Now Reading

Posts Tagged ‘Neorealism’

Kenneth Waltz, Iran and Nuclear Weapons

As I’ve been in the final months of completing my dissertation, I’ve had far less time to devote to the blog and topics that I’d like to spend more time thinking and writing about. While it is now beyond the news cycle, Kenneth Waltz’s recent essay in Foreign Affairs was quite interesting, but also misleading. At first glance, the policy prescriptive nature of the article was eye catching and challenging, and essentially continued his long-running debate with Scott Sagan and the rest of the international security studies community over the spread of nuclear weapons. The problem with Waltz’s argument, however, is less about his particular conclusions, than the broader problems of academic theory, models in general (both formal and informal), and their relevance to policy in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 6

Previous posts had examined the replicator equation as the basis of agent behavior in an arms race defined by a game of rock-paper-scissors (RPS). This post begins a follow-on examination regarding the use of best-response as an alternative behavior or strategy on the part of competing agents. In some ways, best-response may be unrealistic with respect to how agents can adapt, especially if they are capable of making large jumps or changes to strategies in short-periods of time that are not reflective of real-world organizations. However, in other ways, the strategy is quite realistic for social actors because it affords them opportunities to revive dead or eliminated strategies when suitable while the biologically based replicator loses them forever once extinct. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Quick Thoughts on Economics in International Relations Theory

The other day I was reviewing some of the older literature on international politics and relations. From the vantage point of a few of decades, the injection of economics into international relations and its influence is obvious. The major debates that largely pivoted around Ken Waltz’s neorealism and Robert Keohane’s neoliberalism essentially reflected alternative applications of models and methods imported from economics, perhaps most brilliantly exemplified by Keohane’s adaptation of Akerlof’s market for lemons in order to argue for the importance of institutions (or regimes as he defined them in After Hegemony). Read the rest of this entry »

Can International Relations Theories be Empirically Tested?

It’s been several weeks since my last posting examining. Over that time, I’ve been working towards the completion of a project that has taken a significant chunk of my time and forced me to think about the use of ABM in the study of international relations. In doing so, I’ve begun to explore the philosophy of science and the extent to which theories of international relations are really amenable to empirical testing. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Observations from ISA 2011

After two days at the International Studies Association Annual Conference (ISA) in Montreal, several interesting themes have emerged. Rather than mention panel by panel what I’ve seen, I figured I’d summarize my general impressions and provide some highlights at the mid-point of the conference. I’ll caveat everything by noting that the conference is a huge gathering and any attendee can only see a small portion of the total offerings. So, my observations are necessarily constrained by my choices of panels and side-discussions – I could easily have missed something. Read the rest of this entry »
WordPress Plugin Share Bookmark Email