Strategic intelligence and discursive realities

Francis A. Beer, Robert Hariman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The realist is right about one thing: Much of the time, international politics boils down to strategy. The calculation of advantage in the game of nations is the first condition, the final necessity, and-not to be underestimated-the continuing attraction for those who presume to be players. Therefore, it is not enough for post-realists to articulate a broader conception of scientific inquiry; if we are to move beyond realism, we shall have to provide decision makers with better instruments for strategic analysis. It may seem that these two objectives are mutually contradictory. For example, the post-realist perspective exemplifies the strong pluralism recently celebrated in "the third debate" about the conduct of inquiry in the discipline.1 Precisely because "pluralism" sounds to some like an effortless egalitarianism-everyone welcome, have a nice day-it appears unlikely to foster the mental discipline required for calculation under pressure. Stated in terms of a commonplace of realist analysis, the global pluralist appears to make the mistake of promoting political and intellectual practices that might be appropriate only in the domestic sphere of democratic politics. Further, the emphasis in post-realist work on textual practices seems to weaken not only the autonomy of political science but also its most serious application. When speaking of textual strategies, it seems that the stakes are not so high as when one is observing the fate of nations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPost-Realism
Subtitle of host publicationThe rhetorical turn in international relations
PublisherMichigan State University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780870134616
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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