The Cold War, from the Prespectives of Realism, Pluralism and Structuralism

2142 Words May 10th, 2013 9 Pages
Why did none of the three main approaches to world politics (Realism, Pluralism and Structuralism) predict the end of the Cold War? Should they have done so?

This essay will address why the three main approaches to world politics did not predict the end of the Cold War. Firstly it will briefly give a background insight into what the Cold War was. Then it will go on to explain what characterises the three main approaches to world politics which are Realism, Pluralism and Structuralism, it then will briefly look at the distinctive theory behind them. Lastly the essay will analyse whether or not the three main approaches could have predicted and anticipated the end of the Cold War.

The Cold War was the standoff conflict of tension
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It also engaged in proxy wars in Vietnam, Angola and the Middle East. However despite the tension both sides agreed on a policy of détente. “The policy of détente had primarily meant détente in Europe. Détente also contributed to regulating the arms race through certain limitation agreements” G.Lundestad (2005:87).

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).

One of the reasons why the Realists did not predict the end of the cold war could be because they saw it as something that is ongoing and that states will always be deceiving each other and competing to maximize their own power. Realist scholars such as George F Kennan sometimes referred to as

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