Buzan, Little, and Walt

Let me start by saying the Buzan and Little piece was immediately interesting and caught my attention quickly with the discussion of permeation and how ideas enter the IR discussion but are not exported. I also found the discussion of IPE as an area of study to be very interesting, although I’m not sure that I agree on all the points Buzan and Little make about the tendency of “liberal” IPE to keep economics and politics separate. I did find this reading to be very dense, and I felt that it could’ve been much more efficient in its presentation of information. However, I agree that in order for IR to be an area of study that is grounded in reality, it must be able to integrate history into the grandiose theories it presents.

The Walt article makes a similar point, but narrows the scope to be more specifically between IR and policy and the dichotomy that exists between them, causing disharmony.


The article I have posted below is to a BBC article about Obama’s strategy on Syria.

Obama’s Syria Legacy

It mentions realism, which I find to be relevant because it does not truly incorporate the theory of realism into its argument. It identifies President Obama as a realist (perhaps in a colloquial sense), but does not specify what vein of realism his tactics have been, or whether he operates under defensive or offensive realism. Although this is maybe a picky observation, I think it illustrates the point that Walt, Buzan, and Little are trying to make. The article is clearly written for people who are politically-minded, but yet makes no attempt to clarify what Obama’s realism actually means for his foreign policy actions.

It also is a general commentary on action in the Middle East, specifically Syria, but uses no international relations terminology in its argument, which I find to be different from articles written about other disciplines. Maybe IR does not export its heavier ideas in order to remain accessible to the general population? Or is it that this area of academia does not want to be accessed?

In addition, here’s a funny satirical Dutch video about Trump’s new position 🙂

Dutch Satire on Trump




One thought on “Buzan, Little, and Walt

  1. Hi Kira,
    I agree that it was interesting that ideas enter IR but are not exported. Is what we study/write worth anything to anyone besides our circle? It was interesting to read that article about Obama’s legacy in Syria, without any in depth IR theory used as it simply mentions it. This leads to the article to lack a serious backbone of argument. Although theories of IR are not always straightforward, I think they there are ways to make them more accessible to the general population if we are willing to do so.
    Also thanks for the funny video! Haha


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