International Relations Exam

The Questions:

Consider the three levels of analysis. Which do you tend to think about when you consider international issues? As you begin your studies of international relations, do you feel that any one level is more important than the others?

After the First World War, many thought that the war was so terrible that no major war would ever be fought again. Several steps were taken to make sure of it (Kellogg-Briand pact, League of Nations, etc.). However, twenty years later the world was preparing for an even worse war. When that war ended, the Cold War rose and gave rise to conflict in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Will the international order ever be free of major war? If so, what will it take for this to happen? If not, why not?

First, explain a “real world” example of a security dilemma. Then, explain how scholars of Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism might respond to this security dilemma.

Do you think “covert operations” are inherently an act of war? Was the United States justified in entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden without alerting the Pakistani government, or entering Iraq to kill General Qassim Soleimani without alerting the Iraqi government? If these operations can be justified, what constitutes a “just covert operation”?

Liberal theorists argue that international institutions allow states to escape the Prisoner’s Dilemma, yet there are still some states that consistently “cheat”. What could explain the reasoning behind some states’ refusal to cooperate even within the framework of international organizations? Offer concrete examples to illustrate your argument.

First, briefly explain the “levels-of-analysis framework.” Then, choose either World War I or World War II.  Finally, explain how each level would account for why the United States became involved in the conflict that you have chosen.

Thinking in terms of the levels-of-analysis framework, explain some plausible reasons why Iran would want to pursue nuclear weapons. From with the same framework, why might Iran not want to pursue nuclear weapons?  On balance, in your view does Iran aspire to become a “nuclear weapon power?”

Identify and discuss the explanations for the development and effectiveness of international law for two schools of thought (other than Marxism). Which do you think better describes the “real world”? Compare the two and give a real-life example of international law in action (or inaction) that supports your hypothesis.

What are the main differences between the making and enforcement of “domestic” and “international” law? In your view, do these differences condemn the international system to perpetual anarchy and instability? Explain with reference to concrete examples.

First, define “nation-state”.  Then, explain four ways that the concept of nation-state can diverge from the ideal.

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