Politics is often defined as “the pursuit of... and competition for political power” (Djeudo, 2013: 54). This hints at the notion that power is of paramount importance with regards to politics and hence, it is in every state’s interest to pursue power. Therefore, since international law is cumbersome to the pursuit of power, it has no role in foreign policy. However, I would argue that contrary to popular belief, international law is not an “unnecessary distraction” as it helps pursue soft power. 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.
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 main priority in the current growing of interdependence of states is to maintain a peaceful international system. If states are motivated strictly by self-interest and pursue agreements solely based on selfish reasons, it could lead to a global catastrophe. A major point that classical realist claim is that history is cyclical. Their reasoning for making this claim is that states become too caught up in their self -interest and power that eventually they destabilize themselves when constrained to law and custom.
However, they do exist, and protectionism is needed. Consequently, safeguards are built into the system. States look out for their own good, whether that is through the use of escape clauses or the choice of the optimal forum for dispute settlement based on the precedent they do or do not want set. This paper argues that protectionism is valuable and inherent in the current system; however, not enough. Powerful states exploit weaker states, and “free trade” exacerbates the problem.
The theory of Constructivism best describes international relations because it is not a physical entity or material object. To understand the interactions of the states, you must focus the shared understandings that inform the actors on the international scene. Constructivism has only become vastly accepted in recent decades, taking an entirely different approach on international relations than prior theories such as realism, liberalism and Marxism. A main difference is how the theories view anarchy. For example, realists view anarchy as a competition for resources (Bell, 2017).
There is a non-linear relationship of power between the plural perspectives of realism. Realists consider states to be the principal actors in international relations as they are deeply concerned with the security of their own nation especially for the pursuit of national interest. However with this perspective there has been some scepticism with regards to the relevancy of morality and ethi... ... middle of paper ... ... anarchy to be autonomous via threats, coercion and by ‘soft power’. Using coercion is hard power. Persuasion and attraction is soft power.
The proposed statement according to Victor Hugo that “No army can withstand the force of an idea whose time has come” can be applied to many strong ideas in order exemplify their presence, strength, and influence they can have. Ideas can, without a doubt, have a long lasting and very powerful impact in such a way that can shape our future and write our history. However, the idea of nonviolence in this context is an idea that appears to be more wishful thinking than a force that “no army can withstand”, or reshape how the world works. To have nonviolence is to have absolute peace and complete rest among nations. To have nonviolence is to have a world that works much differently than the one we live in today.
There is no question that states used to be the building blocks of the international system in the past because they had the sovereignty in the political, security, and social areas. However, with globalization, states are subjected to external influences and it is becoming questionable if states are still the fundamental actors of the international system. Cooperation is becoming a key motivation in the international system nowadays. ()This implies that states may have to sacrifice their policies to maintain universal standards of living or the international peace. Although states are still the ultimate power source, it is important to accept the fact that the idea of sovereignty is changing with globalism.
As previously mentioned, realism ignores many of the important issues within the field of international relations. These issues include sub-state actors, alternate goals of states, the importance of change in the global arena to improve the quality of the world, and the collective good. It is because of the complexities of the international stage that we must not assume that one view of world politics is correct and the others are wrong. We must take into consideration each school of thought in order to understand how the world works.
However, Hedley Bull, in his most famous analysis ‘The Anarchical Society’, rebuts these realist criticisms, writing about the primacy of International Law and insists that it is a ‘negligible factor in the actual conduct of international relations’ alongside the fact that states ‘so often judge it in their interests to conform to it’. This directly opposes the idea that realists put forward, as it suggests that states are actually inclined to adhere to international law, and it is crucial to the success of it. Although there is an element of truth in realists’ analyses, it is not to the extent of which realists contend and it should be noted that they fail to acknowledge the fact that the favourable conditions order would bring serves an incentive for states to cooperate within the realms of an international society. Furthermore, realist critiques do not actually deny the existence of an international society, but there critiques revolve around an evaluation of its effectiveness. Opposing the popular conception of neo-realists that the current political climate consists of an anarchical system with all else following from this by chance, therefore assuming that it is a contingent, is Brown’s emphasis on there being ‘a reason we have and need an international society’: to achieve a good amongst all states.
The key objections to humanitarian intervention include the conflict of interests with the self-interested state and sovereignty, the difficulty of internal legitimacy, the problematical Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, and the debate over legality of intervention. The issue of morality stands as an overarching issue which touches on all of these. Overall, one finds that despite a moral imperative to intervene, humanitarian intervention should not occur but is perhaps the lesser of a series of evils. In realist theory, states are self-interested in that their own ‘relative gains’ are favoured over ‘absolute gains’ (i.e. gains for the entire society of states).