Structural Realism After The Cold War

Decent Essays
In examining Kenneth Waltz 's “Structural Realism after the Cold War,”1 and Andrew Moravcsik 's “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics,”2 it is clear that theories presented in each (Realism and Liberalism) are at odds with one another in many ways. But why did the authors reach the conclusions they did about the way that states behave in the international system? This paper seeks to answer that question.

In “Structural Realism...” Waltz defends his theory of Structural Realism against criticism that its tenets are no longer valid in a post-Cold War world. The international system, he writes, is still anarchic, even though that system is unipolar instead of bipolar as it was during the Cold War, and that states still seek hegemony and power. A nation 's ideals and internal factors may count for something (he posits that the US intervention after the collapse of Yugoslavia was the result of such pressures),3 but they certainly shouldn 't. States should make decisions based on the idea of maintaining their own security and maintaining a balance of power in the international system.

Moravcsik argues in “Taking Preferences Seriously...” that state policy is the result of internal factors – including identity, economics, and the internal system of governance – what he calls a “bottom-up” approach,4 and that a state 's actions have more complex roots than Realism 's proposal of survival, power, etc. According to Moravcsik, we cannot assume
Get Access