Firstly, classical realism emerged out of the destruction of the First World War. Hans Morgenthau popularized the school and laid down its fundamental principles. He believed that human nature is unchanging and based on universal laws cultivate within us a desire to dominate others. From this assumption, interstate relations revolve solely around the notion of a state’s “power” relative to other states. Kenneth Waltz formalized realism and removed human nature entirely out of the equation of international relations. He argued that, that it is the structure of the international system which establishes the conditions by which states interact. The structure imposes anarchy and under these conditions, all states are rational unitary actors with no overarching authority to maintain interstate harmony. Thus, cooperation between is not possible, and states must rely on themselves. Consequently, material capabilities of states become the benchmar...
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...war, has been used by realists to explain the natural conditions which states find themselves in the international realm. Rousseau indeed acknowledged the international system in Europe to be one based on a balance of power dynamic and that states were inclined towards aggression. Yet, although both philosophers provide resources to the realist school of thought, they are not full-fledge supporters or advocates of “stone cold realism” in either a structural or classical sense. Although the authors are central to the school of realism through the development of certain crucial ideas, their support is limited. Much of their token terminology has been transplanted onto an entire school of thought which they did not overtly investigate when writing their theories. The intent and context of their literature are pivotal aspects of their philosophies which realism neglects.
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