Realism Neo-Realism in Modern Situation Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

realism is that the state is the main and most important role player in the political arena with regard to international relations. Many states are involved in international relations, and as such each state is centrally governed by its own self-interest. This self-interest is furthermore not curbed by a central governing body in world politics, and each state basically chooses its own methods and means of securing its own values of self-interest and security. The realist way of political thought during the 1930s and 1940s displaced the thought of idealist and utopian ideals of politics. This was a result of an essentially negative view of human nature, brought about by the apparent success of negative strategies such as war in world politics.

Indeed, it is apparent from historical evidence that the realist theory of international relations is at least to some degree accurate. The unitary state seeks power and self-interest. The methods used to accomplish this are not necessarily in the best interest of all persons and countries involved, and war and anarchy frequently the result. One of the basic assumptions held by the realist viewpoint is that international relations are inherently conflictual.

International Relations and Conflict

This viewpoint makes sense when the variety of parties involved is considered. International relations entail a number of different countries with widely heterogeneous sets of beliefs and ethics. It therefore makes sense that conflicts would arise from the various viewpoints and ideologies. Each state then obviously also seeks its own interest and would protect this even at the cost of human lives. A further realist theory that supports this is a negative and pessimistic view of human nature. This connects with the basic realistic ideal that international relations are rooted in human nature and governed by laws that are deemed objective.

It appears, according to historical evidence, that human nature is prone to violence and selfishness. The self-interest of all the parties involved in international relations often leads to war. Rather than resolving matters in a peaceful manner, it appears that the leaders involved would prefer war. This is behavior that is detected from early childhood. This is then used as the basis for the view that human beings are not essentially good. The theory also supports the fact that international relations basically lead to anarchy. It has been mentioned that, according to the realist theory, the state is primarily interested in self-preservation.

The Values of the State

The key consideration of realism relates to interest that is directly related to political power. This interest is of course the interest of the state, which may vary according to the kind of state that holds the interest. It has been mentioned that the wide variety of states in existence in the world is the reason for the conflicts that arise. The various states make no effort to understand cross-cultural values, and thus misunderstanding and conflict occur as a result of a lack of appropriate negotiation. Hence the pessimistic realistic view of human nature.

Of course, as seen above, the exact nature of the power sought by the various cultural states changes according to the cultures and circumstances inherent in them, the fact of the search for power remains universal. This is regardless of morality as commonly accepted in society. International politics entails a different set of ethics from what is commonly accepted in everyday human relations. Moral principles are thus identified according to the time, place and state for which they are required. They are also always subject to the main values of the state, and determined accordingly. Thus these moral laws are also subject to the particular state involved, and not necessarily to the moral laws governing the universe. When a particular state is then subject to threat, the state's way of dealing with the threat is subject to its self-preservation principle rather than any morals or ethics involved.

The basic values entailed in self-preservation are therefore international security and state survival. These values take precedence over all other considerations of ethics and humanity. This is also the reason for the essentially anarchic nature of international relations. The above values are held by more or less all states and entities involved in international relations. Furthermore the state sees itself as the only legitimate representative of the people and as such licensed to act in its own interest. By association this is also seen as the interest of the people, and thus war and the suffering associated with it is seen as justified by self-interest. This, combined with heterogeneous sets of national values and interests, is what frequently leads to war and anarchy.

Basic ethics related to humanity and human relations are therefore ignored in international relations, since the value system is embedded in self-interest. The state is allowed to act in whichever way is deemed fit for its own survival and for national security. The balance of power is then seen as equal to peace. An imbalance of power on the other hand is what frequently leads to anarchy. A country may for example become disproportionately powerful. Being primarily self-interested and power seeking, weaker states would then perceive this as a threat and take preemptive hostile action without actual provocation. It is this tendency to react against perceived rather than actual threat that also leads to the realist concept of political anarchy in international relations.

Conversely, states that wield disproportionate power, being focused in the acquisition of power, would be tempted to misuse their extreme power in the cause of self-interest. Once again, even if this use of power is not abusive by nature, weaker states will see it as being so and react accordingly.

The Anarchic System

Anarchy in international relations also means that there is no single disinterested world power that could wield intermediary force among the various states. Each state is therefore free to seek as much as possible power through any methods it chooses to use. It is therefore also the system of world government that forces the states to compete for the best and most powerful position possible in the world arena. Force is thus used in order to acquire increased power and/or security by eliminating real or perceived threat. The United States' war against terrorism is an example of this. Its dealings with Iraq as representative of the terrorist threat demonstrates how perceived rather than realistic threat results in the use of force by means of methods that are normally considered unethical.

Another example of this system is the variety of social revolutions taking place not only on a local but also on an international scale. The overthrowing of abusive political systems by workers for example is the not the result of an accepted code of world ethics so much as a code of ethics motivated by politics. The basic value is political power. The advocates of abusive systems fear the power entailed in the numbers of protesters, and therefore agree to their demands in order to maintain a degree of the power formerly held. The threat is thus perceived rather than real.

This was then the principle promoted by utopians and other believers in human nature. The realist view is that human nature is essentially selfish and that it is impossible for any basic human ethical principle to survive in politics, which is essentially interest only in the self-preservation of the state.

Nonetheless, some hold that often politics entail more than merely the values highlighted by realists. Distributive issues for example relate directly to the divide between rich and poor. The utopians for example merely ignored the glaring inequalities of the time, while realists attempted to place these inequalities in their context. From the realistic viewpoint, it was necessary to respond to the poor as a result of the power entailed in their numbers,…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Realism Neo-Realism In Modern Situation" (2005, March 04) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/realism-neo-in-modern-situation-62703

"Realism Neo-Realism In Modern Situation" 04 March 2005. Web.4 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/realism-neo-in-modern-situation-62703>

"Realism Neo-Realism In Modern Situation", 04 March 2005, Accessed.4 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/realism-neo-in-modern-situation-62703

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Neo Realism vs Liberalism Compare

    ("U.S. Names Coalition of the Willing," 2003) From the Liberal perspective, the Iraq War is considered to be illegal. This is because, the Bush Administration failed to seek the support of the international community before conducting an invasion. They felt that if the White House had taken a different approach about Iraq and WMD's (mainly allowing more time for inspectors to confirm / deny the existence of such programs). This

  • Realism and the End of

    S.S.R. stands the fact that civil strife is less dangerous if it takes place on the losing side that it is on the winning side (p99). Realists and Their Critics Predictive failure: realism through structural realism failed to predict the fall of the U.S.S.R. And instead foresaw stability in the bipolar system. However, no theory considered the idea of the way in which the Cold War would end. Even so, theorists did

  • Realism and Compromise

    Victorian Prose and Poetry, by Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom. Specifically, it will discuss Realism and compromise in Victorian Literature. How do Victorian writers search for realistic compromises with the world around them? VICTORIAN LITERATURE In Victorian literature, Realism followed the age of Romanticism, and Realism quickly evolved into Naturalism, practiced by many authors of the time, including Jack London, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Sinclair Lewis. "There was

  • Interventionism From the Perspective of Realism vs

    interventionism from the perspective of realism vs. idealism. Realism is defined in relationship to states' national interests whereas idealism is defined in relation to the UN's Responsibility to Protect doctrine -- a doctrine heavily influenced by Western rhetoric over the past decade. By addressing the question of interventionism from this standpoint, by way of a case study of Libya and Syria, a picture of the realistic implications of "humanitarian

  • Lebow and Gilpin According to Richard NE

    Lebow and Gilpin According to Richard NE Lebow, "Classical realism represents an approach to International Relations that harks back to fifth-century BCE…It recognizes the central role of power in politics of all kinds, but also the limitations of power and the ways in which it can readily be made self-defeating" (2007,-page 52). In terms of politics and international relationships, those who call themselves realists have a rather pessimistic perspective. They believe

  • European Union Member States Relations With Their Overseas Territories...

    political framework of EU and OCT European Union (EU) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) are in association with each other via a system which is based on the provisions of part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), consisting of detailed rules and measures which are laid down in the document issued on 27th November 2001 title Oversees Association Decision. The expiry date of this

  • Blade Runner A Marriage of Noir and

    Blade Runner: A Marriage of Noir and Sci-Fi Blade Runner is a 1982 film noir/science fiction film set in 2019 that depicts a world that is threatened by human advancements in technology. In the film, robotic humanoids become self-aware and decide that it is within their right to live past their predetermined expiration dates and set out to find a way to live among humans and defy scientists, whom arbitrarily decided


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved