Understanding International Politics Essay Research Paper Understanding

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Understanding International Politics Essay, Research Paper Understanding international politics can be difficult and complex. There are many factors that must be taken into account. A couple of factors include the types of states or actors involved and what kind of situation is being analyzed. There are three different levels of analysis that provide a framework for understanding international politics; the international system level, the actor level, and the decision-making level (Spanier and Wendzel 22). The international system level emphasizes the external influences on actors decisions and behavior. The primary actors at this level are states but many nonstate organizations like the United Nations are also important (Spanier and Wendzel 22). This level focuses on the

relationships between the various actors and looks at the similarities in their behavior. The behavior of each actor is affected by the behavior of other actors. Because the actors are all complex and different from each other, their actions cannot be anticipated, sometimes they are very unexpected. Because of this uncertainty states are always concerned with power and security, the main goal is survival and being able to protect itself against aggression. Because a states power is detrimental to its survival, it tries to achieve a balance or equilibrium, to try to be as powerful as any potential opponent. This balance of power is a pertinent for each state s security (Spanier and Wendzel 23). This power is sought to secure their core values, territorial integrity, political

independence and their prosperity (Spanier and Wendzel 108). The United Stated involvement in both World Wars provides a good example of a state trying to maintain a balance of power. The U.S. was an isolationist up until World War I and then again until World War II. The threat to the U.S. arose from the possibility that one state or a coalition of states might conquer most of Europe and use its new resources to menace the U.S. (Spanier and Wendzel 24). After World War I, the U.S. went back to being an isolationist. When World War II erupted, there were many proponents to isolationism that objected to the U.S. getting involved. They organized under the America First Committee and argued that there were plenty of problems inside the U.S. that needed attention and that the U.S.

should concentrate on fixing it s own problems instead of trying to fix others (Brands 144). Opponents of isolationism felt that involvement was necessary to protect American interests. One of these interests was access to foreign markets, which was vital to future American prosperity (Brands 145). President Roosevelt tried to keep out of the war, but still help Britain. He sent fifty destroyers to Britain and set up the Lend-Lease program. After the U.S. declared war on Japan, Hitler declared war on the U.S. and the U.S. was then officially part of World War II (Brands 154). Since this time the U.S. has remained an interventionist, it came out of World War II a superpower. It also had a new enemy, the Soviet Union, which also emerged as a superpower. The distribution of power in

Europe changed drastically and the Cold War thus began. The United States had no choice but to establish a new balance (Spanier and Wendzel 27). The Actor level of analysis emphasizes internal characteristics or factors (Spanier and Wendzel 29). This level focuses on what is different about each actor. It looks at characteristics such as the degree of societal cohesiveness and stability, the domestic economy, historical experience, and national culture and how these affect policy choices and behavior (Spanier and Wendzel 29). One important factor that affects state s behavior is the type of state involved. One type is a democratic state, which is characterized as a basically peaceful state, one reason being that the elected ruler is accountable to the people, also, because the