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Neo-Realism and Liberalism: Comparing These Two Different Frameworks Used in International Relations

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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 countries. Liberalism provides a theory that predominantly explains how states can collaborate in order to promote global peace; however, as wars have been analyzed, for example World War II, the causes of them are better explained by Neo-realist beliefs on the balance of power and states acting as unitary actors. Thus, looking out for their own self interest and security.
The theories of Neo-realism and Liberalism place strong emphasis on the structural level in order for a country in the international system to gain as much benefits as possible and prosper. Both theories believe interactions between countries will set them better off than an isolated country would, such as North Korea. Although Liberalism places a much higher emphasis on international organizations, institutions, and trade in order to promote peace than that of Neo-realism, Neo-realist also benefit from international organizations. “International organizations are frequent congenial institutions for weak states”(Keohane. 36). Third...


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...nd to start off the war shows how a a great power can benefit from a weaker state. Germany then invaded and defeated France, leaving most of the Eurasian continent under the control of the Axis. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 drove America into the war. International organizations such as The League of Nations failed to provide a solution to international conflicts involving Nazi Germany and their goal to regain their lost provinces from World War I.
Neo-realism and Liberalism both provide adequate theories in explaining the causes of war, yet Neo-realist ideals on the structural level and states being unitary actors in order to build security, conclude that Neo-realist states act on behalf of their own self interest. The lack of collaboration with other states and balance of power among them presents a reasonable explanation on the causes of war.


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