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Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy


  • 6 tables
  • Page extent: 324 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.44 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521731928)

Neoclassical realism is an important approach to international relations. Focusing on the interaction of the international system and the internal dynamics of states, neoclassical realism seeks to explain the grand strategies of individual states as opposed to recurrent patterns of international outcomes. This book offers the first systematic survey of the neoclassical realist approach. The editors lead a group of senior and emerging scholars in presenting a variety of neoclassical realist approaches to states' grand strategies. They examine the central role of the 'state' and seek to explain why, how, and under what conditions the internal characteristics of states intervene between their leaders' assessments of international threats and opportunities, and the actual diplomatic, military, and foreign economic policies those leaders are likely to pursue.

• The first definitive survey of neoclassical realism, a major new approach in international relations • Adopts a clearly articulated conception of the 'state' in order to explain foreign policy • Uses historical cases to account for the foreign policy of great powers (United States, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, former Soviet Union, Japan) and second tier states (Canada, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Taiwan)


1. Introduction: neoclassical realism, the state, and foreign policy Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Steven E. Lobell and Norrin M. Ripsman; 2. Threat assessment, the state, and foreign policy: a neoclassical realist model Steven E. Lobell; 3. Neoclassical realism and strategic calculations: explaining divergent British, French, and Soviet strategies toward Germany between the world wars (1919–39) Mark R. Brawley; 4. Neoclassical realism and identity: peril despite profit across the Taiwan Strait Jennifer Sterling-Folker; 5. Neoclassical realism and the national interests: presidents, domestic politics, and major military interventions Colin Dueck; 6. Neoclassical realism and domestic interest groups Norrin M. Ripsman; 7. Neoclassical realism and resource extraction: state building for future war Jeffrey W. Taliaferro; 8. Neoclassical realism and state mobilization: expansionist ideology in the age of mass politics Randall L. Schweller; 9. The limits of neoclassical realism: additive and interactive approaches to explaining foreign policy preferences Benjamin O. Fordham; 10. Conclusion: the state of neoclassical realism Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro and Steven E. Lobell.


'Neoclassical realism is now a major research program in the realist tradition. Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy is the first comprehensive discussion of the program, together with several of its different theories. This important book fills a significant gap in the International Relations sub-field, and it will be widely read and cited.' Colin Elman, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

'By focusing on the state and its relationship to society within an uncertain international environment, Lobell, Ripsman, Taliaferro and their contributors advance a genuinely realist theory of foreign policy. An important set of essays that enhances our understanding of how countries assess and respond at both the international and domestic levels to security threats.' David A. Lake, University of California, San Diego

'This volume is the most systematic effort yet to define neoclassical realism, to differentiate it from other forms of realist and liberal international theory, and to extend the scope of its empirical applications. It emphasizes how internal state structures filter external threats and opportunities, and how state leaders evaluate threats, formulate strategies, and mobilize societal resources to support those strategies. These essays by leading neoclassical realist scholars are a must read for all serious students of international conflict.' Jack S.Levy, Board of Governors' Professor, Rutgers University

'Even those who are not card-carrying neo-classical realists will want to read this important attempt to define what is distinctive about this approach to understanding international politics. The volume shows off some excellent historical analysis done in this vein.' Jack Snyder, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations , Columbia University

'All in all, the well balanced volume illustrates the enduring theoretical power of Realism and particularly Neoclassical Realism's successful attempt to open the 'black box' of the state … Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy can be recommended not only to those interested in international relations theory as it relates to the state and its foreign policy, but also to those who still believe - wrongly - that Realism is only about brutish and nasty power politics in the international system.' Jodok Troy, Diplomacy and Statecraft


Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Steven E. Lobell, Norrin M. Ripsman, Mark R. Brawley, Jennifer Sterling-Folker, Colin Dueck, Randall L. Schweller, Benjamin O. Fordham

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