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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Realism casts a long shadow over International Political Theory. For many scholars, especially those working on global justice, it is a pernicious foe that needs vanquishing to secure political and theoretical progress. For its advocates, especially in International Relations, it serves as a blunt reminder of the limits of morality in international affairs. However, realism is a shape-shifting body of thought compatible with assorted ethical and political orientations. This chapter discusses some challenges that realism poses, but also challenges that realism itself faces. It opens with a discussion of how realists can contribute to debates over feasibility constraints, before challenging three common myths about realism—that it is amoral, state-centric, and conservative—and concludes with a discussion of liberal realism, understood as an international variant of the liberalism of fear.

Keywords: realism, liberalism, power, feasibility, state, morality

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