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Realism and International Power Politics

University of LuxemburgOctober, 24th 2012Fabiola Cavallini & Teresa Quintel

Teresa Quintel

on 24 October 2012

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Transcript of Realism and International Power Politics

Realism and International Power Politics Layout

3 different theories:
-Hans Morgenthau
- Kenneth Waltz
- John J. Mearsheimer

discussion questions Hans Morgenthau Kenneth Waltz John J. Mearsheimer Why do states need power? How much power is enough? Case study Discussion Questions In what kind of global system do we live nowadays? If we consider Europe being a bipolar system:
which would be the "main poles"? In your opinion:
what kind of system is Europe? If we live in an arnarchic global system:
how do states perform their power? consider: main economic powers vs. weaker countries
Northern countries vs. Southern countries
Eurozone vs. the rest consider: veto right UN (Russia, China)
Germany inside the EU as strongest economic power
Israel threatening with nuclear attack
USA in Iraq leading realist in the 1950s and 1960s
important vehicle for establishing realist theory in the study of international relations
especially know in the USA
the six "principles" of the political world view Morgenthau's six "principles"

1) politics is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature 2) concept of interest defined in terms of power 3) power and interest are variable in content across space and time 4) universal moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of state 5) political realism refuses to identify the moral pursuit of particual nation with the moral laws that govern the universe 6) Intellectually the realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere defensive realists: offensive realists: Strong will to gain additional power is strategically foolish
hence, it would be unwise for states to maximize their power
nationalism in the conquered countries will make it extremely difficult to master this defeated countries
by maximizing power, states undermine their prospects for "survival" and threaten their own security the balance of power or a building of coalition is often inefficient
states have to gain as much power as possible in order to pursue hegemony
the only way for survival is sufficient amount of power
history has shown that the side which initiated a war usually wins reasons for war what causes war? security
economic reasons for structural realists the architecture of the international system is crucial for the outbreak of a war differences: classical realism vs structural realism Classical realism Structural realism classical realist locate the roots of international conflict and war in an imperfect human nature
state behavior is power oriented->its actions are based on the desire for power
a bipolar system is more likely to create conflicts
a multipolar system is less prone to conflict
classical realists differentiate between status-quo powers and revisionist powers structural realists maintain that its deep causes are found in the anarchic international system
actions of states are seen in terms of security
the more simple a system the more stable it becomes-> therefore a bipolar system is less prone to violent actions of states
history tends to rather prove the structural realist's theory->e.g. European conflicts starting in 14th century
structural realism regards states as unitary actors "Realism is pessimistic and emphasis the recurrent patterns of power politics as manifested by recurring conflicts , rivalries and wars" (Jackson and Sorensen, 2007:60) International Relations is
the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations Sources:
Batistella, Dario : Théories des relations internationales
Donelly, Jack: Realism and International Relations. Cambridge, 2000.
Heydarian Pashakhanlou, Arash: Comparing and Contrasting Classical Realism and Neorealism: A Re-examination of Hans Morgenthau’s and Kenneth Waltz’s Theories of International Relations (http://www.e-ir.info/2009/07/23/comparing-and-contrasting-classical-realism-and-neo-realism/)
Lebow, Richard Ned: Classical Realism
Mearsheimer, John J.: Structural Realism
http://worldpolitiks.blogspot.com/2005/05/waltz-on-morgenthau-neo-realism-vs.html?m=1 Thank you for your attention " Theory of International Politics" (1979)
founders of neo-realism /structural realism
--> more scientific approach to realism
neo-realism was a response of the deficiencies of classical realism
International system is defined by three principles Three principles 1) international system is anarchic
-> no central authority
2) In an anarchic system states fill the same functions: survival
--> "self-help" state can just rely on himself to attempt survival
3)states behave in such way to create a
balance of power structural realist explanation for why states compete among themselves for power 1) great powers compete in an anarchic system without an ultimate arbiter

2)military capability

3)uncertain about intentions of other states 5 assumptions There are two different kinds of states revisionist state determined to use force to gain more power status quo state no interest to using forces to change the balance of power 4) main goal is to survive
maintain territorial integrity
autonomy of domestic political order

5) states are rational actors Tragedy of great power politics “In an anarchic system where there is no ultimate arbiter, states that want to survive have little choice but to assume the worst about the intentions of other states and to compete for power with them.” (Batistella) Can China rise peacefully? Two different approaches defensive approach

offensive approach Defensive approach optimistic view
China will attempt to gain power but not in a foolish way
should be able to live peacefully with its
nuclear weapons offensive approach pessimistic view
best outcome for a state is regional hegemony
example: USA is the dominant power of the western hemisphere
--> China will try to imitate USA
China will try to maximize its power in Asia and push USA out of Asia
USA will certainly react + other countries in Asia will join the US-led balancing coalition
--> USA and China will led an intense security competition with potential of war structure of the international system
number of poles inside the system
distribution of power
changes of distribution affecting outbreak of war
variations of the offence-defence balance how can the architecture of the international system affect the outbreak of war? vs.
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