Realism, non-state actors, and the rise of China
Realism became less prominent in the 1990s. In particular, critics questioned the tradition’s failure to foresee the end of the Cold War or to provide compelling explanations for the continuation of Western European integration and the lack of immediate balancing against the United States. The optimism that characterized the immediate post-Cold War era and that contributed to realism’s loss in appeal was short lived, however. With the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, national security once again became the focus of both academics and policy-makers. Realism’s emphasis on confl ict and its pessimism complemented the post-9/11 milieu, and not surprisingly it experienced a resurgence within the international relations subfi eld.