PTJ and Dan pick up where they left off – on Chapter 5 of Arnold Wolfers’ Discord and Collaboration. There’s a lot going on, including a discussion of revisionism, the question of whether “friendship” is possible in world politics, and the distinction between “power” and “influence.” They cover classic essays on, for example, the balance of power and “‘National Security’ as an Ambiguous Symbol.” They ask if Wolfers offers an alternative vision of the study of realpolitik… and if that vision is still relevant more than fifty years later.
Arnold Wolfers is one of the most important figures of “mainstream” mid-20th century international-relations theory, but is now mostly cited for his definition of “revisionism” and for perhaps his most famous essay, “‘National Security’ as an Ambiguous Symbol.” Discord and Collaboration (1962) collects previously published essays and intersperses them with new ones that are aimed at making the collection more cohesive. It covers a variety of issues that remain subjects of debate in the field, such as state-centrism. Patrick and Dan discuss its arguments, the events that drive some of its analysis, and how it slots into later debates in IR theory, such as the “False Promise” dispute covered in the prior two episodes.
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