War reading - International Studies Quarterly ~2002 46 19...

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Domestic Politics and International Relations Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Hoover Institution, Stanford University Dept. of Politics, New York University In reviewing the history of portions of international studies I reflect on how we might best advance knowledge. I dwell on two issues: questions of method and the urgency of refocusing our efforts on leaders and domestic affairs as the centerpiece for understanding the world of inter- national relations. I argue that scientific progress is best made by com- bining three methodological approaches in our research: formal, mathematical logic to ensure internal consistency in arguments about complex and contingent relations among variables; case studies and archival research to evaluate verisimilitude between theory and action; and statistical analysis to establish the generality of the hypothesized relations among variables. Often such methodologically diverse and progressive research will best be accomplished by encouraging collabo- ration rather than by perpetuating the current norm of penalizing co-authorship especially among junior scholars. I offer concrete exam- ples of advances in knowledge achieved through the employment of mathematical reasoning and statistical analysis as many have cast doubts about the substantive contributions of these particular approaches. My perspective is, of course, personal and may not be shared by many others. I set out my thoughts, therefore, with the hope that they will stimulate constructive debate and dialogue and that they will serve to integrate diverse approaches to international affairs. In this essay I review the history of portions of international studies and ponder its future. In doing so, I reflect on how we might best advance knowledge. I dwell on two issues: questions of method and the urgency of refocusing our efforts on leaders and domestic affairs as the centerpiece for understanding the world of international relations. My perspective is, of course, personal and may not be shared by many others. I set out my thoughts, therefore, with the hope that they will stimulate constructive debate and dialogue and that they will serve to inte- grate diverse approaches to international affairs. International relations is a venerable subject. Before there were nations, peo- ple were already studying international relations. Students of international affairs are the heirs and descendants of Sun Tzu, Kautilya, Thucydides, and Herodotus, all writing about 2,500 years ago. Each sought to glean laws of human nature from dual sources: the record of history and the power of reasoning. Thucydides stated this purpose clearly when he wrote, “The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future . . . I shall be content” ~ 1961, Book I ! . Content, indeed; he should be.
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