Roots of Realism
Realism is not a single theory, but a family of theories. The realist theories differ from each other in important respects, but they all share a common philosophical core: they are all grounded in an understanding of international politics, and politics more generally, as a constant struggle for, and conflict over, power and security.
The different realist readings focus on a single theme: how states preserve their existence and protect their interests in an anarchic environment in which dangers to security and welfare are always present, and in which survival itself is not assured. The problems faced by states are compounded by the fact that pursuit by one state of its own security and autonomy impinges upon, and may well limit, the security and autonomy of other states.
The essays in this volume discuss different realist readings from antiquity to the present. They examine the interpretations of international politics offered by realist thinkers and practitioners from the sophists, Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, to E. H. Carr, Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr, Winston Churchill, and George Kennan.
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