Misconstruing the First Image: The Fallacy of US Vulnerability

Hendrik Spruyt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently this journal published a psychotherapist's view of the arms race. The author, Francoise Hall, argued that the US is objectively confronted with increasing problems with the Third World, but has displaced these to the sphere of East-West relations. In the latter sphere, however, the US's hostile perception is not buttressed by objective evidence. This analysis fails on two grounds. First, it is unable to surmount the theoretical problem of how to explain macrolevel phenomena from microlevel theories. Second, the author misinterprets empirical data. The US is not very vulnerable to the Third World. North-South relations still remain asymmetically skewed in favor of the US. The example of OPEC is an anomaly. Overall, this psychological approach is symptomatic of paradigms which neglect systemic analysis. As a consequence, the proposed solution, for increased monitoring of global trends, is idealistic and does not alter structural relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Misconstruing the First Image: The Fallacy of US Vulnerability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this