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Hans Kelsen's Political Realism$
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Robert Schuett

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474481687

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474481687.001.0001

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Kelsen’s Foreign-Policy Realism

Kelsen’s Foreign-Policy Realism

(p.94) Chapter 4 Kelsen’s Foreign-Policy Realism
Hans Kelsen's Political Realism

Robert Schuett

Edinburgh University Press

What is the basis for the Schmittian claim that Kelsen’s theory of law, state, and international legal order is quintessentially idealistic? Why are we lured into believing that an ever more centralised legal mechanism at the global level is just another liberal international lawyer’s dream? Against the backdrop of Kelsen’s Freudian moment (first image), the chapter tests the jurist’s international relations thinking against Kenneth Waltz’s second and third images. It is shown that Kelsen is a hard-edged political realist who doesn’t believe in the democratic peace thesis; nor is he convinced that the fact of nationalism can be wished away when thinking about what might lead the way for global governance or a world state. The ‘other’ Kelsen is as realistic about the dynamics of international anarchy as about the dynamics of life, society, and politics in general: there’s no escaping the fact that, as long as there is no centralised force monopoly with teeth sitting on top of nations, there will be war.

Keywords:   Anarchy, Democratic peace theory, Nationalism, War, World state

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