Perspectives on Structural Realism
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Realism remains a predominant and most debated theoretical approach in International Relations research. Whether considered a scientific and accurate reflection of world politics or as reactionary and a distortion of realities and possibilities, both realism and its structural variant continue to be a source of fruitful research-whether within the program or in its rejection.The Realism approach itself is not uniform whether in relation to its implications or methodologies. Here leading scholars provide important perspectives on the insights and directions of Realist research in some of its most interesting variants. From rational choice to case studies, from theory to practice, the contributors explore both classic tenets of Realism as the balance of power and such apparent inconsistencies as foolish policies.
realist theory, in a sense, by placing it back downward into its more pure Hobbsian state: that is, as Hobbes has stated, violence is endemic in a state of nature, thus the need for authority. With the collapse of formal governments around the Balkans, for example, Professor Posen sees a return to the state of nature. The situation here is a more extreme case of Telhami’s Middle East decline. In the Balkans, long-held ethnic grievances 4 ● Andrew K. Hanami break out, and each group must
each other’s identity a threat because of the primitive military capabilities they could field and the terrible record of their historical relationship. In the Russia–Ukraine case, nuclear weapons mute the conventional competition, making group cohesion less of a military asset. If Ukraine eliminates its nuclear arsenal, as it has pledged to do, it will increasingly come to rely on nationalism to strengthen an army that will only be able to stand against Russia through superior motivation.
Kenneth Waltz intended even in his earlier work: “The third image described the framework of world politics, but without the first and second images there can be no knowledge of the forces that determine policy; the first and second images describe the forces in world politics, but without the third image it is impossible to assess their importance or predict their results.”4 Neorealism is therefore best conceived as a framework for further inquiry, not as the end of inquiry. The question is thus
demanding of state relations, and opt for a more neutral conception to explain international relations. Some states may be tightly interconnected, as with the U.S. and Japan, while most others are only somewhat connected across a few issues for finite periods of time. Others are considerably less connected. This has significant connotations for their foreign policy behaviors. Tightly connected states are both more cooperative and combative, at least in some ways, while unconnected states need not
who were involved in the 1993–1994 negotiations were privately very clear about what was at stake. We felt the burden on our shoulders. But I do not think that we ever quite adequately conveyed that publicly. We thought that in the absence of successful negotiations, failing to negotiate something like the Agreed Framework meant that North Korea would pursue a nuclear weapons program. Moreover, it would be a serious nuclear weapons program: three reactors, one at 5 megawatts, one at 50 megawatts,