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Realism. Assumptions. States: unitary, rational actors -Treaty of Westphalia (1648) Anarchy: no central government Survival: primary objective Pursuit of power . Implications for State Behavior . Security top concern Security dilemma Maximize absolute and relative power

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Presentation Transcript
assumptions
Assumptions
  • States: unitary, rational actors

-Treaty of Westphalia (1648)

  • Anarchy: no central government
  • Survival: primary objective
  • Pursuit of power
implications for state behavior
Implications for State Behavior
  • Security top concern
    • Security dilemma
  • Maximize absolute and relative power
  • Balance rather than bandwagon
  • Cooperation rare
balancing power
Balancing Power
  • Internally
    • Increase relative capabilities
  • Externally
    • Enter into alliances
system dynamics
System Dynamics
  • Focus on great powers
  • Balance of power: stability
  • Change in resources -> turbulence in the system
  • Rules made by and for strong states
classical realism
Classical Realism
  • Aristotle: The Peloponnesian War

Hans Morgenthau: Politics Among Nations (1948)

  • Assumptions based on analogy with human nature
    • Humans inherently seek power and domination
  • “First image” theory
structural realism
Structural Realism
  • Kenneth Waltz: Man, State and War (1954)

Theory of International Politics (1979)

John Mearsheimer “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001)

  • Assumptions follow from the structure of the international system
  • Third image theory
policy implications of realism
Policy Implications of Realism
  • Domestic politics irrelevant
  • Universal rights and norms not applicable to the international realm
  • “High” vs. “Low” politics
    • Get involved in low politics only in ways that advance high politics
analytical advantages
Analytical Advantages
  • Parsimonious: explains a lot with little
  • Captures key characteristics of the international system
  • Persistence of conflict vindicates theory
  • Emphasizes continuity
analytical weakness
Analytical Weakness
  • Accounts for continuity, but not very well for change
  • Better able to explain than predict
  • Cannot account for persistence of cooperation
  • Domestic politics matter increasingly
  • Self-fulfilling circular prophesy about the inevitability of great power war?
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