Socializing Realism's Balance of Power: Collective Identity as Alliance Formation in Iraq
international relations theory
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Political Science Honors Theses; 2008
What is perhaps missed when observing alliances found in international politics is the social residue of partnerships. This anthropocentric claim occupies a social epistemology, is constructed and motivated by culture, and fostered towards collective ontological maintenance. Though operating as metaphysical, how would such reification modify the objectivism reflected in realist alignment theories, particularly the balance-of-power, balance-of-threats, and balance-of-interests? In confronting this question, the Shiite-Kurdish alignment in post-Saddam Iraq is examined, to which each realist proposition ends up exhibiting a degree of surfeit imbalances. Yet rather than exclusively focusing on material and individualistic properties, this article attempts to promote the aspect of social alliances, suggesting that mutual desire towards stabilizing ontological status may conflict with the implications of external physicalist disparities. In this regard, key Shiites and Kurds, through the process of culturizing their collective traumas and historical memories had both accomplished basic trust, inter-subjectively putting into practice their Kantian 'friendship', skewing realism’s objective fix on alliances. In attempting to systematically incorporate an identity function in alliance formation, a dualistic balance-of-identities theory is offered, underlining a holistic condition corresponding to any realist thought on alignment patterns.