What is the Neorealism concept in International politics

A modification to the prevalent realism, neorealism took birth through the hands of  Kenneth Waltz in the late 70s. Neorealism or structural extension of realism is a theory of international relations emphasizing the influence of world power structures on the behavior of states within the global hierarchical order. It deviates from classical realism in the matter that they analyze power in relation to individual decision makers.

neorealism concept

Neorealism seeks to explain the interaction among states in the international sphere. Waltz believes that the international sphere has a profound influence on state behavior.

Neorealism sticks to the idea that the international system is anarchic in nature. This leads
the states to a situation of the security dilemma, where every state is trying to strengthen its
military power.

Thus, the international system forces the states to behave in a certain way, irrespective of its capabilities. Despite their different cultures or ideologies or political system, all states are similar in the aspect that they perform these basic tasks for survival.

They all collect taxes, conduct foreign relations and ensure security to the common masses from internal disturbances.Although they are functionally similar, the states differ from each other in their capabilities to perform these tasks. The capabilities of states keep changing as there is a constant shifting of power relations in the international sphere.

The great powers determine these changes and divide the world politics as unipolar, bipolar or
multipolar. For example, the Cold War period saw the power structure as a bipolar one, where continuous tension existed between the two major powers of the United States and The Soviet Union, influencing the entire global politics.

Neorealism seeks to explain interstate conflict through the underlying sources, and the notion of power is not considered as an end in itself, thus differentiating themselves from classic realism

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Dishari Roy , Student at JNU