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a lack of a general sense of order in the international system
balance of power
the ability of one or more states to act as a counterweight to another country or group of countries in order to protect themselves
bipolar system
an international environment where two states of comparable power create a situation in which neither is willing to attack the other
collective security
a cooperation agreement between multiple countries aimed at providing military power for all
comparative advantage
when one state can create a particular good or service in a more cost-effective manner than a second state
complex interdependence
a theory of international relations that holds that all parts of the international system have competing interests but that these parts form networks to meet common goals
in international relations, the theory that expected patterns of behavior among states are the glue that holds the international system together
core countries
countries with developed economic systems and stable political and social systems
core-periphery model
a model of international relations that views the world as divided between two types of countries, core countries and periphery countries, where core countries depend on periphery countries to maintain their status
defensive realism
a type of neorealism that advocates for transparency in order to avoid conflict and maintain the status quo
dependency theory
a theory of international relations that argues that the stratification of countries in the international system is based on core countries and periphery countries, where core countries depend on periphery countries to maintain their status
the buildup of military might to such a level that an adversary state or states reconsider the use of their own military against the primary state
factors of production
the land and physical resources, the labor force, and the capital needed for investment in the facilities and processes of an economy, and the entrepreneurship and creativity that drives economic growth and diversification
feminist theory
a theory of international relations that supports creating institutions and norms that prioritize equality among all people, regardless of biological sex or sociological gender
fiat currency
government-issued, physical currency, the value of which is not linked to some other commodity (such as the gold standard)
game theory
a way of conceptualizing what motivates a political actor in terms of the steps the actor takes to reach what they deem to be the optimal outcome for themselves
the country that possesses the most power in a unipolar world
a branch of liberalism that sees international institutions in which states take part as essential to the functioning of the international system
intergovernmental organizations
institutions made up of multiple state actors that work within a specific set of rules to enact solutions to problems common among multiple states
international relations
a subfield of political science that focuses on the ways different states interact with one another
lender of last resort
a financial institution, such as the IMF, that a country turns to only after it has exhausted all of its other funding options
a theory of international relations that sees investment in the system as a whole, by working within institutions and their constraints to carve out a secure space, as the best way for a state to ensure its protection
in the context of international relations, the idea that the role of states is to ensure equal access to the factors of production in an economy and an equitable distribution of the benefits of the goods and services that economy produces
multipolar system
an international environment in which three or more states have relatively similar power that they can project out to other countries
a shared group identity gleaned from a common culture or ethnicity
an offshoot of realism that contends that it is the structure of the system rather than the people who make up the state that drives the system forward
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
non-state actors focused on solving problems or filling policy gaps states can’t or won’t handle themselves
offensive realism
the theory that interstate conflict is the product of the overt actions states take in order to grow and project their power
periphery countries
countries with less stable political and social systems that are rich in the resources that more developed states require to maintain their power
the ability of a state to prompt its preferred outcome in a given situation
proxy wars
conflicts in which each of the warring parties is supported and funded by a larger party who has a vested interest in the outcome
a theory of international relations that holds that states embark on policy initiatives with a go-it-alone attitude that aims solely to preserve their own safety and security
the idea that all countries that have diplomatic relationships with a state accept, in equal measure, what that state accepts
security dilemma
a situation in which changes in a state’s policies related to its own safety and security, because they appear aggressive to other states, may lead those other states to take preemptive action that ratchets up tensions between two or more states
security pact
an agreement among multiple states to support each other in case of a military attack
people that a leader in any type of government relies on to legitimize their power and position
soft power
friendly interactions that seek to win over rather than force a state or states to comply with the wishes of one or more other states
the ability of a state to run its institutions without fear of interference from other states or entities and to respond to threats as they emerge
one of the foundational institutions in the international system; an institutional infrastructure that allows a society to function
unipolar system
an international environment in which only one country possesses the political, economic, and military strength to exert its power and preferences on all the other countries in the world
zero-sum game
an interaction between two players in which there is only one round of play where one player takes everything available and leaves nothing for the second player
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