June 2009, Polity
Scheuerman shows Morgenthau to be an uneasy Realist, uncomfortable with conventional notions of Realism and sometimes unsure whether his reflections should be grouped under its rubric. He was a powerful critic of the existing state system and defended the idea of a world state. By highlighting Morgenthau’s engagement with the leading lights of European political and legal theory, Scheuerman argues that he developed a morally demanding political ethics and an astute diagnosis of the unprecedented perils posed by nuclear weaponry. Believing that the irrationalities of US foreign policy were rooted partly in domestic factors, he sympathized with demands for radical political and social change. Scheuerman illustrates that Morgenthau’s thinking has been widely misunderstood by both disciples and critics and that it offers many challenges to contemporary Realists who discount his normative aspirations. With the advent of the cosmopolitan goal of international reform, Morgenthau’s work serves up an unsettling mix of sympathy and hard-headed skepticism which remains crucially important in the development of the field.
Lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand the continued importance of Morgenthau’s thinking.
List of abbreviations x
Introduction: Morgenthau’s uneasy Realism 1
1 Radical roots of Realism 11
2 Morality, power, and tragedy 40
3 Defending the national interest 70
4 Politics among nations and beyond 101
5 Utopian Realism and the bomb 135
6 Vietnam and the crisis of American democracy 165
Conclusion: Morgenthau as classical Realist? 196
- comprehensive and illuminating introduction to the work of Hans Morgenthau, the leading representative of Realist international relations theory in the last century
- assesses the significance of Morgenthau's work for political
theory and international politics
- illustrates that Morgenthau’s thinking has been widely
misunderstood by both disciples and critics and shows that it
remains crucially important in the development of the field
- lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand the continued importance of Morgenthau’s thinking
Perspectives on Politics
"Scheuerman’s introduction is the introduction Hans
Morgenthau deserves: focusing on the intellectual life of the
Weimar Republic and on other émigré scholars such as
Hannah Arendt not only shows where Morgenthau’s epistemology
and ontology were grounded, but the author also does away with the
still common misreading of Hans Morgenthau as the founding father
predominantly structural realism."
"As a scholarly endeavor teasing out the nuances and ambiguities
and historical tendencies in Morgenthau's evolving corpus,
Scheuerman's book does not disappoint."
"Scheuerman rightly describes Morgenthau as an uneasy realist;
he recognized the importance of power but also the dangers involved
in the pursuit and exercise of power. His focus was accordingly as
much on agency and ethics as it was on structural attributes of the
international system. Scheuerman describes a thinker of particular
relevance to our time and his thoughtful analysis of the evolution
of Morgenthau's thought makes his book an essential read to anyone
with a serious interest in international relations."
Richard Ned Lebow, Dartmouth College
"Few thinkers have been so influential and yet so misunderstood
as Hans Morgenthau. William Scheuerman's superb study provides both
a comprehensive reconstruction of Morgenthau's thinking and a
challenging interpretation of its contemporary significance.
Sweeping in its breadth and finely balanced in its judgments, this
is not only a defining work of intellectual history; it is also a
first-rate work of international political theory in its own
Michael Williams, University of Ottawa
"Once more the tired old cliche about realism being an apologia
for power and a rationalization for the status quo is put to the
sword in Bill Scheuerman's great new book. Indeed if he is right -
and that twentieth century realism emerged out of debates on the
inter-war left and not as the natural heir of some two thousand
year tradition dating back to Thucydides - then we will have to
rethink the history of contemporary International Relations in more
ways than one. A brilliant and iconoclastic study of one of the
greats of IR."
Michael Cox, London School of Economics and Political Science