Realism and Power Transition in International Relations

  • Ko Unoki


When the study of IR first emerged in the world as an academic discipline in the UK after the First World War,1 Realism was from the start one of the core doctrines that were taught to IR students. Most of the early scholarship and concepts to emerge from IR studies were based on Realist models, and over the decades Realism became the most influential school of thought in IR in both the US and in Europe.2 IR scholar Michael Doyle considers it to be the “dominant” theory of IR and reminds us of the overwhelming number of IR theorists working within the Realist tradition.3 Indeed, since the end of the Second World War it is reported that over 90% of the hypotheses tested were Realist in inspiration. It has produced creative new works in applications of game theory, political psychology, and political economy.4 And equally significant, as the dominant framework for understanding the relations between states, Realism has shaped the thinking of almost every person involved in foreign policy making in the US and much of the rest of the world.5 As noted by IR scholar Stephen Walt, as much as academics hate to admit it, Realism remains the most compelling framework for analyzing international affairs.6 The impact that Realism has had in the development of IR scholarship and the importance of Realism for many IR scholars and foreign policy makers will thus hopefully be sufficient reason for the reader to allow my use of Realist theory later, to analyze the origins of the Pacific War.


International Relation Power Transition International Affair Gross National Product International Order 


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  • Ko Unoki

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