Chapter One Exploring Twenty-First-Century World Politics
Important Aspects of World Politics • global political system • Cold War • September 11, 2001--a transforming event? • states in the international system • anarchy in the international system • cycles of world politics
How Perceptions Influence Images of Reality • schematic reasoning: information interpreted according to genetic scripts, metaphors, and stereotypical characters • cognitive dissonance: tendency to deny discrepancies between preexisting beliefs and new information • constructivism: mental maps inevitably shape attitudes about, and images of, world politics
Factors Influencing Perceptions in World Politics • our psychological needs, drives, dispositions • our views of international affairs • images advanced by leaders and groups • our images of world history • opinions of close associates • attitudes of respected pundits/policymakers • our positions and roles
Ideology • a set of core philosophical principles that a group of leaders and citizens collectively holds about politics, the interests of political actors, and the way people ought to ethically behave. • Ideologies affect how adherents view and interpret world politics
The Role of Images in World Politics • Soviet fear of foreign invasion • American isolationism pre-1941 • mutual misperceptions fuel discord in world politics • mirror images: United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War • images can change: Vietnam War and utility of military force
Map 1.1: Mercator Projection M A P 1 . 1 Mercator Projection This Mercator projection, named for the Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator, was popular in sixteenth-century Europe and presents a classic Eurocentric view of the world. It mapped the Earth without distorting direction, making it useful for navigators. However, distances were deceptive, placing Europe at the center of the world and exaggerating the continent’s importance relative to other landmasses. Europe appears larger than South America, which is twice Europe’s size, and two-thirds of the map is used to represent the northern half of the world and only one-third the southern half. Because lines of longitude were represented as parallel rather than convergent, this projection also greatly exaggerates the size of Greenland and Antarctica.
Map 1.2: Peter’s Projection M A P 1 . 2 Peter’s Projection In the Peter’s projection, each landmass appears in correct proportion in relation to all others, but it distorts the shape and position of the earth’s landmasses. In contrast with most geographic representations, it draws attention to the less-developed countries of the Global South, where more than three-quarters of the world’s population lives today.
Map 1.3: Orthographic Projection M A P 1 . 3 Orthographic Projection The orthographic projection, centering on the mid-Atlantic, conveys some sense of the curvature of the Earth by using rounded edges. The sizes and shapes of continents toward the outer edges of the circle are distorted to give a sense of spherical perspective.
Levels of Analysis • individual: human characteristics--perceptions, images, knowledge, psychology • state: how states make decisions; economic power; military power; domestic factors • global: interactions of states and nonstate actors at the international level that affect conflict and cooperation
Important Concepts • Global North: wealthy industrialized countries, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere • Global South: less-developed countries, primarily in the Southern Hemisphere • global agenda: primary issues, problems, and controversies of world politics • politics: “Who gets, what, when, how, and why?”--Harold Lasswell
Important Concepts, continued • great powers and nonstate actors • low politics: global economic, social, demographic, and environmental issues • high politics: issues related to the military, security, and political relations of states • state sovereignty: states equal under international law; a state’s government is highest authority within its borders
Important Concepts, continued • globalization: integration of states through increasing contact, communication, and trade, creating a single global system that binds people together; declining importance of boundaries and barriers • interdependence: the quality of life in one state is dependent upon conditions within other states and the activities of other states
Important Concepts, continued • United States as global hegemon • geo-economics: the relationship between geography and economic conditions • geopolitics: the relationship between geography and politics; distributions of military power • human rights: political rights and civil liberties recognized as inalienable
Important Concepts, continued • limits-to-growth proposition: Earth has a limited capacity to support life; many will die if it is exceeded • sustainable development: management of resource use such that the long-term health and productivity of Earth is maintained • gross national product: the total monetary value of all goods and services
Discussion • In what ways can perception distort reality? Examples? • What are important ideologies and how do they view world politics? • Apply the levels of analysis to a recent event.
Discussion, continued • Apply Lasswell’s “Who gets, what, when, how, and why?” to explain one domestic event and one international event. • How can environmental problems be simultaneously local and global? • In what ways has globalization affected you?