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Interactions Between World Leaders

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In order for the countries to operate in a civil manner, they negotiate and hold discussions to resolve issues instead of using violence. Diplomats from all around the world learn how to engage in international relations, which is the study of how different actors participate in politics internationally. When strategizing for the board game Diplomacy that was played in class, my teammates and I planned which alliances we would make. Each team represented different countries, and obvious alliances were made, but we had to craft what we believed to be a strong triple alliance in order to successfully win the game. International relations are explained by theories, there are 4 major theories in which political scientists study. In the game Diplomacy, examples arose from 2 of the major theories. The first theory to explain is realism. Realism is a theory that derives from philosophy and history. Realists believe that states exist in anarchy and that states can only rely on themselves and must focus on how to maximize gains.

Realism is then broken between defensive realists and offensive realists. Defensive realists believe in restraint, and offensive realists believe in engaging in war will have benefits in reputation later. Realism can also encompass neorealism. Neorealist believe that states in an anarchic system must always be weary of cheating and always be focused on gains. Liberalism is another important theory that presents itself in international relations. Liberalism is more of an idealistic view of international relations holding human nature to be relatively good and peace is possible. The origins of liberalism come for the enlightenment optimism found in the eighteenth century. Liberalism can be broken down into neoliberal institutionalism who question why states cooperate under anarchy, and they believe with institutions provide the push for interactions among the states which teaches the states that cooperation is in their self-interest. One of the first theories that presented itself in the game was realism.

This theory explains how states act in a single way for national interest that translates into power. The main goal of each team/ country in the game is to achieve as many supply centers as possible. When creating the move orders, each team assumed that the other teams had rational actors that would make decisions based off the team’s unified interest. This was how move orders were made. My team had to think logically what to do, but also what the other country might do that would result in a stalemate and a wasted move. Just as realists believe, each country was concerned with security and trying to maintain the supply centers they had acquired. Alliances around certain countries were formed to protect the mainland. An example of this is the triple alliance Turkey formed with Russia and Austria-Hungary. This was to ensure no mainland attacks would occur and provided for a safety as the countries progressed to claim land from countries such as Italy. Under neorealist theory it is believed that cooperation is nearly impossible due to every country trying to gain and also every country is in constant worry that the other countries will cheat.

An example of cheating was seen when Austria-Hungry asked my team, Turkey, to move our army away from Serbia in fear that last minute we would break our alliance and attack. Another theory that presented itself throughout the game was the neoliberal institutionalist theory of cooperation and the prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma is an example of how multiple interactions results in cooperation as the best interest for all parties involved. Neorealist believe that after so many interactions countries will see that cooperation is in their best interest. This was seen in the game Diplomacy when repeated attempts at attacks kept resulting in stalemates, and the countries soon realized they had to think of new strategies to earn more supply centers. Liberalism was also used in strategy making. In order to make trustworthy alliances, the different countries had to have optimism that the country that the alliance was made with would hold strong. It was believed that war could be inevitable between the countries in a joined alliance because collectively they all want the same goal. My group used this strategy of cooperation as a way to build very reliable alliances that allowed the 3 countries to win.

Our triple alliance was super connected and tight, and no teams worried about cheating because it was in our best interest to maintain cooperative negotiations. The game diplomacy taught the teams how important it is to form trustworthy alliances while also keeping your guard up for any predetermined attack another country may try to follow through with. In order for each team to make logical move orders, they needed to understand the basic theories of international relations and form reliable alliances. A major issue that presented itself was the constant worrying of cheating, that is why it is important for allies to stick together for the unified interest and end goal, which was to win. Even though cooperation proved a strong asset to winning the game, having too much trust in the other countries did cause us, Turkey, to not gain as many supply centers as we could have. We played the game safe. Overall, the game taught us that in order to achieve what you want in international relations, you must cooperate and maximize your own benefits while watching out for mistrust.

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