Issues of International Politics

Course Code :1200PSWVIP
Study domain:Political Sciences
Academic year:2017-2018
Semester:2nd semester
Sequentiality:Issues of International Politics can only be followed if a credit for Introduction to International Relations has been obtained.
Contact hours:45
Study load (hours):168
Contract restrictions: Credit and exam contract not possible
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 2nd semester
Lecturer(s)Dirk De Bièvre

3. Course contents *

Overview of the close-reading sessions

  1. 16 February: Introduction

(23 February: no class)

  1. 2 March: The Euro crisis: institutional success or institutional failure?
    1. Moravcsik (2012)
    2. Jones, Kelemen et al. (2016)
  2. 9 March: International institutions and legalization
    1. Abbott and Snidal (1998)
    2. Keohane, Moravcsik et al. (2000)
  3. 16 March: Judicial politics and negative & positive integration in the EU
    1. Caporaso and Tarrow (2009)
    2. Höpner and Schäfer (2012)
  4. 23 March: Why have nuclear weapons not been used since 1945?
    1. Waltz (1995/2003)
    2. Tannenwald (1999)
  5. 30 March: pooling sovereignty and delegating powers in the EU
    1. Genschel and Jachtenfuchs (2010)
    2. Genschel and Jachtenfuchs (2016)

 (6 & 13 April: no class; Easter break)

  1. 20 April: rising powers: the case of China
    1. Nölke, ten Brink et al. (2015)
    2. Hameiri and Jones (2016)
  2. 27 April: European trade policy/ competition policy
    1. Karagiannis
    2. Damro
  3. 4 May: economic liberalization and political compensation
    1. Sapir
    2. Burgoon

 (18 & 25 May: no class; finalize your paper!)

Course Description

The course ‘Issues in international politics’ is a reading seminar of scientific texts. The selection of the topics is quite eclectic, yet each week you read and we discuss texts that present opposing views on some of the many important questions in the analysis of international politics. These issues include the Euro-crisis, the influence of interest groups in the EU, the (non)use of nuclear arms, international judicial politics, regime complexes in global governance, and so-called humanitarian intervention. The course takes the form of a reading seminar in small groups. Therefore, weekly active participation and regular presentations are absolutely required, and constitute the prerequisites to be able to hand in a paper at the end of the semester.

Evaluation: preparatory reading, active participation, and paper

The evaluation of this course consists of three elements: an evaluation of your participation in the reading sessions, of your presentations during the reading sessions,  and a paper at the end of the semester.

The weekly reading sessions

The preparatory weekly reading of the texts is absolutely obligatory. You are not welcome in class if you have not read the two texts, since it is entirely inappropriate to free ride on the reading efforts of your fellow students or the teaching staff. Each student gives at least one oral presentation in the form of a critical review of an article. You will find your turns to act as a presenter of an article on Blackboard. A critical review of an article has to consist of the following elements:

  1. Which question does the author seek to answer?
  2. Which answer does (s)he give to this question? Which hypotheses does the author test?
  3. Which arguments does the author use to support his or her propositions?
  4. How does the author try to defend her/his central proposition? (relates to text structure, the structure of argumentation, and/or the nature of the evidence)
  5. Did the author convince you with her/his arguments?
  6. Did you understand the entire text? Are there passages or concepts you do not understand? If so, which ones?
  7. (when discussing the 2nd article): Compare the question, the hypotheses, and the argumentation with the 1st article.

The paper

The paper has to consist of a critical review of 5 texts of your choice. They can be taken from the obligatory readings, from the list of optional literature, or they can be texts that you select yourself. If you take the last option, please consult with Dirk De Bièvre in order to assess the appropriateness of this choice, the feasibility to write about them, and the combination of texts. This paper has to be submitted in paper format in the mailbox of Dirk De Bièvre on the 2nd floor of the Meerminne building. The deadline for submission of the paper is Monday 28 May 2018, 2 pm (the same as for the submission of the master thesis).  

Required readings: (all available in the electronic library of the University; or else available on Blackboard)

Abbott, K. W. and D. Snidal (1998). "Why States Act through Formal International Organizations." Journal of Conflict Resolution 42(1): 3-32.

            States use formal international organizations (IOs) to manage both their everyday interactions and more dramatic episodes, including international conflicts. Yet, contemporary international theory does not explain the existence or form of IOs. This article addresses the question of why states use formal organizations by investigating the functions IOs perform and the properties that enable them to perform those functions. Starting with a rational-institutionalist perspective that sees IOs as enabling states to achieve their ends, the authors examine power and distributive questions and the role of IOs in creating norms and understanding. Centralization and independence are identified as the key properties of formal organizations, and their importance is illustrated with a wide array of examples. IOs as community representatives further allow states to create and implement community values and enforce international commitments.

Caporaso, J. A. and S. Tarrow (2009). "Polanyi in Brussels: Supranational Institutions and the Transnational Embedding of Markets." International Organization 63(04): 593-620.

            Many have argued that the success of European integration is predicated on reinforcing market structures and some have gone further to state that the creation of a transnational market results in a decoupling of markets from their national political and social frameworks, thus threatening to unravel historical social bargains. Drawing on the work of Karl Polanyi and John Ruggie and using their insights regarding the social embedding of markets, we dissent from this view by examining how the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has handled a key sector of the emerging European marketjust as Polanyi and Ruggie would have predicted—activate new social and political arrangements. We find evidence for the development of a new legal and political structure, largely inspired by the Court but also imbricated in European Union legislation, at the regional level.

Genschel, P. and M. Jachtenfuchs (2010). "How the European Union constrains the state: Multilevel governance of taxation." European Journal of Political Research 50(3): 293-314.

            This article challenges the common assumption that the European Union (EU) has little power over taxation. Based on a comprehensive analysis of EU tax legislation and European Court of Justice (ECJ) tax jurisprudence from 1958 to 2007, the article shows that the EU exerts considerable regulatory control over the Member States' taxing power and imposes tighter constraints on Member State taxes than the American federal government imposes on American state taxation. These findings contradict the standard account of the EU as a regulatory polity that specialises in apolitical issues of market creation and leaves control of highly politicised core functions of government (defence, taxation, social security, education, etc.) to the Member States; despite strong treaty safeguards, national tax autonomy is undermined by EU regulation.

Genschel, P. and M. Jachtenfuchs (2016). "More integration, less federation: the European integration of core state powers." Journal of European Public Policy 23(1): 42-59.

            ABSTRACTWe map the pattern and extent of the European integration of core state powers (coercive force, public finance and public administration) and analyse causes and consequences. We highlight two findings: First, in contrast to historical examples of federal state-building, where the nationalization of core state powers precipitated the institutional, territorial and political consolidation of the emerging state, the European integration of core state powers is associated with the institutional, territorial and political fragmentation of the European Union. Second, in contrast to European market integration, state élites and mass publics, not organized business interests, are the prime drivers of integration.

Hameiri, S. and L. Jones (2016). "Rising powers and state transformation: The case of China." European Journal of International Relations 22(1): 72-98.

            This article draws attention to the transformation of statehood under globalisation as a crucial dynamic shaping the emergence and conduct of ‘rising powers’. That states are becoming increasingly fragmented, decentralised and internationalised is noted by some international political economy and global governance scholars, but is neglected in International Relations treatments of rising powers. This article critiques this neglect, demonstrating the importance of state transformation in understanding emerging powers’ foreign and security policies, and their attempts to manage their increasingly transnational interests by promoting state transformation elsewhere, particularly in their near-abroad. It demonstrates the argument using the case of China, typically understood as a classical ‘Westphalian’ state. In reality, the Chinese state’s substantial disaggregation profoundly shapes its external conduct in overseas development assistance and conflict zones like the South China Sea, and in its promotion of extraterritorial governance arrangements in spaces like the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Höpner, M. and A. Schäfer (2012). "Embeddedness and Regional Integration: Waiting for Polanyi in a Hayekian Setting." International Organization 66(03): 429-455.

            This article analyzes the social potential of regional integration processes by using the example of European integration. Recent case law from the European Court of Justice has led some observers to argue that judicial decisions increasingly provide European politics with a “Polanyian” drive. We test this claim by distinguishing three dimensions to European economic and social integration: market-restricting integration, market-enforcing integration, and the creation of a European area of nondiscrimination. We also identify two forms of integration that have different speeds, scopes, and potentials: political integration and judicial integration. The evidence shows that the EU has come closer to Hayek's vision of “interstate federalism” than is usually warranted because market-enforcing integration and European nondiscrimination policies have asymmetrically profited from “integration through law.” The opportunities for international courts to push ahead market-enforcing integration increase as the participants of regional integration processes become more diverse. In such “Hayekian” constellations, individual rights are increasingly relocated to the central level, at the cost of subordinating the decentralized capacity for solidarity and interpersonal redistribution.

Jones, E., et al. (2016). "Failing Forward? The Euro Crisis and the Incomplete Nature of European Integration." Comparative Political Studies 49(7): 1010-1034.

            The European Union (EU) project of combining a single market with a common currency was incomplete from its inception. This article shows that the incompleteness of the governance architecture of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was both a cause of the euro crisis and a characteristic pattern of the policy responses to the crisis. We develop a “failing forward” argument to explain the dynamics of European integration using recent experience in the eurozone as an illustration: Intergovernmental bargaining leads to incompleteness because it forces states with diverse preferences to settle on lowest common denominator solutions. Incompleteness then unleashes forces that lead to crisis. Member states respond by again agreeing to lowest common denominator solutions, which address the crisis and lead to deeper integration. To date, this sequential cycle of piecemeal reform, followed by policy failure, followed by further reform, has managed to sustain both the European project and the common currency. However, this approach entails clear risks. Economically, the policy failures engendered by this incremental approach to the construction of EMU have been catastrophic for the citizens of many crisis-plagued member states. Politically, the perception that the EU is constantly in crisis and in need of reforms to salvage the union is undermining popular support for European integration.

Keohane, R. O., et al. (2000). "Legalized Dispute Resolution: Interstate and Transnational." International Organization 54(3).

            We identify two ideal types of international third-party dispute resolution: interstate and transnational. Under interstate dispute resolution, states closely control selection of, access to, and compliance with international courts and tribunals. Under transnational dispute resolution, by contrast, individuals and nongovernmental entities have significant influence over selection, access, and implementation. This distinction helps to explain the politics of international legalization in particular, the initiation of cases, the tendency of courts to challenge national governments, the extent of compliance with judgments, and the long-term evolution of norms within legalized international regimes. By reducing the transaction costs of setting the process in motion and establishing new constituencies, transnational dispute resolution is more likely than interstate dispute resolution to generate a large number of cases. The types of cases brought under transnational dispute resolution lead more readily to challenges of state actions by international courts. Transnational dispute resolution tends to be associated with greater compliance with international legal judgments, particularly when autonomous domestic institutions such as the judiciary mediate between individuals and the international institutions. Overall, transnational dispute resolution enhances the prospects for long-term deepening and widening of international legalization.

Moravcsik, A. (2012). "Europe After the Crisis. How to Sustain a Common Currency." Foreign Affairs 91(3): 54-68. 

Nölke, A., et al. (2015). "Domestic structures, foreign economic policies and global economic order: Implications from the rise of large emerging economies." European Journal of International Relations 21(3): 538-567.

            The rise of the large emerging economies of Brazil, India and China can easily be counted among the most important contemporary structural changes in the global political economy. This article attempts to determine whether these countries have a common institutional model for governing their economies and addresses the implications of these commonalities for global economic institutions. The approach consists of three major steps: first, a general ideal type for encompassing capitalism in these large emerging economies is constructed, and dubbed ‘state-permeated market economy’; second, we compare these countries empirically, with regard to the features highlighted by the ideal type and in contrast to other varieties of capitalism; and, finally, we extrapolate some long-term implications for the global economic order, based on the assumption that foreign economic policies will be informed by domestic institutional structures. Based on these three steps, we conclude that a further deepening of the liberal global order is highly unlikely.

Tannenwald, N. (1999). "The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Normative Basis of Nuclear Non-Use." International Organization 53(3): 433-468.

            A normative element--a "nuclear taboo"--must be taken into account in explaining why the United States has not used nuclear weapons since 1945. Realists would deny that a taboo exists or that it can be identified separately from the behavioral pattern of non-use or the material interests of the actors and therefore has any independent analytical leverage. In contrast, I show that an explanation involving a normative element is a better explanation for nuclear non-use than a purely materialist one. I identify three effects of norms--regulative, constitutive, and permissive--and show in four cases how a taboo has played a role in constraining U.S. resort to nuclear weapons. This research challenges a narrow "deterrence" explanation of non-use and shows that norms constrain military capabilities and thus the practice of self-help in the international system.

Waltz, K. N. (1995/2003). More May Be Better. The Spread of Nuclear Weapons. With New Sections on India and Pakistan, Terrorism and Missile Defense. S. D. Sagan and K. N. Waltz. New York and London, Norton & Co.