In This Review

An Unwritten Future: Realism and Uncertainty in World Politics
An Unwritten Future: Realism and Uncertainty in World Politics
By Jonathan Kirshner
Princeton University Press, 2022, 336 pp.
The Atlantic Realists: Empire and International Political Thought Between Germany and the United States
The Atlantic Realists: Empire and International Political Thought Between Germany and the United States
By Matthew Specter
Stanford University Press, 2022, 336 pp.

It’s not a great time to be a realist. Although many prominent realist theorists of international relations correctly predicted the war in Ukraine, their focus on great-power politics over the rights of small states and their warnings about the risks of escalation have not been popular among the foreign policy commentariat. The insistence of some realists, chief among them John Mearsheimer, that the war is almost entirely the result of the structural factor of NATO’s expansion rather than the bellicosity of Russian President Vladimir Putin has not endeared realism to a broader public audience, either. According to the

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