Gideon Rose The author surveys three prominent theories of foreign policy and shows how the works under review set out a Neoclassical realism argues that the scope and ambition of a country’s foreign policy is driven first and foremost. Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy; Gideon Rose · World Although international relations theory has been dominated for two decades by. Neoclassical realism is an approach to foreign policy analysis. Initially coined by Gideon Rose in a World Politics review article, it is a combination of classical realist and neorealist – particularly defensive realist – theories.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Rose Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy. Gideon Rose Reviewed work s: The Perils of Anarchy: JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only rea,ism your personal, non-commercial use.

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We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. Princeton Univer sity Press,pp. Tripolarity and Hitlers Strategy of World Conquest. Columbia University Press,pp. Fofeign and Perceptions during the Cold War. Cornell University Press,pp. From Wealth to Power: Princeton University Press,pp. I poicy also grateful for the comments of participants at discussions sponsored by the Research in International at Princeton University, the John M.

Debates over neorealism can be found in Robert O. Columbia University Press, ; Barry Buzan et al. Neorealism to Structural Realism New York: Columbia University Press, ; and David A. The Contemporary Debate New York: Columbia University Press, Because neorealism tries to explain the outcomes of state interactions, it is a theory of international it includes politics; some about the motivations of individual states general assumptions but does not purport to explain their behavior in great detail or in all cases.

As Kenneth Waltz has written: To the extent that of a pressures possibilities. These theories take as their dependent variable not the pattern of outcomes of state interactions, but rather the behavior of individual states. Theories of foreign to states try to achieve in the exter policy seek explain what nal realm neoclasskcal when to achieve it. Some, likeWaltz himself, simply rule the subject out of bounds due to its Theories, he argues, must deal with the coherent complexity.

Instead, we must rest content with mere “analyses” or “ac counts,” which include whatever factors appear relevant to a particular case. See also the discussion of this point inThomas J. Robert Powell has questioned whether it is even useful or to must neces possible speak of theories of international politics in isolation, since systemic theories sarily include nontrivial about states’ and behavior to with; see Powell assumptions preferences begin fn. Waltz was re to the suggestion that scholars should devise and test theories of foreign policy emerging sponding from his neorealist framework; see Colin Elman, “Horses for Courses: Innenpolitik the ories, which stress the influence of domestic factors on foreign policy.

The others are all variants of realismand highlight the influence of the international on state behavior. Its adherents argue that the scope and ambition of a country’s foreign policy is driven first and fore most by its place in the international system and specifically by its rel ative material This is are realist.


This iswhy through intervening are neoclassical. Cornell University Press, and has been widely adopted since then.

See the following in Brown et al.: Lynn-Jones and Steven E. Debating Re alism,” Security Studies 5 Autumnesp. Schweller, “Neorealism’s Status Quo Bias: Other authors make the same distinc tion but use idiosyncratic terminology. Kaufman substitutes “pessimistic structural” for “offensive” and “optimistic structural” for “defensive”; Stephen G. Brooks substitutes “neorealist” ” for “offensive” and “postclassical” for “defensive”; and Charles Glaser calls his variant “contingent in stead of “defensive” realism.

Project MUSE – Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy

Structure, Stable Liberal De mocracy, and U. Cooper ation as Self-Help,” in Brown et al. Finally, in an overview of recent realist theorizing, Joseph M. Westview Press,esp. Free Press,5.

Foreign policy choices are made by actual political leaders and elites, and so it is their of relative power that matter, not perceptions relative quantities of physical resources or forces in This simply being. Furthermore, those leaders and elites do not always have freedom to extract and direct national resources as complete they might wish. Power must therefore also examine the strength and analysis structure of states relative to their societies, because these affect the of national resources that can be allocated to proportion foreign policy.

This means that countries with gross capabilities but dif pooicy ferent state structures are to act likely differently. And finally, systemic pressures and incentives may shape the broad contours and general di rection of foreign policy without to deor being strong precise enough termine the specific details of This means state behavior.

For all these reasons, the neoclassical realists believe, understanding the links betweenpower and policy close examination of the requires contexts within which are formulated and foreign policies imple mented. Yet most what adopt certain 6 In their stress on intervening variables, constrained flreign, and historical context, as in other fose, neoclassical gideno have much in popicy with historical institutionalists in comparative politics, who institutions that mediate the effects of macro-level socioeconomic struc study “intermediate-level tures.

Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The most common to assume that approach has been foreign policy has its sources in domestic These theories argue politics. Innenpolitik that internal factors rosse as political and economic ideology, national character, or socioeconomic structure determine how partisan politics, countries behave toward the world beyond their borders.

A pure, monadic version of such theorizing in a liberal vein would be the no tion that the behavior of democracies is different from that of non democracies. A modified, dyadic version would xnd the notion of the “democratic which holds that the behavior pplicy democracies is peace,” different when deal with each other.

There are many variants of they the Innenpolitik approach, each favoring a different specific domestic independent variable, but they all share a common assumption? Some scholars why grounded in the neorealist model of international politics have sought to avoid this problem by applying thatmodel to individual state behav ior as well as to international outcomes.

Rose Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy | cuiwen wang –

They have generated two the 8 For a brief history of Innenpolitik theorizing about foreign policy, see Zakaria, in Brown et al. On the concept of the democratic peace, seeMichael E. Other notable recent examinations of Innenpolitik variables include Jack S. Rotberg and Theodore K. Westview, ; Joe D. Offensive realism assumes that international is generally anarchy Hobbesian? To whyunderstand a state is behaving in a way, offensive realists one particular suggest, should examine its relative and its external environment, capabilities because those factors will be translated relatively smoothly into foreign state chooses to advance its interests.

Even then, such states gener spond to these threats in a manner ally respond timely by “balancing” against them, which deters the threatener and obviates the need for actual conflict.


The chief exception to this rule is when certain situations 9 of offensive realist analysis include John Mearsheimer, “Back to the Future: Glaser; for citations fn. For some of the reasons why defensive realists view systemic incentives as less Hobbesian than offensive realists do, see Brooks fn.

But this dance is repeat to defensive realists, by rogue states that edly interrupted, according misread or true ignore the security-related incentives offered by their environment. Innenpolitik theories of foreign policy privilege domestic indepen dent variables, while offensive realism ones.

Al privileges systemic both schools theogies clear, bold, and the predictions of though predictive, both are often and inaccurate. Pure theories oversimplified systemic face the reverse anomaly their from Innenpolitik counterparts: The adherents of defensive realism also view it as a systemic theory, but in practice they on both and domestic variables to account rely systemic independent for different kinds of foreign policy behavior.

Defensive realists view the international as the cause of what be called “natural” noclassical might conduct, which includes a resort to if military technol aggression only ogy or certain other factors provide clear incentives to strike first. They consider the remainder of aggressive behavior to be “unnatural” and ac count for it by auxiliary domestic variables.

Defensive realism ismisguided for a similar reason, because its re on countries’ emphasis to threats overlooks the fact that one s of threat are sponses perceptions one’s relative material power. The theory is further partly shaped by 12 s Modern offense-defense theory is rooted in Theoriess Jervis presentation of the security dilemma; see Jervis, under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30 January Recent de “Cooperation fensive realist works stressing the importance of offense-defense variables are Glaser fn.

In addition neoclasslcal military technology, the offense-defense balance is sometimes held Quarterly to resources are cumulative and therefore offer a tempt incorporate judgments about whether power an see Peter Liberman, Does ing target for potential aggressors; for analysis of this question, Conquest Pay?

Princeton University Press, By making relative power their chief independent variable, the neo classical realists are forced to choose sides in the perennial debate about theoeies how that concept should be defined and operationalized. They confront thisissue directly, out their reasons for re generally setting the term to refer to “the neoclassicwl resources.

Neoclassical real ists question the point of constructing an elaborate systemic that states theory around the assumption are driven a on by quest for security only then to argue that states suffer from security-related questions false consciousness most of the time. The original neoclassical realist critique of defensive realism along these lines is Zakaria fn.

Neoclassical realism

In addition problems of empirically operationalizing lational definition, they argue that employing such an approach makes it difficult to say much about the causal role of power factors relative to other potential independent variables.

See also Waltz fn. Instead of assuming that states seek security, neoclassical realists as sume that states to the uncertainties of international respond anarchy to control and their external environment. Yet a theory of foreign policy limited to systemic factors alone is bound to be inaccurate much of the time, the neoclassical realists argue, which is why offensive realism is also misguided.

To understand the way states interpret and respond to their external environment, they say, one must are analyze how systemic pressures translated through unit level intervening variables such as decision-makers’ perceptions and do mestic state structure.