This chapter examines the claim that realism offers the most powerful explanation for the state of war that is the regular condition of life in the international system. It first provides an overview of the theory of realism before discussing whether there is one realism or a variety of realisms. It argues that despite some important differences, all realist theories share a set of core assumptions and ideas. It goes on to consider these common elements, namely self-help, statism, and survival. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the extent to which realism is relevant for understanding the globalization of world politics. To illustrate the main ideas tackled in this chapter, two case studies are presented: one relating to the Melian dialogue and the other to strategic partnerships with ‘friendly’ dictators. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether U.S. hegemony is durable or fleeting.
Tim Dunne and Brian C. Schmidt
A New World Order?
Stephan Keukeleire and Tom De Bruyn
This chapter examines how the European Union is challenged by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other emerging powers, along with its implications for the world order. It first provides an overview of the nature of the BRICS phenomenon before discussing the EU's contractual and political relations, as well as ‘strategic partnership’, with the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It then considers the EU–BRICS relationship on the basis of three key perspectives: the EU as a subsystem of international relations, the EU as a power in international relations, and the EU as part of the wider processes of international relations. In particular, it explores the EU's capacity to generate external collective action towards the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It also analyses EU–BRICS relations within the context of shifts in multilateralism and in the global governance architecture.