History and Neorealism

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Neorealists argue that all states aim to acquire power and that state cooperation can therefore only be temporary, based on a common opposition to a third country. This view condemns the world to endless conflict for the indefinite future. Based upon careful attention to actual historical outcomes, this book contends that, while some countries and leaders have demonstrated excessive power drives, others have essentially underplayed their power and sought less position and influence than their comparative strength might have justified. Featuring case studies from across the globe, History and Neorealism examines how states have actually acted. The authors conclude that leadership, domestic politics, and the domain (of gain or loss) in which they reside play an important role along with international factors in raising the possibility of a world in which conflict does not remain constant and, though not eliminated, can be progressively reduced.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book by three eminent scholars is audacious in its hope: since history shows that nations do not always obey the rules of pure power politics, a world of consent and cooperation is possible – and ever more likely. They buttress their case with a wealth of data from the American, European and Asian experience, presenting an original synthesis of history and theory that has become far too rare in the field of international relations.”
Josef Joffe, Senior Fellow, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

“Richard Rosecrance, Zara Steiner, and the late Ernest May, along with other notable contributors from the field of international relations, have assembled a stunning and provocative attack on what they believe to be the reductionist hegemony of neorealist theory. It will unleash a terrific debate and deserves a place on every reading list in international politics.”
Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University

“A first rate team of scholars convincingly and overwhelming demonstrates that there is more – vastly more – to international relations that has been dreamt of in ‘realist’ philosophies.”
John Mueller, Ohio State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521132244
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 406
  • Sales rank: 1,542,483
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest R. May was Charles Warren Professor of History at Harvard University and a renowned historian of international relations and foreign policy.

Richard Rosecrance is Adjunct Professor in the Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Project on US-Chinese Relations at the Belfer Center, Harvard University. He is also Research Professor in the Department of Political Science, UCLA.

Zara Steiner is Senior Fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Fellow of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

List of tables ix

Notes on contributors x

Acknowledgments xii

1 Theory and international history Ernest R. May Richard Rosecrance Zara Steiner 1

2 Transformations in power Richard Rosecrance 8

3 Domestically driven deviations: internal regimes, leaders, and realism's power line John M. Owen, IV 29

4 How international institutions affect outcomes Robert O. Keohane Lisa Martin 49

5 Not even for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: power and order in the early modern era Paul W. Schroeder 78

6 Austria-Hungary and the coming of the First World War Samuel R. Williamson, JR. 103

7 British decisions for peace and war 1938-1939: the rise and fall of realism Zara Steiner 129

8 Realism and risk in 1938: German foreign policy and the Munich Crisis Niall Ferguson 155

9 Domestic politics, interservice impasse, and Japan's decisions for war Michael Barnhart 185

10 Military audacity: Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and China's adventure in Korea Andrew B. Kennedy 201

11 The United States' underuse of military power Ernest R. May 228

12 The overuse of American power Robert S. Litwak 246

13 Redrawing the Soviet power line: Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War Deborah Welch Larson Alexei Shevchenko 267

14 Shared sovereignty in the European Union: Germany's economic governance Sherrill Brown Wells Samuel F. Wells, JR. 307

15 John Mearsheimer's "elementary geometry of power": Euclidean moment or an intellectual blind alley? Jonathan Haslam 322

16 History and neorealism reconsidered Richard Rosecrance Zara Steiner 341

Index 366

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