Lecture 2.5 - Lecture 2/5/08 Realism - Theoretical...

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Lecture 2/5/08 Realism - Theoretical framework that has held a central position in the study of IR - Realism’s foundation is the principle of dominance o School of thought that explains international relations in terms of power.  The exercise of power by states towards each other is sometimes called  realpolitik , or just power politics - Realism developed in reaction to a liberal tradition that realists called idealism o Idealism emphasizes international law, morality, and international  organizations, rather than power alone, as key influences on international  events o Belief that human nature is basically good o Particularly active between WWI and WWII Leaugue of nations Structure proved helpless to stop German, Italian, and  Japanese aggression - Since WWII, realists have blamed idealists for looking too much at how the world  ought to be  rather than  how it really is - Realist tradition o Sun Tzu o Thucydides The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept  what they have to accept o Thomas Hobbes Life is nasty, brutish, and short o Hans Morgenthau Political realism assumes that the character of a forgein policy can  be ascentained only through the examination of the political acts  performed and of the forseeable consequences of these acts - In 2002, 33 IR scholars signed a  New York Times  adverstisement warning that  “war with Iraq is not in America’s national interest” - Neoconservative influence in US forgein policy has diminished and realist  influence has increased o Result of the problems faced in the war in Iraq Power…
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Defining Power - Often defined as the ablility to get another actor to do what it would not otherwise  have done (or vice versa) - If actors get their way a lot, they must be powerful - Power is not influence itself… - The single indicator of a states power may be its total GDP o Combine overall size, technological level, and wealth o At best, a rough indicator o A states tangible capabilities (including military forces) represent 
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLI SCI 103 taught by Professor Pevehouse during the Spring '08 term at Wisconsin.

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Lecture 2.5 - Lecture 2/5/08 Realism - Theoretical...

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