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Theory and International Politics: Conversation with Kenneth N. Waltz, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Columbia University; February 10, 2003, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversations with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Kenneth Waltz, who was the Ford Professor of Political Science at Berkeley. He also taught at Swarthmore and Brandeis, and now is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Professor Waltz is a former President of the American Political Science Association and a recipient of its James Madison Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Political Science. He's the author of numerous books including Man, the State, and War; Theory of International Politics; Foreign Policy and Democratic Politics; and, co-authored with Scott Sagan, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons.

  1. Background ... education ... learning grammar ... economics ... literature and philosophy ... influence of the Lewises ... influence of economic theory
  2. Being a Political Theorist ... two kinds of theorists ... studying philosophy of science ... identifying a field of study ... example of economics and the physiocrats ... arguement against international politics as a field ... evaluating usefulness of a theory ... what a theory does ... examining causal factors ... explanation, not necessarily prediction
  3. A Theory of International Politics ... Man, the State, and War ... relevance of philosophy of science literature ... anarchy as organizing principle ... unequal distribution of capability ... changing the number of great power actors
  4. The Idea of Structure in International Relations Theory ... state interrelations vary ... unipolar world: globalization or Americanization? ... controversial view of bipolar world
  5. A Unipolar World ... unsurprising collapse of the Soviet Union ... China's perception of Soviet power ... danger of unchecked power
  6. Deterrence and Rogues ... links among rogue regimes ... Bush doctrine of preemption ... preemption vs. prevention ... Iraq and weapons ... rogues are survivors ... unlikelihood of Iraq losing control of nuclear weapons ... deterrence works against states ... nuclear vs. chemical or biological weapons ... deterrence and nonstate terrorists ... preventing nuclear terrorism ... North Korea
  7. Conclusion ... preparing for the future

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