Waltz laid the foundation for what is referred to as neorealism – the dominant paradigm in the early modern study of international relations. He wrote two key books, though he had other important works dealing with nuclear security. This is the first, and the second is Theory of International Politics. That book is a full articulation of his “third image” of international politics described below. This perspective eventually became so compelling that it dominated the study of international relations beginning in the early 1980s and scholars working outside this paradigm had to first undermine some aspect of Waltz’s argument before making their own. In a sense, Waltz became the father of the modern study of IR through his articulation of this neorealist perspective. This work lays an important foundation for understanding the lenses through which you can begin to view the challenges of international relations.
About the author: Kenneth N. Waltz (1924—2013) was an American political scientist and educator best known as the originator of the neorealist (or structural realist) theory of international relations. When Waltz entered graduate school, there was no discipline of international relations as such, though there had been empirical studies of foreign affairs. Waltz played a key role in the development of the field. His most influential work, Theory of International Politics (1979), a systematic account of the international balance of power, remained a canonical text in political science well into the 21st century. He served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1987–88 and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.