Essay on Strength and Weaknesses of Classical Realism

1037 Words Apr 21st, 2012 5 Pages
Classical Realism, with its implication that humans are intrinsically evil, is often characterized as a pessimistic analysis of human nature. While this characterization is undeniably true, Classical Realism should not be reduced to merely a cynical view of politics. Philosophically, Classical Realism is the epitome of the modern philosophical departure from ancient Greek philosophy, especially under Aristotle who contends that human nature is a “tabula rasa.” As our worldview changes, so do our views pertaining to politics. In this essay, we examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of Classical Realism in international affairs. One the greatest strengths of Classical Realism is that it recognizes the similarities between the …show more content…
On the other hand, there will be other people, including the aggressors who hold different values that also will struggle for power. Thus, international relations is shaped by distinct communities with different values, history, culture and ideological doctrines etc. Owing to this division, there is no “universal rational” that explains aggression against the “world community.” Therefore, Classical Realism also warns us against the fragility of the balance of power and all other international arrangements. With such uncertainty in the behavior of states, states can easily miscalculate their capabilities and the capabilities of their adversaries, which could lead to nuances. Take the Japanese’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 for instance. The Americans were thoroughly shocked because the Japanese attacked while negotiations were still ongoing. Using the lens of Classical Realism, perhaps it is not all that shocking that the US who rose into a hegemon during the period, was targeted by the weaker Japan. Because Classical Realism takes into account the essential strength and weaknesses of human collectives, it discourages any form of destruction to mankind in alleged efforts to establish human utopias on a mass scale. Take Stalin’s Soviet Union for instance. In contrast to Stalin who justifies his revolution as necessary for the transition from capitalism to socialism, a
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