With Longer Provides A Convincing Analysis Of International Essay Example
With Longer Provides A Convincing Analysis Of International Essay Example

With Longer Provides A Convincing Analysis Of International Essay Example

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  • Published: September 6, 2017
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This essay will initially start with defining what the basis of thought is for realism as a political world theory when discussing international relations. It will then go on to illustrate with using the aid of examples when realism was predominantly in existence, and the extent, if at all, it exists today as war fails to exist.Realism is a political theory of world politics, which is used to describe and define political world relations. Realism assumes that power is the primary end of political action.

Due to this competitive nature of politics amongst nations, realism holds that states use any means possible to increase and secure state power, which ultimately is in the interest of the state. Realism is a highly respected theory; therefore many policy-makers use the realist perspective to view the world. A great example of t


his is whereby, "Realism taught American leaders to focus on interests rather than ideology, to seek peace through strength, and to recognize that great powers can coexist even if they have antithetical values and beliefs."1One of the major examples in political history, in support of realism, is the Cold War, in 1947.

The Cold War was against two super powers at the time, the USSR and the USA, trying to use alternative strategies to seize and secure state power. Due to the strength and dominance of these super world powers, they managed to divide the world. However, it is relatively clear that in the post Cold War world, whereby, realism was once a dominant theory, it has declined significantly in relevance in addressing International Relations today. Realism is an anarchical theory, and it is held that "Under anarchy, surviva

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of the state cannot be guaranteed."Due to the integration of states and nations, which is predominantly is the result of globalization, other theories; more relative to today's stance have come into existence, such as Liberalism. Liberalism provides a counter argument and differing perspective to international relations and a result a challenge to the realist school of thought.

The evolvement of global organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations, that govern and encourage the interconnectedness between states, illustrates this point that international politics is becoming largely intertwined, which has resulted in strong state borders and boundaries being broken down. These two institutions give rise to increased international relations, and furthermore play a prominent role in the affiliation between these states.The end of the Cold War was the result of the disintegration of a super power, the USSR and therefore, war between great powers does not exist in current international politics. However, realism is not a back dated theory, as states still remain at the heart of the global stage and at the centre of a country's concern. Realism suggests that states compete against each other, for state prosperity.

The basis of realism relates back to political philosophy and the negative view that Hobbes of human nature. Hobbes utters in his theory that human nature is a war of 'all against all'. The following quote illustrates this negative view, that humans have the nature to use their strengths to empower others; "The human condition is one of potential insecurity where predictors take advantage of the weak...

"This negative view of human nature, in some respect can be applied to the sphere of international politics, and help explain

the way states act and conduct themselves.Realist thinkers of the cold war would argue that this event illustrated that the "...two great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union constituted the bi-polar international system.

"However, a counter argument has been put forward by neo-realists, stating that it failed to foresee the end of the Cold War. In contemporary politics it is more ideal to say that we live in a uni-polar world, whereby the US is the only single super power that exists today that continuously works to maximize its state's interest. The war against Iraq remains a controversial issue yet many claims have been made that this is an example of the US capitalizing state interest. Despite the spread of liberal democracy and great protests taking place against the US going to war with Iraq, the US were still able to proceed due to their strength and influence on an international level. This is strong evidence that realism exists to an extent now, as states seek to maximize their interests, for example the US allegedly did when they invaded Iraq, with the intention to capture Iraqi oil.However, an additional perspective that can be put forward is that although great powers do not exist now, competing to consolidate and maximize state interest, an essence of realism exists amongst small states even now.

A great example of this is the Gulf War, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.Sovereign states are key actors in the international sphere, and this arena is becoming increasingly integrated which means that each state has to interact directly with other states, and come to their own conclusive decisions. However, the problem that arises is that

there is no set rule as to how each state should behave and interact, furthermore, there is no centralized power supervising the relationship between states, therefore, the international system is anarchic. Each state rationally comes to conclusive decision, most likely through a lot of deliberation. The main objective of any state is protecting their national interests; hence this goes back to the idea that each state is in competition which each other. For any state, national interest comprises of the general need of survival, economic growth and security of the nation.

Due to these goals in mind each states ultimately ends up competing against each other, and therefore resulting in hostility and mistrust being created amongst them. These negative feelings result in the failure to cooperate. A great example of this was is the Cold War, whereby, the two great powers could not trust each other and as a result led to this major conflict. This failure to cooperate eventually led to the collapse of the USSR domination in East Europe.The cold war is a prime example of the competition of two powers, with the goal to dominate. One of the most triumphant examples of realism was the Cuban Missile crisis that took place during the cold war.

This was a clear illustration of being at the periphery of a nuclear military war; this provoked fear and exemplified the threat, that getting involved in a nuclear would be hazardous. Furthermore, this showed that due to the nature of the system being anarchical states will constantly fight one another. The nuclear war was prevented as the two super powers acknowledged that it was in both their interests to

decide in a balance of power, as this will protect and ensure there areas stability and security.Any dominant power will dominate the international sphere, which fails to allow any small powers to have influence in this realm.

The state is seen to be the key aspect of the realist argument, and furthermore, they regard the state as the main actor in the international realm. Therefore, this results in non-state actors having very little influence, if at all any in international relations. However, the counter argument put forward would be by the liberals, who feel that non-state organizations are increasing to be vital in the current international politics. The European Union, a major global influential organization is a prime illustration.The European Union was initially created, and still works today to encourage integration between European states so that the domination of one particular power can be avoided, and furthermore, solve the problems in Europe that encouraged the two great wars to take place. The initial attempt made by the European Union for integration amongst these states was the Treaty of Paris, which was signed in 1951.

This Treaty combined the steel and coal industries of six states into one single market. The main reason to connect these industries was so that no one state would gain excessive amounts of power that will result in military domination, which was the main reason that Germany were able and strong enough to create World War two. Another example of the Euro, a single European currency, however, some European States have joined and others are yet to, for example Britain.It is important to state that the European Court of Justice is seen and

respected in these member states as the highest and Supreme Court and legal institution in the EU. It usually hears cases that have been referred from the national courts and any decision made here cannot be overturned by any other court. Furthermore, the decisions made in any national court and the any national laws can be overridden by the European Court of Justice, however, the main function of this supreme court is to make sure".

..common EU law is equally, fairly and consistently applied throughout the member states. "There have been instances whereby there is major dispute over decisions and policies, however, the Supreme Court will always hold precedence. An illustration of this is in the UK the acceptance of workers rights for a 48 hour week in 1996, despite a conservative majority in parliament being opposed, it was overruled by the European Court of Justice. This clearly relates back to my earlier point that state sovereignty is decreasing, as the power of the European court holds more power therefore is able to pass laws and ignore the wishes of the member states.

Having the joining of the EU is believed to have some detrimental effects, such as, deceasing the sovereignty of each state, however, this can be seen as a good thing, as the EU will provide further checks and balances. When decisions are made in the EU, it becomes a long winded process as all member states have to participate. Each state has a representative minister, which comes to discuss policies in hand, and a policy cannot be agreed unless all ministers of each state agree. When there is a policy that a minister is

not completely content with, they can choose to veto it, which illustrates that each state's sovereignty has not decreased detrimentally, as they are still able to exercise there views.

However, each member state must keep in line with the policies of the EU, in order to remain a member.In addition, it must be taken into consideration that although each member state has the power to veto, it should only do it where necessary, otherwise it would be seen as a disruptive member. As the EU is seen as collective representative community and therefore uses qualified majority voting. If a state wishes to prevent a policy from being passed, then it must yield support from other member states. This shows that realism is decreasing in importance as this is a clear example of liberal's perspective in that the laws of nature should promote the ".

..harmony and cooperation between peoples."The state can act in plurality in its actions, rather than be seen as unitary actor.As mentioned before, states see this as a constant competition, therefore, each state must continuously be thinking ahead and strategically, in order to guard it interests and security. As a result some policies being passed will seem appealing and others not so much or even at all.

Therefore, for a state to guarantee that its proposals are not rejected it must make certain that it will not work negatively against another member, furthermore, each member must vow not to veto proposals favored by other states. This means that the power to veto can be used as a mechanism to barter, encouraging states to cooperate in order to establish a middle ground. What this entire contemporary

example depicts is that although each member state maintains sovereign power in a realist respect, it is not entirely able to exhaust its power effectively due to the restrains put in place. The states being intertwined is a key aspect of this institution, and therefore vital, because the nature of the council is based on a community and therefore, it would be impractical for a member to segregate itself.The United Nations is an additional global organisation, that highlights realism is decreasing in importance in current world politics.

Like the European Union, the United Nations was also built after the Second World War in order to act as a "...pillar of international peace and security." There are discretions, however, for joining the United Nations, which is that they have their own charter, which all members are expected to accept when becoming a member.

The UN is highly respected on a global level as it has much impact and influence globally. Decision made by the UN council are made on the basis of consensus on a global, however, realists would argue that they are not legally binding. The decisions that are made are merely proposals; therefore a state is able enough to reject them where they feel necessary. The United Nations is held to be a liberal organization, which was designed to function in a sociable manner, encouraging negotiation and reconciliation in order to avoid war and violence.Although resolutions that are made are not legally binding on states, it is in the interests of the states involved to take them into consideration, and furthermore, the UN is held in high regards, and therefore the decisions made in this made

by the UN hold much weight in the realm of international world politics. Great examples of the work of the UN, is the resolutions that it came to, for the conservation and protection of environment, war and genocide in Africa, as well as deceases like HIV and aids.

One of the main functions of the United Nations is ensuring international peace and security amongst nations. The decisions made and passed by the security council, are in this matter legally binding. The council includes 15 states, which require 9 members including the 5 permanent members to pass a resolution. However, these 5 permanent members maintain the power to veto any resolution that it is not entirely content with, and goes against their national interest. Realists would argue that this is in support of their theory, in that these states are autonomous enough to hold power over the Security Council decision making process of the UN.

Although many will favor this mechanism, others will feel it is better to have a liberal institution like the European Union, which aims to seek a middle common ground amongst states, rather than not having any peacekeeping organization in place at all. When UN forces entered Bosnia, this is an instance when the Security Council passed resolutions in order to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing. This also supports the liberal's perspective, as states had to work together and cooperate so that atrocities and violence against humans could be prevented.Terrorism is a major non-state actor in the international world, and furthermore it has had great impact on contemporary world politics.

September 11th, 2001, the attack on Americas world trade centre, was a major shock for

all countries across the globe. However, the most impact was on the USA itself, which is country that is highly state-centric and additionally promotes a realist view. After the radical incident George Bush, the current president of the USA, made a public statement, whereby he utters that he will use 'any means necessary' to defeat terrorists, in order to sustain and preserve US security. The interesting part of this speech that although contemporary world politics has evolved and revolutionized, current leaders are still referring back to political philosophy.

President George Bush used a phrase that relates back to classical realist notion of Machiavelli. Machiavelli, writes in his book, the Prince, that the state should be protected and preserved regardless of the means it needs to take. This is clearly evident in the actions the US undertook, when it invaded Iraq in 2003. On the surface the US proclaimed that it wanted promote and give Iraq liberal democracy, and therefore, Saddam Hussein needed to be removed in order to achieve this goal. However, the actions that the US has pursued to achieve liberal democracy has been contradictive, moreover, the current occupation of Iraq, emphasizes this perspective further.

In contemporary world politics America is regarded as a super power, and therefore the US, with the support the allies it yielded; it managed to win the war with no difficulty. However, the current occupation of the state is exhausting US forces, regardless of the fact that America has one of the strongest, most organized and largest armies globally, and also one of the richest economies. However, they are still suffering a great deal financially, economically, and the deaths of their

soldiers are increasing as they continue to occupy the state, this means that the power of the US is being threatened by these acts of terror.Realists would argue that these globally recognized acts of terror have allowed states to gain and penetrate more state-centric power. Terrorism at a global stage is not a great power, like the Soviet Union, and the US was in the Cold War, nor is it a state of its own.

Since this current war on terror, civil liberties have began to decay, with amplified control and authority of the state to arrest foreign prisoners and to enhance observation.Other action has been taken due to this fear of terrorism, for instance, states have invested more into their military in order to sustain security, and increased the use of intelligence facilities. These actions have led the US towards coalitions and military interventions. Despite the drastic measures that have been taken by the US, terrorism as an ideology is winning this continuous battle of fear that the US face. A prime example of this is the fact that George Bush recently, in elections lost a lot of support and power as the public were severely disturbed by the way that he has been handling foreign policy. Even though terrorism is not a great power, nor does is occupy a state of its own, the non-state actor should not be disregarded, because it has the strength to cause severe harm.

In addition, terrorism enhances the need for the realist ideology, and states will refer back when they need to protect their interest, as that is the main obligation of any state leader.Finally, realism can be quite

confidently said to be a highly state centered and organized theory. Most decisions in international relations today will most likely refer back to states intending to maximize their own national interest and state security, which at the heart of their concern. As illustrated earlier the Cuban Missile crisis, during the Cold War is a prime example of this.

However, after the Cold War period there has been a decline in the popularity of realism, and liberalism has instead been favored. Liberalism is believed to be better for contemporary world politics, due to the increase of globalization and it also encourages negotiation amongst states and promotes peace. Non-state actors have definitely decreased the need for realism, however, realism is still not extinct as the state remains to perform a significant function in the institutions like the UN, but due to the interdependence between these states, it gives room for these mechanisms to work.

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