You are here

International Politics

International Politics
Classic and Contemporary Readings

Second Edition
Edited by:

January 2021 | 456 pages | CQ Press
Why do states do what they do?  Who are the relevant nonstate actors in international politics and why do they do what they do?  What causes conflict and cooperation in the international system? These are some of the most basic questions that the discipline of International Relations (IR) seeks to answer; they are also the questions that drive the objectives, organization and content of this book.

International Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Second Edition seeks to help students engage critically with some of the world’s most challenging questions through the use of leading classic and contemporary scholarship in the field of international relations. The book's four main parts—theoretical traditions, war and peace, international political economy, and emerging issues—mirror how the international relations course is taught and make the book easy to use as a standalone text or alongside a core text. Class-tested on over 10,000 students in the last decade, this text was built from the ground up to introduce students to the traditions and new foundations of international relations as well to the principles of intellectually rigorous thought.

Chapter 1 - The Science of Politics
International Relations: One World, Many Theories

Stephen Walt
Leaving Theory Behind

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis

Kenneth Waltz
Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Graham Allison
Chapter 2 - Realism
A Realist Theory of International Politics

Hans Morgenthau
The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory

Kenneth Waltz
Anarchy and the Struggle for Power

John Mearsheimer
Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power

Stephen Walt
The Melian Dialogue

Chapter 3 - Liberalism
The Liberal Tradition and International Relations

Scott Silverstone
International Institutions: Can Interdependence Work?

Robert Keohane
The Great Illusion

Norman Angell
The Rise of the Trading State

Richard Rosecrance
Economic Interdependence and War: A Theory of Trade Expectations

Dale Copeland
Democracy, War, and Expansion

Bruce Russett
Democratization and War

Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder
Chapter 4 - Constructivism

Ian Hurd
Stigmatizing the Bomb

Nina Tannenwald
International Norm Dynamics and Political Change

Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink
The Violence of Illusion

Amartya Sen
NSC 68: A Report to the National Security Council on United States Objectives and Programs for National Security

United States Government
Chapter 5 - Alternative Approaches in International Relations Theory
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin,
Dependence Theory: Concepts, Classifications, and Criticisms

Namkook Young
Feminism Meets International Relations

Diana Thorburn
The Positivist Study of Gender and International Relations

Dan Reiter
Why Race Matters in International Relations

Kelebogile Zvobgo and Meredith Loken
Chapter 6 - International Security
Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma

Robert Jervis
Shifting Power and the Preventive War Option

Scott Silverstone
The Diplomacy of Violence

Thomas Schelling
Why Iran Should Get the Bomb

Kenneth Waltz
More Will Be Worse: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons

Scott Sagan
Exploring the Bargaining Model of War

Dan Reiter
Understanding Civil War

Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis
Transnational Dimensions of Civil War

Kristian Gleditsch
Structural Causes of Oppositional Political Terrorism

Ross, Jeffrey
Chapter 7 - International Political Economy
What You Should Know About Globalization and the World Trade Organization

Alan Deardorff and Robert Stern
State Power and the Structure of International Trade

Stephen Krasner
Votes and Vetoes: The Political Determinants of Commercial Openness

Witold Henisz and Edward Mansfield
The Free Trade Paradox: The Bad Politics of a Good Idea

Alan Blinder
Why Globalization Stalled and How to Restart It

Fred Hu and Michael Spence
The Use and Misuse of Economic Statecraft

Jacob Lew and Richard Nephew
Chapter 8 - Contemporary Challenges in International Relations
Beyond the Failed State: Toward Conceptual Alternatives

Charles Call
Failed States in a World of Terror”

Robert Rotberg
Warming World: Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else

Joshua Busby
Report on Effects of a Changing Climate

U.S. Department of Defense
How the U.S. Can Play Cyber Offense - Deterrence Isn’t Enough

Michael Sulmeyer
Will the Liberal Order Survive? The History of an Idea

Joseph Nye
America and the Geopolitics of Upheaval

Hal Brands and Eric Edelman
Key features


This edition has been shortened to eight thematic chapters, making it ideal for teaching a 16-week semester, a 12- or 13-week trimester, or a 10- or 11-week quarter.
Original readings have been trimmed in order to illuminate and clarify the key ideas that are difficult for undergrads to uncover.
New readings have been added to illustrate ongoing debates and contemporary challenges in the field of IR, such as:

  • Democracy, War, and Expansion Through Historical Lenses by Bruce Russett
  • Imperialism, the Highest State of Capitalism by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
  • Dependency Theory by Young Namkoong
  • Feminism Meets International Relations by Diana Thorburn
  • The Positivist Study of Gender and International Relations by Dan Reiter
  • Why Race Matters in International Relations by Kelebogile Zvobgo and Meredith Loken
  • Understanding Civil War by Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis
  • Transnational Dimensions of Civil War by Kristian Skrede Gleditsch
  • Structural Causes of Oppositional Political Terrorism by Jeffrey Ian Ross
  • Beyond the ‘Failed State’ by Charles T. Call
  • Well-edited selections introduce the reader to the "heart" of the debate, without any loss of important context or content.
  • Each part features selections that are specifically focused on ethical issues, challenging students to engage in debates about major world dilemmas.
  • Substantial section introductions give the historical and scholarly context for each of the readings and help put the selections into conversation with one another.
  • Lists of discussion questions at the end of each of the parts provide grounding for in-class discussion and debate.

Preview this book

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781544383057