Realism in International Relations

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38 Questions

What is the main point of departure for the chapter on realism?

What is the emphasis of classical realists in their approach to realism?

What do most contemporary realists tend to ignore in their analysis?

What does the chapter critique about realist thought?

What is the normative core of realism?

According to realism, what is the primary focus of politics?

What does realism consider as the fundamental characteristic of international relations?

Which actors does realism prioritize in international relations?

What is the role of great powers in international relations according to realism?

According to Machiavelli, what are the overriding values in foreign policy?

What did Machiavelli advocate for in relation to politics and ethics?

In Hobbes' 'state of nature', what is the predominant condition?

What drives the creation of a sovereign state according to Hobbes?

What does Hobbes describe life as in the 'state of nature'?

What do people collaborate to create according to Hobbes?

What does Hobbes believe about the civil condition?

What does Machiavelli consider foolish and irresponsible in foreign policy?

What does Hobbes believe drives the establishment of peace and order?

What does Machiavelli prioritize in foreign policy?

According to Machiavelli's view on politics, what should realist state leaders not follow?

According to Thucydides, what does the standard of justice depend on?

What theory is Thucydides' theory often referred to as?

According to Thucydides, what must rulers be to survive in international relations?

What did Machiavelli emphasize as important for rulers?

How did Machiavelli describe the conduct of foreign policy?

What did Thucydides' theory influence in the field of international relations?

What have scholars recently discussed regarding a potential hegemonic war?

What was the Peloponnesian War an example of according to Thucydides' theory?

According to Thucydides, what do strong states do?

What did Machiavelli believe rulers must be aware of?

Who are notable classical realists?

What is the main focus of classical realism?

Which type of realism is primarily American in origin?

What did Thucydides emphasize in foreign policy?

In the Peloponnesian War, what did Athenian leaders do regarding Melos' appeal for justice?

What did ancient Greece witness between city-states and neighboring empires?

What distinguishes realism from theories in International Relations (IR) studies?

What are the two main types of realism mentioned in the text?


  • Realism is a general orientation or paradigm in International Relations (IR) studies, distinguished from theories.
  • Two main types of realism: classical and social science realism.
  • Classical realism is a normative approach focusing on national security and state survival, with some scientific ambitions.
  • Social science realism is a scientific approach, primarily American in origin.
  • Realism has a long history, with notable classical realists including Thucydides, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes.
  • Thucydides believed international relations revolve around competition and conflict between states, without moral reasoning impact.
  • Ancient Greece saw unequal power dynamics between city-states and neighboring empires, leading to alliances and wars.
  • Thucydides emphasized caution, prudence, and foresight in foreign policy, focusing on the realities of power and inequality.
  • In the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides had Athenian leaders reject Melos' appeal for justice based on unequal power dynamics.
  • Classical realist thought has been influential throughout history, shaping the understanding of international relations.


Test your knowledge of the different kinds of realism in international relations, including classical realism and social science realism. Learn about the core political values of national security and state survival.

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