Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #KeepRealismReal

Most recents (21)

Until this past week, I had never heard of "Baloney Realism".

Is "baloney realism" actually "Realism"? Time to #KeepRealismReal.…

The heart of Cohen's piece is to criticize calls for a negotiated settlement/peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

As the piece succinctly states at the end, "pass the ammunition and to stop talking about talking."
Cohen specifically targets "Baloney Realism", which is the argument to accept "the reality" that wars end in negotiation:

"There is a large dose of what one might call `baloney realism' in the judicious declarations by those...who say that all wars must end in negotiations."
Read 26 tweets
<THREAD>Sorry, but nuclear deterrence is a two-way street. Just as NATO’s nuclear weapons deter Russia, so Russia’s deter us.

This isn’t fair or just. But it's the reality of life under the shadow of the Bomb. Ignoring the risk of escalation is a recipe for catastrophe. (1/17)
Nuclear deterrence has been a mixed blessing during the Ukraine war.

On the plus side, I’m sure it’s been a major factor in dissuading Putin from launching strikes on NATO to try to interdict equipment on its way to Ukraine.

Unfortunately, Russia also has nukes. (2/17)
Biden’s openly expressed concerns about “Armageddon” are likely limiting the extent of U.S. support to Ukraine.

The funny thing is that many of his critics are, in other contexts, strong believers in nuclear deterrence. (3/17)

Read 17 tweets
W.E.B. Du Bois is a major International Relations theorist, and his writings should be standard reading for international relations students.

If you're reading Morgenthau (or Waltz or etc), you need to also read Du Bois.

It's exciting that new work on Du Bois as an IR theorists is out this year.

That work includes a volume by my colleagues Adom Getachew and Jennifer Pitts...… well as the outstanding recent piece in @ForeignAffairs by @Ras_Karya.…
Read 38 tweets
My new @ForeignAffairs piece makes the case for Realism's usefulness in understanding the 🇷🇺-🇺🇦 war & international politics generally.

It draws from a variety of my THREADS on the war, & on Realism (#KeepRealismReal).

This is a THREAD of those THREADS…
I've written a host of 🧵s on the 🇺🇦-🇷🇺 war specifically, but two were most relevant to this piece.
First, my 🧵 on why I disagree with Mearsheimer's views on the war's cause and why I think his earlier work (on Offensive Realism) is more useful for understanding the war.

Read 24 tweets
Very good 🧵 building on @stephenWalt's recent @ForeignPolicy piece regarding Realism and 🇷🇺-🇺🇦 war.
I plan to share my thoughts on this debate very soon. #KeepRealismReal.

In the meantime, this 🧵gives a sense of what I think
As promised, my thoughts, in @ForeignAffairs, on the “Realism and 🇷🇺- 🇺🇦 War” debate.…
Read 3 tweets
Is game theory "useful" for understanding international politics?

According to Robert Powell, the answer is "yes, but know its limits."

[THREAD] Image
Powell's work largely focused on using mathematical formal models (i.e. game theory) to study international conflict.

And, as @jkertzer recently shared, Powell was VERY good at math!
What always stood out to me was his willingness to discuss the limits of using models to understand international politics.

He would do so with short quips buried in his most-influential papers. These quips offered "meta" insights into the role of theory.

Here are 4 examples.
Read 27 tweets
What problem most troubled Albert Einstein?

- The mystery of space-time?
- The properties of energy?
- Quantum uncertainty?

Nope. It was "international organization".

[THREAD] Image
Most people today are not familiar with Einstein's lifelong pacifism…
But that wasn't the case during his lifetime.

His pacifism was so well known that a political cartoon was made when he issued statements calling for a united front against growing Nazi militarism. Image
Read 25 tweets
There's growing concern over a potential 🇺🇸-🇨🇳 war. But should we be concerned?

Seems like a good time to ask: Do major powers want hegemony or to simply be left alone?

Time to #KeepRealismReal

The above question refers to the debate between "offensive" and "defensive" realism, something I touched on in a previous #KeepRealismReal thread.

As covered in that previous thread, two forms of realism were first directly contrasted to one another by Jack Snyder…
Read 29 tweets
The ruckus over #AUKUS makes one thing clear: "Balancing" is back!

That will make Realists excited. Why?

Time to #KeepRealismReal

While there is no ONE theory of Realism, the idea of "balancing" is central to nearly all realist thought.

This is because the "balance of power" is a core concept in realist theory.

I won't go fully into the Balance of Power and whether it is a "law" of politics. Let's just say that the concept potentially has a host of issues (as @dhnexon describes in this outstanding review of the concept)…
Read 26 tweets
Do allies actually care about reputation?

Of course, I'm referring to the ongoing debate about the broader geopolitical implications of US withdrawing from Afghanistan (and how that withdraw has unfolded over the past few weeks).

Examples of the debate include here...

Read 39 tweets
G. Lowes Dickinson is the first "modern" international relations theorist. You probably haven't heard of him.

But he's also why "Offensive Realism" -- you *might* have heard of it -- is the original "modern" international relations theory.

Time to #KeepRealismReal!

As I've discussed in previous threads, the modern discipline of International Relations is a product of World War I

See here...
Read 35 tweets
Don't call it "Neorealism". Call it "Rationalist".

Time to #KeepRealismReal and talk about Jim Fearon's "brand" of realism.

I’m of course referring to Fearon’s seminal (i.e. Everyone cites, but nobody reads) paper: "Rationalist Explanations for war"…
I know what you might be thinking, “wait, that piece is about Neorealism?”

Yep! Not only that, but it’s a defense of Neorealism.
Read 34 tweets
Has International Relations had ANY actual "Great Debates"?

Absolutely! In the 1990s, JJ Mearsheimer and Bob Keohane debated in the pages of @Journal_IS.

Here's what happened. Time to #KeepRealismReal

As I shared in a previous #KeepRealismReal thread, Mearsheimer published a piece in 1990 in @Journal_IS titled "Back to the Future" predicting a dismal future in Europe
In that piece, Mearsheimer examined what could happen if the Cold War's end led to a US withdrawal from Europe and a subsequent collapse of @NATO
Read 41 tweets
John Mearsheimer was not wrong about the end of the Cold War. But he wasn't all the way right either.

Time to keep #KeepRealismReal.

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.
This meant the possible end of the Cold War standoff between @NATO & the Warsaw Pact
Read 23 tweets
The Emancipation Proclamation is a crucial document, not least of all because it ensured the Union could win the American Civil War.

[A #JuneTeenth2021 Thread]
The American Civil War was not solely an "internal affair".

Throughout the early years of the war, Lincoln's administration feared intervention by the Europeans, notably the British.…
As Lincoln remarked in his first State of the Union: "[A nation] which endures factious domestic divisions is exposed to disrespect abroad, and one party, if not both is sure sooner or later to invoke foreign intervention.”…
Read 32 tweets
@IntOrgJournal's 75th anniversary special issue on "The Liberal International Order" largely omits international security affairs.

This leads me to ask: What Would Hedley Bull Think? 🤔

To be fair, the special issue covers a range of important topics facing the world (e.g. climate change) and the editors fully acknowledge the omission of security affairs.

But they justify the omission by saying that security institutions, namely @NATO, seem to be just fine.
One could take issue with the claim that security institutions are presently "alive and kicking" (moreover, the editors even acknowledge that the nuclear nonproliferation regime is "under siege")…
Read 25 tweets
What made Kenneth Waltz a "Realist" and why was his form of realism "Neo"?

Time to #KeepRealismReal

As pointed out in a previous #KeepRealismReal thread, Waltz key "realist" text, Theory of International Politics (TIP), doesn't even contain the word "realism", let alone "neorealism"

The main reason TIP is viewed as a realist text is because a goal of the book is to make sense of "the balance of power".

Why does that make it a "realist" text? Let's take a moment and go back to Hans Morgenthau
Read 23 tweets
What's the difference between "international politics" and "foreign policy"?

Welcome to the theoretical world of Kenneth Waltz!

Time to #KeepRealismReal

The distinction between "international politics" and "foreign policy" is central to Waltz's work.…
To understand the difference, let's start with Waltz's 1956 book, "Man, the State, and War"…
Read 27 tweets
Who was an advocate for AND a skeptic of World Government?

"Mr. Realism" himself: Hans Morgenthau

Time to #KeepRealismReal

Morgenthau takes the idea of a world state seriously. As James Speer wrote decades ago in @World_Pol: "Morgenthaus' entire treatment of world politics thus centers upon the requirements for the world state."…
This is not surprising. By the late 1940s, creating a world government was prominently viewed as necessary for avoiding nuclear annihilation
Read 27 tweets
I no longer view E.H. Carr's "The Twenty Years' Crisis" as a "Realist" text.


Don't get me wrong: Carr definitely talks about Realism in the text. But the text is about much more than that (as he writes in Chapter 2) Image
Carr began the text in the late 1930s. By then, the onset of another war seemed likely: Germany had remilitarized the Rhineland, Japan had invaded Manchuria, Italy conquered Abyssinia, etc, etc. Image
Read 28 tweets
Time for real talk about "Realism".

This is the first of multiple threads on how I teach "Realism" to my Intro to International Relations students.

The goal is to #KeepRealismReal

When I teach my Intro to International Relations students how "Realism" developed as an idea/theory/school/paradigm, I ground it in the real world issues facing scholars at the time they wrote.

Why? because that's what those scholars did. Hence, #KeepRealismReal
I start with work written in the 1920s.

That means no Machiavelli, no Hobbes, or no Thucydides

Read 22 tweets

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