italy/Ethiopia 1935-36)
  • Rejection of individual rights in favor of
  • All economic activity supports the state
  • Anthropomorphic view of state
  • Individual's highest expression is in people
  • Highest expression of people is the leader, who
    rules as totalitarian dictator
  • Spawned Neofascism LePen in France, Haider in

Democratic Theory
  • Democratization Spread of democracy
  • Standards of democracy
  • Process versus outcome (Fareed Zakaria)
  • Procedural (Illiberal) versus substantive
    (liberal) democracy
  • Exclusiveness versus inclusiveness
  • Role of gender
  • Individualism versus communitarianism
  • Individualism Rights and liberties of individual
    are supreme
  • Communitarianism Welfare of the collective is
    most important
  • Three Waves of Democratization (Huntington)
  • But lets examine the causes of democracy before
    we get to Huntington

Causes of Democracy
  • Wealth. A higher GDP per capita correlates with
    democracy and the wealthiest democracies have
    never been observed to fall into
    authoritarianism. There is also the general
    observation that democracy was very rare before
    the industrial revolution. Empirical research
    thus lead many to believe that economic
    development either increases chances for a
    transition to democracy (modernization theory),
    or helps newly established democracies
    consolidate. Some campaigners for democracy even
    believe that as economic development progresses,
    democratization will become inevitable. However,
    the debate about whether democracy is a
    consequence of wealth, a cause of it, or both
    processes are unrelated, is far from conclusion.
  • Education. Wealth also correlates with education,
    though their effects on democratic consolidation
    seem to be independent. Better educated people
    tend to share more liberal and pro-democratic
    values. On the other hand, a poorly educated and
    illiterate population may elect populist
    politicians who soon abandon democracy and become
    dictators even if there have been free elections.
  • Fewer Natural Resources. The resource curse
    theory suggests that states whose sole source of
    wealth derives from abundant natural resources,
    such as oil, often fail to democratize because
    the well-being of the elite depends more on the
    direct control of the resource than on the
    popular support. On the other hand, elites who
    invested in the physical capital rather than in
    land or oil, fear that their investment can be
    easily damaged in case of a revolution.
    Consequently, they would rather make concessions
    and democratize than risk a violent clash with
    the opposition.
  • Capitalism. Some claim that democracy and
    capitalism are intrinsically linked. This belief
    generally centers on the idea that democracy and
    capitalism are simply two different aspects of
    freedom. A widespread capitalist market culture
    may encourage norms such as individualism,
    negotiations, compromise, respect for the law,
    and equality before the law. These are seen as
    supportive for democratization. By contrast, many
    Marxists would claim that capitalism is
    inherently undemocratic, and that true democracy
    can only be achieved if the economy is controlled
    by the people as a whole rather than by private

Causes of Democracy Contd
  • Social equality. Acemoglu and Robinson argued
    that the relationship between social equality and
    democratic transition should be nonlinear People
    have less incentive to revolt in an egalitarian
    society (Singapore), so the likelihood of
    democratization is lower. In a highly unequal
    society (South Africa under Apartheid), the
    redistribution of wealth and power in a democracy
    would be so harmful to elites that these would do
    everything to prevent democratization.
    Democratization is more likely to emerge
    somewhere in the middle, in the countries, whose
    elites offer concessions because (1) they
    consider the threat of a revolution credible and
    (2) the cost of the concessions is not too high.
    This expectation is in line with the empirical
    research showing that democracy is more stable in
    egalitarian societies.
  • Middle class. According to some models, the
    existence of a substantial body of citizens who
    are of intermediate wealth can exert a
    stabilizing influence, allowing democracy to
    flourish. This is usually explained by saying
    that while the upper classes may want political
    power to preserve their position, and the lower
    classes may want it to lift themselves up, the
    middle class balances these extreme positions.
  • Civil society. A healthy civil society (NGOs,
    unions, academia, human rights organizations,
    ELECTIONS, INTEREST GROUPS) are considered by
    some theorists to be important for
    democratization, as they give people a unity and
    a common purpose, and a social network through
    which to organize and challenge the power of the
    state hierarchy. Involvement in civic
    associations also prepares citizens for their
    future political participation in a democratic
    regime. Finally, horizontally organized social
    networks build trust among people and trust is
    essential for functioning of democratic

Causes of Democracy contd
  • Civic culture. In The Civic Culture and The Civic
    Culture Revisited, Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney
    Verba conducted a comprehensive study of civic
    cultures. The main findings is that a certain
    civic culture is necessary for the survival of
    democracy. This study truly challenged the common
    thought that cultures can preserve their
    uniqueness and practices and still remain
  • Culture. It is claimed by some that certain
    cultures are simply more conductive to democratic
    values than others. This view is likely to be
    ethnocentric. Typically, it is Western culture
    which is cited as "best suited" to democracy,
    with other cultures portrayed as containing
    values which make democracy difficult or
    undesirable. This argument is sometimes used by
    undemocratic regimes to justify their failure to
    implement democratic reforms. Today, however,
    there are many non-Western democracies. Examples
    include India, Japan, Indonesia, Namibia,
    Botswana, Taiwan, and South Korea.
  • Human Empowerment and Emancipative Values. In
    Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy,
    Ronald Inlgehart and Christian Welzel explain
    democratization as the result of a broader
    process of human development which empowers
    ordinary people in a three-step sequence. First,
    modernization gives more resources into the hands
    of people, which empowers capability-wise,
    enabling people to practice freedom. This tends
    to give rise to emancipative values that
    emphasize freedom of expression and equality of
    opportunities. These values empower people
    motivation-wise in making them willing to
    practice freedom. Democratization occurs as the
    third stage of empowerment it empowers people
    legally in entitling them to practice freedom. In
    this context, the rise of emancipative values has
    been shown to be the strongest factor of all in
    both giving rise to new democracies and
    sustaining old democracies. Specifically, it has
    been shown that the effects of modernization and
    other structural factors on democratization are
    mediated by these factors tendencies to promote
    or hinder the rise of emancipative values.
    Further evidence suggests that emancipative
    values motivate people to engage in
    elite-challenging collective actions that aim at
    democratic achievements, either to sustain and
    improve democracy when it is granted or to
    establish it when it is denied.

Causes of Democracy contd
  • Homogeneous population. Some believe that a
    country which is deeply divided, whether by
    ethnic group, religion, or language, have
    difficulty establishing a working democracy. The
    basis of this theory is that the different
    components of the country will be more interested
    in advancing their own position than in sharing
    power with each other. India is one prominent
    example of a nation being democratic despite its
    great heterogeneity.
  • Previous experience with democracy. According to
    some theorists, the presence or absence of
    democracy in a country's past can have a
    significant effect on its later dealings with
    democracy. Some argue, for example, that it is
    very difficult (or even impossible) for democracy
    to be implemented immediately in a country that
    has no prior experience with it. Instead, they
    say, democracy must evolve gradually. Others,
    however, say that past experiences with democracy
    can actually be bad for democratization a
    country, such as Pakistan, in which democracy has
    previously failed may be less willing or able to
    go down the same path again.
  • Foreign intervention. Some believe that foreign
    involvement in a democratization is a crucial
    factor in its success or failure. For some,
    foreign involvement is advantageous for
    democracythese people believe that democracy
    should be actively promoted and fostered by those
    countries which have already established it, and
    that democracy may not otherwise take hold.
    Others, however, take the opposite stance, and
    say that democratization must come "from the
    bottom up", and that attempts to impose democracy
    from the outside are often doomed to failure. The
    most extreme form is military intervention to
    create democracy, with advocates pointing to the
    creation of stable democracies in Japan and
    Germany (disputed) 12 after WWII, while critics
    point out, for example, the failures of
    colonialism and decolonization to create stable
    democracies in most developing nations, where
    dictators often quickly took power after a brief
    democratic period following independence.
  • Age distribution. Countries which have a higher
    degree of elderly people seems to be able to
    maintain democracy, when it has evolved once,
    according to a thesis brought forward by Richard
    P. Concotta. When the young population (defined
    as people aged 29 and under) is less than 40, a
    democracy is more secure.

Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave (1991)
  • 3 Waves of Democratization
  • The first one brought democracy to Western Europe
    and Northern America in the 19th century. It was
    followed by a rise of dictatorships between
  • The second wave began after World War II, but
    lost steam between 1962 and the mid-1970s.
  • The latest wave began in 1974 and is still
    ongoing. Democratization of Latin America and
    post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe is
    part of this third wave.
  • Recall Zakarias article on Illiberal
    Democraciesmostly 3rd wave
  • Two-turnover test determines if consolidation is

Causes of The Third Wave
  • Loss of legitimacy of authoritarian regimes due
    to increased popular expectation of periodic and
    competitive election, and/or poor economic
    performance or military failure.
  • Growth in global economic output helped modernize
    many less developed economies. Economic
    modernization, which includes structural changes
    like increased rates of urbanization, education,
    and a rising middle class, unleashes a
    constellation of social forces with the
    organizational capacity and education to press
    for democratic governance.
  • Changes in the Catholic Church brought about by
    Vatican II emphasized individual rights and
    opposition to authoritarian rule. This shift in
    world view was especially important for the
    Catholic countries of the Mediterranean and Latin
    America, as well as the Philippines, Poland and
  • Regional Contingency Factor (Snowball effect. For
    Soviet equivalent see Domino Theory), also known
    as demonstration effects, happens when success of
    democracy in one country causes other countries
    to democratize.
  • External factors, most notably the efforts to
    spread democracy by the European Union and the
    United States.

Democratization as a Policy Goal
  • Increased democratization in recent times
  • Linked with economic development and education
    levelmore investment in education, consumer
  • Classic question Does economic liberalization
    precede or follow political liberalization
  • Attitudes Freedom is not always the first
    priority of citizens
  • Inevitability? Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the
Last Man (1992)
  • The end point of mankind's ideological evolution
    and the universalization of Western liberal
    democracy as the final form of human government.
  • Fukuyama's thesis consists of 2 main elements
  • The empirical argument Since the beginning of
    the 19th Century, there has been a move for
    States to adopt some form of liberal democracy as
    its government.
  • The philosophical argument Fukuyama examines the
    influence of thymos (or human spiritedness). His
    argument is democracy hinders risky behavior.
    Enlightened rational thought shows that the roles
    of master and slave are unsatisfying and
    self-defeating and hence not adopted by lofty
    spirts. This type of argument was originally
    taken up by Hegel and John Locke.

Problems With Spreading Democracy
  • Many countries are not ready
  • May hinder a countrys economy
  • Different standards of democracy (if illiberal
    democracy is adopted, may never get liberal)
  • Limited public support in many areas due to
    perception of government corruption, lack of
    education (Democracy requires educated citizenry)

Democracy, Foreign Policy, Security
  • The new global standard of acceptable governance?
  • Implications for world politics
  • Foreign policy success
  • Democracies more successful at war (but is this a
  • Women and political participation
  • Democratic Peace Theory-- Democracies Are
    Unlikely to Fight Each Other

Criticisms of Democratic Peace Theory
  • Peace is an anomalywar the normal condition
  • Democracies are not always peaceful
  • What about the United States and its war record?
  • Feminists would argue need for positive peace

States and the Future
  • States are increasing in number (200)
  • Yet concept of state sovereignty remains under
  • International Criminal Court
  • International War Crimes Trials of Slobodan
    Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Charles Taylor of
    Liberia at The Hague
  • The Indictment Are states obsolete or are they
    as powerful as ever?

States Are Obsolete
  • States are no longer utilitarian Key roles of
    the state are not being satisfactorily fulfilled
  • Providing physical safety
  • Providing economic prosperity
  • Providing for the general welfare
  • Protecting public health
  • Preserving the environment and managing natural
    resources responsibly
  • States do not pursue the interests of their
  • Should national interests guide foreign policy?
  • Yes realist argument
  • No critics point to subjectivity and
    heterogeneity of national interest
  • Criticisms also include the undermining of
    international stability and the shortsightedness
    of foreign policy guided by national interests

States Are Obsolete, continued
  • States are ineffective in managing or solving
    transnational problems (e.g., global climate
    change and international public health threats
    such as AIDS)
  • States are destructive
  • Average citizens bear the brunt of war and/or
    economic sanctions
  • States often perpetrate violence on their own
  • Alternatives to States exist

Alternatives to National Interest
  • Advocates of global interest The world is best
    served if all see themselves as global citizens
  • National interest and human interest are
  • Advocates of individual interests
  • Consideration of own interest leads to better
    world political system

The State The Defense
  • Nationalism has proved to be resilient
  • States are learning to cooperate and live in
  • Increased membership in IGOs denotes willingness
    to adapt, conform, work together
  • IGOs have yet to prove themselves an effective
    alternative to the state
  • Strengthening of states as a result of
    increasingly complex domestic and international
    system demands for services
  • Sovereignty is a relative, dynamic concept
  • Realists Self-interest and conflict cannot be
    eliminatedstates are best in this Darwinian world

The State The Verdict
  • The world is dynamic and the system of sovereign
    states evolving
  • States continue to be the principal focus of
    political identity
  • Power of states is changing, but states are by no
    means disappearing
  • The verdict is still out.

  • After reading this chapter, students should be
    able to
  • 1. Define states as political organizations and
    list their 6 necessary components.
  • 2. Explain various theories of governance.
  • 3. Analyze forms of authoritarian and democratic
  •  4. Examine the drive to institute democracy
    globally and the related implications for global
    and national security.
  • 5. Understand how democracy affects foreign
    policy, international security, and domestic
  • 6. Identify trends that point to a weakening of
    the state system.
  • 7. Outline the democratic peace thesis.
  • 8. Discuss the critique that the state system is
    ineffective and counter productive
  • 9.Present the defense of the state system from
    the charges that it is ineffective and counter
  • 10. Discuss the future of states as principal
    actors in the world system.