The Realism of Kenneth Waltz

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“Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!” Most famously quoted from the movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, this black and white satiric film produced and co-written by Stanley Kubrick in 1964, is a prime example of Kenneth Waltz’s Realist theories in regards to International theory. The realism that will be the focus of this paper is that of Kenneth Waltz. Kenneth Waltz presents his theory of realism, within an international system, by offering his central myth that, “Anarchy is the permissive cause of war”. Kenneth Waltz’s central myth helps answer the question as to why war happens in the first place. During the cold war, there was a heightened sense of insecurity between Russia and the United States due to presence of nuclear weapons. The Movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb used cold war tension between the two countries to tell the story of a general who went crazy and decided to unleash his fleet of nuclear bombers onto Russian military bases. The film tells the story of a deranged United States Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. United States Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper who was the commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, launches a planed nuclear attack on the Soviet Union via his nuclear-armed B-52 fighter jets, which were holding at their fail-safe points, to move into Soviet airspace, based upon a twisted paranoia that the communist party was contaminating “our precious bodily fluids”. The movie follows the course of events proceeding General Jack D. Ripper’s ordered attack. In Kenneth Waltz’s book called Man, the State and War he attempted to show how realist pr... ... middle of paper ... ...r and interactions among super powers. Through Kenneth Waltz’s IR theory of realism, it becomes easier to understand the dynamics and motivations behind the characters actions. Works Cited Dr. Strangelove, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Prod. Stanley Kubrick, Victor Lyndon, and Ken Adam. By Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, Peter George, Gilbert Taylor, Anthony Harvey, and Laurie Johnson. Perf. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, and James Earl Jones. BLC, 1963. DVD. Waltz, Kenneth Neal. Man, the State and War: a Theoretical Analysis. Columbia U.P.; Oxford U.P, 1959. Print. Waltz, Kenneth Neal. Theory of International Politics. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 1979. Print. Weber, Cynthia. International Relations Theory: a Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how dr. strangelove's first level of analysis is the most obvious among his three levels. general ripper suspects that the soviet union is conspiring to contaminate the "precious bodily fluids" of the american people.
  • Analyzes how "plan r" in the movie makes it possible for general jack ripper to order the attack on the soviet union.
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