Response or Comment
The Realist Theory in Pyrrhic Victory, 49 American Journal of International Law 376 (1955)
The new edition of Professor Morgenthau's well-known work on Politics Among Nations merits brief editorial comment. It is designed, the Preface tells us, to take into account such recent "political experience" as "the emergence of new trends in the structure of world politics, the development of the colonial revolution, the establishment of supranational regional institutions, and the activities of the United Nations" (p. viii). The author introduces new concepts of "containment, cold war, uncommitted nations, and Point Four" and offers "elaboration, clarification, refinement, and change'? of such earlier concepts as "political power, cultural imperialism, world public opinion, disarmament, collective security, and peaceful change," with application of these concepts "to the novel developments of recent years" (p. viii). In the faith that a "realist" theory of international politics has been "largely won," a new introductory chapter has been added for outlining the major tenets of this theory.
In basic structure of organization and in general orientation of thought, this edition of Professor Morgenthan's book remains, however, substantially the same as the earlier and is, accordingly, subject to both the same praise and the same criticism. The exploratory map of world politics presented is still largely' that of nation states, possessed of certain "elements" of power, pursuing through certain conflicting policies of "status quo" and "imperialism" and under certain limitations—imposed by "the balance of power," "international morality and world public opinion," and "international law"—a national interest primarily defined in terms of power. The application of this map in the concluding chapters is still to the problem of "peace," with contrasting appraisal of the potentialities of "international organization" and of a diplomacy of accommodation.
Date of Authorship for this Version
McDougal, Myres S., "The Realist Theory in Pyrrhic Victory" (1955). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 2465.