In 1979, Kenneth Waltz’s seminal book was published International Politics Theory drove the concept of anarchy into the central discourse of international relations (IR) theory when he suggested that “international systems are decentralized and anarchic” (2010, p. 88). waltz Major work has had a profound and enduring influence on the contemporary discussion of theory development within the IR, and this paper will examine whether or not anarchy is a compelling core concept – as suggested by its discursive primacy. The essay begins with a brief review of the history of anarchy as a concept in IR theory before comparing the competing realistic approaches to anarchy. First, the classic realistic understanding of anarchy as a peripheral feature of the international system is examined and then the structural-realistic approach of Waltz, in which anarchy becomes the fundamental ordering principle of the international system (2010, pp. 88-89). Using Waltz’s explanation, the paper considers three crucial implications of anarchy and its structural features before examining the challenges to these implications from a constructivist and liberal institutionalist perspective. After weighing the merits of anarchy against the charges against it, the essay will argue that a structural emphasis on hierarchy or the social community of states might be better suited to explaining the actions of actors within the international system, and concludes that this anarchy is not a suitable core concept on which the theories of IR can be built.
In order to fully assess the extent of Waltz’s influence on the IR theory, it would be appropriate to examine the history and development of anarchy as a concept, since it “did not emerge from Waltz’s head in 1979” (Donnelly, 2015, p . 400). John Mearsheimer has ascribed the original use of anarchy as a technical term to G. Lowes Dickinson, a British idealist who was included in his works European anarchy, “Invented the Concept of International Anarchy” (2006, p. 234). Dickinson’s understanding of anarchy was shaped by his experiences with World War I. He argued that the responsibility for the war lay with “European anarchy” (1917, p. 101), since he described the emergence of the sovereign state in the fifteenth century as the tragic “turning point” from which “international politics” going out meant Machiavellianism ”(1917, p. 13). For Dickinson this meant “mutual fear and suspicion, aggression disguised as defense and defense disguised as aggression” (1917, pp. 13-14), but Jack Donnelly (2015) has argued that Dickinson has along with other previous scholars did not use the term to define IR or to explain state behavior in the international system. Instead, Donnelly claimed that Lord Lothian was the first IR scholar to use the term in a context similar to that of Waltz, as he set out Lothian’s argument in Pacifism is not enough: “For Lord Lothian anarchy results from the lack of an international government, however means avertable violent disorder ”(2015, p. 400). Waltz’s influence was similarly illustrated by the proliferation of the terms “anarchy” and “anarchic” after the publication of International Politics Theory: The terms have appeared an average of 35.5 times in IR grants since their publication, compared to a meager 6.9 times per book between 1895 and 1978 (Donnelly, 2015, p. 395). Donnelly therefore accepted that anarchy became the “defining characteristic of international relations” in the second half of the 20th century (2015, p. 401).
In classical realistic theory, anarchy was and is a peripheral trait. As the name suggests, much of the classical realistic theory comes from classical texts, from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War and Niccolò Machiavellis The prince to Kautilya Arthaśāstraand emphasizes the influence of human nature – pessimistically assumed to be inherently selfish – on state actions within the international system. in the De CiveThomas Hobbes, the 17th century political philosopher, described the concept of bellum omnium contra omnes (2004), in which war was a consequence of an anarchic system in which “men live without a common power to keep them all in awe” (1894, p. 64), as he explained in Leviathan. Classical realism became increasingly popular after World War II – a particularly damaging example of the destructive power of human nature – and took advantage of the obvious inadequacy of “utopian” ideas (Carr, 2016) that had played a prominent role in the interwar years. Hans Morgenthau was next to E.H. Carr and drew heavily on Hobbes’ insights when he wrote that “Politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws rooted in human nature” (2006, p. 4). For Morgenthau, the sovereign state was an independent actor whose collective behavior reflected human nature, as its actions were primarily determined by an inherently selfish desire to survive in an anarchic international system which he defined as “an interest defined as power “Designated (2006, 2006). P. 5). Power or the innate pleasure in it (animus dominandi), ultimately motivated government action as it ensured survival in an international system in which there was an ongoing natural struggle for power, while Thucydides wrote in the Melian Dialogue: “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must ”(2008, p 556). While Morgenthau recognized that the anarchic nature of the international system facilitates the pursuit of power, he maintained that state actions are primarily driven by man’s innate desire to “live, spread and dominate” (2006, p. 39).
In structural-realistic theory, however, the struggle for power is mainly determined by anarchy in the form of the anarchic structure of the international system. Waltz criticized the classical realists’ adherence to the notion that state actions were motivated by human nature, since they were based on a philosophical concept that could not be empirically verified – he therefore saw it as little more than a reductionist explanation. Instead, he suggested that state measures could be explained by the structure of the international system itself, since the lack of a higher central authority to regulate intergovernmental behavior ensured that “self-help is necessarily the principle of acting in an anarchic order” (Waltz ), 2010, p. 111). Waltz presented the state as a variable entity, ignoring the individual traits traditionally highlighted as responsible for a state’s belligerent behavior such as culture, ideology, and regime type, arguing that they only differed “greatly in their capabilities” (2010, 2010 ). P. 105), suggesting that the structural framework of the international system has remained essentially unchanged since the Peloponnesian War. As a variable unit, the ability of a state – and within it its security – could be empirically measured by its “power”, which Waltz loosely defined in terms of population, territory, economy, military strength and political stability (2010, p. 131). Waltz claimed, however, that “the first concern of states is not to maximize power, but to maintain their positions in the system” (2010, p. 126). This is the basic requirement of defensive realism, but it has been denied by John Mearsheimer, an offensive realist who postulated that states should seek hegemony because “the stronger a state is relative to its potential rivals, the less likely it is from these rivals it will attack and threaten its survival ”(2014, p. 33). Having discussed the structural realistic theory, the paper will now explain the implications of anarchy.
A direct consequence of anarchy is the “security dilemma” coined by John Herz (1951). While classical realists concentrated on the individual struggles for survival of states within the international system, Waltz (2010) assumed that states were rational actors who jointly strived for “security”. In the anarchic international system, however, the lack of a higher central authority has created a sense of mutual distrust between states, and since it is impossible for one state to be absolutely certain of another state’s future intentions, Mearsheimer has argued that states ” have little choice but to accept the worst about the intentions of other states and to compete with them for power ”(2013, p. 80). This mistrust is responsible for the security dilemma that has had a destabilizing effect on the international system, as Waltz emphasized that “the means of security for a state in its very existence are the means by which other states are threatened” (2010), p. 64 ). While a state may only be armed for reasons of self-help, other states naturally feel less secure in their own defense capabilities with regard to that state and are forced to arm themselves – a step that is in turn interpreted as a threatening action by other states . The states are therefore in a vicious spiral of competitive armament that is driven by uncertainty and “cannot be resolved” and increases the possibility of conflict (Waltz, 2010, p. 187). Defensive realists, for example, would see preparation for World War I as a prime example of the security dilemma – especially in the case of the Anglo-German sea race. When the Germans wanted to enlarge their comparatively small fleet while Great Britain adhered to the two-power standard, the uncertainties of the political decision-makers in London and Berlin escalated the tensions between two powers that had more in common than not. At the time, US President Theodore Roosevelt had noted that the sea race “was as fun a case as I have seen of mutual suspicion and fear bringing two races to the brink of chaos” (quoted in Collins, 1997, p . 14). In hindsight, this appears to be a succinct, if somewhat funky, observation of the potentially tragic consequences of the security dilemma as a result of anarchy.
Another important implication of anarchy is that states are unlikely to cooperate with one another, even though they are rational actors who may share common interests. Joseph Grieco has emphasized that states are “positional” rather than “atomistic” since they are as concerned with the relative profits of a potential partner as they are with maximizing their own absolute profits (1988, p. 487). If two states were to work together hypothetically, Condition A. would be concerned about the potential benefits of working together Condition B.as an increase in Condition B.The power could adversely affect the power and thus the future security of Condition A.. Even if Condition A. was satisfied with the intentions of Condition B. In the present, without a central authority, there would be no binding assurance that Condition B. would remain cordial in the future and cooperation could end abruptly; “Today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy in war,” as Grieco stated (1998, p. 487). Glenn Snyder and Paul Diesing (1977) used the “prisoner’s dilemma” to illustrate why states are unlikely to work together in an anarchic system. The scenario suggests that states fear that their partners are flawed, thereby persuading them to go after themselves for the sake of their own interests. Therefore, although they are rational actors, each state will “be worse off than if everyone acted to achieve common interests”. (Waltz, 2010, p. 109). Similarly, referring to Rousseau’s “deer hunt”, Robert Jervis pointed out that while it would be in the best interests of the hunters (states) to cooperate in the hunt, they could not commit to cooperate while doubting the intentions of the others and ensures that they inevitably “hunt all the rabbits” and consequently the risk of war is increased (1978, p. 167). Cooperation is therefore unlikely in an anarchic international system, since the absence of a central authority ensures that there is no guarantee that healthy cooperation between two states can be regulated and enforced, and since states are ultimately solely responsible for their own security , You will not voluntarily compromise this in cooperation with any other state.
The third implication of anarchy and the tragic consequence of the security dilemma and the inability of states to cooperate is war. It has already been stated that the lack of a central authority above the state is responsible for the security dilemma and prevents cooperation between states, and in the same way Waltz claims that “wars take place because nothing prevents them” Man, state and war (2018, p. 232). Although anarchy cannot be the Cause of war, it is at least a “permissible or underlying cause” in the sense that states in an anarchic system are necessarily involved in a struggle for power (Waltz, 2018, p. 232), and when a state tries to exercise its power It is likely that the other states will try to restore the balance of power through conflict. Defensive realists, for example, would describe the French War of Independence and the Napoleonic War as a series of wars within a multipolar system in which seven grand coalitions of great powers were formed to counter the French pursuit of European hegemony. Britain’s willingness to subsidize any coalition is popularly attributed to the dominance of domestic counterrevolutionary attitudes coupled with traditional anti-French sentiment. However, when viewed in the context of the anarchic system, it becomes clear that the use of Waltz’s terminology is an underlying sense that uncertainty was the overriding motive; This is further illustrated by the emphasis of British foreign policy on maintaining the European Concert until World War II, after which its status as a great power quickly declined and it was no longer able to fulfill its role as an “offshore balancer” (Mearsheimer, 2014, p. 42) . Although the likelihood of war is reduced in bipolar and unipolar state systems, Waltz believes that this is still inevitable and, due to the anarchic nature of the system, “war can break out at any time” (2010, p. 102).
Although Waltz’s emphasis on the influence of anarchy on the international system has undoubtedly shaped much of the contemporary discourse on IR theory, there are many scholars who would agree with Donnelly’s critical assertion that anarchy is “neither a defining characteristic of international relations nor of is any real analytical meaning ”(2015, p. 407). As in most theoretical rebuttals, the first broadside against anarchy is usually semantic in form, as Waltz’s omission of a definitive term for anarchy has led critics of anarchy to claim it was an “ambiguous concept” that is fundamentally flawed (Milner, 1991, p. 67). Helen Milner (1991) has emphasized how prominent structural realists have different views of what is meant by anarchy: Waltz understood anarchy as a lack of government in the Weber sense, where the lack of a central authority means that there is no monopoly on anarchy there is legitimate use of violence in the anarchic international system (Waltz, 2010, pp. 103-4), while Robert Art and Jervis stressed the lack of an “agency … over individual states with greater emphasis” [the] Authority and power to legislate and resolve disputes ”(2015, p. 1). Martin Wight of the English School – where anarchy is also a central tenet – also emphasized that in the absence of government “in international politics law and institutions are governed and circumscribed by the struggle for power” (1995, p. 102). The definitions of anarchy can therefore be divided into three groups, which Donnelly categorized as “absence of a ruler, absence of rule and absence of rules” (2015, p. 410). While each understanding seems to differ only slightly at a glance, the subtle differences in definition alter the effects of anarchy significantly, which has ensured that “anarchy can be misleading and have heuristic disadvantages” (Milner, 1991, p. 68 )). That anarchy is such an ambiguous concept is a good indicator of why it is a central concept in many IR theories, but the collective failure to define the key term ultimately suggests that it is an inappropriate central concept on which Theories can be developed IR.
While structural realists have claimed that there is limited scope for cooperation between states within anarchic international systems, this has been refuted by liberal institutionalists, who unsurprisingly claimed that international institutions are capable of mitigating this particular implication of anarchy. Mearsheimer dismissively defined institutions as “reflecting[ing] state self-interest calculations “(1994, p. 13) and Grieco wrote that they” only marginally affect the prospects for cooperation “(1998, p. 488), but liberal institutionalists have argued that intergovernmental cooperation is possible due to the uncertainties and assumptions of malevolent intentions by the actors, these conditions of anarchy can be negated by institutions, since they allow “transparency, access, representation and communication” between states without central authority (Deudney and Ikenberry, 1999, p. 186), whereby the The likelihood of conflict is reduced. Communication and understanding are critical to facilitating intergovernmental cooperation, but Robert Keohane has also suggested that “the prospect of discord creates incentives for cooperation” (1984, p. 215), as demonstrated by cooperation between OECD members during the oil crisis 1979, when in 1973 their competitive and uncoordinated reaction ensured that they were “drowned in the storm caused by the Yom Kippur War” (1984, p. 224). Keohane also used the Prisoners’ Dilemma to explain why OECD members all “defected” in 1973 as every state feared “paying off” for oil shortages “(1984, p. 223), but wrote this in collaboration with Robert Axelrod “Both sides can potentially benefit from the cooperation – if only they can achieve it” (1985, p. 231), as it happened in 1979. International institutions can therefore be used to override the selfish interests of the anarchically dominant international systems which eliminates another important feature of anarchy.
In addition, it has been convincingly argued that the effects of anarchy, if any, have no impact on the international system and are little more than “rhetorical exaggerations” (Donnelly, 2015, p. 412). Robert Powell wrote that “the implications of anarchy do not really follow from the assumption of anarchy” since they “result from other implicit and inarticulate assumptions” (1994, p. 314), a point made by the constructivists’ theoretical approach international relations are confirmed and their criticism of anarchy. Constructivists have rejected anarchy as a core concept because it is more of a subjective social construct than an inherent ordering principle of the international system. “Anarchy is what states make of it”, as Alexander Wendt famously wrote (1992, p. 424). A leading constructivist in his formative article, Wendt, claimed that Waltz’s emphasis on the anarchic structure of the international system was indeed very limited, as he could not explicitly explain state behavior, such as “whether two states will be friends or enemies” . or “recognize mutual sovereignty” (1992, p. 396). David Dessler and John Owen have similarly argued that “anarchy does not induce actors to do anything special” (2005, p. 598), and affirmed the constructivist assumption that state behavior is more likely to be determined by individual identities and Actors’ interests as being determined by the anarchic structure of the international system (Wendt, 1999) – The essay will examine this further as it regards the suitability of constructivism as a viable alternative to anarchy in theory development. If it is true that anarchy has no effect – as this paper implies – then Donnelly’s claim that “it is neither a determinant of international relations nor of real analytical importance” was perfectly reasonable (2015, p. 407), which points out There needs to be alternative theories that focus on other structural features of the international system and are better suited to explaining and analyzing IR.
The first structural alternative to anarchy is hierarchy, which, according to David A. Lake (1996), is at one end of the continuum of security relationships while anarchy is at the other. It has already been stated that in an anarchic system there is no enforcement body larger than the state, but in a hierarchical system certain states have different degrees of authority or hegemony over other states at regional and global levels, which determines the behavior of becomes these states. Waltz, however, claimed that the ordering principles of anarchical and hierarchical systems are “opposing” (2010, p. 88), thereby almost undermining his own reasoning, as an examination of the international system would suggest it is hierarchical rather than anarchical. For example, consider the international system since 1945: During the Cold War it was a bipolar system in which the United States and the Soviet Union fought for supremacy while smaller states traded their sovereignty for security (Butt, 2013) because “States [will] Choose the relationship that minimizes the cost of establishing a desired level of security ”(Lake, 1996, p. 12). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been able to maintain its hierarchical dominance in a unipolar international system, with great help from the international institutions it had built in the immediate postwar period, such as the IMF and the World Bank, which has been argued (Koremenos, Lipson and Snidal, 2001), was designed to institutionalize and reflect the hierarchy of the United States. A focus on the hierarchy as a central structural feature would therefore certainly be beneficial for the future of the development of the IR theory, especially from an institutional point of view, given China’s growth in the international system and the contribution of its own institutions to the establishment of the Chinese hierarchy in the global south as outlined by Ahsan I. Butt in a recently published blog post (2016). However, it has also been suggested that scholars adhere to a strictly Eurocentric perspective of IR when emphasizing hierarchical structures (Hobson, 2007) and, until this can be resolved, hierarchy is unlikely to outweigh anarchy as a fundamental structural characteristic of IR. Theory will replace development.
The alternative theory that might supplant the dominant role of anarchy is constructivism, a relative newcomer to the “-isms” of IR theory. The constructivist theory is primarily based explicitly on metaphysics and social theory and, as already briefly explained, suggests that actors in the international system “only know, think and feel, including rules and language, in the context and with reference to collective or intersubjective understanding” (Adler , 2012, p. 121). If so, all states will have individual identities that presuppose interests, and it is this individuality that determines an actor’s behavior rather than the state of anarchy, as shown by Marc Lynch’s attribution of the changes in Jordanian foreign policy from 1988 to 1998 on the “interplay of preferences and identities and interests of the regime that are articulated by important parts of Jordanian society” (1999, ix). Lynch also suggests that a state’s identity and interests can and will change over time. Constructivists have therefore argued that state individuality is a greater determinant of state behavior than the anarchic structure of the international system, and that the interests of a state are constructed “through social interaction” with one another (Finnemore, 1996, p. 2) – in particular through international institutions. Although structural realists have rejected the importance of institutions in international relations, constructivists have argued that they are crucial for the constitution of legitimate state behavior and for shaping the individual identities of member states (Adler, 2012). Audie Klotz (1995), for example, has suggested that the global institutionalization of racial equality as a global norm is largely responsible for the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa and enables the state to return to the international system as a legitimate actor. Furthermore, Wendt emphasized the importance of these common social norms when he postulated that “500 British nuclear weapons are less of a threat to the USA than 5 North Korean weapons because the British are friends of the USA and the North Koreans are not” (1995, p. 73 ). If so, it would dispel Waltz’s security dilemma. Constructivist theory thus implies that war is not inevitable in anarchic state systems, and although it has been accused of being too philosophical, it offers an alternative theory that takes into account the individual identities and interests of the actors who make up the international system. Most importantly, it’s positive, plausible, and has the potential to have a profound impact on the future of IR theory.
To sum up, the dominant role of anarchy in the development of IR theory is certainly overrated. Two of Donnelly’s criticisms of anarchy in particular have proven to be particularly convincing: first, that it “does not bring any substantial payoff for the entire discipline” (2015, p. 413), and second, that it “has hindered understanding [of] the actual structure of real international systems ”(2015, p. 418). Both criticisms relate to the ambiguity of anarchy as a concept and the resulting implications for its “implications”, which are uncertain if not entirely absent, and as such suggest that IR scholars are looking elsewhere for a viable alternative to anarchy have to. as can be found in constructivist theory. While anarchy is and undoubtedly an important feature of international systems, it is difficult to understand that, when viewed as the primary ordering of these structures, it completely rejects the influences of state individuality and international institutions on state behavior – especially in the twenty-first century. Future theory development within IR must build on these determinants and focus on the interactions and links between them. Der Umfang dieses Aufsatzes bestand also darin, zu demonstrieren, dass Anarchie im Grunde genommen ein ungeeignetes Grundkonzept für die Entwicklung der IR-Theorie ist, und dabei war es notwendig, sich vor allem auf das strukturell-realistische Verständnis von Anarchie und deren Grenzen zu konzentrieren seine angeblichen Implikationen und ohne die Einschränkungen hätte es im Idealfall eine stärkere Diskussion über die Eignung alternativer Theorien umfasst und die Bedeutung der Innenpolitik für die Entwicklung der IR-Theorie berücksichtigt.
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