SAGE Journal Articles

Chapter 5

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Article 1: Onea, T. (June 2012). Putting the “Classical” in Neoclassical Realism: Neoclassical Realist Theories and US Expansion in the Post-Cold War. International Relations. 26(2). 139-164

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why is it important to develop a neoclassical general theory of foreign policy, according to the author? How does the author propose to do so? Why does the author choose to focus on post-Cold War American foreign policy?
  2. Summarize the comparison between the three main schools of neoclassical realist thinking as identified by the author. What are their various strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What are the author’s main findings about US expansionism post-Cold War?


Article 2: Kirshner, J. (August 2010). The Tragedy of Offensive Realism: Classical Realism and the Rise of China. European Journal of International Relations 18(1). 53-75.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Summarize the distinctions between the different types of realism the author identifies. 
  2. What particular problem does China pose to realists? To Mearsheimer in particular?
  3. What criticisms of Mearsheimer’s position does the author raise? What antidotes might other strands of realism provide to the problem of China’s rise?


Article 3: Sorensen, G.  (June 2009). ‘Big and Important Things’ In IR: Structural Realism and the Neglect of Changes in Statehood. International Relations. 23(2). 223-239.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What gap in structural realist thinking does the author seek to address and fill in this article? Why does he think it is important?
  2. What are the main criticisms he makes of Waltzian realism? What fixes does propose to improve the theory?