Reality Of Realism

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THE REALITY OF REALISM As a theoretical framework for analysing conflict in the contemporary international system, realism is extremely realistic. Realism emphasises the persistent role of the ruler of territorial nation state in international relations, although, it does not account for the emergence of non-state actors and violent terrorist organisations (Kaldor, 2002). It assumes that states practice self help to ensure that the states survival by means of power, which is measured in terms of military capabilities, however, it does not acknowledge international situations that are supposed to foster economic cooperation and reduce the need for power maximisation (Kaldor, 2002). Realism’s central theme of The Balance Of Power has been undermined…show more content…
Realists define power in terms of military capabilities possessed by the state, states will wish to maximise their power relative to other states. Realism is state-centric because realists view the ruler of the nation-states as the only legitimate monopolist over the use of force, which focuses solely on state behaviour (Synder, 2008). Realism proposes the ideas of self help and survival which imply that states must fend for themselves and cannot rely on others for protection and that statesmen seek to preserve the existence of the state (Walts, 1959). Realists believe states strive to exist within a system characterised by anarchy, which means there is no overacting central authority presiding over international politics (mtholyoke.edu, n.d) (Baylis and Smith, 2001). Realism predicts that anarchy fosters hostile conditions in which states must inevitably merge into alliances with or against each other in order to balance asymmetrical power. This key concept is known as The Balance Of Power and is fundamental to realism as theory. These elements of realism are at the root of its logic and are key to understanding realist’s theory. (Mearsheimer, 1995) (mtholyoke.ed, n.d) (Synder, 2008) (Walts,…show more content…
Overall realism offers two main arguments in its defence. First, realism predicts nations seeking to balance against the importance of another state that may develop nuclear capabilities to secure their own survival (Schweller, 2004). Few years back, North Korea had claimed that it holds nuclear weapons which may signal to another nation not to consider an attack against their authority (Schweller, 2004). Robert Jervis states, “Whatever these weapons can do, they can deter all out invasion, thus rendering them attractive to any state that fears it might be in the pentagons gun sights.” (Jervis, 2003) Realism’s emphasis on military power in this content is practical and realistic. Secondly, realists argue the inability or reluctance of states to balance against US hegemony is because states are either not in the position to balance or do not see the importance of balancing (Jervis, 2003) (Schweller, 2004). Realism anticipates band-wagoning, which means states align themselves with the hegemony. Randall Schweller explains, “ The other states do not balance against hegemony because they are too weak, individually or collectively, and more importantly they perceive their well-being to be inextricably tied up with the well-being of the hegemony.”(Schweller, 2004) State behaviour that deviates from
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