Realism is a theory which believes that sovereign states are the primary actors in the international system. It also believes that the international system has always been anarchic due to the nature of states not trusting each other and each state seeking to gain or maximize its own power capability. The Realist approach to the Cold War was also that of an “anarchical constitutive” and had seen the Cold War as something that was not out of the ordinary. The realists believed that states are always competing to maximize their own power, “the basic premise of its understanding is that the Cold War was not historically unique. the Cold War rather reflected in general terms the ongoing logic of inter-state conflict derived from the anarchical constitutive nature of the international system, and the ‘power maximization’ policies of states” R.Saull (2001:7).
In the current anarchic world, The United States acts as the global hegemon. However, China’s recent rise to power has lead international relations experts, Ikenberry, Mearsheimer, Subramanian, and Friedberg, to predict an upcoming power shift in the international system. China’s increasing control over the Asia-Pacific region has threatened U.S. power. According to Waltz, the realism paradigm interprets the anarchic structure of the international community, as a constant power struggle. Although each country may be different, to survive, they must all strive for power. Under the liberalism paradigm, the system is still anarchical but cooperation may be achieved by shared norms, and aligned political and economical interests.
Realism regards states as rational, solitary units in In being so, liberalism possesses both economic and political components. Economic liberalism argues that, increasing economic interdependence would lead to a more peaceful international realm. Political liberalism bases itself on the belief that ‘A just world order assumes the establishment of republics ’. Thus, political liberalism as practiced by the United States during Cold War becomes a critical proponent of democracy promotion by noting that overlapping national interests will allow for a tamer international environment, engendering the notion that democracies do not engage in wars. Although democracy as interpreted by liberal theory on its own does not lead to free market, it may create the necessary infrastructure for such an event to occur. The promotion of democracy, to a great extent, increases economic interdependence through the alignment of core national values and therefore decreasing the probability of hegemony between the states. However, The notion of liberalism was undermined in the literature of the United States foreign policy after the Cold War. Even though the states were economically interdependent during the Cold War yet they engaged in rivalry for resources to the extent that if, assumingly, the “World Trade Organization” came to be perceived as a corrupt institution,
The states are the most important actors in realism. Realism is a broad intellectual tradition that explains international relations in terms of power. More specifically, when states work in an effort to increase their own power in relation to other states. With Realism there are claims made, such as the world is a harsh and dangerous place, and the only certainty in the world is power. If a state is powerful, that state will always outlast its weaker competitors. In addition to this, the most important and reliable form of power is military power. Another claim is a state’s primary interest should be self-preservation, and due to this, a state should seek power and protect itself. Realism has a very defined foundation, and that is dominance. The looking glass of realism sees the world through recognizing the winner and the loser.
Realism is a theory that depicts world politics as a ceaseless repetitive struggle for power. In other words, political realism seeks to explain international relations between states in terms of power. Realist “views that nation-state as the most important actor…because it answers to no higher authority;” in other words, it is an anarchic system (Kegley, 27). Some traits of realism are that states are sovereign, non-cooperation among states, and the exclusion if morality in policies.
Social constructivism emerged in the mid-1990s, after the end of Cold War. Although it has been seen as a 'young ' theory in International Relations, it has challenged the two dominant theories – realism and liberalism. It also provided new theoretical openings to understand the International Relations. Social constructivists tried to establish a “middle ground” between rationalism and poststructuralism. Unlike realism, social constructivism claims that material capabilities of states, such as military power, is not the only essential factor in International Relations. It also concentrates on other non-material factors, including identity, culture, ideas, norms, institutions and interests. Moreover, it believes that the interaction of structures and agency is a key in explaining the international politics. However, not every social constructivists agree with the same themes of the theory. There is contestation. According to Ted Hopf (1998), social constructivism can be divided into two categories. The first type is the conventional constructivism, in other words, the 'weak ' constructivism. The second type is the critical constructivism, which is also called poststructuralism. In this essay, I am going to discuss the limitations of the weak form of social constructivism from the perspectives of other approaches, such as the critical constructivism and rationalism. The other approaches can indicate the deficiency of the weak form of social constructivism.
Realism has dominated international relations theory since emerging in the 1930’s. The era of state conflict lasting from the 1930’s to the end of the cold war in 1947, proved the perfect hostile environment to fit the largely pessimistic view of world politics. While many aspects of realism are still alive in International Relations today; including the dominant presence of states, intrinsic of war and the decentralised government. However, realism only reaches so far in explaining and creating a structure for international relations. Whilst the strengths of the theory lie in its pragmatic approach to power politics and conflict. However, the realist view is weakened by changes in the way that conflict is fought, the ineffectiveness of the balance of power model and the increasing global and interconnected world. Thus, using realism as a structure to explain international relations today is to some extent, a theory of the past.
Since International Relations has been academically studied Realism has been the dominant theory of world politics. The theory’s inability to explain the end of the Cold War, however, brought strength and momentum to the Liberalism theory. Today Realism and Liberalism are the two major paradigms of International Relations. The aforementioned theories focus on the international system and the external factors that can lead to two phenomena - conflict and cooperation. Realism believes that as a result of anarchy and the security dilemma, conflict is inevitable. Liberalism argues that this conflict can be overcome through cooperative activities amongst states and international organizations. This paper will explore as well as compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of both theories. It will also debate which of the two theories is more valuable in the
In order for countries to cohesively overcome international barriers, frameworks of ideal political standards must be established. Two of these frameworks constantly discussed in international relations are the theories of Neo-realism and Liberalism; two theories with their own outlook at the way politicians should govern their country as well as how they should deal with others. Neo-realism lies on the structural level, emphasizing on anarchy and the balance of power as a dominant factor in order to maintain hierarchy in international affairs. In contrast, Liberalism's beliefs are more permissive, focusing on the establishments of international organizations, democracy, and trade as links to strengthen the chain of peace amongst
What is Realism? Realism is defined in the book as a school of thought that explains international relations in terms of power. This basically means that realism is a political view on global issues that puts stress on both the conflict side and the competition side in the scenarios. “Realists tend to treat political power as separate from, and predominant over, morality, ideology, and other social and economic aspects of life” (Goldstein 44). Now after learning all this information about realism, the question being asked is does it do a good job of explaining the end of the Cold War? Everyone can have their own answers and reasonings behind why they think it does or doesn 't explain it well enough. Realists view the Cold War as an attempt to keep the balance of power between the states and inside the states themselves. Neither states were able to dominant over everything or declare all out war against each other, therefore both the United States and the USSR would dominate international relations without a lot of conflict occurring.
Another early realist Thomas Hobbes emphasized in the competition among states, arguing that “without order imposed by the state, humans naturally struggle against one another, driven by competition and in search of glory” (Shiraev&Zubok, 2016, pp. 44). These first thoughts are what is considered classical realism, which later developed into neo-realism also called structural realism, with the arguments of the American political scientist Kenneth Neal Waltz. Although Waltz accepted the early realist approach, he believed that the nature of the international system and power were the main determinants of the state 's behavior. Since the international system is anarchic, there is not a legal entity that dictates how a state should act or an entity that can assure a state 's safetyIf a state has the capabilities to pursue greater power, it has the ability to do so at any given time. This positions all states in a place of uncertainty where security can only be achieved by relying on the imposition of its power. Since many states lack the capabilities or power to be perceived as a potential threat, these states would seek alliances with other states which have been already established as international powers and can provide them with a greater sense of security against other powerful states. For structural
When trying to comprehend international politics, current events, or historical context, having a firm grasp on the various international relations theories is essential to understanding patterns when looking at interstate affairs. Realism, liberalism, constructivism, and marxist radical theory are used to provide a framework by which we can dissect international relations.
Hans Morganthau’s realist approach to international politics was centred around the stuggle for power, to the extent that, if the study of international politics were not focused on the global power structure, we would instead be studying international law and justice, or international economics (Morgenthau, 1985). Simply put, “Politics defined as power is important and merits study in its own rights” (Barkin, 2003, p. 327). The concept of realism rose from the “need to study international politics as they are, not as we feel they should be” (Barkin, 2003, p. 327), that is, as put by Morgenthau, through an “empirical and pragmatic” approach (Morgenthau, 1985, p. 3). As will discussed in this essay, we have seen throughout history to current times, actors in international politics behaving in such a way to maximise their self-interest through the harvest of material power. Constructivism provides another lens in which power in the shape of ideas, culture, ideology or other socially constructed factors, can be realised through political discourse (Hopf, 1998).
Meanwhile in realism, for which international relations are driven by the states’ security and material interests defined in terms of
Realism and Liberalism are two extremely prominent theories of international relations. These doctrines exhibit sagacious perceptions about war, foreign affairs and domestic relations. The fundamental principles of protocol in which we rely upon aren’t always apprehensive (Karle, Warren, 2003). By interpreting the data one could fathom these ideas. The assessment