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Principles of International Politics

Principles of International Politics

Fifth Edition

January 2013 | 600 pages | CQ Press
Renowned scholar Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, who set the standard for the scientific approach to international relations and transformed the field, has returned with a reformulated fifth edition based on extensive reviewer feedback and guided by an emphasis on questions about the causes and consequences of war, peace, and world order. More than ever before, the strategic perspective in international relations is examined with complete clarity, precision, and accessibility.
What hasn't changed is Bueno de Mesquita's commitment to covering the fundamentals of IR. The foundational topics and examination are all there: the major theories of war, the domestic sources of international politics, an exploration of the democratic peace, the problems of terrorism, the role of foreign aid, democratization, international political economy, globalization, international organizations, international law, and the global environment.

The first part of the book, "Foundations"offers highly accessible coverage of key concepts, introducing students to different ways to think about the national interest and showing them how to use game theory and the strategic perspective/selectorate theory to better understand what happens in all aspects of international affairs. This section uses debate over North Korea's nuclear weapons development as an ongoing example to build concepts and build confidence in the student's how of basic modeling ideas. Also covered is a basic, intuitive introduction to game theory and other evidence and logic based tools for analyzing international relations.

Part II, "War," next provides a more thorough evaluation of how domestic political incentives and the domestic institutions of governance shape choices about conflict initiation, escalation, and termination. It also surveys major theories of war and conflict, working through hypotheses derived from constructivism, neo-realism, liberalism and selectorate theory and evaluating them against the evidence to see what actually works and what doesn't.Chapters in Part III, "Peace," build on the logic of collective action to help students see why it is so difficult to get national governments to do "what is right" even when they can agree on what is right, with chapters covering the effectiveness of international organizations and international law, as well as a thorough evaluation of environmental issues, human rights enforcement and the domestic and the international political economy of trade.
Part IV, "World Order" emphasizes efforts to promote the spread of democracy and economic prosperity. It also addresses how to understand and deal with terrorism. Whether examining terrorism, the spread of democracy or the alleviation of poverty, chapters in this section carefully examine which strategies work, which do not, and why. The Arab Spring provides a useful ongoing example of the strengths and weaknesses of foreign aid policy and military intervention policies.

No other introductory text delivers such an easily-understood contemporary explanation of international politics, while truly enabling students to learn how to mobilize the key concepts and models themselves—thus develop a new method for thinking about world affairs. More than ever before, Principles provides a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of international affairs, systematically compares the accuracy of competing approaches to international relations, and walks students through the simple, intuitive models and games that capture the essence of the strategic, selectorate viewpoint.

1. Evaluating Arguments about International Politics
2. The Strategic Perspective: When Foreign Policy Collides With Domestic Politics
3. Tools for Analyzing International Affairs
4. An Introduction to Game Theory
5. Why War: The Big Picture
6. Domestic Theories of War
7. How International Organizations Work, Or Don’t Work
8. Global Warming: Designing a Solution
9. Human Rights, International Law and Norms
10. Free Trade or Fair: The Domestic Politics of Tariffs
11. Globalization: International Winners and Losers
12. Foreign aid, Poverty and Revolution
13. Can Terrorism be Rational?
14. A Democratic World Order: Peace without Democratization
Appendix A. Modern Political Economic History and International Politics


Instructor Site
  • Test Bank
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Instructor's Manual
  • Answers to Questions in the Text
  • Tables and Figures

Our Politics programme is heavily influenced by Selectorate Theory, and this textbook is perfectly in line with that approach; more so than any other textbook.

Dr Jonathan Boyd
Political Science , ISM University of Management and Economics
July 13, 2016

"Principles of International Politics" offers the reader a comprehensive analysis of international relations. Addressing, both, the theoretical frameworks and practical cases, the book gives the students a solid grounding in international relations, allowing them to critically assess the major international politics dilemmas. Invaluable web resources (for the students and for the instructors) complement the printed edition. Undoubtedly, an essential book for any course on international relations, and a very useful book for someone interested in learning more about world politics.

Professor Isabel Camisão
Faculdade de Letras, University of Coimbra
February 24, 2014

I strongly recommend this book to my students. It includes all the most important information about international Politics. The theories are explained in the clear-cut way. The examples given to ilustrate them are well chosen.

Mrs Paulina Matera
Department of Transatlantic Studies and Mass Media, University of Lodz
June 10, 2013
Key features
  • NEW! A shift in focus to the causes and consequences of war, peace, and world order, with many new and reorganized chapters, and almost all new examples.All new chapters provide a grounding in the problems of collective action and free riding, explaining the important policy differences and consequences for collective action when the outcomes being pursued involve public goods¸ private goods, club goods or common-pool resources.
  • NEW! Chapter on international environmental issues, "Global Warming: Designing a Solution," compares various strategies for achieving successful international climate change agreements in terms of domestic political factors.
  • NEW! Two chapters on trade policy from a domestic political perspective (chapter 10, "Free Trade or Fair: The Domestic Politics of Tariffs") and from a globalization perspective (chapter 11: "Globalization: International Winners and Losers").
  • NEW! Completely revised chapters on international organizations (chapter 7, "How International Organizations Work, Or Don't Work) and on international law with an emphasis on human rights policy (chapter 9, "Human Rights, International Law, and Norms").
  • NEW! The tools for thinking strategically are introduced at a slower pace with less math and more of the basic reasoning behind strategic behavior to ease students into a less opinionated, more logic-and-evidence-based way of approaching international affairs.
  • NEW! Chapter opener features start each chapter with an overview of key points, followed by a short "Assumptions Check" quiz that points towards some of the important counter-intuitive results that are established in the chapter.
  • NEW! empirical analyses throughout the book, simply presented, help establish the relationship between the historical record and alternative views of international affairs. Every chapter has been updated to account for the latest scholarship to clarify issues related to security, trade, human rights, environmentalism, and many other policy areas. The book has also been thoroughly updated for current world events and an exploration of their causes and consequences.


  • Chapter-opener overviews,
  • Bolded key terms,
  • "Assumptions Check" quizzes,
  • "Try This" feature boxes,
  • Full glossary, and
  • An appendix chapter offering a brief survey of world history.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483304663

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