Realism, Constructivism, and Haiti, Oh My Essay example

Realism, Constructivism, and Haiti, Oh My Essay example

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The world around us is an increasingly complex web of interactions, relations and events that shape the very reality we live in. There is an ever growing list of theories that claim to hold the answers to understanding this web and the International Relations that occur in response to it. Among these theories, Realism and Constructivism stand out as clear examples of how varied they can be. Both of these assert that they describe the underlying frameworks of our global society and make sense of the seemingly chaotic world around us.
“Realism emphasizes the constraints on politics imposed by human nature and the absence of international government. Together, they make international relations largely a realm of power and interest” (Donnelly 2000, 9). This concentration on power and lack of international government puts the focus on the States and their relation to each other. This is often summed up as the three Ss: Statism, Survival, and Self-Help (Lamy, et al. 2011, 66-67). States are considered the primary and only real players in the global arena and in International Relations themselves. It is assumed that these states will act only on their best interests and to perpetuate their own survival. Very few if any domestic issues actually impact the global level of international politics based on this theory. As Peter J. Katzenstein is quoted, for Realists, “culture and identity are, at best, derivative of the distribution of capabilities and have no independent explanatory power” (van Ham 2010, 46). Instead the global system structure is considered the prime and nearly only force that determines the state of politics and the actions available.
Richard Jackson and Matt McDonald suggest that, “in essence, Constructivists working i...

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Louisiana State Museum. Louisiana Purchase. n.d. (accessed September 25, 2011).
Donnelly, Jack. Realism and International Relations. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Lamy, Steven L, John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens. Introduction to Global Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Parmar, Inderjeet, Linda B Miller, and Mark Ledwidge. New Directions in US Foreign Policy. Routledge, 2009.
van Ham, Peter. Social Power in International Politics. Routledge, 2010.
Lamy, Steven L, John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens. Introduction to Global Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Parmar, Inderjeet, Linda B Miller, and Mark Ledwidge. New Directions in US Foreign Policy. Routledge, 2009.
van Ham, Peter. Social Power in International Politics. Routledge, 2010.

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