Arms races and revolutions
Systems and structures in an age of upheaval
in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
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The Cuban Missile Crisis was a turning point in the Cold War. On the one hand, the crisis convinced the two superpowers of the necessity to establish diplomatic relations and regulate their nuclear arms race. On the other hand, the superpower competition for influence in the Third World increased, as the USSR began to support rebel movements which opposed the colonial domination of Western powers and fought to obtain self-rule and sovereign status for their nations. During the 1960s, national liberation-movements in Africa and Asia introduced radical, anti-capitalist arguments to scholarly IR. Not only did the number of theoretical traditions increased from two to three – in addition to Realism and Rationalism, there emerged a radical, revolutionary tradition; this revolutionary tradition, based on the anti-capitalist political economy of Marx and Lenin, gained an enormous influence. This chapter examines the way in which the new logic of structuralism affected and altered IR theory. In particular it traces the impact of structural analysis during the 1970s by discussing the very different theories of Immanuel Wallerstein, Kenneth Waltz and Hedley Bull.


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