Provide a 800 word post using your instructor-assigned school of international relations (IR): Constructivism. Justify and support your answer using your experience and material from the assigned readings.
Evaluate how your assigned IR perspective (constructivism) could serve as a framework to help explain aspects of the following scenario, which is based on real-world events but takes place in the imaginary future. Be sure to understand the key assumptions of your respective IR perspective before applying it to the scenario. Be sure to also comment on what, if any, US National interests are at stake in the crisis.
In the Spratly island grouping, 92 of approximately 150 land features have remained unoccupied—until now. In waters claimed by China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, six Chinese fishermen have just drowned after their vessel was sunk by the Vietnamese Coast Guard. China has responded by landing marines on some of the heretofore unoccupied features in the vicinity. Vietnam has reacted in kind, occupying six additional features. Taiwan and the Philippines don’t want to be left behind, and are planning to grab some new islets as well. All the claimants are suspicious of one another, but Sino-Vietnamese relations are the worse, and intelligence reports have estimated with high confidence that an armed clash is likely to occur within the next month.
NOTE: For a background reading on the history of the South China Sea Dispute, see enclosures/attachments
A successful post will:
answer all aspects of the question with a well-reasoned point of view;
incorporate a clear assessment of US national interests as they pertain to this scenario;
use material from the courses, and other relevant sources, to substantiate the response;
meet the administrative and stylistic requirements of the discussion (deadlines, word count, number of posts, writing style, citation etc.)
Remember that the key word in the discussion prompt is evaluate, which requires you to write a balanced analysis of the utility of the IR school to which you have been assigned (include strengths and weaknesses).
A note about precise language in your discussion posts and the essay: it is tempting to use words that sound precise but are in fact vague. For example, you might say “The US should engage with China…” or “The US should use appropriate means to…” or “The US should leverage…” But these words do not tell your reader what you mean. For “engage”, you might say “The US should begin a diplomatic effort to…”; for “appropriate,” you should define what options are suitable; for “leverage,” you should explain which diplomatic or military means you are referring to.
Theories of international relations can be extraordinary valuable analytical tools for military professionals to examine and explore the dynamic international environment. Military professional can use these paradigms to help them understand the motivations and objectives of the policy-makers they interact and often work for. In particular, realism, liberalism, and constructivism offer insightful, complex, and multifaceted pedagogical tools for evaluating the actions of various actors on the global, regional, and domestic stage. The three theories also specify differing central motivations and problems for these actors. Extending from the contested motivations and challenges are differential views of the current international system and how security is manifested, attended, and extended. The disparate views often yield contrasting security strategies that contest even what is considered security or what needs to be secured. Together, the three theories can be used to deconstruct international and national affairs to clarify significant incidents of cooperation and conflict, contested national interests, and the primal stimulants for how the actors react to international security challenges and opportunities. Together, the three theories offer military professionals critical diagnostic weapons in the battle to understand the evolving international arena.
Refresh your memory on IR theories in the article below, which you accessed as part of a prerequisite course.
Ackerman, International Relations Paradigms (2010) Actions
Constructivism is an extremely useful means of understanding the formation of interests through its emphasis on the social nature of international relations and the importance of identities and norms in the constitution of national interests. Constructivism complements liberalism in its depiction of the shared interests and peaceful behavior of democratic states toward each other. What liberals characterize as democratic values are viewed by constructivists as shared interests and norms. According to Ned Lebow, realism, neoliberal institutionalism and constructivism all share a common core premise based on egoistic, autonomous states (Lebow Ackerman, John, Barak Carlson and Young Han, “International Relations Paradigms”.
However, while both realism and neoliberal institutionalism emphasize material factors in the formation and maintenance of regimes, constructivists generally believe international relations are governed by shared ideas. The constructivist core asserts reality is social rather than material. As a result, the outcome of state relations can be attributed to the influence of ideas instead of such material factors as wealth, geography, and military technology.
In The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, Peter Katzenstein and others argue that norms play an important role in world politics, shaping both cooperation and conflict in ways that are not accounted for by theories that focus either on material structural forces or on individual choice (Katzenstein 1996). Norms “serve as collective understandings of appropriate behavior, which can be invoked by the participants in a discourse to justify their arguments” (Katzenstein 1996, 369). Shared principles and norms eventually become internationalized by the actors involved, thereby reshaping the perception of interests (Rittberger 1991). Andrew Hurrell similarly finds that states comply with international regimes “not based on external sanctions or the threat of them but based rather on the existence of shared interests, of shared values, and of patterned expectations” (Rittberger 1990, 190). In the international environment, the perceived legitimacy of rules and their underlying norms influence the willingness of international actors to comply (Barnett and Finnemore 2004). Regimes are thus credited with being self-enforcing in that they manage to socialize their members into compliance (Young 1979).
Please don’t forget to use enclosure and read references
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