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Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
Oscar sundevall   testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)
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Oscar sundevall testing offensive realism on nato expansion i europe (masters thesis)

  1. 1. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011     Testing Offensive Realism on NATO expansion in Europe A case study in three parts                       Masters thesis in Political Science and International Relations Department of Government - Uppsala University, spring 2011 Author: Oscar Sundevall Supervisor: Aaron Maltais       1  
  2. 2. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011         Abstract:This masters thesis is a qualitative case study, testing the explanatory power of John J.Mearsheimers “Offensive Realism” as expressed in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics(2001) on NATO’s continued existence and expansion in Europe post-Cold War.Mearsheimer assumes that states are rational power maximizes, always looking out forthemselves in an anarchical world, always trying to gain more power at the expense of others.From this line of reasoning, NATO’s continued existence and expansion seems to be theopposite of rational state behavior as NATO has expanded with countries that require moreprotection than they contribute in collective security. I pose three questions; first I test theconstruct validity of Offensive Realism on NATO’s continued existence. My findings pointtowards it being an anomaly of the theory. Second, since Mearsheimer assumes thatanomalies have negative consequences (states gaining less power and security than if theywould have followed Offensive Realisms maxims), by use of counterfactuals I test if U.S.membership of NATO did or did not have negative consequences for the country. Myfindings points towards no causal connection between U.S. security concerns and NATO’sexistence and expansion. This shows that states can have goals and behaviors that areanomalies, but not suffer the negative consequences Offensive Realism presupposes they will.Third, I test my alternate theory of explanation, Neoclassical Realism, by uncovering if unit-level variables had any explanatory power in the process of NATO finding new rationales forexistence and expansion post-Cold War. My findings points towards unit-level variables withexplanatory power especially in the process leading up to the expansion of NATO. Keywords: international relations, realism, offensive realism, structural realism, neoclassical realism, mearsheimer, waltz, nato, cold war, united states, foreign policy       2  
  3. 3. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    Table of contentsChapter 1 – Introduction, purpose and outline ........................................................................... 5 1.1 Power as the driving force of conflict .............................................................................. 5 1.2 Scope, purpose and research question .............................................................................. 7 1.3 General outline ................................................................................................................. 7Chapter 2 – Theories of Foreign Policy ..................................................................................... 8 2.1 Offensive Realism ............................................................................................................ 8 2.2 Differences and likeness with Defensive Realism ........................................................... 8 2.3 Premises of Offensive Realism ........................................................................................ 9 2.4 Assumptions of Offensive Realism ................................................................................ 10 2.4.1 Anarchy ................................................................................................................... 10 2.4.2 Offensive military capability ................................................................................... 11 2.4.3 Uncertainty .............................................................................................................. 11 2.4.4 The goal is survival ................................................................................................. 11 2.4.5 Great powers are rational actors .............................................................................. 11 2.5 Central strategies of Offensive Realism ......................................................................... 12 2.6 Neoclassical Realism...................................................................................................... 14 2.6.1 Figure 1 – variables in Neoclassical Realism.......................................................... 14 2.7 Key players within the state ........................................................................................... 15 2.7.1 Foreign Policy Executive (FPE) .............................................................................. 15 2.7.2 Societal Elites .......................................................................................................... 15 2.8 Neoclassical Realism as an extension of Structural Realism? ....................................... 16 2.8.1 Figure 2 – specificity and generalizability .............................................................. 17 2.9 Assumptions of Neoclassical Realism ........................................................................... 18 2.9.1 Primacy of conflict groups ...................................................................................... 19 2.9.2 Primacy of power .................................................................................................... 19 2.9.3 Anarchy of the international system........................................................................ 19 2.9.4 Confined rationality................................................................................................. 20 2.9.5 Figure 3 – feedback in Neoclassical Realism.......................................................... 22 2.10 Concepts of Offensive and Neoclassical Realism ........................................................ 22Chapter 3 – Research questions, design and case .................................................................... 23 3.1 Methods of research ....................................................................................................... 23 3.2 Research questions ......................................................................................................... 23 3.2.1 Figure 4 – research design ....................................................................................... 24 3.3 The second best design ................................................................................................... 25 3.4 Methodological standards .............................................................................................. 26 3.5 Limitations of Neoclassical Realism .............................................................................. 27 3.6 Material .......................................................................................................................... 27 3.7 Methods .......................................................................................................................... 28 3.8 The Case: NATO cold-War War existence and expansion in Europe ........................... 29Chapter 4 – Analysis ................................................................................................................ 30 4.1 Analysis: NATO post-Cold War existence and expansion in Europe (question 1) ....... 30 4.2 Analysis: NATO post-Cold War existence and expansion in Europe (question 2) ....... 35 4.3 Analysis: NATO post-Cold War existence and expansion in Europe (question 3) ....... 40 4.3.1 A new raison d’état ................................................................................................. 41 4.3.2 New purpose - new expansion ................................................................................ 45Chapter 5 – Conclusions and final thoughts............................................................................. 50   3  
  4. 4. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011     5.1 Conclusions in summary ................................................................................................ 50 5.2 What then of Europe? ..................................................................................................... 51 5.3 Offensive Realism might be right, if Mearsheimer is wrong ......................................... 526. References ............................................................................................................................ 55 6.1 Books & articles ............................................................................................................. 55 6.2 Internet sources .............................................................................................................. 57   4  
  5. 5. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    Chapter 1 – Introduction, purpose and outline1.1 Power  as  the  driving  force  of  conflict    Political scientists have since the dawn of the first Greek city-states theorized and tried toexplain causes of inter-state conflicts and behaviour. The Greek historian Thucydides (460-395 BC) is by historical accounts the first person who sowed the seed of realist thought. In hisrecord of the Peloponnesian War he touches upon a number of core assumptions ofinternational relations theory, later developed during the centuries, for example when Athensbuilds city walls in fear of Spartas might, it might provoke a first strike response.1 Centralconcepts later developed into scientific building blocks, such as anarchy, relative power andbalancing are persistent as the backdrop of Thucydides historical narrative, in his attempt togauge why Athens and Sparta behaved like they did.Thucydides lasting legacy to the world was that he recognized power as a fundamentaldriving force of political relationships and conflicts. In his own words: “The strong do whatthey can and the weak suffer what they must”.2 This assumption is echoed in some of themost seminal works of political theory that followed. Thomas Hobbes who translatedThucydides History of the Peloponnesian War wrote Leviathan in the 17th century. Hobbestouches upon an insight and fact that is a cornerstone of international relations theory, namelythat beyond commonwealths there is no Leviathan, or in his words “no court of naturaljustice”.3 Therefore anarchy is a state of nature in international relations, and consequentlyactors need to provide their own security by gaining and maintaining power. This posits thesecurity dilemma. As power is in Hobbes view a relative concept, ones security is theinsecurity of another. This bleak fact of life in international relations makes it in his view, andin modern realist thought, necessary to gain more power than competing nations, i.e. tobalance power.One might of course ask why the study of a certain theory of International Relations has anyreal world relevance outside academia. It all boils down to the fact that armed conflicts seem                                                                                                                1 Clifford W. Brown, “Thucydides, Hobbes and the derivation of anarchy” in History of PoliticalThought Volume VIII, spring 19782 Thucydides. 1934 reissue. The Peloponnesian War (book V)3 Hobbes, Thomas. 2009 reissue. Leviathan   5  
  6. 6. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    to be an ever persistent and ever returning activity of human civilization. Professor ofarcheology, Lawrance H. Kelly claims that some 95 percent of all known societies haveengaged in warfare.4 Advancing knowledge of states decisions in foreign policy in large - andpertaining to warfare and organizations conductive to warfare and conflict management inparticular – thus has an undeniable scientific and societal relevance.Realism strength as theory rests on the fact that it draws from a rich history of politicalthought, from previously mentioned Thucydides and Hobbes, through Machiavelli andKjellén. These thinkers and political scientists could all be called purveyors of raison d’état,or reason of state - a doctrine of different maxims that are said to increase security of thestate, when followed in foreign affairs.5 By stripping away idealism, realism claims to showthe naked power structure of the world, i.e. the world as it ‘is’.Since Realism in large presents itself as an objective and amoral theoretical framework ofstatecraft, with very few independent and dependent variables, it should also be highlytestable by scientific method. What I found especially interesting is the recent sub-theory ofOffensive Realism, developed by John J. Mearsheimer in The Tragedy of Great PowerPolitics (2001). My interest in testing his theory stems in part from the fact that he explicitlydenies that domestic politics has any real influence on foreign policy – I find it instinctuallyunlikely that ‘all’ is determined by a states relative power. The theory is simply a bit tooreductionist for my liking. A basic premise of his theory is also that states are assumed to be,what cannot be called anything else than selfish. States look out for themselves first andalways.From this line of reasoning should follow that states do not enter and maintain, and especiallyexpand alliances when they are not threatened. But this seems to be the case, as the defensivealliance of NATO has more than doubled its membership base after the end of the Cold War.Why do mighty states like the U.S. agree to expand an alliance with new members thatrequire more protection than they contribute in collective security? It seems contradictory toMearsheimers theory. Can this possible contradiction be traced to a variable he explicitly                                                                                                                4 Keeley, H. Lawrance. 1996. War Before Civilization: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage5 Dunne, Tim & Schmidt, C. Brian. 2008. ”The timeless wisdom of Realism”, in The Globalization ofWorld Politics: 162   6  
  7. 7. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    denies to provide any explanatory power: For example domestic politics, a certain politician,or an ‘x-factor’ uncovered by his theory? To answer these questions is the aim of this thesis.1.2  Scope,  purpose  and  research  question  This master’s thesis is a qualitative case study. The purpose is as argued above to test theexplanatory power of the ‘Realistic’ theory called Offensive Realism as it is presented by itsoriginator, Mearsheimer in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001). I will do this bypitting it against a competing theory called Neoclassical Realism. The purpose of this thesis isto test Offensive Realism on the following questions: • Why does NATO continue to exist and expand post-Cold War with countries that require more protection than they contribute in collective security? • Is the continued existence, and post-Cold War expansion of NATO in Europe an anomaly of Mearsheimers Offensive Realism?If it indeed is to be regarded as an anomaly of the theory, I will move on to test if it did or didnot have negative consequences for the U.S. as Mearsheimer would assume (“negativeconsequences” being equal to not gaining as much power as they would have if they hadfollowed Offensive Realisms maxims). Finally, I will look for unit-level variables withexplanatory power, which is what Neoclassical Realism, as the alternate explanatory theorywould presuppose exist.6 In the section “method of research”, I will outline in detail theresearch design, discuss problems and strengths, and narrow down the questions to threetestable hypotheses.  1.3  General  outline                                                                                                                  6  A unit-level variable is a domestic or sub-domestic variable: It could be anything from an interestgroup, economic interests, foreign policy planners and their agendas, to domestic “events” such aspresidential elections. It is not a variable that necessarily is relative to another states, and assumed toinfluence foreign policy by its relative distribution between states. Gideon Rose for example identifiestwo typical unit-level variables in ”decision makers perspectives” and ”domestic decision makingprocesses”. Se  Rose, Gideon. 1998. “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy”, in WorldPolitics Vol. 51 no. 1     7  
  8. 8. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    This master’s thesis is structured into five main chapters. The sections above seeks to give thereader a very basic understanding of some of the salient characteristics of InternationalRelations theory, a brief overview it’s history, and introduce some core concepts of Realism,namely that of power and anarchy. I have also presented the purpose of this master’s thesis.In chapter two, on theory, I will familiarize the reader with Offensive Realism, DefensiveRealism and Neoclassical Realist thought, showing both it’s similarities and differences, togive the reader a theoretical understanding of the conflicting views on relevant explanatoryvariables and contested concepts.In chapter three, I will describe and discuss my method of research, the case, associatedmaterial and the demarcations of this thesis, given the case I have chosen. As described in“scope, purpose and research question” above I will argue as to why the case of NATO’spost-Cold War existence and expansion is suitable in testing Offensive Realism.In chapter four I will present my analysis, and it’s results. And finally in chapter five, I willdiscuss my conclusions, and final thoughts.Chapter 2 – Theories of Foreign Policy2.1  Offensive  Realism  The most hard-boiled power-centered theory of all within Realism is Offensive Realism. It isa beautifully simplistic theory, almost to a fault. Offensive Realism posits that the overridinggoal of each Great Power state is to maximize its share of world power, which will be at theexpense of other states power.7 Offensive Realism thus recognizes that power is a relativeconcept. Although all Great Powers, would like to be strongest of all, the ultimate goal is tobe the hegemon, the only Great Power in the system.82.2  Differences  and  likeness  with  Defensive  Realism      To narrow down the conceptual scope of the theory, we need to first look at its close relative,called Defensive Realism (or Neorealism). The basic assumption of Defensive Realism as                                                                                                                7 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 28  ibid     8  
  9. 9. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    Kenneth Waltz originally stated it, is that all states aim to survive. Therefore they seeksecurity, which usually equates with their current position. As he puts it: “The first concern ofstates is to maintain their position in the system”.9 Great Powers are inclined to gain power atthe expense of others, but Waltz emphasizes balance as a core concept. If states aggressivelyseek power, then other states will balance against them. Also, if they overstretch theirambition, gaining “to much” power, the balancing effect will leave them worse off than ifthey simply acted defensively.10 At Defensive Realisms core is thus the notion that theinternational system favors status quo, and consequently a defensive posture.Moving back to Offensive Realism and Mearsheimer, we begin to see what are the contestedconcepts between the two theories. Unlike Defensive Realism, Offensive Realism argues thatstatus quo is rare, because the international system creates incentives for states to try to gainmore power at the expense of others.11 The underlying conflict essentially boils down to thatDefensive Realism sees balancing as likely and successful, and Offensive Realism does not.They do however share one important feature: The structure (incentives) of the system is theindependent variable, i.e. the main explanatory variable as to why states compete for power.Both are essentially system-level theories, although Waltz’s theory recognizes that unit-levelvariables can have explanatory power.12 Mearsheimer on other hand rejects the notion thatdomestic politics matters, and that certain domestic political coalitions will be moreaggressive than others.13 Offensive Realism is fundamentally amoral, since it does notdistinguish between “good” and “bad” states, for example that a state that acts “nice” willgain good-will and be treated “nice” by others. States are instead analytically treated likebilliard balls of varying size, their movement being determined by outside pressure.14 InMearsheimers own words: “A purely realist interpretation of the Cold War, for example,allows for no meaningful difference in the motives behind American and Soviet behaviorduring the conflict”.152.3  Premises  of  Offensive  Realism                                                                                                                    9 Waltz, Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics: 12610 ibid: chapter 811 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 2112 Waltz, Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics: 9113 Rosecrance, Richard N. 2002. ”War and Peace”, review article in World Politics Vol. 55 No. 1: 14114 Mearsheimer, John J. 1994. ”The False Promise of International Institutions”, in InternationalSecurity Vol. 19 No. 3: 48  15 ibid: 48   9  
  10. 10. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    Since no great state is likely to achieve global hegemony, the world is, in the words ofMearsheimer “condemned to perpetual great-power competition”. From this follows thatGreat Powers are primed to exploit opportunities to alter the distribution of power in theirfavor, if they possess necessary capabilities.16 I.e. Great Powers are inclined to be offensive.17The underlying factual premise of these assumptions are threefold 1) the persistent fact thatthe world lacks a Leviathan, 2) the fact that states always possess some offensive militarycapabilities, and 3) the fact that states can never be certain of other states intentions.18While these three points are essentially uncontested, the interpretations of how this translatesinto state behavior is debated within IR theory and Realism in large, as shown briefly above,and as I will reveal in greater detail in following sections. Mearsheimer himself recognizesthis as he writes that Offensive Realism is both a descriptive and prescriptive (normative)theory: States should behave according to the maxims of Offensive Realism. But if the theorydescribes how states act, is there a need to prescribe how they should act? Mearsheimerconfesses that states sometimes act in contradiction to the theory (they are in his words“anomalies”), but this behavior “invariably has negative consequences”.19 I will return to thisstatement in the chapter three, as it is a theoretical weak point of the theory, and a point ofcritique.2.4  Assumptions  of  Offensive  Realism  To flesh out the central assumptions of Offensive Realism, we need to recapitulate andexpand the three previously mentioned points, and add two more.2.4.1  Anarchy  Common to all Realist theories is the assumption that the international system is anarchic.This is not a statement as to how rife the world is with conflict. Rather it is an “ordering                                                                                                                16 A great power is defined by Mearsheimer ”largely” on basis of relative military capability. Toqualify as a great power, a state must have sufficient military assets to put up a serious fight in an all-out conventional war against the worlds most powerful state. Se Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. TheTragedy of Great Power Politics: 517 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 318 ibid: 319 ibid: 12     10  
  11. 11. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    principle” stating that the international system is made up of sovereign states that have nocentral authority with monopoly of force or judiciary above them.202.4.2  Offensive  military  capability  All Great Powers possess some offensive military capability, giving them power to hurt oneanother. From this follows that states are potentially dangerous to each other. Countingnuclear arms as offensive weapons, then not only Great Powers - i.e. the U.S., Great Britain,France, Russia and China - possess offensive military capabilities, but also regional powerssuch as India, Pakistan, Israel and North-Korea.2.4.3  Uncertainty  Remembering the theoretical divide of Defensive and Offensive Realism on the explanatorypower of balancing, Offensive Realism posits that status quo and equilibrium is an illusion.While this assumption is contested, the factual premise it is based on holds true - historyshows us that all ‘empires’ one time or another have declined and fallen, either from internalstrife or external pressure. Add to this the assumption that any state lives in uncertainty as toother states intentions and capabilities.21 This is underlined not in the least by, also the factualpremise that it’s next to impossible to separate offensive military capability from defensive.This is increasingly the case as military tactics and military forces of both Great Powers andlesser powers become more mobile.2.4.4  The  goal  is  survival  Offensive Realism assumes that states primary goal is survival. That is to maintain itssovereignty, territorial integrity and autonomy of its domestic political order (laws, politicalsystem, order of society).22 At glance this seems to echo Defensive Realism assumption,which is also that states overarching goal is survival. To a point this is true, the differencebetween the two comes to how a state should act to survive. Offensive Realisms assumption iswell known: By offensively seeking more power at the expense of others.2.4.5  Great  powers  are  rational  actors  Offensive Realism assumes that states are not only aware of the ‘fact’ that the driving force ofstate behavior is the quest for power, to secure ones survival. It also assumes that states havethe ability to strategically weigh options and possible actions, pertaining to how other states                                                                                                                20 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 3021 Hall, John A. 2003. ”A Perpetual and Restless Desire of Power after Power”, review essay in TheCanadian Journal of Sociology Vol. 28 No. 4: 56522 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 31     11  
  12. 12. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    will react given their own preferences, and how the actions of those states will affect theirown strategy for survival.23In summary, according to Mearsheimer these five assumptions, anarchy, offensive militarycapability, uncertainty, survival, and rationality, result in certain patterns of behavior: 1) fear,2) self-help and 3) power maximization.242.5  Central  strategies  of  Offensive  Realism    I have displayed the central and underlying assumptions of Offensive Realism, as to how theinternational system is assumed to be ordered. To further understand how states are assumedto behave towards one another in the Offensive Realist framework, we need to also look atstrategies and options. They are as follows:2.5.1  War – The name of the strategy says it all: the use of military force to further ones goalof gaining more power, to gain more security. There is a scholarly debate as to if and to whatdegree war is a successful way of furthering the state agenda of gaining power. OffensiveRealism, in the vein of Mearsheimer, does not claim that war is always the best option, ratherhe makes the case that those claiming war almost always bankrupts the aggressor and leads tono concrete benefits are wrong. War has been, is, and is assumed to continue to be an optionpursued by Great Powers in some situations.252.5.2  Blackmail  – The strategy of threatening with the use of force. It is ceteris paribuspreferable to war, since it entails achieving ones goal without the material costs associatedwith war. However, it is unlikely to shift a power balance in any real terms, since GreatPowers also have great military strength. Therefore they are unlikely to cave in to threatswithout a fight. Mearsheimer claims that blackmail is more likely to work against minorpowers that have no Great Power ally.262.5.3  Bait  and  bleed – This strategy is employed to cause a conflict with two rival powers,while the ‘baiter’ remains unscathed with its military power intact. Mearsheimer makes the                                                                                                                23 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 3124 ibid: 3225 ibid: 148  26 ibid: 152   12  
  13. 13. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    claim that this strategy is rarely used; since the states being baited are likely to recognize thedanger of letting the baiter remain on the sidelines. There is also the danger of one of thestates actually win a quick victory, with the end result of them gaining rather than losingpower.27 One of the few concrete examples of this strategy being employed is the Al-Qaedaattack on the U.S. in 2001, where some sources claim that the implicit goal of the attack wasto tie up the U.S. military in a costly campaign in Afghanistan.282.5.4  Bloodletting – This is a refined variant of the ‘bait and bleed’ strategy. By making suretwo rivals are engaged in a long and costly conflict they drain each other’s resources, and indoing so involuntarily increase the relative power of the state that is on the sideline. There isno actual ‘baiting’ involved in this version, rather the two fighting states went to war for otherreasons, but the on-going conflict is fueled by a third party. Unlike the bait and bleed strategy,historical records show this strategy being explicitly deployed on numerous occasions.292.5.5  Balancing – This strategy entails a Great Power taking responsibility for preventing anaggressor from shifting the balance of power. The goal is to deter the aggressor, either withthe threat of force, or in worst case, the use of force. In Mearsheimers analytical framework,this strategy entails three sub-strategies: 1) Drawing the proverbial line in the sand bydiplomatic channels, 2) Creating a defensive alliance, so called “external balancing”, and 3)Pooling additional resources of their own, for example increasing military spending orimplementing conscription, so called “internal balancing”.302.5.6  Buck-­‐passing – Mearsheimer argues that this strategy is the preferred option tobalancing. A buck-passer attempts to shift the burden of deterring or possibly fighting theaggressor, while it remains unscathed. Ideally it looks for some other state that is alsothreatened by the aggressor to bear the burden of deterrence or possibly war. Like most otherstrategies displayed in this section, buck-passing has been used on several occasions duringthe 19th and 20th century.31                                                                                                                27 ibid: 15428 Atwan, Bari Abdel. 2006. The Secret History of Al Qaeda: 22129 During both World War I & II, for detailed examples, see: Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedyof Great Power Politics: 15430 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 157  31 ibid: 158   13  
  14. 14. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    2.6  Neoclassical  Realism  The latest branch on the tree of realist theory of international relations is the so-called schoolof Neoclassical Realism. It developed as a new school of thought in the early nineties, relatedto other forms of realist thought, but with its own defining characteristics. Although stillembryonic in some aspects, mostly in the sense that it is not as singular and simplistic in itsassumptions as Mearsheimers Offensive Realism, it has arguably proven to be a usefulanalytical framework in explaining certain state behavior and foreign policy outcomes.32Neoclassical Realism (henceforth “NCR”) shares the same bleak outlook on internationalrelations as Realism as a whole: The world is Hobbesian, lacks a leviathan and therefore ischaracterized by anarchy. From this follows that the most important determinant of statebehavior is the relative power relative to other states. From these two basic conceptions of themakeup of the international system flows all other analysis of state behavior. NCR opens updomestic variables that act as filters and feedback mechanisms between the primaryindependent variable, relative power, and the dependent variable of foreign policy:2.6.1  Figure  1  –  variables  in  Neoclassical  Realism   Relative  Power   Domestic   Foreign  Policy   (independent)   variables   (dependent)  A way of highlighting the different relevant variables in state action is the three “images”, ortheories, of Waltz. He differs between the first image of individual decision-makers, thesecond image of domestic politics, and the third image of international politics.33 There is noconsensus among defensive realist/neorealist scholars on precise mechanisms of third-image                                                                                                                32 See for example Fareed Zakaria. 1998. From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of AmericasWorld Role33 Waltz, Kenneth. 1959. Man, the State, and War: 159, 188   14  
  15. 15. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    factors in explaining foreign policy, and especially war. But the common view is thatinternational factors are the best starting points of analysis.In the view of NCR states are not unitary actors, but composed of networks of differinginterests. While this is factually self-evident, a defining characteristic of NCR is that itemphasizes and employs it in research. Sometimes in conflict and sometimes in alliancedifferent interests within the state shape foreign policy in the “wiggle room” that exists underthe systemic pressure of the international system and the premises of anarchy and relativepower.2.7  Key  players  within  the  state    A central assumption of NCR is thus the primacy of groups (unit-level variables) within thenation. S.E. Lobell has developed a framework of classification of influential groups within agiven state:2.7.1  Foreign  Policy  Executive  (FPE)  Composed of the state leaders that sit at the intersection of domestic and international politics.This group is the “sole authoritative foreign policy maker”, responsible for, and presumed tobe interested in preserving national security.34 They have a monopoly on intelligence onforeign countries, and have in their hand the reins of the states foreign policy. Thus, anypolicy shift must come from, be pushed through, or be convincing enough for the FPE tochange policy.2.7.2  Societal  Elites  Composed of socioeconomic leaders within the state, interested in maximizing their sectorseconomic welfare. Lobell differs between two broad societal coalitions, internationalists andnationalists. The coalitions form around shared (economic) interests. From these intereststheir outlook on foreign policy is shaped, Lobell quotes approvingly Peter Gourevich: “Whatpeople want depends on where they sit”.35These two ideal types do not presuppose that neither the FPE nor the Societal Elite groups areinternally coherent on preferred policy at all times. Worth noting is also the difference                                                                                                                34 Lobell, S.E. 2009. ”Threat assessment, the state, and foreign policy”, in Neoclassical Realism, TheState, And Foreign Policy: 5735 Quoted in Lobell, S.E. 2009. ”Threat assessment, the state, and foreign policy”, in NeoclassicalRealism, The State, And Foreign Policy: 58   15  
  16. 16. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    between the variables state power (tools of the government) and national power (publicsupport, shared beliefs and culture, etc). A government can in the views of NCR use statepower in foreign policy to influence a domestic goal concerning national power, for example“rallying at the flag”-type outcomes.There is no conflict between NCR and realism in large that in the long term, a state’s behaviorwill likely converge with predictions of its actions, following the given structural factors of itsexistence, i.e. it’s relative power.36 However, as shown above, NCR argues that to trulyunderstand foreign policy choices of a given state, not in the least in the short run, we need totake into account intra-state politics, and its relevant unit-level variables – vocal interestgroups, economic interests, foreign policy makers. In essence, pressure from the internationalsystem is filtered and mediated through unit-level variables that affect policy choices withinthe given room of action available to the state.372.8  Neoclassical  Realism  as  an  extension  of  Structural  Realism?    The question begs to be answered if NCR should be viewed, as Randall Schweller suggests,as a ‘theory of mistakes’. Schweller argues that “states rarely conform to realism’sassumptions of units as coherent actors. The closer the policymaking process and actual state-societal relations approximate a unitary actor, the more accurate realism’s predictions”.38 Thisconstitutes a “weak” form of NCR. As Waltz posits, states can do “any fool thing they want”,but they are likely to be rewarded for behavior that is in line with the structural pressure, andconsequently punished for behavior that isn’t.39 From this line of reasoning, one might likeBrian Rathbun argue that NCR is indeed an extension of structural realism.40 In essence, whenstate behavior conforms to structural pressure structural realism provides “enough” of anexplanation. When it does not, NCR comes into play.I would however argue that this line of reasoning sells out NCR cheap, given the fact thatNCR scholars like Zakaria are not occupied with explaining “mistakes”, but actually                                                                                                                36 Juneau, Thomas. 2010. Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 237 Loebell et al. 2009. Neoclassical Realism, The State, And Foreign Policy: 14138  Schweller, Randall. 2006. Unanswered Threats: Political Constraints on the Balance of Power.  39 Waltz, Kenneth. 2003. ”Evaluating Theories” in John A. Vasquez et al, eds, Realism and theBalance of Power: 4940 Rathbun, Brian. 1998. “A Rose by Any Other Name: Neoclassical Realism as the Logical andNecessary Extension of Structural Realism”, in Security Studies 17: 294-321   16  
  17. 17. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    anomalies that cannot be explained by other theories. Neither Zakaria nor Rose who coined‘Neoclassical Realism’ would agree with Rathbun, as their kind of NCR incorporates unit-level variables from the get go, not only when other realist theories fails in giving satisfactoryanswers.41 But as Juneau argues there is no real conflict between these at glance opposingviews of NCR, if we look at them simply as tools available for a given research problem:Which one we pick is but a question of the problem. The spectrums of research can be shownvisually:2.8.1  Figure  2  –  specificity  and  generalizability42   SpeciIicity   Rathbunian   Rosian   Generalizability  Rathbunian – ‘theory of mistakes’, Rosian – ‘foreign policy analysis’Any given NCR research program can move along these two spectrums. The more one movestowards specificity one, usually, loses in generalizability. Without positing a “straw man”,realism in its defensive and offensive forms, are theories of foreign policy occupied withforemost meta-factors: systemic explanations. NCR on the other hand leans towardsspecificity, thus losing some generalizability. While this can be a point of critique that NCRdoes not posits any “catch-all” theories, what you gain in specificity you lose in                                                                                                                41 Rose, Gideon. 1998. “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy”, in World Politics Vol.51 No. 1: 14642 Juneau, Thomas. 2010. Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 3   17  
  18. 18. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    generalizability in all social science. If not “grander” realist theories of IR can explain a givenoutcome of interest; it is moot point of critique of NCR.As B.O. Fordham argues, the loss of generalizability of NCR could actually be called a strongpoint of the theory. Structural realism (offensive and defensive) posits what is merelydifferent assumptions as to what behavior is rewarded by the power structure of theinternational system. They do not explain “why state X did Y on Thursday”. Given that therehave been cases of overly aggressive regimes, to “sucidally passive” ones, and everything inbetween, it seems reasonable to assume that a theory that claiming that all states share thesame priorities (be it security or relative power) is flawed.43 Fordham agues that the problemgets worse for theories that assume fixed preferences. As we try to explain narrower policychoices, where policy will vary to a larger degree than on broader questions, greaterexplanatory demands are made on theories that assume fixed preferences. Simultaneously thelikelihood of explanatory power lies in unit-level variables increases. As explained abovehowever, this is an ever-existent problem in social sciences, what you gain in specificity youloose in generalizability, and vice versa. But it does show the strength of NCR given the rightscope and research question.This is also a case against additive models that posit that domestic and international variablesare distinct and act as separate influences on policy, I.e. if system-level pressures cannotexplain a given outcome, then we simply add domestic and/or unit-level variables to explain“mistakes”. This points towards the theoretical weakness of system-level theories when itcomes to narrow policy choices.44 If we assume that state motives are not fixed and universalin the vein of either security of power maximization, but there is in fact “wiggle room”, itfollows that international considerations interact with domestic political processes, and wemust look at both.2.9  Assumptions  of  Neoclassical  Realism                                                                                                                    43 Fordham, B.O. 2009. ”The limits of neoclassical realism”, in Neoclassical Realism, The State andForeign Policy: 25544 Waltz for example excludes unit-level variables, but does not actually claim that system-levelvariables hold all explanatory power. Rather he argues his theory explains the constraints that confinestates. Also, Waltz argues that Defensive Realism is a theory of international politics, not foreignpolicy, since he argues that it is impossible to construct a viable theory of foreign policy. Se Waltz,Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics: 91 & Waltz, Kenneth. 1996. ”International Politics isNot Foreign Policy”, in Security Studies, 6: 54–57   18  
  19. 19. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    A predominant feature of NCR is its lack of ‘grand’ theorizing. Unlike other forms of realism,NCR does not approach a given research problem with the notion that regularities of foreignpolicy can be deduced from system level variables. While NCR is still an emerging school ofthought, with a wide variety of different methods of research, and indeed also a wide varietyof sub-theories of foreign policy, there still are a number of common features of NCR as awhole, beyond the notion of the importance of domestic variables in foreign policyoutcomes.452.9.1  Primacy  of  conflict  groups  Politics is a collective game of several actors, who have changing alliances, enemies andgoals. The fundamental unit of politics is the group, simply by the fact that politics is shapedin a setting, be it in a democracy or a dictatorship, where there by definition are severalparties of interest involved.46 The group can take on many forms, from the city-state, toempires, to the modern state. Within each political unit there are sub-groups, both within thestate, and on the international level where states form larger groups of interest. Thisassumption however, says nothing on the extent of the group at hand (be it a several stateswith a common agenda, or interests within the state) is and acts as a unitary actor.472.9.2  Primacy  of  power  As touched upon above, NCR, as all schools of realism, assumes that a states power – inessence its “place” (hierarchy) in the international system – is the primary determinant of statebehavior. This fundamental assumption is at realisms very core.48 Even though NCR places“power” at the start of the casual chain, NCR does not acknowledge that it in itself holds allexplanatory power of foreign policy. Also, unlike structural realism (Offensive andDefensive) NCR does not hold the view that states only and exclusively try to maximizepower and/or security.492.9.3  Anarchy  of  the  international  system  As all theories of international relations acknowledge, the international system differs fromstates in the sense that there is no overarching rule-of-law, and no leviathan. Liberalism in its                                                                                                                45 Se for example Loebell et al, 2009, Neoclassical Realism, The State, And Foreign Policy for anoverview of different sub-theories and methods of research within the paradigm of NCR.46  Gilpin, Robert G. 1996. ”No One Loves a Political Realist, in Frankel, ed., Realism: Restatementsand Renewal: 3-26. London: Frank Cass  47  Juneau, Thomas, 2010, Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 5  48  Rose, Gideon. 1998. ”Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy, in World Politics 51:144-172  49 Juneau, Thomas, 2010, Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 6   19  
  20. 20. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    different forms emphasizes that the prisoners dilemma can be overbridged by schemes thatare mutually beneficial for the parties involved. Realisms well-known outlook is more bleak:since there is no central authority, states operates in a structurally insecure environment,where in the end the only real guarantee of survival is the power of ones own state. The stateof perpetual anarchy promotes suspicion and uncertainty. International politics is in shortconflictual by nature, and as Waltz put it, “self-help is necessarily the principle of action”.50As a consequence, in realisms view, states are primarily interested in gaining, maintaining,and expanding security or power. NCR accepts that self-help is a default position of statebehavior – given the anarchy of the international system - and something states revert to whenneeded. But NCR introduces the notion that it is not a permanent and ever persistent goal.2.9.4  Confined  rationality  Accepting anarchy as a fact of life, states seek to maximize power in order to maximizesecurity, in a fundamentally insecure system. Since any other behavior will be punished in thesense that other states will gain power that will be, or can be, potentially detrimental to thestate that does not maximize power. NCR accepts this basic notion with some reservations.Given that much of state behavior is assumed to be “determined” by system level constraints,the room for rationality is limited. But as Zakaria argues, within the space of action that doesnot “force” states to maximize power there is room for choice and rational thought onweighing “risks, opportunities, costs and benefits”, where states can try to maximize othergoods, such as economically valuable goods.51 However, even though there exists room forrational contemplation by state leaders on other goals than strictly power maximization, NCRdoes not presuppose that states by definition act rationally within these confines.52A useful tool of understanding why states do not necessarily act rationally is themethodological tool of path dependency and the theory of historical institutionalism. It is aframework of high descriptive power. It is based on the notion of increasing returns, whichbreaks the “law” of diminishing returns in economics. Politics is a collective action game;therefore political decisions are dependent on expectations of other people’s political actionsand choices. Increased participation and investment of political capital can create increasing-return processes, making a movement path dependent. I.e. where outcomes are relatedstochastically to initial conditions. The given outcome in any given ‘run’ depends on, as                                                                                                                50 Waltz, Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics: 11151 Zakaria, Fareed. 1998. From Wealth to Power: 2052 Juneau, Thomas. 2010. Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 6   20  
  21. 21. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    Goldstone puts it “on the choices or outcomes of intermediate events between the initialconditions and the outcome”.53While this might seem self-evident at glance, coupled with the fact that politics unlikeeconomics lacks transparent signal systems when to “invest”, increase production or pull backproducts (i.e. revert or changes policies), it makes errors (non-rational behavior) hard to bothobserve and correct. Add to the mix that actors operating in such an environment tend to filterinformation into mental maps, guided by social interpretations of popular opinion, customs,norms and cultures, we begin to understand why politics is highly susceptible to pathdependent behavior.54 This highlights how fluent, imprecise and potentially hard “rational”state behavior can be. It also underscores the relevance of studying domestic variables whenresearching foreign policy decisions. NCR incorporates both path dependency and dynamicsin its analysis of domestic variables. Unlike structural realism, which posits that theindependent variable is the structure of the international system, where the main force ofpressure on states is the polarity of the world, NCR recognizes that there is a dynamicbetween structure and unit/state.55 To illustrate this concept, we need to modify Figure 1 asfollows:                                                                                                                53 Goldstone, quoted in Ma, Shun-Yun. 2007. “Political Science at the Edge of Chaos”, inInternational Political Science Review: 6454  Ma, Shun-Yun. 2007. “Political Science at the Edge of Chaos”, in International Political ScienceReview: 65  55 The biggest proponent of “Balance of Power” is Waltz’s strain of realist thought, where two centralconcepts are balancing, where one state seeks more power to counteract another, and bandwagoning,where one state tries to appease the threat. For further details on these concepts see Waltz, KennethN.1979. Theory of International Politics   21  
  22. 22. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    2.9.5  Figure  3  –  feedback  in  Neoclassical  Realism56                   Usable   Intervening   Foreign   power   variable(s)   Policy            2.10  Concepts  of  Offensive  and  Neoclassical  Realism  To further understand both the similarities and differences of Offensive Realism andNeoclassical Realism, I will conclude chapter two with a table that in summary showsconflicting and shared concepts of the two theories: Defining features Offensive Realism Neoclassical Realism Neo-positivist, post- Epistemology: Positivist behaviouralist process-tracing, qualitative text Methodology: analysis Path depencency, process-tracing High: Varying with the research Theoretical flexibility: Low: OR is a "complete" theory program Scope of theory Catch-all ambitions: Yes: "mistakes" are anomalies No: occupied with specificty Variables Independent variable: Relative position/power Relative position/power Intermediate variables: No: lack explanatory power Yes: unit-level/domestic                                                                                                                56  Juneau, Thomas. 2010. Neoclassical Realist Strategic Analysis: 11     22  
  23. 23. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011     Assumptions Anarchy: Yes Yes Uncertainty: Yes Yes States are rational: Yes Confined rationality Offensive military Accepted, but not explicitly capability: Yes covered by theory Always security through power- Security when needed, not Goal of the state: seeking necessarily by power  Chapter 3 – Research questions, design and case  3.1  Methods  of  research  By his own standard, the test of Offensive Realism in Mearsheimers view boils down to thefollowing criteria57: 1) The evidence must show that great powers (or a great power) look for opportunities to gain power and take advantage of them when they arise. 2) The evidence must show that great powers do not practice “self-denial” when they had the necessary means to shift the balance of power in their favor, and that the thirst for more power does not decline when the state has a lot of it. 3) Powerful states should seek regional hegemony whenever the possibility arises.3.2  Research  questions  Briefly recapitulating on Mearsheimers claims, he confesses that states sometimes act incontradiction to his theory – they are in his words anomalies. But he claims this kind ofbehavior invariably has negative consequences.58 From this it is possible to devise a step-by-step test of Offensive Realism. To this end, I will look at the period just after the end of theCold War, and the process that led up to the decision to both let NATO continue to exist andexpand (ca 1992 – 1999). The salient characteristics of this will be revealed in great detail inthe case section. The first research question I will try to answer is:                                                                                                                57 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 16858 ibid: 12   23  
  24. 24. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011     1. Is NATO’s continued existence and expansion to be considered an anomaly by the Offensive Realist standard of Mearsheimer?If so, I will try to answer the second research question: 2. Counterfactually test if the anomaly unexplained by Mearsheimers Offensive Realism had negative consequences in the given case.Finally, with Mearsheimers rebuttal of the explanatory power of intermediate variables inmind: 3. Try to determine if the anomaly can be traced to unit-level/domestic variables that act as intermediate variables between the independent variable, relative power, and the dependent variable of foreign policy.To highlight the logic behind this step-by-step approach, the research design can be shownvisually.3.2.1  Figure  4  –  research  design         NATO’s  post-­‐Cold  War     existence  and  expansion                   Consistent  with  country  –  two  cases   with   One   Consistent   being  an  anomaly?   Offensive  Realism?       Did  it  have  negative   Offensive  Realism   consequences?   strengthened     24  
  25. 25. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011     Can  the  outcomes  be  traced  to  unit-­‐level   variables?  Mearsheimer is the first in line to confess that his theory does not explain all, and that thereindeed are anomalies. Even if I am able to determine if this is the case, it will not falsifyOffensive Realism. But coupled with questions 2 and 3, I will be able to cast doubts onOffensive Realism on at least two accounts.First, I would be able to refute that an anomaly did in fact have negative consequences asMearsheimer claims it would have. Essentially showing that the U.S., even though they didnot behave as Offensive Realism predicts, their behavior was in line with their goals. If this isthe case it challenges the basic logic of Offensive Realism: States can in fact have goals, andstrategies to attain them, which are in contradiction to the ‘logic’ and pressures of the systemand still not suffer. In essence, this test challenges Mearsheimer structuralism.Second, if an anomaly can be traced to unit-level variables in line with the NCR theory it willcast a shadow on Offensive Realisms explanatory variables in the short run.3.3  The  second  best  design  A more robust research design, which I originally planned to employ, entailed testing mythree hypothesis on two cases - one most likely and one least likely. Ideally it would consistof one case during the Cold War and another post-Cold War. If I were to find that the mostlikely case of Offensive Realism was an anomaly, it would constitute a serious critique of thetheory, and also strengthen my least likely study. Due to constraints in time and the spaceavailable in a master’s thesis, but mostly my inability to find a suitable Cold War case close intime to my post-Cold War case, I chose to concentrate on one case. This is a weakness of myresearch design, but one I am aware of.   25  
  26. 26. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    3.4  Methodological  standards  Realism as a whole has a positivist view on ontology. In short, there is an objective world,and there are objective factors that influence state behavior, factors that can be objects ofresearch. Also, to a varying degree, depending on which branch of the realist tree we look at,regularities of state behavior can be deduced from variables previously mentioned in thetheory section. Since Offensive Realism puts so much weight on system level explanations,foreign policy is assumed to be rational responses to external factors. As previouslymentioned, unit-level variables does not come into play in the Offensive Realist framework.59Posit that NCR is ‘right’ in its emphasis on unit-level (intermediate) variables, if we are totruly understand the foreign policy choices of the U.S. – would this falsify OffensiveRealism? Not necessarily. The test of a given theory, in a positivist methodology, is not if thetheory is descriptive. It is rather if it gives good approximations. Mearsheimers own analogy,where states are ‘billiard balls’ moved by outside pressure, can be used as an illustrativeexample of positivist methodology60: A skilled billiard player can be described as just that,skilled. But if we want to explain his skill, we explain it by geometry, even though the billiardplayer is not, and cannot be described as a mathematician with a pen and paper at the table.Put differently, Offensive Realism might be off in its descriptions and assumptions of reality.But by the positivist standard, it is not a problem if competing theories (other realist theories,liberalism, constructivism, etc.) are more “realistic” in their descriptions of reality. The ‘real’test of a theory is if it provides good predictions.61Before delving into the case, and finally the analysis, results and conclusions in chapter 4, itneeds to be stated that it is possible that the case is not an anomaly by this methodologicalstandard – the state acted in fact in accordance to Offensive Realisms maxims. But if this is soit will not necessarily falsify the competing theory of NCR. Partly because a single casearguably does not constitute enough empirical support to falsify a theory, and also since it ispossible that the U.S. behaved in accordance to Offensive Realism’s maxims due to unit-level                                                                                                                59 see Chapter 2: 2.2 “Differences and likeness with Defensive Realism”60 Mearsheimer, John J. 1994. ”The False Promise of International Institutions”, in InternationalSecurity Vol. 19 No. 3: 4861 Friedman, Milton. 1966. Essays in Positive Economics: 15     26  
  27. 27. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    variables. Which theory is ‘right’ might in part boil down to level of abstraction andmethodological standards, in the sense that Offensive Realism description of relevantvariables might be wrong, but it still provides good approximations of foreign policy.Essentially, states might follow a whole different rationale than Offensive Realism, but it‘looks’ like they adhere to Offensive Realisms maxims.3.5  Limitations  of  Neoclassical  Realism    As noted previously, NCR is not a system-level theory. It does not explicitly challenge or triesto falsify Offensive Realisms core assumptions, as it acknowledges the primacy of relativepower in the system as the primary independent variable.62 Rather it challenges OffensiveRealism on one simple point: What are the relevant intermediate variables? If the scope ofNCR is not more ambitious than this, one might argue that it is more a methodological toolthan a competing explanatory theory, since it does not challenge Offensive Realism on it’sown level. I would agree with this to a point. However, criticizing the theory for not trying toexplain “all” is essentially a normative statement of how ambitious a theory ‘should’ be. It isnot a critique of the theory for failing empirical tests.Unlike Mearsheimer, NCR:s proponents are not trying to predict the future and givenormative recommendations on policy. Mearsheimer has ‘predicted’ a number of things notyet passed: The U.S. leaving Europe, the rise of China as a regional hegemon, a new powerstruggle between Germany/Russia, and The U.S./China, and the nuclear rearmament ofGermany.63 All of this might happen sometime in the future. But as Keynes put it: “the longrun is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead”. Thus, even ifNCR only modifies or deepens our knowledge of Offensive Realism by focusing onintermediate variables that are relevant in the short run, it has real world relevance. Eventhough it does not challenge Offensive Realism on the systemic level.3.6  Material  This case study will be based on historical first and second hand sources. Using historicalmaterial necessitates a certain caution. First, the source material must be authentic. Second,sources must be neutral. This criterion entails the necessity of confirmation; we preferably                                                                                                                62 Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 363 See for example Mearsheimer, John J. 1990. “Back to the Future”, in International Security Vol.15, No. 1 & Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: 392     27  
  28. 28. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    need more than one source. We need to take into account the ‘distance’ between the historianand the case; first hand sources are naturally preferable to second hand sources. The lastaspect of neutrality entails the storytellers or historians level of independence from the case.Third, simultaneity in all material – especially first hand sources - is preferable to later-dayaccounts. Last but not least, we must account for, and balance any tendency in source materialto distort actual sequence of events.64While all these factors are highly relevant to keep in mind. I will primarily use historicalsecond hand sources that are peer reviewed and published. The study is also helped by thefact that the cases is still very recent in history, and that some of the points I try to underpin,that are not analytical, are of a very factual nature: “X did Y on Z”, not requiring academicsupport per se. Part of my study’s source material is official statements, communiqués andspeeches delivered on the topic at hand. From a methodological perspective, the challenge isto put those kinds of sources in their correct context: why they were said, and how theyinfluenced events.3.7  Methods  The nature of my three research questions necessitates different methods for each. Question 1is theoretical in nature: My analysis is based on trying to determine the construct validity ofMearsheimers theory when it comes to NATO’s existence and expansion. It is essentially acomparison of how consistently the case adheres to theory.Question 2 is a counterfactual test. This entails trying to identify the dependent variable,counterfactually remove it, and by deductive reasoning try to determine if the sequence ofevents would have played out the same way. In a stringent methodological language is it a testof the value of the dependent variable if the explanatory variable would have assumed anothervalue. This test raises what is called “the fundamental problem of causal interference”.65Since we cannot replay history with all other variables “frozen” at their current value, we canin fact never know for sure. This is a problem of all social sciences occupied with                                                                                                                64 Esaiasson et al. 2005. Metodpraktikan: chapter 15 (swedish)65 King, Keohane & Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in QualitativeResearch: 79   28  
  29. 29. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    counterfactuals, but carefully choosing and arguing for why ‘this’ explanatory variable isrelevant to the outcome can to a degree mitigate it.66For question 3, I will use path dependency as my primary methodological tool. It is a separateframework from “synchronic causality”, where one tries to determine if variations in currentvariables effect current outcomes.67 Rather, path dependency traces the historical path of theoutcome in question. Two key points in this framework are sequence and timing. As thecasual chain is assumed to have several interconnected variables, where each step of the lineinfluences the variables ‘downstream’, “the same event may have different effects when in thesequence it occurs”.68 Another feature of path dependency are critical junctures, points in timewhere previous events allow for contingent choices that may set sequence of events on a pathdependent trajectory, subject to an increasing returns process.3.8  The  Case:  NATO  cold-­‐War  War  existence  and  expansion  in  Europe      NATO is short for (The) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental militaryalliance formed in 1949 by twelve western nations in Europe and North America. Theorganization rests on the North Atlantic Treaty, a document of fourteen articles codifyingrules of military cooperation and mutual defense. The most defining article is number five,which stipulates that “..the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them inEurope or North America shall be considered an attack against them all[..]”.69 The firstNATO secretary general, Lord Ismay, famously stated that the purpose of the organizationwas “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.70 Put less bluntly,the overarching goal of NATO was the defense of Western Europe from the Soviet Union(USSR) and the communist equivalent of NATO, The Warsaw Pact (The “Treaty ofFriendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance”). In Mearsheimers terminology, NATO isdefensive alliance, and as such an example of external balancing. During the Cold War, thetwelve founding member states were joined by four more European states in the fifties andeighties.                                                                                                                  66 Esaiasson et al. 2005. Metodpraktikan: 10067 Pierson, Paul. 2000. “Increasing Returns, Path Dependency and the Study of Politics”, in TheAmerican Political Science Review Vol. 94 no. 2: 263  68 ibid:  264  69 NATO – Official texts: The North Atlantic Treaty, April 4, 194970  Reynolds, David. 1994. The origins of the Cold War in Europe: International perspectives: 13     29  
  30. 30. Oscar  Sundevall     Masters  thesis       Spring  2011    The Warsaw Pact effectively ceased to exist in 1991 when then Czechoslovakia left theorganization after thirty-six years. The Soviet Union itself was declared officially dissolvedon December 25, 1991, ending the fifty-four year long Cold War. The dissolution of theSoviet Union removed the de facto opponent of NATO and its raison detre.Contrary to what was predicted, NATO was not dissolved soon thereafter.71 Rather theopposite, as the organization has expanded substantially post-Cold War. Three former Sovietblock countries joined in 1999, another seven in 2004, and two in 2009.72 The organizationhas more than doubled its membership base, from twelve to twenty-eight states - the majorityof which joined after the end of the Cold War. Another four former Soviet block countries areaffiliated with NATO, and are in various stages of attaining memberships.73 The de-facto“border” of NATO is now shared with Russia proper, Belarus and The Ukraine.Lord Ismay would have been proud of his organization in hindsight. It not only succeeded inkeeping “the Russians out”, it expanded on its territory. But like many others he would alsoprobably be perplexed by its continued existence and the expansion eastward after theorganization lost its raison detre – to balance the Warsaw Pact. The question that begs to beanswered is if this expansion is an anomaly of Offensive Realism.  Chapter 4 – Analysis  4.1  Analysis:  NATO  post-­‐Cold  War  existence  and  expansion  in  Europe  (question  1)   1. Is NATO’s continued existence and expansion to be considered an anomaly by the Offensive Realist standard of Mearsheimer?The short answer is a ‘yes’. To reveal why this is the case, we first need to keep in mind twothings: First, Offensive Realism assumes that the primary goal of all action is to further onesown security. Second, the fact that the United States possesses without a par the world’s most                                                                                                                71 See for example Mearsheimer. 1990. “Back to the Future”, in International Security vol. 15 No. 1: 572 1999: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland. 2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania,Slovakia, Slovenia. 2009: Albania, Croatia73 Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina all have a Membership Action Plan (MAP),the pre-stage of membership, and Georgia is a part of the so called ”Intensified Dialogue”   30  

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