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Realism And The Concepts Of Collective Security And Defense

2323 words - 9 pages

Realism is a theory that suggests the need for anarchy in the global arena, whilst at the same time realist doctrine suggests that stability can only be achieved through a “balance of power”. With this said, are the doctrines of Collective Security and Defense fundamentally different from realism or does the idea of a “balance of power” mean that even the anarchical law of Realism is destined to seek order or at the very least is at the mercy of its necessity? Evaluation of the bounds of realism and the examination of the “practiced” institutions of Collective Security and Defense can hopefully clarify this. It is essential therefore to define the fundamentals of realism, collective defense and security in order to understand the differences between them and possible correlating factors necessary in the overall evolution of Realism/Neo-realism.
Realism as defined, actually applies to pretty much anything. Whether discussing science, mathematics, ethics, or politics, the nature and application of realism can be applied. As such, it is essential therefore to narrow down the scope of individual study on realism. For the purpose of this paper, the focus will remain on realism solely in terms of its application to International Relations of which it is seemingly the most dominant of theories.1 Also called “Political Realism”, its antithesis is generally considered to be Liberalism. Political Realism stresses the conflicting and competitive nature required of states that seek to remain stable and positively ever evolving. Adversely, Liberalism suggests the necessity of cooperation amongst states.2 The defining factor therefore in Realism is the ever present necessity of a state to look out for its own well-being while promoting its own national interests in the constant pursuit of power.3 Some suggest the lack of necessity for morals in the international arena saying, that the ethical norms of the state are not applicable in the international “sphere without justice”.4 There are arguments within the realist community however as to the true application of morality in international relations. The belief of many in regards to realism is that it is all too Machiavellian in that under realist ideology, the state may act in whatever way necessary in order for the end to justify the means, and without reproach. Theorists like Hans Morgenthau are classical realists and though they also preach the necessity of the paramount nature of national interests, they claim to not be so Machiavellian in their beliefs.5 Theorists like Thucydides of Athens found much knowledge to be gained by analyzing both sides of the argument when considering morality and its application as a means to achieving the same necessary growth of power. Realists rely upon several things that are considered “certain” facts in terms of their theories. Realists initially view humanity as being generally egotistical in nature and self-interested to such an extent that it almost always has the...

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