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International Relations Theorists Essay

1380 words - 6 pages

“A state is a legal entity that enjoys a permanent population, a well defined territory, and a government capable of exercising sovereignty” (Kegly Jr & WittKopf, 2001). International Relations can be seen as the study of the roles of state and non- state actors with regards to the international political system. This system is made up of sovereign states, nations and nation-states as well as non-state actors such as Multinational Corporations, Inter-Governmental Organizations, International Non-Governmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. It seeks to identify and analyze the relationships between the aforementioned actors and examine the implications and repercussions that may result from their interactions. International Relations theorists include the ancient Greek historian Thucydides whose ideologies touched on aspects of the discipline. However, it was only until the early 20th century that the discipline emerged with two very distinct schools of thought. The liberal school, views strengthened international law and international organizations as instruments of peace and many view Kant and Rousseau as the classical theorists of this school; while Hobbes and Thucydides are seen as the classical proponents of realism which, emphasizes that nations will always be engaged in an international power struggle and stronger states will use their power to achieve goals and maintain a balance of power among competing states.
International Relations while it has several theories is mainly centered on the two opposing schools of thoughts, that of liberalism and realism. Realism views, international relations as a state-centric discipline and as such the state is the core entity of the system. Twentieth century realism infers that the state is a united entity in a chaotic world. Carr and Morgenthau viewed exist people as greedy, insecure, and aggressive, so the states they govern will have those same characteristics and the power pursuit tendency of states is derived from the basic nature of human beings as power hungry. For Morgenthau power was both a means and an end, and rational state behavior was understood as simply the course of action that would accumulate the most power. In contrast, neo-realists assume that the fundamental interest of each state is security and would therefore concentrate on the distribution of power. As such a third belief of realism is that the state is a rational actor as such base their actions on reason as short sightedness would not be in the best interest of any state. For these theorists war is a necessary tool of the state, which has the right to form alliances and build up its competence in protecting itself. Theorists such as Carl von Clausewitz contested that, war was necessary as everything and anything including war should be done regardless of the cost once it protected the sovereignty of the state. Hence realist emphasize that regardless of any justifications that that states may provide it...

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