Torbjørn L. Knutsen
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Global politics
The end of International Relations?
in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
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The terrorist attack on New York and Washington on 11. September 2001, challenged the post-Cold War, neo-idealist attitudes of the USA and its Western allies. The attack was planned and executed by Islamic extremists who resented the intrusion of Judeo-Christian powers in their holy lands. The 9-11 terrorist attack caused the USA to launch a retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan and, later, Iraq. Both invasions led to unmanageable open-ended war. They stimulated the rise of Islamist radicalism which in turn alerted the Western world to new security challenges in an oil-dependent, rapidly changing world. This chapter addresses some of the forces of change and some of the new theories that purported to account for the new situation in the post-Cold War world. Some of the new theories started out as reactions against the structuralist approaches that had been developed by the previous generation of scholars. The new, post-structuralist theories regularly drew on sociological and anthropological approaches which portrayed international relations in terms of culture and patterns produced through processes of social interaction.

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