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Understanding International Relations Essay

1597 words - 6 pages

Understanding International Relations Through Liberalism and Realism

To understand the international relations of contemporary society and how and why historically states has acted in such a way in regarding international relations, the scholars developed numerous theories. Among these numerous theories, the two theories that are considered as mainstream are liberalism and realism because the most actors in stage of international relations are favouring either theories as a framework and these theories explains why the most actors are taking such actions regarding foreign politics. The realism was theorized in earlier writings by numerous historical figures, however it didn't become main approach to understand international relations until it replaced idealist approach following the Great Debate and the outbreak of Second World War. Not all realists agrees on the issues and ways to interpret international relations and realism is divided into several types. As realism became the dominant theory, idealistic approach to understand international relations quickly sparked out with failure of the League of Nation, however idealism helped draw another theory to understand international relations. The liberalism is the historical alternative to the realism and like realism, liberalism has numerous branches of thoughts such as neo-liberalism and institutional liberalism. This essay will compare and contrast the two major international relations theories known as realism and liberalism and its branches of thoughts and argue in favour for one of the two theories.

The liberalism and the realism approaches the international relations from very different perspective, and even though many of its views contrast from each other, the two theories do share few beliefs. The realism and the liberalism both views the international stage as in the system of anarchy because of its lack of central power or force that regulate the states. The realist approach views war as legitimate policy tool in anarchy system to either defend oneself or to extend one's sphere of influences because there is no central power that would stop the state from escalating into war. Therefore the states that approach international relations with realist vision would maximize their power and the issue of national security, survival, and self-interest are the major factor when considering the action of the states. In contrast to this view, liberal scholars would argue against idea and claim that international politics is continuously evolving with growth in cooperation and interdependence which would eventually leads to domestication of international politics so that states are able to respond to global problems such as the famine, environment degradation and human rights. Some branches of the liberal theory would even claim that efficacy of military force as tool of statecraft is declining. However by studying the budget of the states, this has been proven contrary. Many states...

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