THE POLITICAL DANGER OF NEO-REALISM - A CONSEQUENCE OF SELF-CONTRADICTORY LOGIC
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This article represents an attempt to collect neo-realist intellectual property and put it in a systema c review by using the “Russian case;” that is, its foreign policy towards Georgia and Ukraine since 2008. It summarizes both theore cal and conceptual tenets of the neo-realist mainstream that are applied to modern world politics and despite mul ple logical inconsistencies revealed, o er neo-realist interpretations (hypothetical suggestions; that is, behavioral expecta ons) as plausible explanations for this particular case - Russia’s behavior. In the end, the Russian case will be put under an intensive analy cal scru ny to test the validity of neo-realist claims.
In the contemporary world of international relations, no argument has caused more response, counter reasoning and emotional de ance than that of American neo-realist scholars who a ributed the Russian aggression in its neighborhood and its geopolitical push back to the West’s “resolute advance to the East” and, even more, jus ed Russian revisionist ac ons by the structural nature of the international system (detailed review in the next sec on). Renowned media outlets and publications, be it Foreign A airs, New York Times, Foreign Policy or The National Interest,made multiple contributions public that run in line with the core rationale of the neo-realist claim and found broad international recognition, not to men on their impact on political decision-making and academic debate in the West and Europe, in particular.
Naturally, the neo-realists’ claim met with a sweeping wave of criticism, both in terms of their empirical (poli cs related) as well as theoretical consistency (more nuanced analysis in sec ons to follow). Although both dimensions of criticism bear exceptional potential for powerful arguments that negate neo-realist logic, a clear dominance of the empirical arm of counter argumenta on is more than evident. There are several reasons for such asymmetry, largely to be found in the dynamic and tiuent nature of international and domestic politics requiring a constant “on guard” mode. Yet this asymmetry cannot be maintained for long and, naturally, has to be counterbalanced.
This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.