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Chapter

Charles L. Glaser

This chapter examines realism as a dominant explanation of why and how states have sought security. It first considers the basic features of realist theory, including its emphasis on the implications of international anarchy and the importance of power, before discussing major divisions within the realist family, along with their implications for states’ security policies and war. The most fundamental division is between structural realism and motivational realism. The chapter proceeds by looking at the debate between Kenneth Waltz’s structural realism, offensive realism, and defensive realism. In contrast to Waltz and offensive realism, defensive realism argues that the risks of competition can make cooperation a state’s best strategy. The chapter illustrates how these different arguments result in divergent predictions for how China’s continuing economic growth is likely to influence international security. It suggests that war is more likely when the offence-defence balance favours offence.

Chapter

John J. Mearsheimer

This chapter examines why states pursue power from the perspective of structural realism. It considers a body of realist theories that argue that states have deep concern for the balance of power and compete among themselves either to gain power at the expense of others, or at least to make sure they do not lose power. This competition for power makes for a dangerous world where states sometimes fight each other. There are, however, important differences among structural realists. The chapter first explains why states want power and how much power they want before discussing the causes of war. These theoretical issues are illuminated with a case study that assesses whether China can rise peacefully according to offensive realism vs. defensive realism. Along the way, concepts such as the security dilemma, offence–defence balance, central war, buck-passing, unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity, and deterrence are analysed.

Chapter

John J. Mearsheimer

This chapter examines why states pursue power from the perspective of structural realism. It considers a body of realist theories that argue that states have deep concern for the balance of power and compete among themselves either to gain power at the expense of others, or at least to make sure they do not lose power. This competition for power makes for a dangerous world where states sometimes fight each other. There are, however, important differences among structural realists. The chapter first explains why states want power and how much power they want before discussing the causes of war. These theoretical issues are illuminated with a case study that assesses whether China can rise peacefully according to offensive realism vs. defensive realism. Along the way, concepts such as the security dilemma, offence–defence balance, central war, buck-passing, unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity, and deterrence are analysed.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the different theories and approaches that characterize the study of international relations. Mainstream theories focus on the ways that states interact with one another in circumstances where no overarching authority governs their behavior — in other words, under conditions of anarchy. These theories include structural realism, neoliberal institutionalism, and the scholarship on relational contracting. An important alternative perspective — the English School — argues that, even under anarchic conditions, there is a high degree of orderliness in world affairs. Meanwhile, proponents of constructivism assert that states take shape in specific historical contexts, and that the conditions under which states coalesce and become socialized to one another play a crucial role in determining how they conceive of themselves and formulate their basic interests. Scholars of the Middle East have so far addressed only a fraction of the many theoretical debates and controversies that energize the field of international relations.

Chapter

This chapter examines the use of discourse analysis in the study of foreign policy. In the study of international relations, discourse analysis is associated with post-structuralism, a theoretical approach that shares realism’s concern with states and power, but differs from realism’s assumption that states are driven by self-interest. It also takes a wider view of power than realists normally do. Post-structuralism draws upon, but also challenges, realism’s three core assumptions: groupism, egoism, and power-centrism. The chapter first considers the theoretical principles that inform post-structuralist discourse analysis before discussing the research designs and methodological techniques employed by discourse analysts. It also offers examples and four learning boxes featuring mini-case studies and locates poststructuralist discourse analysis within the field of foreign policy analysis. Finally, it assesses the strengths and weaknesses of post-structuralist discourse analysis.