Understanding International Relations Through Liberalism and Realism To understand the international relations of contemporary society and how and why historically states has acted in such a way in regarding international relations, the scholars developed numerous theories. Among these numerous theories, the two theories that are considered as mainstream are liberalism and realism because the most actors in stage of international relations are favouring either theories as a framework and these theories explains why the most actors are taking such actions regarding foreign politics. The realism was theorized in earlier writings by numerous historical figures, however it didn't become main approach to understand international relations until it replaced idealist approach following the Great Debate and the outbreak of Second World War. Not all realists agrees on the issues and ways to interpret international relations and realism is divided into several types. As realism became the dominant theory, idealistic approach to understand international relations quickly sparked out with failure of the League of Nation, however idealism helped draw another theory to understand international relations. The liberalism is the historical alternative to the realism and like realism, liberalism has numerous branches of thoughts such as neo-liberalism and institutional liberalism. This essay will compare and contrast the two major international relations theories known as realism and liberalism and its branches of thoughts and argue in favour for one of the two theories. The liberalism and the realism approaches the international relations from very different perspective, and even though many of its views contrast from each other, the ... ... middle of paper ... ... between the theory of liberalism and realism to find which one of the theory gives better explanation and prediction of the international relations. For instance, each theories would approach the explanation for the peaceful relations between Republic of Korea and Japan different. If the reason for the friendly relation between the two countries are due to the balance of power to counter the Chinese interest, this would be the perspective of the realist. But if the economic interdependence between the Japan and Korea caused the peaceful relations, this is the view of the liberalism. Contemporary society analyze certain issues of international relations with different perspective, but it is utterly important for individuals to approach issues of international relations from one perspective and approach from contrasting critic view to study international politic.
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To begin with, there must be an examination of what both of these major theories are. Initially let us look at the paradigm of realism. When Doyle launches into his discussion on realism he makes sure to mention how the Greek philosophical historian Thucydides is considered the father of realism due to the positions he takes in his book History. What Thucydides understood is that nations are always constantly sizing each other up and internally debating how much power they can obtain. When describing Thucydides opinion on international relations Doyle writes, “[i]nterstate relations in his view exist in a condition where war is always possible” (Doyle 51). This view still holds true today. Even allies such as Germany and the United States are currently in a state of apprehension due to the National Security Agency’s blatant disregard for civil liberties. Examples like the one previously stated are littered throughout history and includes political figures who have been considered followers of liberalism. This is a direct reference to Bill Clinton, who ...
During Ambassador Power’s speech, she discusses her beliefs about Russia as a threat to the international community and the United States by prominently expressing thoughts that are similar with the liberal theoretical tradition, additionally, due to intellectual pluralism, Ambassador Power briefly expresses thoughts that are similar to the theoretical tradition of realism. There are four basic assumptions that realism and liberalism share—states live in an international system based on anarchy, states seek power, states are rational actors, and states are the most born actors. However, these rational acting states have varying views of what anarchy is and they act in different ways to attain such anarchy. In this paper, I will explain how
The theory of Realism key actor is the state. The view of the state in Realism is power seeking and to make judgments based on the significant of national interests. Each state acts in a unitary way to increase its power by war, balance of powers, or through economy. The International System believes in anarchy. The distribution of power among states can be judged by its economy and military capabilities. However, the Realist theory does take in consideration that change can occur in the International System.
Realism is not only the pervasive approach in international relations literature but is accurate in describing and anticipating state actions. Constructivists need a genuine response to realism and, in order to do that, norms need to enter into the process of rational decision-making. This could take several forms including increasing costs of norm violation, introducing hegemonic power into the system, or redefining interests in terms other than material. Discussions in the literature analyze the impact of norms, regimes, ideas, or principles on international relations, but do not often take a critical enough look at what is at stake. Realist politics hinder progressive, humanitarian initiatives because of its marriage to power and material capabilitie...
Realism can be described as a theoretical approach used to analyze all international relations as the relation of states engaged in power (Baylis, Owens, Smith, 100). Although realism cannot accommodate non-state actors within its analysis. There are three types of realism which include classical (human
In conclusion realist and liberalist theories provide contrasting views on goals and instruments of international affairs. Each theory offers reasons why state and people behave the way they do when confronted with questions such as power, anarchy, state interests and the cause of war. Realists have a pessimistic view about human nature and they see international relations as driven by a states self preservation and suggest that the primary objective of every state is to promote its national interest and that power is gained through war or the threat of military action. Liberalism on the other hand has an optimistic view about human nature and focuses on democracy and individual rights and that economic independence is achieved through cooperation among states and power is gained through lasting alliances and state interdependence.
Both of these are international relations theories. International relations theories aid the individual in better understanding why states behave the way in which they do and “several major schools of thought are discernable, differentiated principally by the variables they emphasize” (Slaughter 1). That being said, to understand offensive neorealism, one must firstly be able to know the basis of realism in itself, as well as differentiate neorealism from neoclassical realism. Stephen G. Brooks argues in his article “Dueling Realisms” that both “neorealism and postclassical realism do share important similarities: both have a systemic focus; both are state-centric; both view international politics as inherently competitive; both emphasize material factors, rather than nonmaterial factors, such as ideas and institutions; and both assume states are egoistic actors that pursue self-help” (Brooks 446). Structural realism is another term for neorealism, and both will be used interchangeably in the following case study. Aside from these shared values that both reflect, the two forms of realism both present very different or conflicting views on state behaviour. For one, neorealists believe “the international system is defined by anarchy—the absence of a central authority” (Slaughter 2) and that states take action based on the possibility of conflict, always looking at a worst-case scenario, whereas postclassical realists believe that states make decisions and take actions based on the probability of an attack or act of aggression from other states (Brooks 446). To expand on neorealism’s possibility outlook, Kenneth Waltz argues, “in the absence of a supreme authority [due to anarchy], there is then constant possibility that conflicts will be settled by force” (Brooks 447). Neorealists look at the possibility of conflict due to the potential cost of war, due to
Schmidt, B. C. (2007). Realism and facets of power in international relations. In F. Berenskoetter & M. J. D. Williams (Eds.), Power in world politics (pp. 43-63). London: Routledge.
The creation of the study of international relations in the early 20th century has allowed multiple political theories to be compared, contrasted, debated, and argued against one another for the past century. These theories were created based on certain understandings of human principles or social nature and project these concepts onto the international system. They examine the international political structure and thrive to predict or explain how states will react under certain situations, pressures, and threats. Two of the most popular theories are known as constructivism and realism. 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.
The first paradigm of international relations is the theory of Realism. Realism is focused on ideas of self-interest and the balance of power. Realism is also divided into two categories, classical realism and neo-realism. Famous political theorist, Hans Morgenthau was a classical realist who believed that national interest was based on three elements, balance of power, military force, and self interest (Kleinberg 2010, 32). He uses four levels of analysis to evaluate the power of a state. The first is that power and influence are not always the same thing. Influence means the ability to affect the decision of those who have the power to control outcomes and power is the ability to determine outcomes. An example of influence and power would be the UN’s ability to influence the actions of states within the UN but the state itself has the power to determine how they act. Morgenthau goes on to his next level of analysis in which he explains the difference in force and power in the international realm. Force is physical violence, the use of military power but power is so much more than that. A powerful state can control the actions of another state with the threat of force but not actually need to physical force. He believed that the ability to have power over another state simply with the threat of force was likely to be the most important element in analysis the power of as state (Kleinberg 2010, 33-34).
The prominent scholar of Political Science, Kenneth N. Waltz, founder of neorealism, has proposed controversial realist theories in his work. Publications such as "Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis", "Theory of International Politics” and “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate,” demonstrate how Waltz's approach was motivated by the American military power. In acquaintance of this fact, the purpose of this paper is to critically analyze Waltz theoretical argument from the journal "Structural Realism after the Cold War". Firstly, this paper will indicate the author's thesis and the arguments supporting it. Secondly, limitations found in theoretical arguments will be illustrated and thirdly, synergies between the author's thesis and this analysis will be exposed.
People’s ideas and assumptions about world politics shape and construct the theories that help explain world conflicts and events. These assumptions can be classified into various known theoretical perspectives; the most dominant is political realism. Political realism is the most common theoretical approach when it is in means of foreign policy and international issues. It is known as “realpolitik” and emphasis that the most important actor in global politics is the state, which pursues self-interests, security, and growing power (Ray and Kaarbo 3). Realists generally suggest that interstate cooperation is severely limited by each state’s need to guarantee its own security in a global condition of anarchy. Political realist view international politics as a struggle for power dominated by organized violence, “All history shows that nations active in international politics are continuously preparing for, actively involved in, or recovering from organized violence in the form of war” (Kegley 94). The downside of the political realist perspective is that their emphasis on power and self-interest is their skepticism regarding the relevance of ethical norms to relations among states.
Realism is one of the important perspectives on global politics, it is a notion about the conservative society and political philosophy (Heywood 2011: 54; Shimko 2013: 36). Besides, Gilpin (1996) claims that “realism…, it is not a scientific theory that is subject to the test of falsifiability, therefore, cannot be proved and disproved.” (Frankel 1996: xiii). The components of the realist approach to international relations will be discussed.
Many theories have been formulated to explain the major events in the 20th century (two world wars and the Cold War). Among those theories, I think realism theory (neorealism in particular) best explains these events. This paper analyzes how the Balance of Power theory from the realist tradition can be applied in the explaining the onsets of these events and the end of the Cold War. From a realist’s perspective, first, states are rational and their actions are all dictated by their primary interest, which is security. And states seek security through balancing the distribution of power. Second, polarity, which is determined by distribution of, has a significant impact on the choice of balancing behavior of states. And consistent with the history, this theory suggests that states are more likely to go to war under multipolarity while a bipolar system is relatively stable because of security dilemma between two great powers. After this, I will discuss two liberal critiques of the theory and further explain why realist theory best explain the onsets of these events.
Classical realism originates from the ancient times of the Greek empires. This theory in international relations has dominated the sphere and the conception of world politics for centuries. Classical realists such as Morgenthau and Thucydides outline different factors in explaining politics at all levels and emphasize that politics is described throughout the theory of classical realism. Like every theory in international relations, classical realism has strengths and weaknesses that define its impact in the international level. In our current age of diplomacy, classical realism is not a common theory in current international politics. Although it is not as relevant as it has been in the past, there is potential for classical