Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz

Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz

by Campbell Craig
     
 

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The Second World War put an end to America's historical isolation from international power politics, and so also to the long-standing American defiance of the Realist ideology that shaped Old World affairs. The advent of transoceanic military technologies, now wielded by menacing states such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, made Americans more receptive to the

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Overview

The Second World War put an end to America's historical isolation from international power politics, and so also to the long-standing American defiance of the Realist ideology that shaped Old World affairs. The advent of transoceanic military technologies, now wielded by menacing states such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, made Americans more receptive to the Realist idea that international relations is about fear and survival. The American Realists Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, and Kenneth Waltz developed a modern strategic framework that sought to introduce American leaders and the educated public to these harsher realities of international politics. They emphasized a clear-eyed, cold approach to the play of interests, egotism, and the drive for power in world affairs — a struggle in which the threat of major war remained, in the end, the only legitimate currency.

Yet even as Americans began to accept this new Realism, thermonuclear weaponry threatened to make it absurd. A major war to defend the nation might result in its total destruction; a thermonuclear war leading to the death of hundreds of millions of citizens seemed an unusual way to preserve American survival. This dilemma became central to the Realist understanding of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz. How could a Realist approach to international politics and war be sustained in the face of possible global annihilation?

Glimmer of a New Leviathan is the engrossing story of how the three chief architects of an influential ideology struggled with the implications of their own creation. It offers crucial historical context for contemporary debates about weapons of mass destruction and the post-Cold War international order.

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Editorial Reviews

Constellations
Breathes fresh air into the stultifying atmosphere of realist theory.

— William E. Scheuerman

Political Studies Review
Interesting and thought-provoking.

— Clifford Angell Bates Jr

Contemporary Political Theory

He is now in the Department of Political Science and International R

Craig's book provides a fine example of how substantial intellectual history can contribute to an engagement with contemporary political dilemmas.

— Michael C. Williams

Ethics & International Affairs

An ambitious and fascinating work of intellectual history.

— Keir Lieber

Contemporary Political TheoryHe is now in the Department of Political Science and International Rela

Craig's book provides a fine example of how substantial intellectual history can contribute to an engagement with contemporary political dilemmas.

— Michael C. Williams

Contemporary Political Theory
Craig's book provides a fine example of how substantial intellectual history can contribute to an engagement with contemporary political dilemmas.

— Michael C. Williams

Foreign Affairs - Lawrence D. Freedman
The most compelling account to date of how realism gave way to neorealism in the face of a nuclearized world.

International Affairs - Brian Schmidt
Craig's book is to be commended for shedding light on how three important thinkers dealt with one of the most important issues of international politics... an important contribution to the intellectual history of the field of International Relations.

Ethics and International Affairs - Keir Lieber
An ambitious and fascinating work of intellectual history.

Journal of American Studies - Ian Jackson
This is a highly commendable study. It will be essential reading.

American Historical Review - H.W. Brands
Craig's treatment of these thinkers is subtle, insightful, and revealing. A more accessible introduction to realist thought would be hard to imagine.
Journal of Conflict Studies - Benjamin A. Kleinerman
Campbell Craig has written a well-researched and cogent account.

Constellations - William E. Scheuerman
Breathes fresh air into the stultifying atmosphere of realist theory.

Contemporary Political Theory - Michael C. Williams
Craig's book provides a fine example of how substantial intellectual history can contribute to an engagement with contemporary political dilemmas.

Political Studies Review - Clifford Angell Bates Jr
Interesting and thought-provoking.

American Historical Review - H. W. Brands
Craig's treatment of these thinkers is subtle, insightful, and revealing. A more accessible introduction to realist thought would be hard to imagine.

Foreign Affairs
The most compelling account to date of how realism gave way to neorealism in the face of a nuclearized world.

— Lawrence D. Freedman

International Affairs
Craig's book is to be commended for shedding light on how three important thinkers dealt with one of the most important issues of international politics... an important contribution to the intellectual history of the field of International Relations.

— Brian Schmidt

Ethics and International Affairs
An ambitious and fascinating work of intellectual history.

— Keir Lieber

Journal of American Studies
This is a highly commendable study. It will be essential reading.

— Ian Jackson

American Historical Review
Craig's treatment of these thinkers is subtle, insightful, and revealing. A more accessible introduction to realist thought would be hard to imagine.

— H. W. Brands

Journal of Conflict Studies
Campbell Craig has written a well-researched and cogent account.

— Benjamin A. Kleinerman

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231508940
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
01/05/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Robert Jervis

This book provides a fascinating intellectual history of three founders of American Realism. Craig meticulously tracks the development of their thinking and, unlike the received wisdom, traces and explains rather than ignores or rationalizes their inconsistencies. The result is to teach us a lot about the difficulties of thinking about reconciling nuclear weapons and traditional understandings of international politics.

Robert Jervis, Columbia University

O.A. Westad

This is an important book. Campbell Craig has written what is by far the most incisive critique of the development of American Realist thought on international relations. It should be read by everyone who has an interest in the history and theory of contemporary world affairs.

O.A. Westad, London School of Economics

Charles Jones

This close and critical reading of Niebuhr, Morgenthau and Waltz concentrates remorselessly on the fissures opened up in their formulations of political realism by the predicament of nuclear warfare and proliferation. Its resolute avoidance of the contemporary tendency to teach international relations theories as timeless, disengaged and morally neutral make it a superb primer for advanced students, but it is far more than this. By exposing the normative basis of Waltz's thought Craig has virtually demolished the methodological firewall that seemed to divide neo- or structural realism from classical realism.

Charles Jones, Cambridge University

Paul S. Boyer

Campbell Craig's Glimmer of a New Leviathan offers a perceptive analysis of how three influential theorists of international relations responded--or failed to respond--to the paradigm-shattering reality of nuclear weapons and the prospect of global thermonuclear war. Full of shrewd insights, this pathbreaking work will richly reward anyone interested in Cold War political thought, deterrence theory, the Realist School of diplomacy, or the Bomb's larger cultural impact. This is intellectual history of a high order by an engaged young scholar whose concerns extend from academia to the larger world beyond.

Paul S. Boyer, author of By the Bomb's Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age

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Meet the Author

Campbell Craig is professor of international relations at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.


He is now in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southampton

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