Review of International Studies

Research Article

Systemic pressures and domestic ideas: a neoclassical realist model of grand strategy formation



Scholars in international relations have long known that ideas matter in matters of international politics, yet theories of the discipline have failed to capture their impact either in the making of foreign policy or the nature of the international system. Recent reengagement with the insights of classical realists has pointed to the possibility of a neoclassical realist approach that can take into account the impact of ideas. This article will suggest that the study of grand strategy can enlighten the intervening ideational variables between the distribution of power in the international system and the foreign policy behaviour of states, and thus constitute the key element in a neoclassical realist research agenda.

Nicholas Kitchen is a Fellow of the LSE IDEAS Transatlantic Programme. He received his doctorate in International Relations from the London School of Economics for his research focusing on United States grand strategy debates in the 1990s. He can be contacted at { }.