Hence, this highlights the importance of international law in foreign policy and the pursuit of both hard and soft power. In essence, I would argue that contrary to common perception, international law is of paramount importance to foreign policy. This is because although international law curbs the expansion of hard power, it promotes the pursuit of soft power. In the international arena today, soft power trumps hard power and hence, I would argue that international law is more important than ever. Therefore, it is certainly not an “is an unnecessary distraction from the pursuit of power in the international arena”.
Although the realist model may be most appropriate for analyzing actions when vital interests are at stake such as in times of crises, it seems to have little explanatory power for national security policy making in times without crisis. Although the aspirations and goals of states are often partially motivated by external pressures, it is important to recognize that internal forces also play equally crucial roles in the pursuit and execution of these objectives. The decisions of foreign policymakers must take into account domestic political considerations. This fact is especially evident in the political landscape of the United States, where the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch allows Congress to act as a counterweight to the power of the president. All states, whether their governments are democratic or authoritarian, must contend with domestic political considerations when evaluating foreign policy decision.
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.
Wolfers (1962) notes that it as an ambiguous concept because there is no universal understandings of what constitutes national security. Because of this, theories of International Relations have been important in explaining states’ motives and how they go about maximising state security, if it is their prime objective at all. This essay will first analyse the concept of national security through realism, which focuses on military power. It then assesses the liberal understanding, which espouses cooperation through liberal internationalism and broadening the concept of national security. Then, the constructivist position discusses the roles of political actors in placing emphasis on certain security issues to heighten it to a national security concern.
On the other hand, neoliberalism contributed to clarification of the complexity constituted by different actors and problems in the issue, while demonstrating the rationality of states, as well as the birth of the institution forming international norms. Therefore, the author believed the two perspectives are not contradictory, but complementary. Analysis Framework Neorealism-Structural Realism What neorealism believes is fear and distrust originated from the anarchy of international system, resulting in the pursuit of power for survival. As stated by Mearsheimer (2010), power is the currency of international politics. The statement addressed a simple but important question: “why do states want power?” While “human nature” is always claimed by the classical realism, the neorealists, or the structural realists such as Mearsheimer specified the structure or architecture of the international system which forces states to pursue power.
Response Paper #1 The reading materials in Week 6 explore the impact of international law on states, and more specifically, state behaviors. The idea is not to oversimplify the influence of international law but to understand in what circumstances (under various theories) would the legal framework and rules of international society shape and limit the behavior of nations and their alternatives. And these include many scenarios that constitute a change in state behavior – such as abstaining from invasion to imposing tariffs. One notes that state actions are primarily motivated by state interests. A state might uphold international law or norms because it is advantageous to its interest or even when it comes as a great sacrifice.
However, Carr was humble and recognised the existence of gaps between aspirations and theory. This was inevitable side effect of a compromise and balance between utopianism and realism. Morgenthau’s Six Principles of Political Realism found relevance through its explain of and impact on the realities and day to day interactions of state actors in the international arena. In doing so Morgenthau neglected to acknowledge the significance development in the discipline which allowed the shift between the naivety of utopianism wishful thinking and the practicality of realism. This is the shift which allowed Morgenthau to comment disparagingly on the human condition, that humans “must disguise, distort, belittle, and embellish the truth – the more so, the more the individual is actively involved in the process of politics, and particularly in those of international politics” (Morgenthau p. 14).
The realist normative tradition illustrates international relations as a condition of international anarchy (sociological terms); the rationalist normative tradition illustrates international relations as a condition of international society (teleological terms); and the revolutionist normative tradition illustrates international relations as a condition of harmony or single utopia in the world (ethical and prescriptive terms). Realism prioritizes national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions. Realists arrived at basic condition of anarchy because there are no general measures which all countries can utilize to guide their conduct (Donnelly,2000). But, a state must constantly be alert of the activities of the states around it and use a realistic approach to resolve the problems. The development of modern warfare and depletion of resources also consolidate the fundamentals of realism.
The United Nations General Assembly 36-103 focused on topics of hostile relations between states and justification for international interventions. Specifically mentioned at the UNGA was the right of a state to perform an intervention on the basis of “solving outstanding international issues” and contributing to the removal of global “conflicts and interference". (Resolution 36/103, e). My paper will examine the merits of these rights, what the GA was arguing for and against, and explore relevant global events that can suggest the importance of this discussion and what it has achieved or materialized. The idea of intervention is either favoured or in question due to multiple circumstances where intervening in other states has had positive or negative outcomes.
Secondly, limitations found in theoretical arguments will be illustrated and thirdly, synergies between the author's thesis and this analysis will be exposed. From the realist point of view, the international political system is considered as anarchic. There is a lack of external authority among states that ensures peace, stability and balance of power. In the analyzed document, the author's main thesis states that changes of the system would alter the international political system. However, changes within the system will maintain its anarchism.