Understanding Realism

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Realism has a long history of being debated and is often referred to as part of the ''first great debate” within international politics. Realism is seen as a direct response to idealism and is also heavily criticised for being overly simplistic and somewhat irrelevant to modern world politics. However, like all theories of world politics, Realism is and can be used to explain current issues within international relations and does have valid points to make about such issues in modern society. This essay will explore the key assumptions of Realism (statism, security and self-help)and put them into context of wider world politics examples to assess whether Realist values are suited to analyse contemporary politics or whether the Realist values are being challenged by new ideas and changes in the international system. There are many changes which have come about that may challenge the core values of Realism such as Globalization, a decrease in war/conflict or formations of higher bodies such as the EU. Whilst there are several variants of Realism each with slightly different ideas, all forms of Realism share the same values of statism, survival and self help. Statism is the idea that the main actors within international relations are the sovereign states and that there is no community beyond state boarders. States are only interested in increasing their own national security and gaining power. Due to the international system being anarchic, there is no sovereign body to limit the ways in which states go about gaining power. War is therefore seen as an inevitable part of living in an anarchic world for Realists who think that war will always exist. States are primarily interested in relative gains and always want to gain more advantag... ... middle of paper ... ...Th Edition. Oxford University Press. Burchill, S., Andrew, L., et al. 2013. Theories of international relations. 5Th Edition. Palgrave Macmillan EU institutions and other bodies. European Union online publications. URL = http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/index_en.htm (last accessed 24th november 2013) Ladyman, J., 2013. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Structural Realism. URL = . (last accessed 24th november, 2013) Morgenthau, H.J, 1993. Politics among nations. 6Th Edition. New York; London: McGraw-Hill Vera, E., 2013, A critique of realism. HubPages. URL = http://enockvera.hubpages.com/hub/A-Critique-of-Realism (last accessed 24th november, 2013) UN at a glance. UN online publications. URL = http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/index.shtml (last accessed 24th november, 2013)

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