International relations theory - Wikipedia

The realist response came most prominently from Kenneth N. Waltz,who reformulated realism in international relations in a new anddistinctive way. In his book Theory of International Politics,first published in 1979, he responded to the liberal challenge andattempted to cure the defects of the classical realism of HansMorgenthau with his more scientific approach, which has became known asstructural realism or neorealism. Whereas Morgenthau rooted his theoryin the struggle for power, which he related to human nature, Waltz madean effort to avoid any philosophical discussion of human nature, andset out instead to build a theory of international politics analogousto microeconomics. He argues that states in the international systemare like firms in a domestic economy and have the same fundamentalinterest: to survive. “Internationally, the environment ofstates’ actions, or the structure of their system, is set by thefact that some states prefer survival over other ends obtainable in theshort run and act with relative efficiency to achieve that end”(93).

Beginner’s Textbook – International Relations

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Tax, development and international relations ..

Although Carr and Morgenthau concentrate primarily on internationalrelations, their realism can also be applied to domestic politics. Tobe a classical realist is in general to perceive politics as a conflict ofinterests and a struggle for power, and to seek peace by recognizing common interests and trying to satisfy them, rather than by moralizing. Bernard Williams and Raymond Geuss, influential representatives of the new political realism, a movement in contemporary political theory, criticize what they describe as “political moralism” and stress the autonomy of politics against ethics. However, political theory realism and international relations realism seem like two separate research programs. As noted by several scholars (William Scheuerman, Alison McQueen, Terry Nardin. Duncan Bell), those who contribute to realism in political theory give little attention to those who work on realism in international politics.

Realism in International Relations

Morgenthau regards realism as a way of thinking about internationalrelations and a useful tool for devising policies. However, some of thebasic conceptions of his theory, and especially the idea of conflict asstemming from human nature, as well as the concept of power itself,have provoked criticism.

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Critical theorists, such as Robert W. Cox, also focus on the allegedinability of neorealism to deal with change. In their view,neorealists take a particular, historically determined state-basedstructure of international relations and assume it to be universallyvalid. In contrast, critical theorists believe that by analyzing theinterplay of ideas, material factors, and social forces, one canunderstand how this structure has come about, and how it mayeventually change. They contend that neorealism ignores both thehistorical process during which identities and interests are formed,and the diverse methodological possibilities. It legitimates theexisting status quo of strategic relations among states and considersthe scientific method as the only way of obtaining knowledge. Itrepresents an exclusionary practice, an interest in domination andcontrol.

School of Politics & International Relations

International Political Economy (IPE), also called Global Political Economy (GPE), looks at how power relations, international economics and politics interact in the world environment. There are three main strands of IPE: Economic Liberalism, Mercantilism and Marxism.
Economic Liberalism, following in the tradition of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, stresses the value of a capitalist market economy that operates according to its own laws and, when freely allowed to do so, maximizes benefits for individuals, companies and nations. The World Trade Organization (WTO) embodies the values espoused by this strand of IPE. Mercantilism holds that the economy should be used to enhance state power, and thus be subordinate to politics. Protectionist and other policies that minimize dependence on other states are promoted, as are policies of state-led development. Marxism sees the economy as a crucible of exploitation and inequality between classes, one in which the dominant economic class also dominates politically. It holds that capitalist development contains contradictions that will eventually produce crisis conditions affecting both social classes and nation states. Within IPE, ”world system theory” describes the capitalist international economic system as consisting of core, peripheral and semi peripheral areas defined by their modes of labor control and specializations. In doing so, these theorists promote greater recognition of how underdeveloped countries are exploited by those with capital.

Political Science and Government

(2) Realists, and especially today’s neorealists, consider theabsence of government, literally anarchy, to be the primarydeterminant of international political outcomes. The lack of a commonrule-making and enforcing authority means, they argue, that theinternational arena is essentially a self-help system. Each state isresponsible for its own survival and is free to define its owninterests and to pursue power. Anarchy thus leads to a situation inwhich power has the overriding role in shaping interstate relations. Inthe words of the Athenian envoys at Melos, without any common authoritythat can enforce order, “the independent states survive [only]when they are powerful” (5.97).