An unintended and unfortunate consequence of the debate aboutneorealism is that neorealism and a large part of its critique (withthe notable exception of the English School) has been expressed in abstractscientific and philosophical terms. This has made the theory ofinternational politics almost inaccessible to a layperson and hasdivided the discipline of international relations into incompatibleparts. Whereas classical realism was a theory aimed at supportingdiplomatic practice and providing a guide to be followed by thoseseeking to understand and deal with potential threats, today’stheories, concerned with various grand pictures and projects, areill-suited to perform this task. This is perhaps the main reason whythere has been a renewed interest in classicalrealism, and particularly in the ideas of Morgenthau. Rather thanbeing seen as an obsolete form of pre-scientific realist thought,superseded by neorealist theory, his thinking is now considered to bemore complex and of greater contemporary relevance than wasearlier recognized (Williams 2007, 1–9). It fits uneasily in theorthodox picture of realism he is usually associated with.


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