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.
The human condition and its significance to International Relations have been in debate for centuries. Classical Realist thought has focused on the inherently aggressive and selfish nature of man and assumed that it is these qualities that ensure war and conflict are inevitable aspects of human society. Alternatively, neo-realism emphasises the system structure of international politics. R.J. McShea discusses the significance of the human nature tradition throughout the study of international relations. The endeavour to rid the world of the evil of war and the advancement of the conditions for peace have been developed from the assumption that the interaction of the states, and the way they ought to conduct relations among themselves, are dependent upon the nature of man.
Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses, but often is the culmination of the writer's broader philosophical positions. For example, the notion that wars only involve states-as Clausewitz implies-belies a strong political theory that assumes politics can only involve states and that war is in some manner or form a reflection of political activity. 'War' defined by Webster's Dictionary is a state of open and declared, hostile armed conflict between states or nations, or a period of such conflict. This captures a particularly political-rationalistic account of war and warfare, i.e., that war needs to be explicitly declared and to be between states to be a war. We find Rousseau arguing this position: "War is constituted by a relation between things, and not between persons…War then is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State…" (The Social Contract).
Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy Although the aspirations and goals of states are often motivated by external political pressures, analysis of recent foreign policy decisions demonstrates how internal political forces can play equally crucial roles in the pursuit and execution of these objectives. Thus, it would be invalid to claim that domestic politics and the nature of regimes play minor roles in either the goals a state pursues or the means it employs to reach them. By understanding how the diffusion of power in governments affect policy decisions, one can develop increased awareness of the linkages that exist between the internal pressures of domestic politics and the external forces of foreign politics. Before discussing the impact of domestic politics on foreign policy objectives and their execution, one must first understand the different types of policies that states pursue. The foreign policy of states can be directed toward the protection and enhancement of valued possessions (“possession goals”) or intended to improve the environment in which it operates (milieu goals).
Indeed, is an effective, well run government even possible given the current adversarial relationship between our two main political parties? It would seem that the exercise of power for its own sake, and a competitive situation in which one side must always oppose the other on any issue, is incompatible with the cooperation and compromise necessary for the government to function. As the United States becomes more extreme in its beliefs in general, group polarization and competition, which requires a mutual exclusivity of goal attainment, will lead to more "showdown" situations in which the goal of good government gives way to political posturing and power-mongering. In this paper I will analyze recent political behavior in terms of two factors: Group behavior with an emphasis on polarization, and competition. However, one should keep in mind that these two factors are interrelated.
In order to understand the approach of argument, we need to first understand what is rhetoric. However, Dean argues in the book of Governing Societies: Political Perspectives on Domestics and International Rule that political governing in contemporary societies is best understood as matters of confrontation, struggle and resistance. According to Dean, politics is about the overall set of relations between State and non-State player. (Dean 2007) Foucault’s thinking of power is different from the general view. He suggests that power is not an ability that a person can have; rather, power is something exercised within interactions.
When compared, these theories are different in many ways and argue on a range of topics. The topics include the role of the individual and the use of empirical data or science to explain rationally. They also have different ideological approaches to political structure, political groups, and the idea that international relations are in an environment of anarchy. To fully appreciate these differences and arguments, realism and constructivism must be defined briefly. Realism can be broken down to its core understanding that the international system is anarchic and it consists of political actors known as states.
According to such realists, the State is the main actor in international relations insofar as it evolves in an anarchy international system. The aforementioned anarchical system involves a constant model of competition to assure their security and protect their interests. The State’s urge, or rather nature—one that is for all sakes and purposes selfish, seeks to its most nationalistic interest. As such, the nation’s interest stems from the pursuit of power. Although this currently dominates the field of political science, particularly that of international relations, it searches for power remains, in this regard, limited in the understanding of the terrorism.
The various critiques of democratic theories and practices question the purpose and progress of political systems in carrying out promises for its citizens. Realists, such as Max Weber, argue that politics is exploitative because of its ability to perform both evil and good acts. Therefore, to study and endure political life is to know of the dangerous consequences it presents. Norberto Bobbio, a noted neorealist thinker, posits that democracy is represented as a struggle among groups and individuals for power and democracy. Bobbio offers the observation that politics is contradictory and paradoxical, since it often includes unavoidable broken promises.
The tenet of international relations study is the question of why wars occur. Political theorists have tackled this question with heated debate throughout history and in the post-World War II era the theories of democratic peace and realism have come to the forefront of international relations study. These two theories offer contrasting explanations for the reasons nations fight one another, and also seek to predict the likelihood of future conflict. The democratic peace theory, which concludes that democratic regimes do not go to war with one another as a result of their democratic nature, has attained the status of a law of international relations in some circles (Owen 1994, Doyle 1983). 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).