Offensive realism, differentiation theory, and the war in Ukraine

Jochen Kleinschmidt

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In this article, I shall demonstrate that several of the arguments made in favour of an offensive realist explanation of Russian actions in Ukraine as part of a power balancing process are inconsistent both with available empirical knowledge of the conflict in Ukraine and with the structural logic postulated by offensive realist theory itself. Rather than a conflict about power in a material sense, I will argue that the war in Ukraine is better understood as a conflict about the incompatibility of the Russian state structure to cope with the imperatives of functional differentiation as understood by theories of world society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Politics
StatePublished - Apr 26 2018


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