The Security Dilemma

Written by Jae Hyun Jung

Security issues are among the most contested and profound in the study of political science. At the centre of this problem lies on how to save people from a possible danger and threat in the international system and increase the well-being of citizens. Although the solution of the question can be pursued from different political theories, the realistic point of view, in which a state has to protect its citizens from external threats, is the most reliable and also reasonable approach to security dilemma (Nilsson, 2012: 470). This essay, therefore, will mainly deal with the realistic ideas on security dilemma coping with those of liberalistic views. Firstly, it will briefly explain about realist perspective on security dilemma, and the example of Cuban Missile Crisis to support the needlessness of treaties of different nations followed by the inappropriateness of liberal views on collective security (Morgenthau, 2006: 435).

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Are the Recent Developments of China’s Diplomatic Activities Fulfilling Its Contender State Status?

Written by Guan Huang


This essay seeks to understand the correlations between some of the new developments in China’s recent diplomatic activities and the fact of it being a contender state, and tries to argue that these developments conducted under the foreign policies of the said country are in fact a direct reflection of it’s contender status because first of all, in order to contend and compete with its well-established Western rivals, China turned to market economy and took on some capitalist principles and ever since then, started the interplay between state and economy in a capitalist manner, and such a transition manifests not only on a domestic state level, but also shown the country’s recent foreign outreach, that is to expand it’s economic territory in the world market; second, being a contender state, translating its political power into economic power and further the power in the International System secures China’s contender status and furthers its interests, and lastly, politically speaking, China tries to maintain its contender status rather than eventually falls down to the “slippery slope” like all other previous contender states did in history by introducing new rules in global political economy.

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Bringing Structural Realism Back: A Critique to Wendt’s (1992) ‘Anarchy is What State Make of It’

Written by Victoria Dittmar. Bisconia published a video conversation on this topic, you can watch it here.


Alexander Wendt wrote in 1992 his well-known essay ‘Anarchy is what states make of it’, where he criticised rationalist theories, especially structural realism, and their assumption of anarchy. This paper will criticise Wendt’s arguments back from a structural realist perspective, concentrating on the work of Kenneth Waltz in Theory of International Politics (1979). It is going to be argued that structural realists disagree with Wendt’s constructivist position because anarchy is inevitably a self-help arena and not what states make of it.

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Is Realism Morally Defensible?

Written by Guan Huang


This essay will look into the moral defensibility of political realism as an International Relations theory and seek to argue that classical realism is morally defensible in that although most classical realists repel the idea of moral universalism (Diez et al, 2011 and Dunne and Schmidt, 2014), the notion of morality is genuinely included in the classical realist thinking and the literatures, which makes the classical realist thinking morally accountable, and the ultimate duties of a state, according to realism, is to defend the survival and perform raison d’état, while the relatively new genre of realism, neorealism or structural realism, is less morally defensible because “morality” is excluded in the thinking and such exclusion has alienated the thinking in the discussion of morality and has made defending structural realism irrelevant, therefore impossible.

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Is International Foreign Policy Today Characterised by a New Cold War?

Written by Matthew Cella


It is a fact of history that powers rise, fall, and are replaced, this cycle can create tension between existing and rising powers usually resulting in hostilities. The Cold War of 1947-1991 between the two great powers of the United States of America (USA) and Soviet Union/USSR (of which Russia was the driving force) dominated the foreign policy of countries around the globe, while it could be considered that such foreign policy along such distinct geopolitical lines are a thing of the past, there are arguments amongst academics and commentators, some state this is no longer the case while others argue that there is no such war emerging and that using terminology like ‘cold war’ is no longer relevant or useful. This essay shall examine the foreign policy of the various state actors involved, namely the USA, Russia, China, and parts of the rest of the world. This essay shall demonstrate that on the surface the world may look like it is heading towards a new Cold War but once events, posturing, and policies have been examined closer the argument is not so clear cut but rather the resounding conclusion is that there is not a ’new Cold War’ and that to constantly use such terminology is outdated and unhelpful.

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