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Perspectives on International Relations

Perspectives on International Relations
Power, Institutions, and Ideas

Sixth Edition

March 2018 | CQ Press
Henry R. Nau's bestselling book is admired for its even-handed presentation of realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical theory - and for expertly applying those perspectives in every chapter. It helps students to explore the ways in which these different perspectives shape our understanding of the root causes of historical events and current controversies in world affairs, and learn to think critically. The new Sixth Edition includes updates on Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and other populist leaders, and continuing developments for ISIS, Syria, and Russia.
Introduction: Why We Disagree about International Relations
The Crisis in Syria

The Roles of Perspectives, Levels of Analysis, and Causal Arrows

The Role of History

Contemporary Foreign Policy Disputes: The 9/11 Attacks

The Role of Methods

Is One Perspective or Method Best?

The Role of Judgment

The Role of Ethics and Morality

Chapter 1: How to Think about International Relations: Perspectives, Levels of Analysis, and Causal Arrows
Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Realist Perspective

The Liberal Perspective

The Identity Perspective

Critical Theory Perspectives

Levels of Analysis

Causal Arrows

Part I: Historical Patterns
Chapter 2: World War I: World on Fire
Europe in 1914

Realist Explanations

Liberal Explanations

Identity Explanations

Critical Theory Explanations

Chapter 3: World War II: Why Did War Happen Again?
Causes of Madness

Liberal Accounts

Realist Accounts

Identity Matters

Critical Theory Perspective

Chapter 4: The Origins and End of the Cold War
The Long Telegram

Snapshot of the Cold War

Realist Explanations

Identity Explanations

Liberal Explanations

Critical Theory Perspective

Part II: The Contemporary International System
Chapter 5: Realist Perspectives on Today’s World: Unipolarity, Balance of Power, and State Actors

Balancing Power


Domestic State Actors

Chapter 6: Liberal Perspectives on Today’s World: Collective Security, Diplomacy, International Institutions, and Law
Collective Security


International Institutions

Regional Institutions

Nongovernmental Organizations

International Law

International Courts

Chapter 7: Identity Perspectives on Today’s World: Democracy, Religion, Nationalism, and Human Rights



Human Rights

Part III: Globalization and Change
Chapter 8: Realist and Liberal Perspectives on Globalization: Trade, Investment, and Finance
Snapshot of Globalization

Security and Economics

Domestic Economic Policies




Chapter 9: Identity Perspectives on Globalization: Development and Environment

Latin America

Sub-Saharan Africa

Middle East and North Africa


Chapter 10: Critical Theory Perspectives on Globalization: Inequality, Imperialism, and Injustice
Colonialism and Imperialism


World Systems

Multinational Corporations and Exploitation of Labor

Marginalized Minorities: Global Injustice

Persisting Global Inequality

Conclusion: Applying Perspectives and Levels of Analysis: The Case of the Democratic Peace





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ISBN: 9781544326887