Why Do Some States Engage In War? This Has Been A Crucial

1744 WordsMar 25, 20177 Pages
Why do some states engage in war? This has been a crucial question for humanity as well as for many international relations scholars that study the relationship between states and how they coexist in the international context. Throughout history, many influential thinkers have come up with theories to explain the nature of the international system and the behavior of states. Liberal theories such as the democratic peace theory argue that war can be justifiable if it represents the establishment of a democratic government, which would then represent a collective good for the international system. On the other hand, realist theories including structural realism believe that a state should engage in war if it means the expansion or…show more content…
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
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