International Relations Case Study

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This paper concerns the two main paradigms in international relations, realism and liberalism. It will first define the terms separately, then discuss the origins of each theory, then examine the strengths and weaknesses of each theory and demonstrate how the theories work on their own. At the same time, this essay will investigate the most convincing theory of the both as it incorporates the presumptions into the case study of the United Sates’ invasion of Iraq in regards to realism and liberalism. This essay will conclude by elaborating on why realism is the most convincing theory in international relations.

To contextualize, it is important to start by defining the main concepts used in this paper. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648, was
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As a consensus dominant theory, realism formally did not arrive until World War II, but its tenets had been practiced since 431 BC when Thucydides wrote “The History Peloponnesian Wars”. He stated that the war between the Athenian and Spartan empires was caused by a shifting balance of power in Greece (Hutchings, 1999). From here came the idea of “balance of power”, its defined as when states seek to balance each other in terms of power and prevent each other from growing stronger (Baylis, 2011). Following supporters of realist views include Thomas Hobbs, who asserted that the “state of nature” is contumacious and brutal where humans’ only concerns is to increase their own personal power and safety (Roesch, 2013); Carl von Clausewitz (1832), who stated in “On War ” that armies are a vial political tool exploited by states to maximise their power; and Machiavelli (2005), who proclaimed in “The Prince” that the exclusive idea of a prince was to strive for power and security. As a rebuttal to this theory, it might be argued by many that Liberalism is the rightful dominant theory of international relations. Originally, it came to view during the European Enlightenment Period (Baylis, 2011). However, its been executed during World War I when the United States’ president Woodrow Wilson presented an idealistic, liberal future for the world (Carr, 2001). Moreover, the theory is universally affiliated with liberals,…show more content…
However, none of them are uniquely sufficient in predicting the entire international history on their own. For instance, realism as a theory is adequate during times where there is competition between states for hegemony. The reason is that the nature of this environment increases the probability of a state facing threats from another. In this case, using the tenets of realism such as security maximisation is a more appropriate explanation than the arguments of liberalism. Opposite to this, when there is an obvious global hegemon, states will not worry about rivalry from others. The tenets of Liberalism here seems more
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