An International Relations Theory
The Main Thrust
Classical Realism was first commentated on c.460-406bc by Thucydides, who wrote an account of the Peloponnesian war. He stated his belief that the endless struggle for power is part of human nature and should therefore be considered as the basis for International Relations.
Machiavelli, in 1532, said that principles are subordinated to policies and that the art of being a state leader is adapting to the ever changing power-political systems of the world.
Much later in 1948 Morgenthau commented that the laws which govern politics are created by human nature, agreeing with Thucydides.
Rousseau mentioned c.1750 that it is the anarchical system itself which fosters fear, suspicion, jealousy and insecurity and not human nature.
Waltz reinforced this in 1979 by stating that anarchy leads to a logic of self-help in which states seek to maximize their own security. This was agreed with when Mearsheimer published 'Tragedy of Great Politics' in 2001.
Key thinkers in neoclassical realism include: Schweller (1997) and Zakaria (1998).
Rational Choice Realism
Key thinkers include: Grieco (1993) and Krasner (1999).
Criticisms of The Theory
Another criticism is that the obsession with power and security of the state is mostly due to the male dominance in politics, as argued by feminist commentators, who believe that aggression and power seeking behavior is a masculine personality trait.