History and International Relations

By Thomas W. Smith | Go to book overview

4

HISTORY, ANALOGY, AND POLICY REALISM

Hans J. Morgenthau and George F. Kennan

It was noted at the beginning of the previous chapter that the policy-oriented approach to history is at least as old as Machiavelli, whose Discourses on Livy argued for a new activism in politics guided by "the powerful examples which history shows us" (Machiavelli 1979:170). Like Machiavelli, the realists discussed in this chapter-Hans Morgenthau and George Kennan-viewed history in a political context. Social scientists may survey a large number of historical cases in the search for correlates and causes that offer generic explanations for international behavior. These practical theorists, however, set their sights on history that would be relevant to America's burgeoning global role and the demands of the cold war. Policy realism was in this sense more a matter of prudence than of science.

My task in this chapter is to trace this relationship between history, theory, and practice. I suggest that while classical realism is rich in historical detail, its portrayal of history is inseparable from the realist philosophy we have explored thus far. As Oakeshott observed, "philosophy is the world reflected in the mirror of the philosophic eye, each image the representation of a fresh object, but each determined by the character of the mirror itself" (introduction to Hobbes 1947: xix). The chapter first explores Hans Morgenthau's method of distinguishing historical contingency from historical law, the latter being the godmother of political science. Second, I shall look at Morgenthau's conception of the balance of power. In contrast to Niebuhr's tragic conception, as a "scientific" theory it foreshortens historical discussion and downplays political process. It is further suggested that the appalling failures of balance-ofpower politics in the twentieth century perhaps prompted realists to idealize the attainments of the balance in past centuries. Third, the discussion takes up the problem of transforming ideas about history into political practice, focusing on the historical foundations of George Kennan's theory of containment. Finally, the chapter revisits the tension in realist thought between science and philosophy.

-61-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
History and International Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Historical Problem in International Relations 7
  • 3 - History, Contingency, and the Roots of Realism 33
  • 4 - History, Analogy, and Policy Realism 61
  • 5 - The Poverty of Ahistoricism 92
  • 6 - "The Importance of Being Scientific" 119
  • 7 - Exit from History? 148
  • 8 - Conclusion 179
  • Notes 191
  • References 196
  • Index 218
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 230

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.