Essay Is Thucydides a Realist

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The human condition and its significance to International Relations have been in debate for centuries. Classical Realist thought has focused on the inherently aggressive and selfish nature of man and assumed that it is these qualities that ensure war and conflict are inevitable aspects of human society. Alternatively, neo-realism emphasises the system structure of international politics. R.J. McShea discusses the significance of the human nature tradition throughout the study of international relations. The endeavour to rid the world of the evil of war and the advancement of the conditions for peace have been developed from the assumption that the interaction of the states, and the way they ought to conduct relations among themselves,…show more content…
I will include a discussion on man's desire for glory, divine favour and immortality, and its relevance to modern international relations theory. Finally, I will conclude that, although the "History" discusses many realist assumptions and politics, Thucydides himself was not a realist. It is my theory that Thucydides intended his "History" to be the prescription for man to drag himself from the miserable condition of war. The "History" is a model of idealist ideology encompassing the three components: description, prescription and objective. I Thucydides intended his "History" as a source for all time, a general insight into conflicts that answer future questions on all conflict because "events which happen in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future." Thucydides opened with the claim that, "as many wish to consider, clearly, both the things that have happened and the things that will happen in the same or similar way, in accordance with that which is human," will consider his work on the Peloponnesian war as a valuable "possession for all time." Human nature, according to Thucydides, is the same wherever it is to be found and it explains and justifies human conduct. It is an appeal to human nature that is invoked throughout many of the debates in the "History," in order to justify Athenian imperialism on the grounds of expediency, ambition, security and man's
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