Faculty of History and Philosophy
Theories of International Relations:
“Classical realism,Neorealism,Constructivism and Feminism in the 21st Century”
Dragos Maria Andra
We are all part of international relations because of our identities, religion and cultural backgrounds, places where we live and choices that we make. Modern international relations give us deep cultural understanding that is a foundation for interaction with cultures with different values and beliefs. And we, as well as countries, need to communicate to survive. Naturally, foreign relations are based on this international communication. No or poor communication between countries has proven to lead to terrible consequences in the past. For example, World War I was partially caused by bad relations between Germany, England and France at that time. Better international communication could have prevented one of the most destructive wars that human kind has faced so far.At the same time, today's world is rapidly changing. As a new countries becoming more powerful and significant on the international stage, the developing world continues to grow.
Realists, and especially today's neorealists, consider the absence of government, literally anarchy, to be the primary determinant of international political outcomes. The lack of a common rule-making and enforcing authority means, they argue, that the international arena is essentially a self-help system. Each state is responsible for its own survival and is free to define its own interests and to pursue power. Anarchy thus leads to a situation in which power has the overriding role in shaping interstate relations.
According to classical realism, because the desire for more power is rooted in the flawed nature of humanity, states are continuously engaged in a struggle to increase their capabilities. The absence of the international equivalent of a state’s government is a permissive condition that gives human appetites free reign. In short, classical realism explains conflictual behavior by human failings. For classical realists international politics can be characterized as evil: bad things happen because the people making foreign policy are sometimes bad (Spirtas 1996: 387–400).
Classical realism posits that state behavior can be understood as having rational foundations. As Morgenthau (2005: 5) notes,
“[W]e put ourselves in the position of a statesman who must meet a certain problem of foreign policy under certain circumstances and we ask ourselves what the rational alternatives are from which a statesman may choose who must meet this problem under these circumstances (presuming always that he acts in a rational manner), and which of these rational alternatives this particular statesman is likely to choose. It is the testing of this rational hypothesis against the actual facts and their consequences that gives theoretical meaning to the facts of international politics.”