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Post-Cold War Realism, Liberal Internationalism, and the Third World

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The end of the Cold War has been an opportune moment for international relations scholars to examine the explanatory strengths and weaknesses of prevailing theories. Of particular interest has been how well realism and liberal internationalism explains or fails to explain security and nonsecurity issues in the Third World. While some scholars argue that the existing systemic theories are relevant for understanding all states' actions, others argue that they are irrelevant for explaining issues affecting the Third World. Yet still, there are perspectives that argue for entirely new analytical frameworks for understanding Third World issues. The publication of the books by Stephanie G. Neuman, International Relations Theory and the Third World , William Hale and Eberhard Kienle, After the Cold War: Security and Democracy in Africa and Asia , and Raymond L. Bryant and Sinead Bailey, Third World Political Ecology is timely. They offer a new opportunity to assess how well realism and liberal internationalism explain the behavior of Third World states within the context of the international system. This research communication will analyze the arguments in the above texts and conclude with a brief discussion and assessment of the richness of neorealism for understanding security and non-security issues in the Third World.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado 80639, U.S.A.

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