One world Rival theories

One world Rival theories - 52 Foreign Policy NOTICE This...

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52 Foreign Policy
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approaches: realism, liberalism, and an updated form of idealism called “constructivism.” Walt argued that these theories shape both public dis- course and policy analysis. Realism focuses on the shifting distribution of power among states. Liberalism highlights the rising number of democ- racies and the turbulence of democratic transi- T he U.S. government has endured sev- eral painful rounds of scrutiny as it tries to figure out what went wrong on Sept. 11, 2001. The intelligence community faces radical restructuring; the military has made a sharp pivot to face a new enemy; and a vast new federal agency has blossomed to coordinate homeland security. But did Septem- ber 11 signal a failure of theory on par with the failures of intelligence and policy? Familiar theories about how the world works still dominate academic debate. Instead of radical change, academia has adjusted exist- ing theories to meet new realities. Has this approach succeeded? Does international relations theory still have something to tell policymakers? Six years ago, political scien- tist Stephen M. Walt published a much-cited survey of the field in these pages (“One World, Many Theories,” Spring 1998). He sketched out three dominant One World, RivalTheories The study of international relations is supposed to tell us how the world works. It’s a tall order, and even the best theories fall short. But they can puncture illusions and strip away the simplistic brand names—such as “neocons” or “lib- eral hawks”— that dominate foreign-policy debates. Even in a radically changing world, the classic theories have a lot to say. | By Jack Snyder November | December 2004 53 Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Columbia University. ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRISTOPHE VORLET FOR FP
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54 Foreign Policy [ One World, Rival Theories ] tions. Idealism illuminates the changing norms of sovereignty, human rights, and international jus- tice, as well as the increased potency of religious ideas in politics. The influence of these intellectual constructs extends far beyond university classrooms and tenure committees. Policymakers and public commentators invoke elements of all these theories when articulat- ing solutions to global security dilemmas. President George W. Bush promises to fight terror by spread- ing liberal democracy to the Middle East and claims that skeptics “who call themselves ‘realists’…. have lost contact with a fundamental reality” that “Amer- ica is always more secure when freedom is on the march.” Striking a more eclectic tone, National Secu- rity Advisor Condoleezza Rice, a former Stanford University political science professor, explains that the new Bush doctrine is an amalgam of pragmatic real- ism and Wilsonian liberal theory. During the recent presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry sounded remarkably similar: “Our foreign policy has achieved greatness,” he said, “only when it has combined
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2012 for the course POLI SCI 790:102 taught by Professor Roylicklider during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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One world Rival theories - 52 Foreign Policy NOTICE This...

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