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Within the realist school of international relations, a prevailing view holds that the anarchic structure of the international system invariably forces the great powers to seek security at one another's expense, dooming even peaceful nations to an unrelenting struggle for power and dominance. Rational Theory of International Politics offers a more nuanced alternative to th Within the realist school of international relations, a prevailing view holds that the anarchic structure of the international system invariably forces the great powers to seek security at one another's expense, dooming even peaceful nations to an unrelenting struggle for power and dominance. Rational Theory of International Politics offers a more nuanced alternative to this view, one that provides answers to the most fundamental and pressing questions of international relations. Why do states sometimes compete and wage war while at other times they cooperate and pursue peace? Does competition reflect pressures generated by the anarchic international system or rather states' own expansionist goals? Are the United States and China on a collision course to war, or is continued coexistence possible? Is peace in the Middle East even feasible? Charles Glaser puts forward a major new theory of international politics that identifies three kinds of variables that influence a state's strategy: the state's motives, specifically whether it is motivated by security concerns or greed; material variables, which determine its military capabilities; and information variables, most importantly what the state knows about its adversary's motives. Rational Theory of International Politics demonstrates that variation in motives can be key to the choice of strategy; that the international environment sometimes favors cooperation over competition; and that information variables can be as important as material variables in determining the strategy a state should choose.


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Within the realist school of international relations, a prevailing view holds that the anarchic structure of the international system invariably forces the great powers to seek security at one another's expense, dooming even peaceful nations to an unrelenting struggle for power and dominance. Rational Theory of International Politics offers a more nuanced alternative to th Within the realist school of international relations, a prevailing view holds that the anarchic structure of the international system invariably forces the great powers to seek security at one another's expense, dooming even peaceful nations to an unrelenting struggle for power and dominance. Rational Theory of International Politics offers a more nuanced alternative to this view, one that provides answers to the most fundamental and pressing questions of international relations. Why do states sometimes compete and wage war while at other times they cooperate and pursue peace? Does competition reflect pressures generated by the anarchic international system or rather states' own expansionist goals? Are the United States and China on a collision course to war, or is continued coexistence possible? Is peace in the Middle East even feasible? Charles Glaser puts forward a major new theory of international politics that identifies three kinds of variables that influence a state's strategy: the state's motives, specifically whether it is motivated by security concerns or greed; material variables, which determine its military capabilities; and information variables, most importantly what the state knows about its adversary's motives. Rational Theory of International Politics demonstrates that variation in motives can be key to the choice of strategy; that the international environment sometimes favors cooperation over competition; and that information variables can be as important as material variables in determining the strategy a state should choose.

30 review for Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nate Huston

    Wanna know about defensive realism? Here ya go. Despite driveling ON AND ON AND ON about relaxing assumptions (I get it - it's good to dive deeper, but man, I'm dying here), Glaser does a nice job of laying out the defensive realist's argument. It's all about the security dilemma, and if you can signal to your adversary that what you're doing is not meant to threaten him, perhaps there's a way out. Wanna know about defensive realism? Here ya go. Despite driveling ON AND ON AND ON about relaxing assumptions (I get it - it's good to dive deeper, but man, I'm dying here), Glaser does a nice job of laying out the defensive realist's argument. It's all about the security dilemma, and if you can signal to your adversary that what you're doing is not meant to threaten him, perhaps there's a way out.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rich

    I've long thought that the great debate over the "isms" was an exercise in virtue signaling. But, despite the incompleteness in these competing views of how the world hangs together, there is a utility to wrestling with the ideas. Glaser's work here is not one of the great "isms," but it gets very close to trying to become one--despite its humble repeated protestations. Like in the great debate, people are only left with "a sense" of whether there is enough truth in the empirics to curry support I've long thought that the great debate over the "isms" was an exercise in virtue signaling. But, despite the incompleteness in these competing views of how the world hangs together, there is a utility to wrestling with the ideas. Glaser's work here is not one of the great "isms," but it gets very close to trying to become one--despite its humble repeated protestations. Like in the great debate, people are only left with "a sense" of whether there is enough truth in the empirics to curry support for these incomplete yet grand theories of the relations between states. And, with that said, my sense of Glaser's work is that this is a useful contribution that moves beyond the system selects, or material selects, or ideas all the way down, but instead finds that the decision by states to compete or cooperate is the result of a complex set of interactions between the context of the states and the states themselves.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Albert B. Wolf

  4. 5 out of 5

    alex bitter

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben Denison

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rizwan Niaz Raiyan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Thomas

  8. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  9. 4 out of 5

    William C. Rose

  10. 5 out of 5

    John F.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  12. 5 out of 5

    Layla Dawood

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Wheeler

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

  15. 5 out of 5

    Keith

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    Mike

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Sewell

  18. 4 out of 5

    Serkan Bakışgan

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    Jamison H

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Buchheit

  21. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aamir Sohail

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Anderson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  28. 5 out of 5

    JMOL

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hugh

  30. 5 out of 5

    Spenser A.

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