Human nature is that quality that sets us apart from other living things; it is the definition of what we are.
The concept of human nature in international relations is embedded in the theories of international relations. Every International relations theory has its specific assumptions about human nature. The basic premise of these theories has its roots in human nature because in understanding the world and how it works, human nature is first considered. Philosophers maintain that in order for a political theory to hold any weight, it must first explain the concept of human nature.
And personally, I think this is one of the main reasons why new IR theories keep coming up, it is extremely difficult to explain all of human nature within one theory and just when one theory seems to have gotten in right, another theory comes up with a different aspect to human nature. And although there is some truth to each theories’ view of human nature, there are some inaccuracies as well and the only way to fully understand human nature if to look at it through all of these different lenses.
In order to fully understand how important the concept of human nature is in international relations, we should briefly examine how the most common IR theories see human nature.
Realism, and classical realism is particular, is usually referred to as having a pessimistic perspective, it is primarily concerned with survival, it sees human nature as egoistic, uncooperative with the biggest motivation to take any action internal-driven for personal preservation. In Politics among nations, Han Morgenthau argues that international politics is a natural struggle for power. Morgenthau’s specific depiction of human nature is described as fundamentally evil and driven by a lust for power.
Liberalism has an optimistic view of human nature, it sort of takes human nature from the extreme that realism thought thinks it belongs and places it on a middle ground; the argument here is that it’s the egotistical, self-interested nature of man that causes him to be cooperative and selfless, in order to live in peace...