Realism
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Realism . New Packet: pg 89-93. Historical Distinction of Realism. Classical realism (400BC-1800s) Modern realism (1939-79) Structural/Neorealism (1979 onwards) Problems with this distinction. Classical realism - Thucydides . Thucydides – power politics

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Realism

Realism

New Packet: pg 89-93


Historical distinction of realism

Historical Distinction of Realism

  • Classical realism (400BC-1800s)

  • Modern realism (1939-79)

  • Structural/Neorealism (1979 onwards)

  • Problems with this distinction


Classical realism thucydides

Classical realism - Thucydides

  • Thucydides – power politics

  • State’s behavior is like a self-seeking egoist – a natural national interest of the state is survival

  • It’s human nature to wish to dominate – this is why int’l politics must be regarded as power politics


Classical realism morgenthau

Classical realism - Morgenthau

  • Human nature is reflected in and shapes int’l politics

  • This human nature is a natural law of our existence and we must accept it

  • So, we must devise policies that are most in accordance with these natural laws


Classical realism machiavelli

Classical realism - Machiavelli

  • Also said the logic of power politics can be applied universally

  • In an anarchic system w/ dark forces, how is a leader to act?

    • No universal moral principles

    • Security of the state comes before community obligations

    • “It’s better to be feared than loved”


Classical realism melian dialogue

Classical realism – Melian Dialogue

  • Athens vs. Melos

  • Shows the application of empire-building, security, power

  • Allows classical realists see that only acting on the basis of power and self-interest can be (self) destructive.


Structural realism neorealism

Structural realism / Neorealism

  • The struggle for power in int’l pol is NOT due to “human nature”

  • It’s due to a lack of an overarching authority above states…

  • And the relative distribution of power in the system


Neorealism k waltz

Neorealism – K. Waltz

  • Int’l System has 3 elements

    • Organizing principle (the structure of the system itself)

    • Differentiation of units (functionally similar sovereign states)

    • Distribution of capabilities among states/units


Neorealism k waltz1

Neorealism – K. Waltz

  • Ranking powerful states (“great powers”)

  • The # of great powers determines the structure of the system

  • Power is a tool, used to achieve security

  • States are security-maximizers (Waltz’s idea of “defensive realism”)

  • Power maximization (“offensive realism”) is dangerous/dysfunctional


Neorealism mearsheimer

Neorealism – Mearsheimer

  • Offensive realism

    • Anarchic structure forces states to maximize their relative power position

    • Self-help remains the best course of action

    • Due to uncertainty of neighbor’s intentions, all states seek to gain power at the expense of others. (no status quo states)

    • The world is condemned to perpetual great-power competition. (seeking hegemony)


Challenges criticism of neorealism

Challenges/criticism of Neorealism

  • Other factors beyond state interests are important:

    • Perceptions of leaders

    • State-society relationships

    • Motivation of states

  • Neoclassical realism: building bridges b/tw unit and system-level factors

  • States differ in terms of interests

  • States differ in terms of ability to extract resources from their societies


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