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wst and realism
by Richard N Hutchinson
20 February 2002 01:25 UTC
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> Incidentally, realist international relations usually have little use for the
> world systems concept hegemony, since their argument is that individual
> states inevitably pursue their self-evident interests through force.  I have
> no idea how they would account for the fact that there is presently only one
> military superpower in the world.  It seems likely most realists would
> predict that Japan, China, and Europe would arm themselves to bring their
> military power in line with their economic power.  The existence of only one 
>superpower, as well as the prominence of supra-national institutions like the 
>UN, the IMF etc. represent severe challenges to traditional realist theorizing.
> Steven Sherman

Personally I'm not convinced that the concept of "hegemony" adds anything
to IR theory.  Applying Gramsci to the world of nation-states is an
analogy, and not necessarily a good one.

Realist theory incoroporates alliances.  It is not difficult to account
for a dominant power and lesser powers forming alliances of mutual
interest, which might lead to an asymmetry of military power as we see
with the U.S. vis a vis Europe and Japan.  Of course unilateralism should
bring power balancing responses, but how soon and what sort depends on power
relations at T1.

I don't agree with all of Elson's formulations, like the prediction/analysis
of world-empire, but he did repeat part of what I said about inflows of capital
to the U.S. during the 1980s.

It seems that Warren, Elson and I have formed an Axis of Realist Pessimism
in regard to ongoing U.S. strength!


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