Instructions: First, carefully read Chapter 1 of the course textbook. Focus especially on the discussion of levels of analysis discussed on pages 11 and 12. As explained by Bill Newman (Associate Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University) (Links to an external site.), “One of the key questions in international relations and foreign policy is the question of how you examine state behavior.” Review Dr. Newman’s summary of the levels of analysis in international relations (read the original for more detail (Links to an external site.)):
System level analysis examines state behavior by looking at the international system. In this level of analysis, the international system is the cause and state behavior is the effect. Characteristics of the international system cause states to behave the way they do. Change in the international system will cause change in state behavior. The key variable in the international system is the power of a state within the system. Some states are powerful; others are weak.
State level analysis examines the foreign policy behavior of states in terms of state characteristics. For example, some scholars say that all democracies behave a certain way; they don’t fight with other democracies. Some scholars might look at the different behaviors of weak or strong states; states that live in rough neighborhoods (Germany or France) vs. states that live in more benign surroundings (the US).Some scholars might say that the foreign policy behavior of every state is a cultural characteristic, defined by the historical legacy of the state, the religious or social traditions, or the economic and geographic nature of the state itself.
Individual level analysis focuses on people. People make decisions within nation states and therefore people make foreign policy. Scholars might look at the roles of different leaders. This level of analysis might explain World War II by examining the role of Hitler. It might look at the end of the cold war by studying Gorbachev. It might suggest that the economic reforms in China are a result of the transition from Mao Zedong’s leadership to Deng Xiaoping’s rule.This level of analysis also includes cognitive theories — theories that explain foreign policy by looking at the way leaders perceive the world.
Second, carefully read “North and South Korea Agree to Border Talks Next Week” (Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, January 5, 2018) (direct link (Links to an external site.) | ). After reading the article, compose a paragraphof 150-200 words that does the following:
- Summarizes the main idea(s) of the article in one or two sentences.
- Identifies the main actors involved in the issue(s) discussed in the article (states, individuals, or something else?)
- Identifies the level of analysis that the author employs in the article. Is he writing from a system (international)-level, state-level, or individual-level of analysis? Is he using multiple levels of analysis? Cite evidence from the article that directly supports your conclusion.
- Analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the approach(es) used by the article author. Is the level of analysis appropriate for the issue being considered? Why or why not? Are there any questions that remain or arise after reading the article?
- Provides both in-text and reference citations in APA for ALL sources utilized.
To learn more about the geography of North and South Korea, and visualize where the two Koreas are on the world stage, explore the countries using Google Maps (Links to an external site.). What countries does South Korea share a border with? What about North Korea? Could these differences help explain the differences between how these two states are governed?