International Relations, Realism And Liberalism

1063 Words5 Pages
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 a benchmark date for the notions of national sovereignty and ‘nation-states’ that still dominates international relations studies today. From this arose the theories of Liberalism and Realism. According to Brown (2009), the term realism primarily emphasises on states as “unitary” rational actors and their interest in security and power to dominate others. The fundamental view of the realists, who advocate the theory of realism, is that power will be perpetual in human nature and opposing views are merely utopian aspirations (Kegley, 1995). On the other hand, Liberalism focuses on more harmonious relations between states where a state’s fundamental priority is to attain cooperation in a peaceful manner (Burchill, 2009). These two theories hold antithesis views in regards to international relations. This section will discuss the origins of realism and liberalism. As a consensus dominant theory, realism formally did not arrive until World War II, but its tenets had been practiced since 431 BC whe... ... middle of paper ... ...e of explaining contemporary international relations convincingly. However its not a incoherent theory, it is a whimsical theory that does not provide proper answers to contemporary global affairs. Just the same, Liberals argue that realism is an overestimated and dangerously biased theory rather than a triumphant dominant theory of international relations. This might be as a result of the negative fundamentals of the theory that include human selfishness. However, through the case study, one can see that realism holds substantial merit in regards to explaining global events that has occurred in todays world as opposed to the liberal theory that is too dogmatic in its provincial ideology. Realist concepts such as self-interest, balance of power, and security can be used efficiently in the analysis and understandings of the causes and conflicts of contemporary events.
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