Realism : Classical, Structuralist And Offensive Essay

Realism : Classical, Structuralist And Offensive Essay

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Gumplowicz is described by Malešević (2012, pp. 33-35), while arguing against a biological or hereditary basis, as considering social life as intrinsically linked to inter-collective existence and warfare as the basis for the formation of states as ‘territorially based organisations’. Continuing this theme, Malešević cites Sumner as describing man as essentially a ‘peaceful animal’ with war a result of ‘civilization’ linked to political forces: “Real warfare comes with the collision of more developed societies” (2012, p. 42). While appearing to herald Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis, Sumner offers an almost completely contrasting viewpoint to that proposed earlier by the likes of Lorenz, Wilson and Barash; that it is society (the state), not man, that is predisposed to aggression and war.

Conversely however, in his seminal work Leviathan, Hobbes describes the nature of life as a struggle of the individual over everyone else: “every man is Enemy to every man [...] men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them” (Hobbes, 2009). Hobbes’ advocation of a single authority of state power, is presented by Heywood as being crucial to a development of the state system; a ‘monopoly of coercive power’ dictates sovereignty and establishes legitimacy concurrently. States, as observed by Treitschke, are the embodiment of power and are seldom founded outside violence; usually a progressive conquest as one collective subjugates other potential rivals. According to Treitschke, the prime motivating factor of a state once formed, is to maintain it’s sovereignty and in this, Malešević cites Weber as concurring to the view tha...

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... will always seek to accumualte more power. Similarly, ‘Great Powers’ will strive towards hegemony, thus creating an unstable platform for achieving global peace as states are constantly pitched against one another.
Heywood moves to highlight the realist stance that the majority of wars are fought over resources (2014, p. 400), thereby echoing Barash’s documentation of primitive cultures and the genetic influence of aggression formed during mankind’s ‘evolutionary childhood’. (Barash, 1982, pp. 353-354). The acquisition of resources and subsequently wealth in general is a view that Marx holds to be at the centre of the issue. While initially performing a function of self-continuation by protecting or acquiring resources or potential mates, war is deemed by many to encompass such an escalated response as to be disproportional to the perceived benefits of victory.

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