1. How does the Melian dialogue represent key concepts such as self-interest, the balance of power, alliance, capabilities, empires and justice?
Athenian leaders arrive on the island of Melos to assert their right of conquest over the Melians, representing the logic of power within politics. Because they had a vastly superior military force, they were able to present an ultimatum to the Melians: either submit peacefully or be exterminated. The Melians try to fight the logic of power within politics, appealing and making arguments grounded in justice, God, and their allies the Spartans. In the end, the Melians were forced to submit to the realist law that power within politics prevails in human affairs.
2. Do realists confuse a description of war for an explanation of why it occurs?
3. Is realism anything more than the ideology of powerful, satisfied states?
Yes, realism is nothing more than the ideology of powerful, satisfied states. Earlier perspectives on realism is based on three assumptions: states are the only actors in international relations that matter, a policy maker's primary responsibility is to create and maintain national power, and no central authority stands above the state.
4. How would a realist explain the war on terrorism?
5. What is at stake in the debate between defensive and offensive realism?
Offensive realism (Mearsheimer) is a structural theory that views states as security maximizers. Defensive realism (Waltz) looks at states as socialized players who are the primary actors in world affairs. It predicts anarchy causing states to become obsessed with security.
How much power states should have is at stake in the debate between defensive and offensive realism. According to Mearsheimer, states should maximize their relative power position. He argues that states posses some offensive military capability, but there is an uncertainty about their intensions. States are continuously searching for opportunities. Waltz argues that states recognize that the best way to gain peace is to accumulate more power than anyone else.
6. Can realism help us to understand the globalization of world politics?
Globalization must coexist with realism. Realism believes in self-action by states. States act on survival, self-help, power and cooperation which can all be difficult to maintain. Globalization wants to reform the world. If the world solely relies on globalization it could hinder states development in the future.
7. Should liberal states promote their values abroad? Is force a legitimate instrument in securing this goal?
No, liberal states should not promote their values on other countries. The advancement of liberal values has not always been done through peaceful means and to be effective they have to use legitimate forceful strategies to secure goals. It's logical that that states would find it in their best interests to have a political system in place which would provide them with the tools necessary to avoid military conflict as far as possible.
8. Are democratic-peace theorists right, but for the wrong reasons?
Democratic peace theory is the theory that democracies do not go to war against each other. But theorists define "democracy" and "war" differently among each other.
9. Whose strategy of dealing with globalization do you find more convincing; those who believe that states and institutions should main the current order, or those who believe in reform driven by global society?
10. Are liberal values and institutions in the contemporary international system as deeply embedded as neoliberals claim?