Critical Summary

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Critical Summary

            Neorealism is the foundational theory that supports international relations. Originating from a basic set of assumptions, neorealism attempts to explain how states, particularly those that wield the most power, act and interact in the international milieu. While Kenneth Waltz, in his article “Neorealism: Confusions and Criticisms,” is accurate about most aspects in his publication, he overlooks certain core principles that lower the credibility of his arguments. All hypotheses have a shortcoming, and Waltz’s is no exception. Neorealism falls short of providing an answer to many issues. For instance, the behavior exhibited by many states in their interactions cannot be explained clearly using Waltz’s economic theory. Consequently, neorealism has attracted massive criticism and key among them is the fact that it fails to clarify or forecast actions that have not been already identified or mentioned by neorealists. In other words, Waltz’s theory was not reliable in predicting future behavior.

            In his analysis of neorealism, Waltz proposed that neorealism has the capacity to tackle some of the challenges of traditional realism. For example, the classical theory failed to predict and explain the demise of the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union (Waltz 6). This failure can be attributed to the omission of domestic politics from the analysis, and it is the significant flaw in Waltz’s theory. In the article, the author attempts to demonstrate that his hypothesis was the most effective premise in explaining the occurrences within the international system.

            Neorealism by itself fails typically to account for the exact details of each instance in international relations including events such as evading war, the balance of power, the demise of states, and other interstate relations. Academics that are interested in gaining a better understanding of the factors that contributed towards different conflicts across the world would not use neorealism independently because of its inadequacy. Proponents of this theory such as Waltz quickly, and with some validation, argued that their school of thought was usually the expected and required starting point. Neorealism is hinged on the principle that peaceful conditions within the international system occur because of the deliberate effort by different member states to develop functioning structures (Waltz 4). In other words, the article attempts to compare the traditional form of neorealism with its modern version.

            The assumption that a theory of international relations should have all the answers is, nonetheless, impossible to achieve. Most schools of thought are usually combined with other theories to reinforce the argument. In future publications, Waltz should include elements of the traditional neorealism to ensure that his theory is reinforced. In the article, much emphasis was given to the ability of his theory to predict a set of events and activities with accuracy. While this is impressive, it does not weigh well when it comes to real-life situations involving human casualties and the destruction of property. Waltz’s theory is also flawed in that he attempts to eliminate micro factors that influenced a state’s stand. The failure to include the effect of internal factors such as economic, social and cultural policies on international relations is another significant oversight. In so doing, the author effectively ignores a significant element of state politics. In retrospect, the article by Waltz provided a clear understanding of neorealism. It was vital in introducing the philosophy and the impact that it had on the way states related within the international system. However, an improvement needs to be done to fuse traditional and modern versions of the theory.

Works Cited

Waltz, Kenneth. “Neorealism: Confusions and Criticisms.” Journal of Politics & Society, vol. 15, no. 1, 2004, pp. 2-6.

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