Is A Realist Understanding Of International Relations Still Applicable In The Early Twenty First Century?

Essay by jjabbsCollege, UndergraduateC, December 2011

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Downloaded 11 times

� PAGE �1�

Essay 1

Respond to any one title in no more than 1,500 words.

Chosen Title:

Is a realist understanding of international relations still applicable in the early twenty first century?

In Politics we must act "as if all men are wicked and that they will always give rent to the malignity that is in their hands when opportunity offers" (Machiavelli: 1970 Book 1, Chapter 3) purporting that each state will do what it needs to do in order to survive. This is at the heart of Realism as a theory in that we are selfish beings and each state is always looking out for its people.

Regardless of emerging theories in International Relations and variations on existing Theories, Realism remains at the core of understanding International Relations. It symbolizes a traditional path, which highlights the centrality of the state within the world. The theory also embraces the pursuit of national self-interest above all else.

Thomas Hobbes and Hans Morgenthau as writers in the field regarded states much like they did people: selfish by nature, reluctant to change and violent. Realism hence tends to be viewed as pessimistic: especially in that conflict is inevitable and it's every state for itself - putting it's own needs ahead of others.

Within the latter half of the 20th Century realists have been criticized as being outdated in its explanation of the world that we live in. It appears there are some loops in explaining the world stage through realism and other theories appear to be more accurate and reliable, such as say liberalism, which takes more factors into account. Current theorists are also starting to point towards a liberal school of thought and believe it is now the more dominant player in international relations theory. One example of Realism's critique is...