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Jack Amoureux

on 13 March 2018

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Transcript of Neo-Realism

Part 1: Setting the scene
Part 2
Part 2: Few choices
What is the basis for the disagreement between the the Zooks and the Yooks?
What would the neorealist point to as the cause of conflict between the two communities?
How did the conflict escalate? Is this an example of the security dilemma? How?
Anarchical structure or 'will to dominate'?
Review of Classical Realism
The Context of NeoRealism
The theorist
Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and War (1954)
What are the causes of war?
Images - individual, state/domestic, international/systemic/structural
The problem with classical realism
Human nature is static (can not explain variation in levels of conflict)
Ecological fallacy (can not generalize from individual to group)
Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979)
Systemic level most important
The Cold War
'Cold' and 'managed' through proxy war and negotiation: Explains the Cold War's stability
Early crises and conflicts (Korean War, Berlin Crisis)
NATO vs. Warsaw Pact
The Theory of Neorealism
First, structure (Waltz)
1) Ordering principle: anarchy, not hierarchy
2) Differentiation of units: states as actors
3) Distribution of capabilities: multipolar, bipolar, unipolar
Two variants
Defensive Realism (Waltz)
Offensive Realism (Mearsheimer)
States are security maximizers
States prefer status quo when survival is ensured
The conflict of the Cold War - a pattern of perpetual conflict
States are power maximizers (uncertainty - states on offensive)
Regional if not world hegemony
Relative military capabilities and nuclear weapons
The tragedy: structure compels conflict regardless of desires of states
“This cycle of violence will continue far into the new millennium. Hopes for peace will probably not be realized, because the great powers that shape the international system fear each other and compete for power as a result.”
Balance of power
The balance changes, but it is always pursued
No 'good' foreign policy
States ignore laws of international politics at their own peril
Part 1
How does this illustrate Neorealism’s view of nuclear weapons?
Are the communities ‘secure’? Does violence now seem unlikely?
What is the tragedy?
Alternative account of WWI and WWII
Major cause of war was desire by Germany and its leaders to dominate and grab territory
Other states intervened to restore/create a particular balance of power and grab what they could
The Treaty of Versailles did not accomodate the interests of the major actors (contributing to WWII)
A theory of international politics: esp. Morgenthau
A critique of Idealism
Rather than utopian aspirations, the focus should be on an objective understanding of international politics and its realistic possibilities (Carr)
Morality is a cloak for interests
Focus on what states do, not what they say
“Great powers that have no reason to fight each other—that are merely concerned with their own survival—nevertheless have little choice but to pursue power and to seek to dominate the other states in the system.”
Case study: 'The Israel Lobby'
Neorealist policy intervention
Human nature is the key variable (will to power and dominate); combined with anarchy (no central government), the result is concern with power and survival. Many opportunities for conflict unless managed well by statesmen
Good foreign policy is rational foreign policy (depends on statesmen understanding a states' national interest in particular circumstances and acting on this understanding, not moral motivations)
Tragedy of international politics is that man's nature makes elimination of conflict impossible
Only #3 varies!!!
Full transcript