Idealism vs. Realism: Which is More Prevalent in Today's World?

Essay by rexrodejCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2005

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It is human nature to question those who govern, or those who intend to govern the masses. Those who govern lead nations and states, act on their own impulses. These impulses are directly linked to human nature. In turn, it can be said that human nature is an indirect governing force. Because of this, one can also link the two ideologies, Idealism and Realism, that encompass the world's views on foreign policy with how they affect issues of human rights.

The concept of idealism is the belief that rule is possible with soft power; the non-use of force is almost a mandate to the idealists. It is the idealist belief that the spread of democracy around the world is for the greater good of humanity. When it comes to Foreign Policy and how it relates to Idealism, idealists believe in the constant spread of democracy throughout the world. This is carried out by forms of diplomacy and also military force when needed.

To an idealist, the spread of democracy and constant progression is essential to successful governing. Human rights are very important to idealists. They believe that all the foundations of a democracy encompass all human rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are rights that the whole world population must be able to exercise in order for the world to operate to its fullest potential.

The Idealist view certainly has good intention, but to explain how America really should operate, one must look into the realm of the Realist. A Realist is more concerned with the internal actions and governing of the nation. It is in the realist view that the needs and desires of the citizens should come before any acts of foreign conflict. Realists strive for stability within a nation. It is because...