Kenneth Waltz Structural Realism Article Review

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Article Review
  • Paper: #82880727

Excerpt from Article Review :

Kenneth Waltz Structural Realism After the Cold War

In his article Structural Realism after the Cold War Kenneth Waltz, Kenneth Waltz makes the debate that examining interstate politics through the humanist point-of-view is still both feasible and detailed as a theoretical method. Printed almost ten years after the Soviet Union collapsed and the conclusion of the Cold War itself, Kenneth Waltz's article makes the case that a realist method for examining interstate activity remains valid. The principal and possibly most noticeable point Waltz suggests is that balance of power theory still has a significance despite the fact the United States won the Cold War and achieved rank as the world's lasting global force. The present time phase, where the United States likes its "unipolar instant," is but short-lived. In the future, as preceding sole powers have faced, the United States will experience inner over-spending of resources for ever growing external duties, while a new global rival comes on, reestablishing the balance of power in the global system.

Methodology for Developing the Argument

It is actually straightforward, the way Waltz uses the methodology. Once the brief introduction is done, he refutes that three main parts display that "political affairs is being altered and realism [as a practicable concept] is being decided outdated" in the world. However, the first three topic parts, covering interdependence, and democracies institutions are critiqued in expressions of how they are alleged to support the notion of a having peace that will last, in the idealist custom. In every one of these parts, the author shows the typical debate made by the idealists, those that are subscribers of liberal theory. Waltz then goes onto display how the clarification of present trends and events by the idealists is not as healthy-looking as they see them. In its place, he states the case why the realist theorists' perspective is still, and in some cases, more valid than that of the institutionalist or idealists. It appears that Waltz reserves the last part of his article for an apologia of realist theory on the whole, and an argument of the approaching defeat of unipolarity in the worldwide system.

An Analysis of the Theoretical Method

These first three key themes of the article, interdependence, institutions, and democracies are really the props that support the idealists' dispute for a global system of nations, and successively, in their outlook, a peaceful global system of supremacy. Concerning democracies, Waltz reviews the Kantian viewpoint that democracies are not the ones that are waging war against each other, and then expresses empirically that, in truth, this is exactly what they are doing. The examples Waltz provides are the democracies of a number of types that battled each other during World War I, and the United States proceedings towards the Latin American, representatively adopted governments in the Chile and in the Dominican Republic and in the last period. Interesting enough, the author was able to leave the reader with the understanding that democracies mainly do not attack their kind as much, even though it is possible, but will attack non-democracies apparently whenever they feel like it.

When it comes to the second theme, which centers on the interdependence of nations, influences both liberal idealist theories and the realist. As Waltz makes the point "interdependence encourages war in addition to peace," on the other hand, the interconnectedness gives to commercial interaction. This marketplace joining means that nations now have the understanding that if they begin some kind of a conflict, or one begins outside of their effect, their national ability to gain and uphold admission to resources may turn out to be limited, if not shortened. Waltz makes the suggestion that in spite of this connectivity, the actual strings of interdependence in regards to commercial context are not as strong, and will be ruined purposely, if and when the need ascends for an alliance or nation. However, this is absolute realist theory in use; Kenneth Waltz makes the point that, because of the ever radical condition of global politics, nations will do what is in their best interest, regardless of their connectivity to other countries.

In the third main theme the author analyzes, that of the restricted part of international institutions, he talks in detailed the role of one body, the NATO. Fascinatingly, the author makes a reminder of the nations that were in coalitions for the duration of World War I were exceedingly entwined, which funded to their genuine acceptance of going to war everyone. Significant in this understanding of alliances is the "opponent." Interesting is the fact that Waltz makes and emphasizes on is the fact that alliances need opponents: no opponent, no need for an alliance -- this aphorism seems valid enough. Applying this concept to The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, then, Waltz examines, "What took place?" Why did not the alliance disband along with the death of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Empire?

An Analysis of the Article's Conclusions

The conclusion Kenneth Waltz comes is basically some kind of a rejection of the idealist drift, which makes the point that the world is now poles apart owing to the collapse of the former Soviet Union. It is apparent that from Waltz point-of-view he observes that the United States is without a doubt appreciating its unipolar moment, but then again is not acting like an empire-controlling hegemon of the preceding era, Great Britain or the powerful Roman Empire. The idealists are the ones that are mentioning that the world has been renovated with the end of the Cold War; in actual fact, transformation has yet to come about and can only be reflected reasonable when states are no longer existing and a world system is existing. From a realist mind set, states will most of the time do what is in their best interest, either in respects to a stability of authority or power. The dreamland that the idealists are constantly talking about is not around the corner, Kenneth Waltz would mention. With that being said, claiming that transformation is here is actually a little crazy. Rather than waiting for or looking for this yet-to-be-predicted Kantian epitome, those that are realists need to attempt for a "self-help" method of engagement where nations are doing things such as assisting in refining each other's welfare and security.

Reflection of Other Possible Levels of Analysis and Thinkable Variables

Concerning other heights of analysis, Kenneth Waltz utilizes this article to disprove the euphoria that has been expressed by some researchers and other authors that the end of the Cold War denotes a transformation for the better of the global structure. As a result, the idealists' ideas are assumed coverage, nevertheless only to the extent needed for Kenneth Waltz in order to prove his facts. Waltz usually leaves out the legalist method, apart from to say where permitted organizations have failed to discourage war and lesser conflict that would be considered to be inter-state. For instance, the International Court of Justice did not discontinue the United States interference in Nicaragua.

Does Kenneth Waltz Manufacture The Diverse Levels Of Examination With The Variables Well Enough?

Also, in this article, there is almost no detailed conversation of the level one-kind of study, that is to say, the level worried with individuals. Furthermore, the principal nation talked about throughout is the United States, and this is done in relations of how the way the United States interrelates inside the three thematic areas of interdependence, institutions and democracies. Clearly, the author, with his years of experience in the subject matter at the point during the time the article was written, knew very well the quarrels offered by the institutionalisms and idealists. Waltz function was not to combine all three types of analysis nevertheless somewhat to show how the latter two have not exceeded the realist…

Cite This Article Review:

"Kenneth Waltz Structural Realism" (2014, September 17) Retrieved January 19, 2017, from

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"Kenneth Waltz Structural Realism", 17 September 2014, Accessed.19 January. 2017,