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July 27, 2004



"European IR does place far more weight ..."
"than does mainstream IR theory."

Presumably by "mainstream" you mean "US" here ?

Or are (say) Chinese, Russian, Arab or Latin American International Relations studies in line with the "conflict" view of IR, with the "European" view as the outlier ?

And what is "European" ? British, French, German, Polish ...?

the aardvarkth

Didn't I say "mainstream American IR theory"? That's what I meant to say, any way. My bad. But I thought it was clear from the context.

British IR tends to be dominated by international society approaches (the so-called "English School"), historical sociology, and a healthy dollop of political philosophy.

German IR - at least the parts that I follow - has been doing a lot with the Habermas communicative action research programme the last few years, with people like Thomas Risse and Fritz Kratochwil and Harald Mueller the most influential names that spring to mind.

Chinese IR is a fascinating, fascinating question - I don't speak Chinese, so I have to rely on scholars like Iain Johnston, Yong Deng, Tom Christensen, and Philip Saunders. From what they have written about Chinese academic international relations theory, it seems to emphasize Realist themes, with considerable suspicion of institutionalist or liberal themes.

As`ad AbuKhalil

But you have to see how categorical Haykal is when he pontificates. He said that you can go anywhere in the US, that you will not find a university where IR is not taught through the prism of conflict. Of course, my complaint about Haykal is cumulative: he has been misinforming the Arab public about the world for years, and he has served as the Pen of the Sultan (under Nasser and Sadat). Furthermore, he is unreliable. He once cited a PUBLISHED WINEP report and referred to it as "a secret document" that Bush "will be reading on his desk next week," and on and on. Yes, there are European stresses in social sciences that are different from those in US, but...come on. And for potato's sake, I even teach IR theory in the US.

the aardvark

Hi Asa'd!

On IR theory, sure there are lots of people (myself included) who teach diverse IR... but we aren't the mainstream. When American IR is dominated by Waltz, Keohane, and their descendents, with an ever growing emphasis on statistical and formal modeling, while British IR is dominated by the English school and German by Habermas types, that really is a difference in the general composition of the fields.

That said, you're probably right about Haykal. I picked up his book 'From New York to Kabul' last time I was in Cairo, and was really disappointed in the mediocre quality of analysis - such a cynical, seen-it-all pseudo-Realism... He's not my favorite either, even if I have more sentimental interest in a 'grand old man' such as him.

As`ad AbuKhalil

Yes, (regarding the Realists and their influence), but even Realist professors include sections (in their classes or books) on Idealists and even peace studies, etc. The quantitiative influence and game theory is a different matter altogether and Haykal would know nothing about it.

Anthony Smith

I've taken As`ad's IR class here in the states, and we lignered very little on conflict. In fact, a vast majority of the class was not on conflict.

Anna in Cairo

I asked my husband about MH Haykal and he pretty much thought he was a has-been who is no longer very articulate or thought-provoking. I think a lot of the older Arab academics get like this (maybe non-Arab older academics sound this way too but you can elaborate on this). He has very strong opinions and basically spends his time stating them in a very categorical way. If there is nuance you won't hear it from him. If his statement is an exaggeration he won't admit to it.

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