The Roots of the Realist Tradition 1.
Table of Contents Theories of International Relations A theory of international relations is a set of ideas that explains how the international system works.
Unlike an ideology, a theory of international relations is at least in principle backed up with concrete evidence. The two major theories of international relations are realism and liberalism. National Interest Most theories of international relations are based on the idea that states always act in accordance with their national interest, or the interests of that particular state.
State interests often include self-preservation, military security, economic prosperity, and influence over other states.
Sometimes two or more states have the same national interest. For example, two states might both want to foster peace and economic trade. And states with diametrically opposing national interests might try to resolve their differences through negotiation or even war. Realism According to realism, states work only to increase their own power relative to that of other states.
Realism also claims the following: The world is a harsh and dangerous place. The only certainty in the world is power. A powerful state will always be able to outdo—and outlast—weaker competitors. The most important and reliable form of power is military power. Therefore, the state must seek power and must always protect itself There is no overarching power that can enforce global rules or punish bad behavior.
The international system itself drives states to use military force and to war.
Leaders may be moral, but they must not let moral concerns guide foreign policy. International organizations and law have no power or force; they exist only as long as states accept them. Politicians have practiced realism as long as states have existed. Most scholars and politicians during the Cold War viewed international relations through a realist lens.
Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union trusted the other, and each sought allies to protect itself and increase its political and military influence abroad. Realism has also featured prominently in the administration of George W.
Machiavelli One of the best-known realist thinkers is the notorious Niccolo Machiavelli. In his book The Princehe advised rulers to use deceit and violence as tools against other states. Moral goals are so dangerous, he wrote, that to act morally will bring about disaster.
Liberalism Liberalism emphasizes that the broad ties among states have both made it difficult to define national interest and decreased the usefulness of military power.
Liberalism developed in the s as some scholars began arguing that realism was outdated.
Increasing globalization, the rapid rise in communications technology, and the increase in international trade meant that states could no longer rely on simple power politics to decide matters.
Liberal approaches to international relations are also called theories of complex interdependence. Liberalism claims the following: The world is a harsh and dangerous place, but the consequences of using military power often outweigh the benefits.
International cooperation is therefore in the interest of every state. Military power is not the only form of power. Economic and social power matter a great deal too. Exercising economic power has proven more effective than exercising military power.
Different states often have different primary interests. International rules and organizations can help foster cooperation, trust, and prosperity.Some people argue that this is a question of international relations theory and others say it is a question of foreign policy theory. For our purposes, we can consider them the same issue.
Why do states behave the way they do is the question that theories of international relations and theories of foreign policy are trying to answer. International Relations Theory and China’s Rise: Assessing China’s Potential for Territorial Expansion M.
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Peace and War by Raymond Aron is one of the greatest books ever written on international relations. Aron’s starting point is the state of nature that exists between nationsAuthor: Raymond Aron.
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Theories of International Relations allow us to understand and try to make sense of the world around us through various lenses, each of which represents a different theoretical perspective.
International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed.
Theories of International Relations. A theory of international relations is a set of ideas that explains how the international system works. Unlike an ideology, a theory of international relations is (at least in principle) backed up with concrete evidence.