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Kenneth N. Waltz on War - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 623
War/Eyplanation/International Policy/Waltz: What explanations are there for the emergence of wars in international politics? Most explanatory approaches can be divided into three categories: a) human nature, b) the internal order of states, c) the structure of the international system.
Ad a) Waltz calls these explanations "first level": such anthropological approaches have little scientific explanatory power.
Ad b) "Second level": Explanations by the ruling orders of states cannot satisfactorily answer the causes of war: states have waged wars time and again in history - irrespective of their internal structure. This applied to democracies as well as authoritarian systems.
Solution/Waltz: it must be the international political environment that has a lot to do with how states behave. (1)
System competition/Waltz: thesis: the presence of different competing states constitutes an anarchic system in which the absence of rule between states promotes conflict and war between them. (2)


1. Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, State and War, New York 1959, p. 122f.
2. Ibid. p. 184-185

Carlo Masala, „Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics” in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolWaltz I
Kenneth N. Waltz
Man,the State and War New York 1959

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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