Rynning's book contributes a valuable assessment of the performance and internal dynamics of NATO as a 'benevolent alliance' subjected to the strains of responding to a protracted insurgency in one of the world's most challenging physical, ethical, and political environments. This is the only one dealing with the strategic level.
It is recommended for higher-level staffs and government professionals. Lester W. Grau, Military Review. This book will serve students, researchers, and libraries well. Highly recommended. With the combat mission coming to an end, Rynning's analysis will be indispensable for those thinking about NATO's future. Sten Rynning, one of Europe's finest strategic thinkers, makes a compelling case that NATO can survive Afghanistan, but that it will not be easy.
Not so! An important contribution to NATO's future! States are like units: even though they have different levels of national power, they all pursue the same defensive goal. How can these cautious security-maximizers survive anarchy? Partly by balancing power but also notably by exploiting the defensive potential of the offensive—defensive balance in military affairs. Defensive Realists argue that defensive military measures often outperform offensive weapons and strategies. In practice, of course, states often try to expand beyond these objective security requirements, but defensive realism refuses to attribute any of this expansion to systemic incentives.
The international system pressures states towards moderate behavior only, anything else must be explained at some other level of analysis because it cannot be a rational response to the international environment. Zakaria, , To the Defensive Realist, therefore, expansionist powers are anomalies calling for auxiliary assumptions and hypotheses related to first and second image variables Rose, , ; Rynning and Guzzini, When robbers do appear, it is because some states are pathological, and the causes of malady are found beneath the systemic level.
Offensive Realism is the mirror-image of Defensive Realism. The two Realisms are based on the same core assumption. However, where Defensive Realists contend that the international system provides few incentives to expand, their offensive counterparts maintain that anarchy often encourages self-extension. There is no question that systemic factors constrain aggression, especially balancing by threatened states.
But defensive realists exaggerate those restraining forces. Indeed, the historical record provides little support for their claim that offense rarely succeeds. One study estimates that there were 63 wars between and , and the initiator won 39 times, which translates into about a 60 percent success rate. Mearsheimer, , Strategies of revisionism are rational, as a rule of thumb. A power that leaves unexploited an opportunity for expansion is thus an anomaly Snyder, , ; Zakaria, , This is then the point at which Offensive Realists are compelled to bring in domestic, state-level variables: Fareed Zakaria's study of US expansion — is illustrative.
The explanation is found at the unit level where the state ultimately must wrestle resources from society and gain a free hand to allocate them to foreign policy Zakaria, , The unit level thus serves the same purpose for Offensive and Defensive Realists: it explains pathological behaviour, although from distinctly different perspectives. By categorizing states according to their preferences, Classical Realism conspicuously distinguishes itself: Classical Realist do not only resort to unit-level attributes when apparent anomalies require explanation, but explicitly include intervening first and second image variables into their theoretical foreign policy explanations.
States by definition differ along two dimensions: power and interest Rynning and Guzzini, This renewed focus on Classical Realist insights has given birth to a new Realist off-spring, Neoclassical Realism. Alliances must thus be understood as expressions of both power and purpose, which is how Sten Rynning accounts for NATO's enduring relevance Rynning, Likewise, Jason W. Davidson — partly building on the work of power transition theorists e. Organski and Jacek Kugler — analyzes how revisionist state objectives and their origins are crucial to the understanding of actual attempts to overthrow the reigning order Davidson, Classical Realists grant state preferences a distinct role in their foreign policy analyses, thus prescribing a course between the Scylla of security-maximization and the Charybdis of power-expansion.
The focus on varying state objectives is both tempting and problematic, however. It is problematic because it invokes the problems of the past, namely the charge that Classical Realism is both slippery and misguided. Naturally, these problems do not come as a surprise. Davidson counters the charge of slippery theory by building a theory of revisionism. Others argue that parsimony i. This brings us to the point at which we need to assess the general debate between modern-day Classical Realists and their critics.
The case for Classical Realism can be made on several accounts, which is what we will do. A promising place to begin is the current state of world affairs: it appears obvious in this context that Structural Realism — whether in its offensive or defensive guise — is risky business and that Classical Realism is the most appropriate framework of inquiry for our time.
Why is this so? Essentially because the power constellations of the new world are uncertain and it would be capricious to prescribe policy without first investigating what it is that the new powers might want from their international engagements. The powers are partly non-Western — China, Russia, Japan, and India are all potential great powers in a not-so-far distant multi-polar world order Calleo, The powers could also include a Western European component because the American vision of unipolarity tends to rub against the Western European vision of pluralism, if not multi-polarity.
Classical Realists believe the moment of unipolarity is coming to an end and that we must prepare for it by studying politics. To outline these questions we return to the three sets of criticisms raised earlier in this article. Some critics claim that Classical Realism is nihilist and thus unable to distinguish between good and bad exercises of power.
The critics typically go on to argue that we must replace Classical Realism with normative theory, the virtue of which is its point of departure — a coherent set of norms and values — which is then applied to politics in order to illuminate points at which changes ought to be introduced. Classical Realism is of course a prime case of normative theory because it focuses on the norms inherent in politics.
How big a problem is this charge?
An easy answer is to point out that if the theory is a normative mess, then it is because the world is a mess. But that would still leave the charge that Classical Realists simply lack the foundation for condemning regimes like Hitler's. However, this merely brings us back to the Realist critique of absolute standards and their tendency to degenerate into ideological crusades.
The Classical Realist position is therefore that rather than using liberalism as a dogma, we should assess how liberalism as a political vision can be made possible in a world of conflicting, and sometimes clashing, visions. How do the major powers of the world today understand issues such as unity, peace, and law? Do major powers display a sense of responsibility toward the strength of international morality?
At what points are contemporary great powers in agreement, and do these points suffice as a basis for the creation of concerted great power governance? Other critics claim that the many types of foreign policy motivations found in Classical Realist literature imply that they want to have their cake and eat it too: they apparently want to theorize world politics — that is, uncover its essence — but then back off and slip into ambiguity when confronted with the question of what states are likely to do.
These critics are to the point but they are also targeting a particular vision of Classical Realism that no longer represents the tradition. Most Classical Realists did not share this scientific vocation, and most ended up arguing explicitly that the endeavour would be futile.
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Once an analyst has more than one concept in hand, and once he or she is able to describe the variation in these concepts, then it is of course possible to connect the concepts as variables in a greater theory. We believe this pathway is both futile and misguided when it comes to understanding foreign policy goals. It is first of all misguided because the Classical Realists were intending to understand particular instances of state motivation: they were not trying to generalize but to understand.
It is probably also futile because state motivation refers to meaning, and meaning is difficult to theorize. It will be classical because it is attuned to the subject matter of politics, and it will be updated because it draws on Max Weber's method of ideal types Weber, These ideal types are feats of imagination, combining interpretive and scientific conceptions of knowledge, which emphasize certain aspects of reality, and the purpose of using them, of matching ideals with reality, is to understand concrete instances or cases of reality. We are arguing, in line with the traditional Weberian logic recently advanced by Puchala , 38 , that both scientific and interpretive approaches can be legitimate but that they are not always equally useful.
In the realm of foreign policy goals and state motivation we are dealing with particularities, unique phenomena that must be grasped interpretively. What happens when states contain several strategic cultures? How do states with distinct role conceptions respond to power shifts? We know that revisionism will occur when dissatisfied states gain opportunities for action; but is it likely that revisionism also is the indirect product of the juxtaposition of certain types of states? From within the tradition of Realism, critics have faulted Classical Realists for explaining systemic outcomes on the basis of national attributes.
According to this criticism, Morgenthau, Kissinger, Aron and other Classical Realists attempted to understand the whole by its parts and thus became guilty of reductionism Waltz, , 60— Waltz and other Neorealist critics did not believe that war could adequately be explained by reference to revolutionary or revisionist states.
We sometimes observe such states without war, they argue, and we must grasp the forces that operate at the systemic level. This intra-Realist criticism is flawed for two reasons. Firstly, it is off the mark. Secondly, Waltz is right in stating that the very existence of a troublemaker is not tantamount to trouble. But Waltz's argument that conflict spring from the security dilemma is no solution.
Classical Realists can combine understandings of revisionism and power in ways that Structural Realists cannot. This does not mean that modern Classical Realists agree on the line of inquiry, and we can in fact detect three distinct approaches to the study of revisionism and international change. The first is the school labelled Neoclassical Realism. The purpose here is to understand foreign policy variation, for instance in relation to alliance choice or military doctrine. The framework of analysis consists of an independent variable international power and intervening variables issues of domestic politics , and then the dependent variable policy.
Neoclassical Realism's theoretical ambition is thus different from the above the up-dated classical approach and is developed in the spirit of scientific inquiry. Still, it should be noted that Neoclassical Realists, like all Classical Realists, believe that the world is out there and thus can be explained but also that it changes and thus that our explanations must change.
Neoclassical Realists are therefore inclined to use case studies and to make limited causal claims. The second approach is more theoretically ambitious and seeks to provide general explanations for phenomena such as revisionism. Davidson has taken up the challenge and believes that revisionism has general causes. The final approach is systemic in the sense that it does not analyse policy but policies and the typical outcomes of their encounter.
This is the approach adopted by Randall Schweller in his assessment of the causes of World War II, and which leads him to argue that he does not need to know why, for example, Germany was strongly revisionist; what matters is that it was, and that it occupied a prominent role in the European balance of power Thus, a Classical Realist assessment of revisionism and conflict would consider the interaction between the distribution of revisionism and the distribution of power.
On Neoclassical foreign policy analysis : In what ways should we conceptualize international power the independent variable? In other words, do different states respond to different power challenges? And should we then conceptualize the policy process intervening variables differently, depending on the type of state? On the causes of revisionism : Is it at all possible to generate a theory of revisionism? Davidson argues that we must theorize revisionism's roots but can we meaningfully create a limited number of archetypical revisionisms and then connect these to a few, explanatory sources?
On the meeting of status quo and revisionisms : What are the most important meetings taking place i.noroi-jusatsu.info/wp-content/2020-06-05/1741-comment-suivre-mon.php
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Can we meaningfully compare these cases? What is the implication for current world politics? For decades Classical Realism has been relegated to a humble position within the Realist research program, partly because Neorealists promised both parsimony and insight, partly because Neorealists and other critics argued that Classical Realism was altmodisch and a-theoretical. A central concern of world politics today is the likelihood that one or several powerful states will seek to revise the Western order, and we argue that the Classical Realist understanding of international politics must be revitalized to enable us to understand war and peace in our time.
Classical Realism has the tools for grasping why some states develop revisionist foreign policies and seek to upset politics among nations. In this article, we have sought not only to identify the questions that can inspire research but also to underscore that epistemological and methodological strife should be placed in context: the choice of explanation or understanding must be made in relation to the question one asks.
Classical Realists must now ask pertinent questions and provide meaningful answers. The research agenda of this article is one place to begin. The authors are grateful to all participants for general comments and are particularly indebted to A. Lieshout for their specific suggestions for improvements.
Concise and insightful discussions of Carr are found in Michael Cox , Key works emphasizing the offence—defence balance include Jervis , Snyder , Lynn-Jones , Van Evera , , and Powell For a similar argument, see Rose For a discussion of the usefulness of defensive and offensive auxiliary assumption, see Labs Important examples of Offensive Realist work include John J. Labs , and Andrew Kydd Zakaria classify himself as a Classical realist.
It is important to note that the Classical Realist distinction between revisionist and status quo states does not refer to actual state behaviour or foreign policy choices, but merely to the preferences over outcome. States pursuing revisionist objectives are often compelled to act as status quo states, simply because their relative power-potential is insufficient.
See also Jason Davidson and Barry Buzan , — Wohlforth, Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack.
For an insightful discussion of the properties of Neoclassical Realism and a specification of the lines of demarcation between different Realist approaches to the study of foreign policy, see Rose The work of Randall Schweller has — most likely due to his elaborated criticism of Defensive Realism — more than once been erroneously classified as Offensive Realism e. Taliaferro, ; Snyder, If Offensive Realism is meant to denote a study that makes the a priori assumption that rational states will pursue a strategy of expansionism, then this classification is mistaken.
In fact, Schweller faults Offensive Realists for focusing to narrowly on survival as the sole state motivation Schweller, It is neither. Waltz's argument that unipolarity is an enduring structure is based purely on an assessment of material power and in particular its distribution Waltz, A particular version of this charge would be the postmodernist one. Postmodernists claim that all theory is a type of power, and they criticize Realists and others for believing that theoretical inquiries can help distinguish between rival claims.
Theory, in this interpretation, is power, and Realists do not study but help perpetuate power structures. The terms are from Chafetz et al. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Why Are Revisionist States Revisionist? The Return of Realism? First Online: 20 December Introduction The solidity of the international status quo and concomitantly the strength of revisionism is a major concern to the theory of Realism because it purports to account for big questions of war and peace.
Classical Realism faded following a golden age approximately coinciding with the s. The reasons for this decline are many and complex, but three key criticisms should be mentioned. Defensive Realism and the irrational, malicious state In the Defensive Realist world, states are prudent and survival is best assured through moderation and restraint. If the international system provides no rational explanation for revisionist behaviour, then how do Defensive Realists account for actual attempts at expansion?
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At this point, Defensive Realism needs to bring in domestic-level variables. Zakaria writes: In practice, of course, states often try to expand beyond these objective security requirements, but defensive realism refuses to attribute any of this expansion to systemic incentives. Offensive Realists therefore argue that the best strategy towards survival is not to preserve but to increase power Snyder, States should thus be expected to be revisionist, and the exception is the rare hegemon.
States are not assumed to be mindless aggressors, it should be noted: the point is that aggression more often than not has been successful. As opposed to both Offensive and Defensive Realism, Classical Realist-inspired foreign policy analysis is based on the assumption that states differ with regard not only to their relative power but also their primary motivations. Why choose one or the other?
Table 1 Typology of state interests in contemporary realism. International Morality Some critics claim that Classical Realism is nihilist and thus unable to distinguish between good and bad exercises of power. Classical Realism should match power and principle in the assessment of international morality.
After all, as Carr argued, it is the responsibility of powerful states to satisfy other states — and thus counter the likelihood of revisionism. In the dialogue with other schools of thought Classical Realism should ask questions that advance its particular understanding of international morality and how revisionism relates to it.
Questions for further research are then: How do the major powers of the world today understand issues such as unity, peace, and law? One place to begin might be Schweller's presentation of strong and weak revisionists as well as strong and weak status quo players. Classical Realism and role theory can share in the endeavour to construct role typologies but they should then explore their distinct potentials for furthering our understanding of why some states become revisionist.
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