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Abstract

The neoclassical realist approach considers systemic stimuli (independent), and leader images, strategic culture, state-society relations, and domestic institutions (intervening) as the variables of an explanatory model of foreign policy and international outcomes (dependent variable).


Starting from the central assumptions of Ethology and Classical Élites Theory with the purpose of delimitating the agent – the geopolitical agent or the foreign policy executive – this paper aims to reinforce the importance of the intervening variables geopolitical agent’s perceptions and capacities in shaping the geopolitical design and other foreign policy outcomes. The true core of the paper is to expand the scope of geopolitical studies by including the methodological task of studying the geopolitical agent’s perceptions and capacities. In doing so, the matter directly relates to the analysis of both (i) how the geopolitical agent can perceive the geographical space (Raumsinn), and (ii) what can be the geopolitical agent’s capacities in managing resources assigned to the foreign policy.


The purpose of the paper is then threefold: (i) conceptual – because it deals with definition of terms and their differentiation, (ii) theoretical – since the paper intends to review the neoclassical realist approach and merge it with geopolitical studies trying to forge a joint approach, and (iii) methodological – as it provides methodological guidelines about the new framework.


Therefore, the paper brings the innovation of including insights of the neoclassical realist intervening variables into the geopolitical studies’ framework for a more accurate and enhanced scope of geopolitical analysis in the future.

Keywords

Neoclassical Geopolitics Neoclassical Realism Methodology State Foreign Policy

Article Details

Author Biography

Nuno Morgado, Geopolitical Studies at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Dr. Nuno Morgado is a geopolitics and a foreign policy expert. He currently works as an Adjunct Professor of Geopolitical Studies at Charles University, Prague.

His research and teaching focus on theory and methodology in geopolitical studies, state’s potential analysis, and neoclassical realism. He is currently developing his neoclassical geopolitics model for posterior empirical testing. Nuno Morgado’s expertise includes Brazilian geopolitics, but also geopolitical issues related to Central Europe and Russia.

He has been engaged in several research projects in Lisbon, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, and he has an excellent track record in research. His results have been published in high-ranked conference proceedings and in peer-reviewed journals.

Information regarding how the manuscript is a technically extended version of the proceedings paper:

  • More detailed explanations of the relevance of geopolitical agent’s perceptions and capacities on the neoclassical geopolitics model;
  • Definitions of concepts: Raumssinn, Possibilism, Consciousness Horizon
  • Much better and much more complete quotes, analysis and bibliography references, including my newest publications;
  • Incorporation of teachings from Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy as theoretical and methodological tool in political psychology, and therefore, assisting neoclassical geopolitics.
How to Cite
Morgado, N. (2020). DOES THE AGENT MATTER? THE GEOPOLITICAL AGENT IN NEOCLASSICAL GEOPOLITICS . SWS Journal of SOCIAL SCIENCES AND ART, 1(2), 96-108. https://doi.org/10.35603/ssa2019/issue2.08

References

  1. This paper is an updated and extended version of the conference paper ‘The role of élites in geopolitical studies,’ presented at the 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts, in Vienna, on the 20th March 2018. ; Full bibliographic reference: Nuno Morgado, ‘The role of élites in geopolitical studies,’ in 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts, Volume 5, Issue 1.1. (Sofia: SGEM, 2018), 765-772. DOI 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/11/S12.0972018
  2. Vide: (1) Nuno Morgado, ‘Geopolitical Design and the ‘Sense of Space’ – methodological cores in Geopolitical Studies,’ in SGEM Vienna Hofburg, Book 2 Political Sciences, Law, Finance, Economics & Tourism, Volume I Political Science (Sofia: SGEM International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences & Arts, 2016); (2) the author’s PhD thesis ‘Towards the New World Order? A geopolitical study of Neo-Eurasianism and Meridionalism,’ Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague; (3) Nuno Morgado, ‘Theoretical fundaments and methodological guidelines in Neoclassical Geopolitics’ (paper presented at The International Political Science Association 25th World Congress of Political Science, Brisbane, Australia, 25th July 2018) pp. 23 available at: https://wc2018.ipsa.org/events/congress/wc2018/paper/theoretical-fundaments-and-methodological-guidelines-neoclassical
  3. Aymeric Chauprade and François Thual, Dictionnaire de Géopolitique – États, Concepts, Auteurs. (Paris: Ellipses, 1998), 497-498.
  4. Among others sources: Konrad Lorenz, Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins (U.S.A.: R. Piper & Co. Verlag, 1973); Nikolaas Tinbergen, The Study of Instinct (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1951); Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Human Ethology (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1989); Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape (London: Corgy Books, 1969); Humphry Knipe and George Maclay, The Dominant Man (London: Fontana, 1972); Robert Ardrey, The Territorial Imperative (Oxford: Atheneum, 1966).
  5. This idea was also developed in the literature in political science. For instance: Vilfredo Pareto, Trattato Di Sociologia Generale (Charleston: Nabu Press, 2010); Gaetano Mosca, Elementi di Scienza Politica (Torino: Fratelli Bocca Editori, 1923); Robert Michels, Para uma Sociologia dos Partidos Políticos na Democracia Moderna, trans. José M. Justo (Lisboa: Antígona, 2001); Wright C. Mills, The Power Elite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966);
  6. ‘On peut appeler acteur géopolitique tout group constitué dôté d’un pouvoir de puissance.’ - Aymeric Chauprade and François Thual, Dictionnaire de Géopolitique – États, Concepts, Auteurs. (Paris: Ellipses, 1998), 498.
  7. ‘… the top officials and central institutions of government charged with external defense and the conduct of diplomacy’ – Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, ‘State Building for Future Wars: Neoclassical Realism and the Resource-Extractive State,’ Security Studies vol. 15, no. 3 (July-September 2006): 470.
  8. Steven E. Lobell, Norrin M. Ripsman, and Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Neoclassical Realism, the State, and Foreign Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 280-281.
  9. For example: Rodger Baker, ‘Accounting for Inertia in Geopolitical Forecasting,’ last modified November 20, 2015, STRATFOR,https://www.stratfor.com/; Kissinger called the attention to the inaccuracy of studying mere ‘impersonal forces’ only – Walter Isaacson, Kissinger: a Biography (New York: Faber & Faber 1992), 13.
  10. This refers to getting familiarized with ‘systemic stimuli’, the independent variable of neoclassical realism, and the general predictions of the theory – vide: Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 33-57.
  11. Mark M. Lowenthal, Intelligence – From Secrets to Policy (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2015).
  12. ‘if power influences the courses of international politics, it must do so largely through the perceptions of the people who make decision on behalf of states’ – William C. Wohlforth, The Elusive Balance: Power and Perceptions during the Cold War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 2.
  13. Gideon Rose, ‘Review Article – Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy,’ World Politics vol. 51, no. 1 (October 1998): 152.
  14. In his masterpiece about foreign policy, Bessa noted that the national interest is always an ultimate prisoner of the political class [the geopolitical agent] – António Marques Bessa, O Olhar de Leviathan – Uma Introdução à Política Externa dos Estados Modernos (Lisboa: Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa Editora, 2012), 99-100.; The understanding of the Geopolitical Design (i.e the identification of both the list of state’s goals and its hierarchy) is a core in the explanation of what the national interest is. Vide: François Thual, Méthodes de la géopolitique – apprendre à déchiffrer l’actualité (Paris: Éllipses, 1996), 20.
  15. Aymeric Chauprade, Géopolitique. Constantes et changements dans l’histoire (Paris: Éllipses, 2007).
  16. Olavo de Carvalho, ‘Aula 1,’ Curso Política e Cultura no Brasil (Seminário de Filosofia, February 20, 2018, available at: http://www.seminariodefilosofia.org/politica-e-cultura-ao-vivo/)
  17. Using the same terminology than Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 61-66.
  18. In case that foreign policy is not conduct primarily for electoral purposes, a dangerous option that will create instability.
  19. Vide, for example: Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack, ‘Let Us Now Praise Great Men: Bringing the Statesman Back In,’ International Security Vol. 25, no. 4 (Spring 2001).
  20. Pauline Couper, A Student’s Introduction to Geographical Thought – theories, philosophies, methodologies (London: SAGE, 2015), 98.
  21. Nuno Morgado, ‘Towards the New World Order? A geopolitical study of Neo-Eurasianism and Meridionalism,’ Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, pp. 254-282.
  22. Jerrold Post has an interesting chapter introducing this technique - Audie Klotz and Deepa Prakash, ed., Qualitative Methods in International Relations – A Pluralist Guide (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 131-150.
  23. Such as: Alexander George, ‘The ‘Operational Code’: A Neglected Approach to the Study of Political Leaders and Decision-Making,’ International Studies Quarterly Vol. 13, no. 2 (June 1969).
  24. Bessa extended the scope of the topic much beyond the limits of this paper, giving examples of sickness, old age, pusillanimity or cowardice, bravery – António Marques Bessa, O Olhar de Leviatã – Uma Introdução à Política Externa dos Estados Modernos (Lisboa: Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, 2012), 118-119.
  25. For a short resume of Viktor Frankl’s ideas vide: Viktor Frankl, ‘Personality Theories – Viktor Frankl,’ last modified November, 2015, Dr. C. George Boeree, Shippensburg University, http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/frankl.html It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand towards the conditions’; vide also ‘Critique of Pan-Determinism’ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 130-133.
  26. Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 6.
  27. Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, Balancing Risks – Great Power Intervention in the Periphery (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).
  28. Nuno Morgado, ‘Anti-communism in Salazar’s Portugal and the Hungarian Uprising of 1956,’ in Courage in Politics – The Hungarian Revolution in 1956. The impact of the revolution in Hungary and in Global Policy, ed. Ferenc Bodi (Firenze: Franco Angeli series, 2019) (upcoming).
  29. This working paper was presented at the University of West Bohemia with the title ‘Conservative or far-right: examining the ideology of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro,’ in Critiques of Liberalism and Challenges to Democracy: Understanding the Conservative Standpoint; Research Workshop – COST Action CA 16211 RECAST / Working Group 2: Languages and Ideologies, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic, 15th February 2019.
  30. Vide: Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
  31. Thomas J. Christensen, Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 11.
  32. ‘the relative ability of the state to extract or mobilize resources as determined by the institutions of the state’ – Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, ‘State Building for Future Wars: Neoclassical Realism and the Resource-Extractive State,’ Security Studies Vol. 15, no. 3 (July-September 2006): 486.
  33. Randall L. Schweller, ‘Unanswered Threats: A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Underbalancing,’ International Security vol. 29, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 169 ff.
  34. Aymeric Chauprade and François Thual, Dictionnaire de Géopolitique – États, Concepts, Auteurs. (Paris: Ellipses, 1998), 483.
  35. Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, ‘State Building for Future Wars: Neoclassical Realism and the Resource-Extractive State,’ Security Studies vol. 15, no. 3 (July-September 2006): 486.
  36. Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 34.
  37. Leopold von Ranke, ‘Politisches Gespräch,’ kapitel 1, 1836, last modified November 27, 2015, Spiegel, http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/-3012/1