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Editors’Note The lead article in this issue argues that realist scholars of international relations no longer embrace realism’s core principles. Realism, according to Jeffrey Legro of the University of Virginia and Andrew Moravcsik of Harvard University, “is in trouble.” They base this observation on their analysis of recent scholarship by neoclassical and defensive realists who, in an effort to address anomalies found in realist theory, have instead undermined the theoretical core of realism itself. The next ªve articles offer a spirited defense of rational choice theory, which Stephen Walt in his Spring 1999 article “Rigor or Rigor Mortis?” criticized for failing to provide new and policy-relevant insights in the ªeld of security studies. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and James Morrow of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution argue that logical consistency is the most important criterion in testing any theory. Without logical consistency, they contend, the other two criteria for judging a theory’s usefulness—degree of originality and empirical validity—cannot be determined. Formal methods, they contend, ensure that scholars construct theories that are logically consistent. A declared “consumer rather than producer” of rational choice theory, Lisa Martin of Harvard University praises the ability of formal work to develop sets of propositions and insights that are both linked and coherent and its ability to bring speciªcity to the propositions of nonformal strategic analysis. In addition, Martin analyzes the types of methods used in articles published in six leading journals of security studies between 1994 and 1998. She concludes that Walt’s concern that formal theory may eventually dominate the ªeld of security studies is unfounded. Emerson M.S. Niou of Duke University and Peter Ordeshook of the California Institute of Technology take Walt to task for obscuring the differences between paradigms , game theory, and formal methods. Robert Powell of the University of California, Berkeley, elucidates the usefulness of formal models in helping scholars comprehend empirical phenomena. According to Powell, formal models can assist scholars in disciplining their thinking. They can also increase transparency and thus understanding of real-world events. The University of Buffalo’s Frank Zagare contends that, ironically, Walt’s analysis of rational choice theory underscores the value of formal models, because “they provide International Security, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 1999), pp. 3–4© 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 3 the strongest possible protection against improper argumentation.” In addition, Zagare faults Walt for his seeming acceptance of logical inconsistency. Stephen Walt, now at Harvard University, reafªrms his position that recent work in rational choice theory has not provided powerful new insights to explain real-world phenomena. He also maintains that formal theory’s contributions to the ªeld of security studies should still be considered valuable. Walt concludes with a call for continued methodological and theoretical diversity and cautions against any one approach assuming hegemony in security studies. How does a regime become coup-proof? James Quinlivan of the RAND Corporation examines the policies that have produced coup-proof regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. These policies include the exploitation of special loyalties, the creation of parallel militaries, the establishment of internal security agencies, the encouragement of expertness in the regular military, and adequate funding of both the parallel militaries and the security agencies. Quinlivan also considers the consequences of redirecting resources to support a coup-proof regime—speciªcally, the reduction of the military power of a state. Richard Betts of Columbia University reviews Stephen Van Evera’s book Causes of War. Betts assesses Van Evera’s claim that “war is more likely when it is perceived to be easy” and offers his critical analysis of offense-defense theory and Van Evera’s contribution to it. We conclude with a letter from Joseph Collins of the Center for Strategic and International Studies responding to Ole Holsti’s Winter 1998/99 article “A Widening Gap between the U.S. Military and Civilian Society?” Collins rebuts Holsti’s position of a growing gap in some areas of civil-military relations. Holsti replies. note to contributors International Security welcomes submissions on all aspects of security affairs. Manuscripts should be typed, double-spaced, with notes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-4804
Print ISSN
0162-2889
Pages
pp. 3-4
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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