Encroachments are then deterred by amassing sufficient power, either alone or in coalitions, to offset the power available to a potential adversary. Thus, peace and security are maintained through a balance of power. Throughout the last 25 years, realism has either dominated or heavily guided the study of international relations and the formation of American (and others') foreign policy.
Over the last couple decades, political realism had to compete against other viable international relations paradigms. Neo-realism is one such paradigm that quickly gained popularity in western concepts of international relations. A model of neo-realism was perhaps best developed by Kenneth Waltz. Waltz agrees with the emphasis on distribution of power relationships for understanding global events. But he adds a structural component to the model that had earlier been neglected. Whereas realism only analyzed relationships between nations, Waltz looks at both the political and economic structures of nations as well as power relationships. Political and economic structures "define the arrangement, or the ordering, of the parts of the system" (Keohane, 1986, p. 73). This ordering of the parts of each nation's system provides insights into the capabilities of nations. Thus, factors such as economic interdependence, military apparatuses, political institutions, and even educational systems are all structures that affect a nation's needs and strengths and influence the formation of power relationships.
For example, the actual power relationship between two countries that are economically interdependent may not be revealed in a straightforward realism analysis. One country may have greater wealth and a stronger military, but it would not be rational for the stronger country to attack the weaker given the foundation of economic interdependence. An encroachment by the stronger nation in this situation could, in fact, undercut the nation's well being. By...
The Evolution of International Relations Theories. (2000, January 01). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 09:55, November 01, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303705014.html