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Neo-Realism

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Jack Amoureux

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of Neo-Realism

Part 1: Setting the scene Part 2 Part 2: Few choices Neorealism 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: Explaining the stability
Early crises and conflicts (Korean War, Berlin Crisis)
NATO vs. Warsaw Pact The Theory of Neorealism First, structure (Waltz) 1) Ordering principle: universal condition (anarchy, not hierarchy)
2) Differentiation of units: the same (states)
3) Distribution of capabilities: varies (multipolar, bipolar, unipolar) Two variants Defensive Realism (Waltz) Offensive Realism (Mearsheimer) States are security maximizers Status quo states when survival is ensured The conflict of the Cold War
Perpetual conflict
States are power maximizers (uncertainty puts states on the offensive)
World or regional hegemony
Relative military capabilities, 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.” Both 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
The Treaty of Versailles was unrealistic and 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 survival and opportunities for conflict (individual level of primary importance--individual leaders and statesmen play key role)
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) reactionary procative DETERRENCE
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