Premium Essay

Critically Evaluate Post War Realist Explanation of International Politics with Reference to Power

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Alicojay
Words 2505
Pages 11
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

FOURAH BAY COLLEGE

UNIVERSITY OF SIERRA LEONE

Module: Introduction to International Relations (Pols 411)

First Semester, 2008

Instructor (Lecturer): Ms. Lena Thompson

Name: Josephus J. Ellie

Final Year, History and Politics

Essay Topic: “Critically Evaluate Post War Realist Explanation of International Politics with Particular Reference to Power”

Introduction

The tradition of political realism – realpolitik, power politics – has a long history that is typically traced back to the great Greek historian Thucydides in the fifth century BC. Although dominant attitudes towards realism have varied, realist arguments and orientations have been central to the Western theory and practice of international relations. “In particular, “modern” international society, whether dated from the era of Machiavelli at the turn of the sixteenth century or that of Hobbes in the mid-seventeenth century, has been closely linked to realist balance of power politics. The link between realism and international theory is especially strong in the twentieth century. International relations first emerged as an academic discipline before and immediately after World War I, largely in reaction against realist balance of power politics. The discipline was then reshaped immediately before and after World War II by self-identified realists such as E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. Prominent scholar-practitioners, such as George Kennan and Henry Kissinger, have called themselves realists. For most of the post-World War II era realism has been the dominant paradigm in the Anglo-American study of international relations”[1]. Even in our post-Cold War era of globalization, realist theories, although much less dominant, still provide a context and motivation for many of the most important theoretical…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Critically Evaluate Post War Realist Explanation of International Politics with Reference to Power

...LEONE Module: Introduction to International Relations (Pols 411) First Semester, 2008 Instructor (Lecturer): Ms. Lena Thompson Name: Josephus J. Ellie Final Year, History and Politics Essay Topic: “Critically Evaluate Post War Realist Explanation of International Politics with Particular Reference to Power” Introduction The tradition of political realism – realpolitik, power politics – has a long history that is typically traced back to the great Greek historian Thucydides in the fifth century BC. Although dominant attitudes towards realism have varied, realist arguments and orientations have been central to the Western theory and practice of international relations. “In particular, “modern” international society, whether dated from the era of Machiavelli at the turn of the sixteenth century or that of Hobbes in the mid-seventeenth century, has been closely linked to realist balance of power politics. The link between realism and international theory is especially strong in the twentieth century. International relations first emerged as an academic discipline before and immediately after World War I, largely in reaction against realist balance of power politics. The discipline was then reshaped immediately before and after World War II by self-identified realists such as E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. Prominent scholar-practitioners, such as George Kennan and Henry Kissinger, have called themselves realists. For most of the post-World War II era realism has been the......

Words: 2497 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

International Relations

...International Relations: Contemporary Issues and Actors Elective, 2nd year BA ES, Period 3 (4.5 ECTs) 1. General overview 2. Organisational Issues 3. Participation 4. Attendance rules 5. Grading 6. Essay questions 7. Main rationale and acquired skills 8. Changes introduced to last year’s course 9. Lectures 10. Tutorials 11. Essay writing - Quality criteria 3 4 6 9 10 10 14 15 16 17 36 2 1. General Overview This course is about how we understand International Relations (IR) and what major international actors operate in a number of contemporary policy areas. As it serves as an introduction to the discipline of IR, it starts with some of the basic concepts in it: e.g. war and peace; the role of the state, etc. This is complemented by introducing the role of International (governmental) Organizations (IOs) such as the UN, WTO, NATO, the EU, OSCE, CoE; and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), such as Amnesty International; Greenpeace; Medicins Sans Frontieres; etc. The course also introduces the role of the individual and self-organized groups of individuals that claim actorness in IR (advocacy groups; epistemic communities, policy networks; guerrillas; pirates; terrorist groups, etc.). In covering these issues, students are acquainted with some of the main theoretical debates in IR (e.g. Neo-Realism; Neo-Liberal Institutionalism; Social Constructivism; etc.). The lectures provide the general framework for discussing the role of the......

Words: 8192 - Pages: 33

Free Essay

Power and Politics

...Power and Politics In social science and politics, power is the ability to influence the behavior of people. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings. In the corporate environment, power is often expressed as upward or downward. With downward power, a company's superior influences subordinates. When a company exerts upward power, it is the subordinates who influence the decisions of the leader (Greiner & Schein, 1988). The use of power need not involve coercion (force or the threat of force). At one extreme, it more closely resembles what everyday English-speakers call influence, although some authors make a distinction between power and influence – the means by which power is used (Handy, C. 1993 Understanding Organisations). Much of the recent sociological debate on power revolves around the issue of the enabling nature of power. A comprehensive account of power can be found in Steven Lukes Power: A Radical View where he discusses the three dimensions of power. Thus, power can be seen as various forms of constraint on human action, but also as that which makes action possible, although in a limited scope. Much of this debate is related to the works of the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926–1984), who, following the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), sees power as "a complex...

Words: 8519 - Pages: 35

Premium Essay

Discuss the Concept of Power in International Relations from a Realist Perspective

...Realism is considered to be the dominant theory of International Relations because it explains the power struggle among states in the international system very well. From the realist point of view, the rule in this system is cruel, or we should say there is no rule in the operation of international relations because the only thing can be relied on is nations’ own power. Power is an important issue in realism. As Thucydides put it thousands years ago, “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”. The power they discuss here is not absolute power but relative power. It’s a concept that should be compared with other states. The interesting thing is that nothing seems to have been changed now. The international environment, in which obligation and personal emotions are set aside and the interests and survival of the states become top priorities, remains cruel as it used to be. Therefore, realists claim that pursuing power for a state is not only to fulfill its ambition but to survive. The question is why do nations need power to survive? To begin with, in realists’ definition, the state is the main actor in the international system. Though it might be city-state, empire, kingdom or tribe that represented the state at times, the point is this basic unit represents the collective will of people. (Dunne) To quest the good life of its people, the state needs power to fulfill the goal. In addition, realists believe the states operate in an anarchic system, in......

Words: 1288 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

International Politics

...Political Science Paper “When the United States sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold” - (Anonymous). The chain of events arising from the international economic crisis originating from the initial disaster in the United States has affected the vast majority of countries in one way or another. The amount of influence ranges from economic devastation of some nations at one end of the spectrum to national growth and prosperity at the other. In order to deal with the global crisis, countries have used an array of economic policies and programs in order to either revive their failing financial system or to maintain momentum of a successful market for the future. This includes attempts to either spark capital flow and revenue from increased bailouts and massive stimulus packages or to keep an economy’s health and maintain its fiscal impetus through increased export, trade, and international relations. Upon investigation of the various efforts used to deal with the crisis it is clear that realistic approaches of enhanced international cooperation and exports as well as responsible, conservative government policies are the most proficient way to properly fuel an economy. The worsening condition being experienced by the global economy has appeared to stem from the United States’ financial crisis and its ensuing economic ripple-effect across the world. Because of the U.S.’ large role as one of the main superpowers in the global community, the crisis has become......

Words: 2474 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

“Critically Evaluate How International and Geo-Political Risk to Business Might Impact Upon a Person’s Overall Lifestyle”.

...“Critically evaluate how international and geo-political risk to business might impact upon a person’s overall lifestyle”. Introduction My lifestyle keeps me busy but I enjoy the ability to catch up with friends and relax at a café or the beach. I am able to do the things I enjoy through working two jobs, on a regular roster. I enjoy cultural activities with friends in Sydney and regularly getting to the beach for a swim. Australia is a beautiful country which allows me to enjoy the sun and beach on a regular basis. A combination of flexibility and structure allows me to financially support myself while studying full-time; work is enjoyable and adds to my social and physical well-being. The flexibility in university and work allows me to catch up with friends regularly, while maintaining my financial independence. The political environment enhances my wellbeing by provide an avenue to defer my university fees until I graduate and get a job. Risk is considered the probability of a specific loss of worth, against the prospect of gaining value through the intentional interaction with uncertainty (Slovic, 2000). Risk is associated with a given action and/or inaction, of a foreseen/unforeseen nature that can result in a loss or gain in regards to financial wealth or physical health. Slovic (2000) expresses that all human interactions carry some risk, but the degree of risk depends on the situation and the perception of its severity. ...

Words: 1249 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Tragedy of Great Power Politics

...Tragedy of Great Power Politics In The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, author John Mearsheimer outlines a new theory of international relations which he calls “offensive realism.” Mearsheimer’s theory is a spin-off of Kenneth Waltz’s neorealism, also known as structural or defensive realism. Mearsheimer follows on the premises of Kenneth Waltz’s theory by deriving the behavior of states from the “structure” of the international system. Mearsheimer outlines five assumptions or premises comprising his theoretical foundation: 1) the international system is anarchic (no world government) 2) all states posses some offensive capability and are thus capable of using force against other states 3) no state can be certain another state will not use force against it 4) survival, territorial integrity, and domestic autonomy are the primal goals of all states and 5) great powers are rational actors (Mearsheimer 2001, pp. 30-31). It is difficult to definitively discern what conclusions Mearsheimer thinks follow from these premises (Wagner 2007, pg. 14). He argues for perhaps three conclusions: 1) great powers have powerful incentives to “think and act offensively with regard to each other…In particular, three general patterns of behavior result: fear, self-help, and power maximization (Mearsheimer 2001, pg.32)” 2) even states that want only to survive end up pursuing hegemony as the ultimate insurance for survival 3) even states that care only about their survival may end up in war.......

Words: 1364 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Identify and Critically Evaluate Four Variables That Account for the Emergence of International Business.

...Identify and critically evaluate four variables that account for the emergence of international business. International Business, which is the other way to seek an opportunity of brand new markets and a better driver of changing the recent environment (Ramirez-Aleson & Espitia-Escuer, 2001). It is thought as a business or industry that attracts and provides in international economic activities (Peng, 2011). From the views of domestic and international industries, the former competes and collaborates with the foreign entrants, the latter enters an aboard market to get the market share for growing itself up. Peng (2011) argues that International Business includes both international activities and domestic activities. The traditional boundaries of international and domestic business are deliberated blurring, because most of the previously national markets are globalized now. Mention to the current situation about International Business, it is essential to understand what and how International Business is emerged. The variables of why International Business happened have been defined by scholars, first of all, Dunning (2001) believes competitive advantages are quite important to help corporations extend their business. Second, Johnson & Tuner (2003) indicates five drivers of International Business, that are Economy, International governance and regulation, Finance and capital, Communication technology, Social and cultural convergence, etc. Additionally, Huang (2005)......

Words: 2368 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Globalization and International Politics

...G;In what ways, and too what extent has globalization reshaped international politics? In the recent history of international politics, globalization has become a dynamic concept. Martell (2010) key factors of identifying and defining globalization include the greater use of global communication and the decrease of space and time dimensions.. These factors will be explored in detail to obtain a better understanding of the role of globalization and its relationship to international relations. Historically the main actors have always been states, but with globalisation come the emergence of transnational companies, humanitarian organisations and political entities gaining prominence. The question of whether globalization secures greater equality or infact leads to more global inequality will be addressed. Global politics prioritises the management of power, security and justice. The end of the cold war saw only one superpower America remaining. As a result of the collapse of communism, new countries formed with border lines being redrawn. The simple yet effective strategy was to strengthen international unity by receding national sovereignty to stand in agreement. This was an awkward agreement, as no nation wished to stand independent (Kettl, 2000). The emergence of globalization into world markets significantly increased. The term globalization only came into widespread usage in 1990s. Globalization itself is a contested term with many definitions being affirmed. One......

Words: 2381 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Foreign Policy Must Be Formulated in Accordance with the National Interest’. Evaluate This Claim Which Is Attributable to Realist Thinking on Foreign Policy.

...Assessment Question 1: Foreign policy must be formulated in accordance with the national interest’. Evaluate this claim which is attributable to realist thinking on foreign policy. * * According to realist thinking on foreign policy, international relations and politics are formulated in accordance with national interest. This presupposes that the key actors in International Relations are sovereign states that behave similarly regardless of their type of government. As well, a state of anarchy is at the fundamental core of this argument and national interests of egoistic states as the main outward presence in international realm. Classic Realism, originally emerged from the European concert of aristocratic diplomacy. By evaluating this claim, this essay will reassert the position and importance of Offensive and Defensive Realism in our contemporary post 9/11 world. These are respectively neoclassical realism and neorealism. Firstly, a detailed account of realism will be produced highlighting the emergence of national interest as the fundamental feature or goal of sovereign states. This is done either through the maintenance of a status quo or aspiration of accumulating influence. It will be concluded that Defensive Realism or neorealism is the principal theoretical sub-school in according this claim any legitimacy. Secondly, a general evaluation of neorealism in post 9/11 world will be provided; and a comparison, and ultimately an association of anarchy and......

Words: 4135 - Pages: 17

Free Essay

War and Change in World Politics

...In the book War and Change in World Politics, Robert Gilpin presents a rationalist and realistic argument for international relations. The argument is that an international system is created because actors create social, political and economical structures to advance their interests. The structure reflects the interests of those who are most dominant in the system. The structure will inevitably change due to many reasons that are provided throughout the book. Robert Gilpin succeeds in providing support for his main argument by applying his theories to many examples in history. His reasoning in supporting his argument were clear, concise and easy to follow, which made the book a pleasurable read. The book starts out by providing four assumptions, which divides the book into 4 sections. In each section Gilpin provides examples that are heavily rational and applicable. This division made the book easy to follow and helped readers to understand how each assumption supported the argument. Each assumption was used to support the main argument of the book. The first assumption that was used is “An international system is stable if no state believes it profitable to attempt to change the system.” (Gilpin, page 11). Gilpins approach to support this assumption is of a realist approach. Gilpin starts out by supporting his argument through deductive reasoning. These reasons are carried out in an informative manner that can be easily supported by historical events and examples. As he...

Words: 1371 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Case of International Politics; Japan

...Introduction It is widely observed that the post war period was a critical turning point for realism to be termed as a “monocausal mania” with multi-causal syntheses (John Ruggie,1989). Exogenous causes of state behavior as varying domestic interests, collective beliefs, and international institutions and norms tend to trump the effects of material power that is the core commitment of realism. Hence, there is a high tendency of differentiation between classical realists and realists who aknowledge that international politics are not independent from law, morality and economics. An example of this self-conscious dichotomy is the distinquish of realist and non-realist elements by Morgenthau in Politics among Nations. Morgenthau’s view in realist elements is exclusively summarized in the power struggle and political independence that truly resemble the state of nature described by Hobbes: ....’’ International politics would be governed solely by...considerations of political expediency...In such a world the weak would be at the mercy of the strong’’. In regards to Morgenthau and his historical predessesors from the Thucydides to Waltz, recent formulations of realism are minimalist depending to five basic assumptions 1. States are the primary actors in international politics 2. The fixed political expediency seeks the duo of secure and power: egotistical goals regarding territorial integrity and expand in the international environment 3. Self help is......

Words: 1529 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Assess Realist Explanations of Crime and Deviance.

...the 70’s and 80’s in changing politics. The realist view is that crime is not just a social construction, but is a real problem that needs to be tackled. Realists believe that there has been a significant rise in the crime rate and favours a tough approach against it, as they think that other theories have failed to offer a solution to crime. The left realists Lea and Young attempt to give an explanation to street crime, committed by young people in urban areas. These sociologists took a victim survey which suggested that working-class and black people, especially elderly women, have a fear of street crime, as they are often victims of crime. Their explanation of why crime is committed by revolves around three key concepts. Firstly, relative deprivation, which explains how one person feel sin relation to another, this leads into crime very easily as people can feel as if others are unfairly better off than they are, and this resentment can lead to crime. Lea and Young suggests that although in today’s society people are more affluent they are still aware of their relative deprivation because of the media and advertising, which increase everyone’s expectation on standards of living. This is linked to the idea of individualism, because this undermines the family and community values of mutual support, cooperation and selflessness, which results in anti-social behaviour. The second concept of why crime is committed is marginalisation. Left realists argue that people feel......

Words: 1106 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Power Politics

...Special articles Power Politics Process of Power Sector Reform in India Power sector policy in India appears to have locked itself into adverse arrangements at least twice in the recent period. The first was when agricultural consumption was de-metered and extensive subsidies were offered; the second when Independent Power Producer contracts with major fiscal implications were signed by the State Electricity Boards. A third set of circumstances, with the potential for equally powerful forms of institutional lock-in, appears to be in the making with the reproduction of the Orissa model on the national scale. This paper provides an analysis of the social and political context in which power sector reforms have taken place in India. While a state-led power sector has been responsible for substantial failures, is the design of the reformed sector well aimed at balancing efficiency and profit-making on the one hand and the public interest on the other? The discussion of the forces and actors that have shaped the reform processes is intended to contribute to an understanding of how the public interest can best be served in the ongoing effort to reshape the power sector. NAVROZ K DUBASH, SUDHIR CHELLA RAJAN I Introduction he electric power sector in India is in a state of upheaval. Over the decade of the 1990s, the long-held belief in public ownership and operation of this critical sector has been eroded. In its place has emerged a growing vision of the sector organised......

Words: 27705 - Pages: 111

Free Essay

What Are the Main Obstacles to International Cooperation Between States? Assess with Reference to Realism and Liberalism

...What are the main obstacles to international cooperation between states? Assess with reference to realism and liberalism. According to Kenneth Waltz, the way states behave is determined by the permanent state of anarchy in which the international system exists. The lack of an ordering sovereign authority to oversee relations between states dominates debate between scholars as to whether the world will ever be a peaceful, threat-free environment. In order to eliminate war and conflict, cooperation must characterize states’ behaviour towards one another, a system in which ‘the security of each [state] is perceived as the responsibility of all’ (Wendt, 1999). The question then becomes why, if cooperation leads to rewards for everyone, do states enter into conflict and war? International Relations theorists seek to explain this paradox by examining the obstacles to cooperation. For classical realists, the answer is simple; lust for power and a drive for conflict are rooted within human nature and, since humans are the operators of state actors, state behaviour mimics this nature in its approach to international relations. Neo-realists, by contrast, follow Waltz in his belief that the anarchic structure of the international system causes states to seek security and power, and therefore provides the ultimate obstacle to cooperation. While liberals disagree altogether, offering the counterargument that men are rational, and therefore states choose to engage in conflict in order to......

Words: 2161 - Pages: 9