International Relations Essay

2632 Words11 Pages
The first paradigm of international relations is the theory of Realism. Realism is focused on ideas of self-interest and the balance of power. Realism is also divided into two categories, classical realism and neo-realism. Famous political theorist, Hans Morgenthau was a classical realist who believed that national interest was based on three elements, balance of power, military force, and self interest (Kleinberg 2010, 32). He uses four levels of analysis to evaluate the power of a state. The first is that power and influence are not always the same thing. Influence means the ability to affect the decision of those who have the power to control outcomes and power is the ability to determine outcomes. An example of influence and power…show more content…
The power of a state is always contextual and relative. The final level of analysis Morgenthau considers to be important is whether or not the power is legitimate and moral or if it is illegitimate and immoral. Legitimate and moral power carries considerable weight in the international community. However, if the power of a state is derived from illegitimate sources such as a dictatorship the international community will be less responsive to that state, weakening its power. Weak or small states may enter into alliances with stronger states to increase their power and influence within the international community (Kleinberg 2010, 33-34). Morgenthau also believed that the charisma and personality of a leader was very important when reviewing the balance of power and understanding a state’s self interest (Kleinberg 2010, 32). Realism focuses on the balance of power and how it impacts of actions of state actors within the international political system. Morgenthau said that, “The aspirations for power on the part of several nations, each trying to either maintain or overthrow the status quo, leads of necessity to a configuration that is called the balance of power and to policies that aim at preserving it” (Morgenthau 1967,131). He goes on by explain that not only is the balance of power and the policies that protect it inevitable but also that they are essential for
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