Realism was the first major international theory developed by modern political science and remains among the most influential. Realism is a powerful theory—simple and elegant, highly predictive—but it has major weaknesses, departures it cannot explain. All too often, decision-makers find it impossible to follow realist recommendations.

Essay Assignment Two is your chance to show your understanding and skill applying course readings on realist international relations theory and explaining the advantages and difficulties of applying realism to major international problems, showing what it does well, and what it does not do well.

Tasks with Directions

For this assignment, explain realism and apply it explain events in the Korea and/or Vietnam Wars. What does realism explain best? What does it explain worst? What does its rival explanatory strengths and weaknesses reveal about the nature of international affairs? Explain realism and apply it to illuminate case studies from Stoessinger,

Respond to all parts of the assignment, thoroughly covering the course readings, including explanations of their general themes and concepts, their specific application to assignment questions, and comparison of course readings.

Submission Guidelines

Submit your document to Blackboard > Submissions > Essay Two: Realism Applied.

Grading Evaluation Criteria

  1. Essays will be marked primarily for explanation and application of assigned readings, and resolution of assigned questions.
  2. Your essay needs a descriptive title and summarizing the introduction.
  3. Formally cite all references to readings precisely, with a page number. Generally, the more citations, the better.
  4. Use of brief quotations from class readings—with proper citations and explanations—is encouraged. Citations can be Chicago or MLA style.
  5. Essays should be at least three single-spaced, typed pages.
  6. Papers receiving the highest grades typically are at least four to six pages. There is no maximum.
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