- The absence of a centralized international
authority. (Mingst 5)
- A form of governance distinguished by near
absolute power in the executive branch of a
state and little legislative or judicial control
over the executive branch; the power of the
executive rests generally on coercive force,
rather than on popular support.
- The organized and integrated perceptions of
foreign policy decision makers, often based
on past history, that guide them to select certain
policies over others. (Mingst 151)
- An international system with two dominant powers or
two groups of states. The cold war competition between the
United States and Soviet Union was considered a bipolar system.
- A policy of statecraft in which threats or
limited uses of force are used to persuade an
enemy to stop or reverse an action it has already
initiated. Also referred to as compellence.
- The tendency to accept information that is
compatible with what has previously been accepted,
often by ignoring inconsistent information;
linked to the desire of individuals to be consistent
in attitudes. (Mingst 152)
- cold war
- The era in international relations between
the end of the Second World War and 1990, distinguished
by ideological, economic, and political differences
between the Soviet Union and the United States.
- The operating principle behind the League
of Nations and the United Nations; namely, that
aggression by one state is considered aggression
directed at the entire international community
and thus will be responded to collectively.
(Mingst 67, 167)
- A form of governance in which the state attempts
to control all aspects of society, including
the private lives of individuals, the economy,
culture, education, and social organizations;
the state is guided by an ideology that promotes
common ownership of the means of production.
- A foreign policy designed to prevent the expansion
of an adversary by blocking its opportunities,
by supporting weaker states through foreign
aid programs, and by using coercive force against
the adversary to brake their expansion. This
was the grand strategy of the United States
toward the Soviet Union during the cold war
era. (Mingst 44, 76).
- A form of governance in which executive and
legislative powers of the state are based on
popular elections that are free, fair, and open;
the right to organize, speak freely, and find
impartial treatment through an independent judiciary
are also typically found in democratic societies.
- An explanation for the absence of war between
liberal democracies that focuses on the domestic
characteristics of states. Specifically, war
is avoided because of the democratic governance
and liberal political ideology of states.
- A dominant state that has a preponderance of power;
often establishes and enforces the rules and norms in
the international system (see
- The result of decision makers' reliance on
perceptual and analytical shortcuts to make
complex analytical tasks more manageable. Decision
makers may adhere to a belief system that does
not intelligently reflect or that inadequately
summarizes the realities of interactions in
- A term that gained prominence in the 1990s
to describe military conflict that targeted
particular groups because of their ethnic make-up
for elimination or displacement.
- Self-conscious communities sharing an ethnic
affiliation that decide to participate in organized
political activity; some movements seek autonomy
within an organized state, while others desire
separation and the formation of a new state,
and still others want to join a different state.
- The idea that decision making can be affected
by the way problems are presented; for example,
decision makers tend to act differently when
faced with a problem presented in terms of loss
rather than gain.
- The increasing scope, scale and integration
of interactions between and exchanges of ideas,
peoples, and goods globally. It is usually discussed
as a set of forces moving beyond the control
of the traditional territorial national state.
- A leading state that has a preponderance of power;
often establishes and enforces the rules and norms in the regional or
international system it dominates.
- The policy and practice of extending the
political and economic domination of one state over another.
- international law
- the states and substate actors in the international system
and the institutions and norms that regulate their interaction;
implies that these actors communicate, sharing common interests
and a common identity; identified with British school of
- A decision-making process in contrast with
rational calculation in which the decision maker
fails to: calculate intelligently the various
options available and their costs and benefits;
evaluate the expected utility of those costs
and benefits in a consistent fashion; and, select
policies that are expected to maximize the decision
- Military conflict that is fought with objectives
short of the total occupation or destruction
of an enemy. The war may also be limited in
terms of the types of weapons or tactics used
as well as the geographic area involved in the
conflict. (Mingst 190)
- Interpretations of actions or intentions
that are not accurate reflections of reality. Common misperceptions in
international relations include believing an adversary is more hostile
than it actually is, and assuming an adversary has greater military and
economic capabilities than it actually possesses.
- A form of governance in which authority is
vested in a single decision maker based on birthright.
Under constitutional forms, the power of monarchs
may be limited to the duties of head of state,
where they possess no direct effective power
over government policy.
- Factors introduced into decision making by
the need to fulfill emotional or parochial desires,
such as avoiding stress; such biases lead to
a breakdown in rational decision making, which
assumes a motivation to maximize expected utility,
by introducing defensive avoidance or procrastination
to avoid making the immediate, stressful decision.
- An approach to international politics in which
a state seeks its goals through consultation
and coordination with other states, usually
in formally structured regional or international
organizations like NATO or the United Nations.
- A devotion and allegiance to a group defined
by the shared characteristics of a race, language,
history, or culture. Political use of nationalism
can motivate people to join in common progressive
efforts or incite people to seek conflict with
those not part of their nation. (Mingst 31,
- A form of government in which a small
elite makes all critical governmental decisions. It is a type of
- Organization of Petroleum Exporting States
is an economic cartel of oil-producing states
that coordinate production and drilling in order
to manage the world price of oil. OPEC controls
roughly half of the world's current oil export
- In the realist assumption, an individual or
state that uses logical reasoning to select
a policy; that is, once a goal has been defined,
the individual considers a full range of alternative
strategies and selects the policy that best
achieves the goal. (Mingst 71)
- A decision making process in which one attempts
to do the best one can for oneself using the
resources at one's disposal economically and
making tradeoffs that are internally consistent
and will lead to increasing total gain. Sometimes
referred to as cost-benefit calculations
in which the decision maker seeks the most benefit
for the least cost.
- That an increase in power by one state leads
to the relative decrease in the power of other
states and thus spurs them to increase their
power. This flows directly from the structure
of the international system; it is self-reliance
- transnational actors
- Across national boundaries; can refer to actions of various nonstate actors, such
as private individuals and nongovernmental organizations.
- In Thucydides, a form of government in
which a single ruler dominates over a fractious domestic political
environment. The tyrant plays factions against each other in order to
maintain a ruling position. Similar to the modern term dictatorship.