Waltz Review Essay

Waltz Review Essay - 1A Review of “Kenneth N. Waltz’s...

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1 A Review of “Kenneth N. Waltz’s Structural Realism after the Cold War Kenneth Waltz has easily been one of the most influential scholars for the world of international politics. Waltz has been turning out articles and books for nearly fifty years and has become well established and highly respected. In the one of his more recent papers, published in 2000, Waltz defends his Realistic political views against a new generation of political analysts who claim that these “new times call for new thinking,” (JSTOR p. 5) and these changing conditions require new and revised theories and even entirely original ones. Waltz cites fellow Realistic thinkers like Immanuel Kant and Susan Strange to back up his arguments and pick apart the main guidelines that hold the Democratic Peace Theory together. I feel that Waltz approached the argument in a very civilized manner and kept himself from being biased towards his own opinion. In general I agree with Waltz’s defense of the Realists’ point of view. It might be the optimist in me that wants to force myself to agree with the Idealist, but the Realist in me keeps me in touch with what I feel is the truth. The question that Waltz is focusing on in the paper is, “Is structural realism as true in today’s political world as it has been in the past, or has the world reached a point were war is truly obsolete?” His work is well organized and begins by first attacking the Idealists’ idea that Structural Realism is on the decline and will continue to follow in this direction. He asks, “what changes, would constitute turning international politics into something entirely different?” (p. 7) Waltz realizes that the typical answer is that as democracy extends its sway and as interdependence grows stronger, states will grow more docile and peaceful. The belief that a group of democracies will ensure an area of peace between them is based on a supposedly high association between forms of government and international outcome.
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Many Idealists have proclaimed that democracy will save our world because a democracy has never gone to war with another democracy. I personally do not accept the theories of people claiming that because two governments are both democracies they will not go to war with each other. To me, this theory seems as plausible as the comical “McDonald’s Peace Theory,” which states that any two states that have a McDonalds within their borders have not gone to war with each other. Obviously there is no correlation between McDonalds, the form of government, and simple human nature. The biggest problem with analyzing democratic peace theory, is the definition of what
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course POLS 100 taught by Professor Toral during the Fall '05 term at Beloit.

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Waltz Review Essay - 1A Review of “Kenneth N. Waltz’s...

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