Is Realism a realistic approach for understanding contemporary global politics? Introduction Realism is a political theory amongst many others, and is a paradigm that goes far back as one of the oldest in International Relations (IR) as well as International Political Economy (IPE). It is a hub of ideas based on different principles about what determines state behavior towards the other. In the discipline of IR there are general theories/theoretical perspectives. Realism is also known as political realism where the international politics stresses and emphasizes its competitive and inner-conflicted sides.
Realism The so called Realists sometimes referred to as “Neorealists” or “Structural Realists”, argues that everything outside ones borders is defined by anarchy and the total absence of any authority. The international system is comprised of autonomous thus sovereign states and realists believe that there cannot exist an inherent structure or society between them. The state power is the key in the anarchic system, the variable of interests and the only way to defend oneself and survive. According John Mearsheimer does the realist’s world view rest on four assumptions. First, Realists believes that the ultimate goal of every state is survival, the largest threat to any state is foreign invasion and occupation.
63). In realism approach, states are seen as central actors in international politics and that the international organization of the todays world is a reflection of the interest of states. According to this paradigm, international politics is nothing more than ‘politics between the states’ (Danieri, 2012, pg. 63). Also, in the realist paradigm, states are seen as ‘single coherent entities’ and they also believe that the behavior of states is rational.
Many theories have shown the insight into the idea of war, international relations and domestic relations. Realism and liberalism present to us the vision that relate and coexist, yet are opposite in theory. Realism is a theory that is conservative and pessimistic. Realists plan for stability of the current international state of affairs. Liberalism on the other hand is progressive and optimistic.
Human beings always want power and have the will to dominate (Dunne and Schmidt, 2008: 95). Classical realism argues that the state is a reflection of how people behave as it is as self-seeking as people. Morgenthou notes that human nature shapes the essential features of how states govern internationally (Dunne and Schmidt, 2008: 95), making power-seeking a vital feature in classical realism. Classical realists make the assumption that “international politics is a struggle for power” (Dunne and Schmidt, 2008: 98). They argue that security competition and inter-state conflict also occurs because of the anarchic system and the distribution of power in the international system.
Machiavelli particularly believed that ethics and morals had no position in politics. Statism, self-help and survival are all core ideas of classic realism. These such writings central to the thinking of modern realists like E.H. Carr and Kenneth Waltz, who were often called structural realists, acknowledged that the perception of human nature in the use of power in international relations, placed a bigger importance on the anarchic nature of the international system which “fosters jealousy, insecurity, suspicion and fear” between states (Dunne, Schmidt, 2008 pp. 11-103). Modern realists state that the primary actors in the international system are states, who will act rationally, and along with security and the expansion of power an essential purpose for each state in an anarchical system.
As Sanders had cited, Morgenthau, 1967; Carr, 1946, “Traditional realism was both a simple decision-making theory and a protostructural theory about outcomes in the international system”. Sanders also suggested, “State strategy was aimed fundamentally at maximizing the state's interests and was underpinned by three "Hobbesian" motives: achieving and maintaining the state's security; satisfying the economic demands of politically significant sections of the domestic population; and enhancing the state's international prestige. The paramount need for security was best achieved by maximizing the state's power capabilities. Traditional realism took on the character of a protostructural theory in two senses. First, the condition of international anarchy (which derived from the absence of a Leviathan-like world government) was seen as the determining structural factor that lead decision-makers to adopt "safety first" strategies of realpolitic in order to protect and maximize the interests of their respective nation-states.
Another difference between the two theories is that neoliberalists state that the emergence of international institutions, whether they be formal or informal, has made it easier to accomplish cooperation between states. Neoliberalists view the anarchy as a system that is slowly being taken over by human processes as well as emerging institutions, that now have more ability to ensure states ' survival and reduce uncertainty among states. Structural realists, on the other hand, believe that within an anarchic system, there is an inability to control, which contributes to uncertainty, mistrust, and the desire for power. Neoliberalists name interdependence as one of the reasons why realism can be considered an inaccurate description of today 's global politics. Interdependence is about the mutual reliance two or more states start.
Realism has its advantages such as having a very strong military which results very high security for its citizens. This enables the state to be ready and prepared for any attacks with no worries. It also helps the state become independent and not rely on any other, this gives the realist country sense of security regarding its resource and goods mainly. This happens because they usually do not trust their neighboring states and are always on the look for any discomforting signs. This is called “self-help”, where state does not ask or need any other help but itself.
First the concept of Europeanisation is defined followed by a discussion of how the concept can be applied to third countries. The section ends with a discussion of how Europeanisation and globalisation differ. International Relations Theory Realism came about in the 1930s as it became apparent that the already established approach to international relation, liberalism, was not able to explain the developments of international relations (Jackson & Sørensen 2010a: 39). One of the significant scholars within classical realism is Hans J. Morgenthau (1904-1980). In his classical work “Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” (1967) he establishes the principles of realism which covers: the importance of human behaviour; the importance of power as an interest, which is defined in the terms of power, and is the most important factor when it comes to international relations.