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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.

belief systems
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.

coercive diplomacy
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.

cognitive consistency
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. (Mingst 42)

collective security
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)

Communist totalitarianism
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.

democratic peace theory
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 imperialism).

errors of simplification
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 the world.

ethnic cleansing
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.

ethnonationalist movements
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. (Mingst 139)

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 political theory.

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 maker's utility.

limited war
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.

motivational biases
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, 111)

A form of government in which a small elite makes all critical governmental decisions. It is a type of authoritarianism.

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 market.

rational actor
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.

security dilemma
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 in action.

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.


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