f_0019967_16977

f_0019967_16977 - Thucydides: An Author Still Relevant for...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer2010 88 Thucydides: An Author Still Relevant for the Contemporary Analysis of International Relations? Alexandra Dobra * Abstract The present paper aims to assess the relevance of Thucydides’s study for international relations, via focusing on his most eminent text, The Peloponnesian War . The analysis of its relevance will be done through a tripartite structure, in which the first two parts are symmetric. In a first part, the continuities between Thucydides’ historical account and the realist and neorealist theory of international relations will be analysed. While in a second part, the continuities between Thucydides’ historical account and the constructivist theory of international relations will be dealt with. Finally, in a third part a limit will be raised, via the study of the prescriptive accuracy of The Peloponnesian War (on the grounds of new forms of violence). Key words: Peloponnesian war, realism, constructivism, International Relations, relevance, limit. Introduction I doubt seriously whether a man can think with full wisdom and with deep conviction regarding certain of the basic issues today who has not at least reviewed in his mind the period of the Peloponnesian war and the fall of Athens. 1 The United States maintain order in the world through 700 military bases located in 130 different countries. What does this maintain of order presupposes? If order has to be
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer2010 89 maintained it assumes the centrality of a propensity towards violence, which has as classic form of expression the war. In The Peloponnesian War 2 , Thucydides offers a historical scientific account, ensured through a strict norm of proofs collection and an analysis in terms of cause and effect, of the multiple causalities responsible for war. This account contributes to reveal perennial characteristics (e.g. human nature, structure of international system, etc…) and emphases the dynamic of the construction of identities and structures, responsible for wars. Owing the timeless character of these former elements and that “the international system is the realm of recurrence and repetition” 3 , The Peloponnesian War constitutes a genesis of contemporary international relations theories. Therefore, this text is susceptible to provide patterns for international relations security issues and allow foreign policy recommendations. Herein, after the highlighting of similarities between The Peloponnesian War content and three modern theories of international relations, respectively realism, neorealism and constructivism, we will however focus on one limit related to the prescriptiveness of The Peloponnesian War , due to the emergence of new forms of expression of violence.
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f_0019967_16977 - Thucydides: An Author Still Relevant for...

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