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The Theory of International Relations: Hans J. Morgenthau and His Critics Author(s): Ghazi A. R.
The Theory of International Relations: Hans J. Morgenthau and His Critics Author(s): Ghazi A. R.

The Theory of International Relations: Hans J. Morgenthau and His Critics Author(s): Ghazi A. R. Algosaibi Source: Background, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Feb., 1965), pp. 221-256 Published by: Wiley on behalf of The International Studies Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3013729 Accessed: 23-08-2015 13:01 UTC

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Background.

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THE

THEORY

OF

INTERNATIONAL

HANS

J.

MORGENTHAU

AND

Ghazi

A.

R.

Algosaibi

School of InternationalRelations

The University of SouthernCalifornia

The

decade

"

etical'

of

been

acquiring

international

more

drawing

the

study

a

burst

(Fox,

engaged

a new

of

of

1959,

international

activity

p.

last

relations

"which

This

in

twenty

It

is

the

33).

process

soul-searching

for

the

sophistication.

who

more

of

all

relationists

resources

p.

329).

model-building,

on

the

1958,

(Boulding,

if

It

the

seems

present

that

this

trends

concern

are

to

developments,

theory-oriented

importance.

RELATIONS:

HIS

has

CRITICS

experienced

in

labelled

is

one

the

the

field

the

field

the

mood

and

last

unambiguously

which

years.

with

scholars

It

a clear

the

crying

sciences

of

theory

as

will

is

concern

'theor?

aspect

have

theory

in

is

reflection

need

a sign

more

is

an

life,

here

that

of

"for

man,

to

is

of

feel

quantification,

more

integrated

of

theory,

study

society"

Indeed,

future

grow

in

with

be

stay.

and

taken

indication

increase

writings

It

is

a

theoretical

about

theory

logical

efforts

has

task

the

provided.

in

for

light

students

of

the

the

insights

in

field

that

to

recent

examine

past

theorizing

We

greater

to

p. xii).

have

a more

been

theoretical

theorizing

all

the

time.

The

need

is

for

us

(Fox,

to gain

our theories

1959,

self-awareness

so that we can subject

critical

analysis

sustained

and

of

penetrating

International

Morgenthau's

Concept

Relations

Theory

Hans

scholars

occupied

J.

in the

the

years

assert

politics

his

.

.

."

that

is

critics*

"in

a

.

.

."

Morgenthau

field

center

(Hoffman,

is

among

the

relations.

most

influential

His

theory

during

goes

of

American

"has

the

so

last

as

ten

to

far

international

and

been

of

of

of

international

the

1961,

years

scene

p.

much

in

423).

of

this

One

the

explicit

or

1959a,

not,

p.

country

writer

literature

between

222).

Few

recent

dialogue,

'Morgenthau

efforts

have

(Thompson,

221

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made

however.

to

bring

The

together

present

Morgenthau

study

is

conceived

and

as

his

an

critics

effort

to

in

one

fill

this

place,

gap.

The

world

paper

but

does

is

not

concern

only

upon

follow.

critiques

itself

his

with

theory

Morengthau's

all

of

of

Morgenthau's

writings,

tions.

on

not

those

remain outside

of

his

far

considered.

focused

international

rela?

Three

limitations

and

Second,

his

foreign

scope.

the

and

upon

First,

of

commentaries

affairs

the

American

specific

and

foreign

policy

are

arguments?such

as

balance

of

power?

discussions

treated

example,

only

inso-

relations.

Man

to

vs.

be

Power

of

vital

first

its

appeared

theoreti?

Morgenthau's

aid,

Third,

field

his

his

alliances,

concerning

the

theoretical

relations?for

Morgenthau's

of

views

theory

international

of

only

Nations,

second

three

The

in

matters

theory

beyond

of

ethics

bear

science?are

international

Scientific

of

two,

have

book,

editions.

proved

which

as

they

Of

Politics

importance

in

Morgenthau's

and

has

Politics

to

the

been

books

Among

study.

published

1948,

However,

cal

the

positions

reader,

the

study.

With

of

most

remained

the

respect

third

to

facilitating

collections

valuable.

almost

the

same.

To

facilitate

references

employed

the

to

in

Politics

for

in

same

is

edition,

the

latest,

was

the

one

Morgenthau's

essays

and

articles,

reference

caused

the

writer

of

articles,

previously

published

The

Decline

of

Democratic

purpose

Morgenthau's cals. Of these collections,

the

employ

periodi-

Morgenthau's

concept

of

international

relations

theory

is

based

upon

two

general

first, that for theoretical purposes international

assumptions:

relations

of

theory

is

inter?

of

identical with international

national politics is but a specific instance of a general politics (Morgenthau, 1959, p. 15).

politics;

second,

that

a theory

A

theory

of

international

relations,

according

to

Morgenthau,

is

ena,

less

effort,

element

could

a

theory

of

international

of

politics.

relations,

like

sociological

is

general

system,

relations.

the

as

to

in

As

a totality

of

social

phenom?

no

international

than

a general

short

of

be

as

domestic

to

is

Theories

relations,

explain

to

it.

focus

of

requires

system

Any

upon

theoretical

t h e o r e t i c a l

a

specific

relations

a

international

bound

international

of

period

importance.

numerous

adds,

intellectual

that

a

assume

interests

particular

theoreticians.

of

history,

Morgenthau

one

however,

likely

perspective

primary

222

Background,

Vol

8, No.

4

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most

Today

international

The

in

concerned,

thau, 1962c,

institutions

relations

of

far

politics

so

in

needs

only

p. 125).

and

because

students

of

all

have

turned

in

in

to

nations

the

world

fact

study

as well

of

politics.

as

areas are

their

other

interest

interests,

primacy

thought,

over

as the

relations

among to be recognized

and

to be mentioned

(Morgen?

Consequently,

perspectives

international

The

politics,

and

theory

international

becomes

politics

focus

takes

precedence

theoretical

over

other

to

that

and

the

of

from

is the

any

that

approach

belief

relations.

second

being

assumption

for

The

a theory

stems

power,

issues

of

Morgenthau's same in both international

a

general

politics:

political

a struggle

spheres.

domestic

also

confront

confront

international

.

intel?

lectual and political functions

from

the nature of general political theory and the functions which such theories have performed since the beginning of history (Morgen? thau, 1962d, p. 77).

performs

.

.

the

nature

and

of

ought

a theory

to

of

international

a

theory

are not

of

in

relations

and

the

international

essence

relations

perform

different

However,

takes

place

is

the

environment

different

from

within

which

the

environment

international

of

domestic

politics

politics.

What sets international

the

fact that its strength?political, moral, social?is concentrated in its

members, its own weakness

society

apart

the

from

other

societies

of

that

is

being

reflection

strength

(Morgenthau,

1959,

p. 23).

A theory

peculiarities

of

the

of

of

politics

to

distinctive

international

subject

relations,

In

scene,

then,

applying

it

politics.

must

the

account

general

modify

for

the

its

the

quality

matter.

international

principles

them

to

fit

international

of

must

Morgenthau

international,

suggests

needs

a central

that

a

concept.

theory

of

politics,

domestic

or

For

as power

politics

a

general

serves

must

be

theory

as the

of

central

politics,

on

as

focus,

the

it

that

the

concept

of

interest

of

defined

while

concept

a theory

of

international

focused

that

the

national

interest

introducing

power

power

relations

that

distinguishes

(Morgenthau,

However,

central

a

political

1962f,

p. 79).

not

serves

Morgenthau

does

Power

makes

mean

clear

only

as

concept

action.

control

politics

a criterion

223

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from

outline

1959,

other

p.

of

17).

spheres.

politics,

Furthermore,

a

map

of

the

it

"provides

political

a

scene"

kind

of

rational

(Morgenthau,
(Morgenthau,

(Morgenthau,

Theory,

standing.

unconnected

mary

instances

task

according

to

Morgenthau,

must

serve

as

It

is

of

must

".

.

.

.

.

bring

."

the

order

and

meaning

1962d,

material

"to

general

(Morgenthau,

facts

.

of

.

."

reduce

experiences

(Morgenthau,

propositions

a tool

into

a

p.

to

72).

mere

1959,

of

under?

mass

of

Its

specific

20).

p.

pri?

 

While

serving

as

an

"ideal

for

action."

can

show

the

shortest

thau,

the

1959,

following

p.

18).

way:

a

guide

to

It

and

presents

safest

as

Theory,

understanding,

a

road

an

map

of

the

to

a given

"ideal

for

theory

political

objective

action,"

can

also

scene

be

that

(Morgen?

operates

in

say that

we

.

vide

choices.

the

another

likely

1962d,

.

.

can

the

foreign

a theory

of

conditions

and

be

American

.

likely

and

to

. What

the

occur

.

consequences

pp. 69-70).

situations

policy

with

of

in Laos,

a

limited

Cuba,

and

Berlin

of

is

pro?

is

number

relations

rational

state

against

more

international

one

which

than

can

as over

choosing

under

successful

alternative

one

the

alternative

other

(Morgenthau,

In

addition,

that

can

be

by

Morgenthau

a

of

discusses

four

different

can

the

practical

perform.

decisions

coherent

of

function

foreign

of

the

to

for

of

sound

comply

a

new

func?

First,

tions

theory

policy-makers.

thought

may

tual

ciples

them.1

national

a

provide

theory

international

relations

for

a

theoretical

theory

standards

theory

reminds

and

can

justification

can

the

can

the

points

"prepare

develop

of

system

the

of

policy

intellec?

prin?

with

inter?

Second,

whose

actual

perform

conduct

the

policy-makers

out

their

the

1962d,

judged.

foreign

Fourth,

order

.

.

Third,

which

policy

theory

."

conscience

of

failure

ground

p.

75).

(Morgenthau,

Morgenthau

warns

"blueprint

is

obviate

limited

the

for

by

political

very

the

possibility

The

most

formidable

against

action"

employing

(Morgenthau,

political

1962h,

theory

p.

1).

as

Theory

nature

of

of

politics

facing

whose

contingent

inquiry

theoretical

difficulty

understanding.

a theoretical

elements

into

the

a

1To illustrate these three functions,

personal experience

trons of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy.

Morgenthau

of

(1962d,

as a theoretician

international

relations

pp.

73-75)

with

224

Background,

refers to his the administra-

Vol

8, No.

4

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nature

material

try

On

of

the

and

with

ways

of

international

the

politics

hand,

is

the

ambiguity

events

of

he

.

the

must

which

observer

the

one

has

are similar,

is

where

to deal.

unique

line

to

The

be

1960a,

to

understand

are

on

hand,

they

.

the

.

.

But

.

for they are the manifestations

the

occurrences.

drawn

p.

.

the other

sociai

forces.

and

between

18).

similar

unique?

(Morgenthau,

Morgenthau

be

satisfied

tobecorrect"

answers

that

here

"we

can

which

with

a series

of

hunches

(Morgenthau,

1959,

p. 20).

only

play

may

or

by

may

ear

not

and

turn

must

out

Following

endeavors

propositions

65).

have

his

"to

Theory

surprises

knowledge

this

reduce

a

cannot

line

of

thought,

Morgenthau

relations

to

attacks

system

theoretical

of

abstract

1962d,

p.

affairs

from

international

predictive

lead

for

past

to

a

(Morgenthau,

with

in

of

function"

reliable

tries

the

predictions;

to

read

signs

"world

the

of

future

the

store

the

whoever

and

from

present"

(Morgenthau,

1960a,

p. 21).

 

Morgenthau's

concept

of

international

relations

theory

is modeled

entirely

after

his

own

theory.

In

all

his

theoretical

 

discussions,

Mor?

genthau

never

loses

sight

of

his

theory.

Thus,

he

states

that

inter?

national

politics

should

be

the

theoretical

focus

for

the

study

of

international

relations

and

that

national

interest

should

be

the

central

concept

of

international

relations

theory.

Morgenthau's

theory,

in

other

words,

provides

the

standard

against

which

any

theoretical

inquiry

should

be

judged.

Thus,

theoretical

approaches

different

from