Some Jargons in IR

Anarchy/ Sovereignty:

No higher authority. In international relations, this refers to states having no higher authority. States are legally equal, but not militarily.


"The strong do what they want and they weak suffer what they must"


One great power can do whatever it wants


2 great powers, rivalries, (think Cold War). Fewer wars, but BIG when they happen


Many powers or more than two. Chaotic/uncertain, Lots of small wars

Raison d'etat

Purely political reason for action on the part of a ruler or government, especially where a departure from openness, justice, or honesty is involved.


People who perceive themselves to be members of the same group on the basis of ethic, linguistic, or cultural affinity


A sovereign entity that posses a permanent population, a well-defined territory, and a government capable of managing public affairs


A sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent.

Tragedy of the commons

If everyone acts in their own self-interest, no one wins
Selective Perception

You see things only as you want to or can possibly see it. National decision-makers perceive international events as influenced by their belief system

Cognitive Dissonance

Holding onto a set of beliefs. Bending what you know to be true to fit the status quo.
It refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.

Mirror Images

Both sides suspect the other of doing the same things they are afraid of. Ex. Cold War and the Soviet view of the U.S. and the American View of the Soviets

Realism and Power Politics

Ceaseless repetitive struggle for power due to the states having no higher authority to report to. You help yourself in whatever way possible.

Key Principles of Realism:

1. Politics governed by human nature (inherently conflictual and imperfect)
2. Self-help is necessary in international politics
3. Leaders must follow national interest
4. Trust your own power
5. If you want peace, prepare for war


Original realist. Talked about Melos. "In world politics, the strong do as they will and the weak suffer as they must"