Stephen Walt, Realism, and Perceptions of the United States

For a Realist in international relations (folks who stress structural variables like relative power as the most important causes of outcomes in the international system), Stephen Walt spends a lot of time worrying about how the rest of the world views the United States.  Here is his most recent example: 

I was disappointed when the United States got eliminated in the soccer World Cup, but also relieved. Having the world’s most powerful country eliminate the last team from the host continent would not have endeared the United States to anyone.

The tendency of Realists to get all concerned about the U.S.’s standing abroad has diminished significantly since Bush left the White House.  But it is perplexing why they cared all that much in the first place given their general view of what makes the world go around (which suggests it was actually caused by partisanship/Bush-hatred rather than flowing from a serious, integrated, and theoretically-grounded position).

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