Critique paper on Realism


Aaron Laylo

Realism’s position in the discipline/ field of international relations has been regarded important, prominent, and relevant. As in the title of Walt’s comprehensive article, the relevance of the realist tradition endures from the time of the Greek city-states to the era of modern nation-states. Stephen Walt’s article gives the reader a broad vista of the evolution and variations of realism – the primary position of various realist typologies, the focus of the theory, and the main arguments surrounding and linked to realism. In this short critique paper, I will present my seven (7) observations in the article – 4 commendable insights as well as 3 other areas that might seem too complex for readers, or lacking a few important components.

(For more of this article, please email the author a formal letter of request citing his intention to cite the article or any portion thereof and promising non-violation of intellectual property code recognized in his state. Thank you)

[1] Walt, Stephen. “The Enduring Relevance if the Realist Tradition.” In Political Science: The State of the Discipline. Washington DC: American Political Science Association, Katznelson, Ira and Milner, Helen (eds). (2002), p.199.

[2] Ibid, p.200

[3] He also stated the realist problematique: that the existence of several states in anarchy renders the security of each one problematic and encourages them to compete with each other for power and security. He also said that the tradition places power at the center of political life: it sees the acquisition and management of power as the main issue that political actors face. It also takes a fairly pessimistic view of the human condition. Lastly, insofar as international relations is concerned, he argues that in realism, states are independent actors in anarchy, generally seeking to maximize their chances for survival subject to various exogenous constraints. (Walt, p.200)

[4] Walt, p.204.


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