In international politics today, soft power is favoured over hard power and hence, I would even argue that international law is a necessary tool in foreign policy. To better facilitate the discourse, I would like to establish certain perimeters. In this paper, soft power is defined as “the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals” (Nye, 2003) while hard power is defined as “the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will” (Nye, 2003). Hence, soft power concentrates on building positive relations with other states, whereas hard power can be said to be more antagonistic and hardhanded, which is counter to what international law stands for. In this sense, international law supports the expansion of soft power more than that of hard power.
The U.S. is by far the only major power leading in toward the 21st century, rather we want that burden is another question. By living in an unipolar world, other nations will look to us to deal with all conflicts or look to us for economic support. The main argument in the article is rather the U.S. can support its unipolar status and from all indications it may very well can if by getting domestic support. America in general have to change their attitudes towards foreign policy, it is just as important if not more important... ... middle of paper ... ...power of the world we have to maintain the peace and ensure the stability of the global markets. We have to protect our allies, even though some of them have no immediate threat of danger.
The hegemony is thus the best strategy for a country to pursue, if it can. Defensive Realists, in contrast, believe that domination is an unwise strategy for State survival. They note that seeking hegemony may bring a State into dangerous conflicts with its peers. Instead, defensive Realists emphasize the stabi... ... middle of paper ... ...ee BOP in policy, status, symbol or system. The BOP is intellectually closely related to the idea of raison d’état (Staatsräson), an idea that belongs to the intellectual heritage of a Machiavelli, Hobbes or Friedrich Meinecke.
First, both liberals and realists agree that international system is anarchic and survival of the state is the primary interests (Marten 9/19/2011). Contrary to liberalism, realists believe that international anarchy encourages states to concern about relative gains and distribution of power given the fungible nature of power (Jervis 2011: 335). However, thinking of international relations as a zero-sum game does not necessitate mindless offensive actions. Instead, just as Mearsheimer suggests, states “think carefully about the balance of power and about how other states will react to their moves” (35). As a result of these power considerations, the balance of... ... middle of paper ... ...11.
This school of thought focuses on ways in which power affects the international arena by assessing how states influence each other as the most important actors in world politics. Realpolitik pays attention to political power matters such as military preparedness and industrial capacities, ignoring issues of morality, ideology and other social aspects as reasons for actions of states. In this way, realism sets up a strong framework for understanding short-term, interstate relationships, yet leaves the comprehension of deeper, long-term issues weak in the background. Power politics maintains that human nature is generally selfish. This belief comes from their understanding of the trends in international relations.
Utilizing an absence of conflict between democratic nations as the basis for the theory, Spiro identifies that proponents of Democratic Peace assert two aspects of the theory (Spiro, 1994). One is an institutional or structural belief, whereby such factors as public opinion, or checks and balances amongst the government constrain the likelihood of war. The other, is an ideological belief, whereby the liberal values of such regimes strive for peaceful interactions and constrain conflict. Democratic Peace Theory would therefore discredit the realist perspectives for interstate conflict which focus upon a sovereign state’s strategic interest within an anarchic world sphere. The theory has achieved status of dogma in many circles, but nevertheless has its share of critics who subscribe to the realist theory such as David Spiro and Bruce Russett.
This can be seen as a strength and a weakness. A state is more inclined to favor an agreement or sign a treaty if there is a significant gain for the state than if it would have minimum benefit. The strength behind this realist idea is that the state will always look out for the best interest in its people and for its security. Classical realists are correct in describing states as motivated by self-interest and this claim is still relevant in current international politics but because of the dynamic of the current international system an excess in self-interest could lead to massive global instability. Although this idea may seem trivial and straightforward, it’s a main ideal of classical realism that has significant weaknesses in the current international system.
The development of neorealism helps to explain what realism could not, accounting for global developments since the creation of the theory of realism. Thus, the realist philosophy, with aid from neorealism, remains a credible philosophy that is capable of dealing with the challenges put forth by liberalist critics. This essay will review the realist theory, examine challenges offered by its opponents through the liberalist theory, and discuss how the neorealist theory has negated these challenges and provided a new foundation for the claim that states are the most important actors in world politics in light of a world where armed conflict is no longer the primary fixation of the world’s states. Background Realism is a theory, which while formalized in the 20th century, has a long history, dating back thousands of years (Kegley, 27). The theory of realism states that “all [states] must have survival as independent agents as their primary interest” (Waltz ctd.
PART 1 – LIBERAL ARGUMENT FOR HUMANARIAN INTERVENTION The liberal argument is no doubt the best to explain the reasons behind and the benefits of humanitarian intervention. Famous liberal thinker, John Stuart Mill, expressed that there was a distinction between going into aggressive wars for selfish reasons and going to war in order to prevent atrocities wh... ... middle of paper ... ...e state is the main argument against its existence. (Spalding, 2013, p.5) Realist international theorists are in effect non-interventionists as they as believe the international society to be a state of anarchy and as such value order way above morality. In their opinion, for there to be order, states must be sovereign and their sovereignty respected. The highest power remains the state, it is on these grounds that universal human rights are rejected as well as the need for humanitarian intervention.
Though offensive realism couched in zero-sum terms would argue that one power will inevitably rise at the cost of another, interdependency theory buttressed by liberal institutionalism indicates that great power relations can be managed without breaking out in devastating war. What is important in the end is that we do not have a singular way of managing great power relations; engagement, bandwagon and balance go hand in hand, and are necessary policy tools for states to deal with an ever more anarchic international order.