Daniel Drezner’ Theories of International Politics

Daniel Drezner explores the concept of realism in his book,Theories of International Politics and Zombies’. Realism has a diverse range of interpretations in the modern society. Some of the theoretical concepts in the field realism include artistic realism, legal realism and defensive realism are. Realism involves examination of the nature of a particular phenomenon. In most cases, realism seeks to divulge the truth rather than reinforce beliefs in a society. Thus, application of realism may dispute common reasoning that begins with assumptions. This means that deductions of realism are obtained from empirical examination of events rather than from the extended realms of imagination.

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While discussing the Realpolitik of the Living Dead, Drezner applies the concept of realism to the existence of states. He also continues to explain a realistic perspective of the balance of power that exists among the states in the world. Drezner’s perspective of the balance between the states is that anarchy alone is the major player in the world politics (Drezner 40). States direct their resources towards development of military capabilities to establish a secure defense mechanism. The author says that the most powerful states are those that have the greatest capability to use force against any intruder. He disputes the existence of any form of the world government in his realistic examination. Only self-interest drives the actions of all states in the relationship with each other (Drezner 39).

Drezner continues to postulate that countries are not concerned with each other’s welfare. Instead, every country is interested in the benefits that arise from the relationship between states. In his realistic examination, Drezner presents a situation of the relationship between man-eating creatures and the humans themselves. It is not possible for the humans to unite against the creatures. This behavior is caused by the differences that exist in the relationship of the states. The author presents a realistic prediction that the weak states would refrain from joining the powerful states, in the effort to combat the common threat (Drezner 42). This would be an opportunistic move by the weak states.

In exploring the concept of political realism, Drezner asserts that zombies would learn to behave just as humans, and would sign pacts with powerful human civilizations to avert further confrontation and conflict. In addition, he presents a realistic view that the weaponry in the world would not be able to deal with the zombie threat (Drezner 37). At the beginning of the exploration into realism, Drezner clearly explains the realistic perspective of the world politics. However, the subsequent allusion of the current world situation to an imaginary conflict between the humans and zombies is inaccurate. Zombies are an imaginary existence whose form has an infinite number of possibilities. The behavior of zombies in case of a confrontation with human beings is not predictable. Several video scenes are analyzed in modeling realistic situation.

The major problem with Drezner’s application of the theory of political realism is that the concept is used in an unrealistic situation. There is no time in the history where such a calamity created by creatures possessing intelligence that remotely matches that of human beings is known. The concept of realism is deduced from empirical evidence observed in the history of human existence. A realistic model of the world situation cannot be obtained from an imaginary world, whose form is subject to manipulation of the human mind. When Daniel Drezner invented the theory of the zombies, he neglected the fact that realism is based on empirical examination of facts and events in the history of the universe. He went further to consider the possibility of situations that have no factual basis regarding human behavior. The reactions of humans to an attack by zombies as presented by Drezner are deductions of imagination rather than empirical examination of human nature. There is a possibility that humans would have reacted otherwise since the world has not yet experienced such a zombie invasion.

While it is true that states act in such a manner as to protect their interests, realism does not acknowledge that extreme actions in favor of a state’s interests is an inherent aspect of international relations. Realism supports the idea that states act in their own interest, but limit their actions to remain prudent in their own perspectives. Thus, realism does not dispute the application of ethics in international relations. Drezner’s analysis characterizes a world where international relations lack any form of ethics.

In his presentation of the zombie scenarios, the author deduces that some states would not engage in the war against the ghouls (Drezner 6). He does not mention the fact that states would delay their action until the situation became critical enough to require their attention. In other words, Drezner’s application of theory does not account for the constraint of morals on international relations. He does not include the effects of moral and religious inclinations that affect the states today.

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Drezner’s application of realism on international relations is not absolutely flawed. Therefore, nations act in their own interest and direct their efforts towards protection of their sovereignty. This conforms to the concept of political realism. According to doctrines of realism, it is true that the powerful states will always challenge any rising power, since they want to remain dominant in the world affairs. Similarly, any state will oppose a powerful state in its bid to acquire excessive power. Thus, in international politics, a balance of power has to be maintained (Drezner 34). To justify this theory, Drezner should have explained his observation by citing situations in the past that have explicitly presented dilemmas depicting realism. This is justified by the fact that the concept of realism is derived from observation of past events and behavior of the humanity. In that essence, this would have validated his arguments better than the presentation of a zombie philosophy, which has unlimited number of possibilities.

Furthermore, to moderate his interpretation of realism, Drezner should have invoked the effect of the constraint of ethical reasoning on international relations. His perspective of realism in “Realpolitik of the Living Dead,” the fifth chapter of his book, is an extremist’s stand.

Morals are part of international relations, which are a subject to analysis in a realist observation. The morals that are being analyzed by realism in an effort to reveal the real motivation behind events in the international scene. However, this does not mean that morals do not limit the actions of the players in international relations. Drezner’s perspective presents a situation where nothing but power is the determinant of the behavior of nations in international relations. This is a classical approach to realism such as that illustrated by Niccolo Machiavelli. An invocation of moralist factors and ethical deliberation in analytical observation would have helped Drezner present a contemporary view of realism.

Work Cited

Drezner, Daniel W.. Theories of international politics and zombies. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011. Print.

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"Daniel Drezner' Theories of International Politics." StudyCorgi, 4 Nov. 2020, studycorgi.com/daniel-drezner-theories-of-international-politics/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Daniel Drezner' Theories of International Politics." November 4, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/daniel-drezner-theories-of-international-politics/.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Daniel Drezner' Theories of International Politics'. 4 November.

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