Theory, Arms Races, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Week 1 Assignment 

Theory, Arms Races, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Purpose: The primary goal of this weekly summative assignment is to explore some of the most important concepts and paradigms used in the study of international relations (IR). In this first week of class, you will utilize major IR theories along with the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm to analyze one of the most long-standing and perplexing international issues, an arms race.

Prepare: Review the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the course text. In addition, read the assigned article, China’s Double-Digit Defense Growth: What It Means for a Peaceful Rise(PDF version).

Reflect: The study of international relations often involves trying to describe, explain, and predict global interactions using various theoretical perspectives. Importantly, our ability to describe, explain, and predict accurately how states react to military competition, often described as arms races, is critical for expanding our understanding of global politics. Consequently, the ability not only to analyze arms races between states using established theories of international relations but also to explain these interactions using the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm are critical skills that all political scientists must have in order to become proficient in their chosen field of study.

Write: In your assignment, complete the following:

  • Discuss how the article illustrates a prisoner’s dilemma.
  • Describe the realist, liberal, and identity perspectives reflected in the article.
  • Explain the best course of action for the U.S., using the Prisoner’s Dilemma paradigm as a guide.

The Week One Assignment:

  • Must be at least two pages (not including title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must use at least three appropriate sources:

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