Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Stephen D. Krasner"

Titel: Do We Learn Anything from Kirshner?
Autor: Stephen D. Krasner
Seite: 229-235

Kirshner may be right that domestic politics does matter, but he does not tell us how to understand domestic politics. How are we, for instance, to understand domestic cohesion? How are we to understand national purpose? More important, what is the impact of nuclear weapons? Do these weapons obliterate all past information about power? Are nuclear weapons all that matter? Is it possible to fight a limited nuclear war? Is North Korea as strong as the United States? Such questions have been around since the 1950s. Kirshner does not help us to answer them.

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Titel: Classical Realism is not ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’
Autor: Jonathan Kirshner
Seite: 237-248

In their assessments of An Unwritten Future: Realism and Uncertainty in World Politics, two distinguished scholars of World Politics engage in a spirited contestation about the role of classical realism in International Relations (IR) theory. Richard Ned Lebow aspires to defend the paradigm from what he suggests are barbarians at the gate. In this response I offer rejoinders to his treatment of E. H. Carr and Robert Gilpin, and his characterization of the ways in which we each engage Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War as an inspirational text. Stephen Krasner raises a number of thoughtful and savvy constructive criticisms of An Unwritten Future, some of which ring true. Yet he and I continue to markedly disagree about the importance of analytical uncertainty for understanding IR, and also with regard to the role of history in explaining behavior in world politics. And in an otherwise sophisticated critique, Krasner ultimately reduces classical realism to a caricature. In my response I clarify why in fact it is his preferred approach, structural realism, which, on its own, is irretrievably indeterminate and leaves scholars needing much more that its minimalist disposition can possibly hope to provide. I conclude with a short elaboration of why classical realism offers a more productive way forward.

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