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From Realism’s Disciplinary Dominance to a More Global IR

Image courtesy of TheAndrasBarta/Pixabay.

This article was originally published by E-International Relations on 23 July 2020.

Realism’s dominance may be particularly pertinent at a time when International Relations’ Western-centrism is under renewed scrutiny and scholars and students call for the development of a more global International Relations (IR). This requires interrogating realism’s role in IR, how it may contribute to a more global IR, and what realism’s future holds. If realists forgo exploring new avenues to address this criticism, they may miss opportunities to contribute to a more global discipline and to better explain foreign policy and grand strategy beyond the West. Addressing its critics, realism can do useful things to develop a more global IR.

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Public Attitudes Toward International Engagement

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This graphic depicts attitudes of the American public (broken down by political affiliation) toward the US’ international engagement. For more on the contemporary geopolitical landscape, see Jack Thompson’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.

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International Relations

Why Study Emotions in International Relations?

Image courtesy of US Government/Wikimedia.

This article was originally published by E-International Relations (E-IR) on 8 March 2018.

Looking around the globe today it does not take long to see that world politics is awash with emotions. Nations adopt policy standpoints that suggest an acute anxiety of an untrustworthy and hostile ‘outside’. The same countries can be, paradoxically, themselves divided by emotional legacies left by historical grievance and injustice.  Military insurgent and extremist groups function through the strategic manipulation of fear and terror. States continue to talk tough, seeking to intimidate and deter ‘rogue’ counterparts with the threat of sanctions and military action.

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International Relations

Middle Powers in International Relations

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This article was originally published by E-International Relations (E-IR) on 8 May 2017.

Realism’s theoretical dominance in International Relations (IR) – especially its focus on the power of superpowers and its state-centric view of international society – has been challenged by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global transformations characterising the post-Cold War era. One of those transformations is the way in which “states neither great nor small” are gaining increased recognition amid the disruptive multi-polarity of the current global disorder. Scholars such as Martin Wight and Carsten Holbraad, whose earlier writings about middle powers were overlooked in mainstream IR, are now acknowledged for their scholarly prescience. Bringing middle powers back into mainstream IR theorising is obviously overdue. There are two problems in the theorising of middle powers in contemporary IR scholarship that obscure their positioning and potential in post-Cold War international politics: (1) its intellectual history has been neglected; (2) “middle power” itself is a vague concept.

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International Relations

The S-400 Deal: Russia Drives another Wedge between Turkey and its NATO Allies

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This article was originally published by The Institute for National Security Studies on 18 October 2017

The recent statement by Turkish President Erdogan that Ankara had made an advance payment to Russia for the purchase of two S-400 air defense batteries, combined with Russia’s confirmation of this report, constitutes a significant development that adds to the question marks about Turkey’s future in NATO. This development also strengthens Russia’s standing in the Middle East, because it is another expression of the rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara. However, the Turkish-Russian rapprochement does not by itself reduce the leverage available to the West in its relations with Turkey, above all the defense relations in the context of NATO and the extensive trade between Turkey and the European Union. While many believe that Turkey will remain a NATO member for the foreseeable future, they note at the same time that Turkey is a problematic member of the alliance that is already suffering from quite a few internal tensions.