article examines the claim that institutions push states away from war and
promote peace. The author focuses on evaluating the major international
relations theories that use institutions as a core concept: liberal
institutionalism, collective security, and critical theory. He first begins
with a brief review of realism, because he believes that the institutionalist
theories are mainly a response to realism, and each directly challenges
realism’s underlying logic. To do so, he answers four questions: 1) What are
institutions? 2) How do they work to cause peace? Specifically, what is the
causal logic that underpins each theory? 3) Are these different logics that
explain how institutions work compelling? 4) Does the evidence support these
theories? He also chooses to examine the different institutionalist theories
separately. In the main body of the article, he describes and evaluates liberal
institutionalism, collective security, and critical theory. He concludes by considering
why institutions are so highly thought of by policymakers and academics, when
there is slight evidence that they are an important cause of peace.
the article, Mearsheimer refers to other researchers with different point of
views such as Charles Lipson, Robert Keohane, and Joseph Grieco. He also uses
empirical evidence by applying theories in real life cases. When discussing the
significance of relative gains and cheating, he uses the example of the impact
of relative-gains, during the Cold War, in economic relations among the
advanced industrialized democracies in the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD). Similarly, he mentions Michael Mastanduno,
who found that concern about relative gains, not about cheating, was an
important factor in shaping American policy towards Japan in three cases: the
FSX fighter aircraft, satellites, and high-definition television.
the other hand, Keohane and Martin began by pointing out errors from
Mearsheimer’s own articles on realism. They then examined his major claims
about institutionalism. They also consider the divide between security and
economic issues, the question of “relative gains,” and empirical work
that provides evidence of the significance of international institutions. They
conclude that institutions sometimes matter, and that it is a worthy task of
social science to discover how, and under what conditions, this is the case.
also use evidence by mentioning examples of real-life cases, and researchers.
For example, how Anne-Marie Slaughter Burley and Walter Mattli show that the
ECJ has had an unexpectedly large impact on the politics of European
integration, transforming political into legal issues with the aid of
transnational networks of lawyers and judges.