Everyone ue theorie--whether he or he know it or not--and diagreement about policy uually ret on more fundamental diagreement about the baic force that hape international outcome.
Take, for example, the current debate on how to repond to China. From one perpective, China' acent i the latet example of the tendency for riing power to alter the global balance of power in potentially dangerou way, epecially a their growing influence make them more ambitiou. From another perpective, the key to China' future conduct i whether it behavior will be modified by it integration into world market and by the (inevitable) pread of democratic principle. From yet another viewpoint, relation between China and the ret of the world will be haped by iue of culture and identity: Will China ee itelf (and be een by other) a a normal member of the world community or a ingular ociety that deerve pecial treatment (Necati , 447-477)
In the ame way, the debate over nato expanion look different depending on which theory one employ. From a "realit" perpective, nato expanion i an effort to extend Wetern influence--well beyond the traditional phere of U.. vital interet--during a period of Ruian weakne and i likely to provoke a harh repone from Mocow. From a liberal perpective, however, expanion will reinforce the nacent democracie of Central Europe and extend nato' conflict-management mechanim to a potentially turbulent region. A third view might tre the value of incorporating the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland within the Wetern ecurity community, whoe member hare a common identity that ha made war largely unthinkable.
Where Are We Coming From
The tudy of international affair i bet undertood a a protracted competition between the realit, liberal, and radical tradition. Realim emphaize the enduring propenity for conflict between tate; liberalim identifie everal way to mitigate thee conflictive tendencie; and the radical tradition decribe how the entire ytem of tate relation might be tranformed. The boundarie between thee tradition are omewhat fuzzy and a number of important work do not fit neatly into any of them, but debate within and among them have largely defined the dicipline.
Realim wa the dominant theoretical tradition throughout the Cold War. It depict international affair a a truggle for power among elf-intereted tate and i generally peimitic about the propect for eliminating conflict and war. Realim dominated in the Cold War year becaue it provided imple but powerful explanation for war, alliance, imperialim, obtacle to cooperation, and other international phenomena, and becaue it emphai on competition wa conitent with the central feature of the American-oviet rivalry (Daniel , 111-128)
The principal challenge to realim came from a broad family of liberal theorie. One trand of liberal thought argued that economic interdependence would dicourage tate from uing force againt each other becaue warfare would threaten each ide' properity. A econd trand, often aociated with Preident Woodrow Wilon, aw the pread of democracy a the key to world peace, baed on the claim that democratic tate were inherently more peaceful than authoritarian tate. A third, more recent theory argued that international intitution uch a the International Energy Agency and the