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Theories of International Relations - Essay Example

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The world today has become a system of interdependent states, which need each other to survival in an increasingly competitive international system. This interdependence among states means that they have to find ways of relating with each other in order to maintain international security…
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Theories of International Relations
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Theories of International Relations

Download file to see previous pages... 42). As a result of the complexity in international relations, this field of study has attracted numerous scholars who come up with theories to explain international behavior among states. For most theorists of international relations the state is the primary player that determines the direction in international matters. Olson and Groom (1992, pp. 274) state that the policies adopted by a certain state go along way into shaping its relationship with other states, thus molding international relations. The field of international relations widely accepts anarchy as one of the possible explanations for behavior in international politics. Different theorists of international relations have varying concepts on the issue of anarchy. To some pessimists, anarchy is totally appalling, while to some optimists, anarchy can be advantageous to a state. More specifically, there is a “myth” of international anarchy that provides that ‘Anarchy is what states make of it’. According to Weber (2004, pp. 63) this myth of international relations holds that the outcomes of global anarchy vary from one state to another. This means that one cannot predict how anarchy will affect a given state, since different states have different responses to anarchy. Essentially, anarchy may cause either cooperation or conflicts among states, depending on the policies of each individual state on international behavior (Griffith, 1999; pp. 154). Accordingly, it is critical to have deeper insight into the concept of international anarchy; its meaning, origins, the role it plays in international relations. It essential to consider how individual states have it in their power to shape international relations by choosing the consequences that anarchy is going to have on them and other states they interact with. For most people, especially those not concerned with the study of international relations, the term anarchy is associated with disorganization, violence, and absence of laws to govern the actions of people. This means that most people view anarchy as being characterized by severe social and political instability, meaning that anarchy is a threat to international order and security (Griffiths, 1999; pp. 145). With such a mindset, anarchy is depicted as the very opposite of civilization and most people would rather do without anarchy. However, in the study of international relations, different scholars have different views concerning international anarchy and its consequences on international politics. Some see anarchy as negative, while others see it a positive. Yet for some, international anarchy can have either negative or positive effects or both on a state and in the entire field of international politics. Nevertheless, all theorists of international anarchy agree that anarchy is caused by lack of a universal government. In the field of international relations, anarchy is not necessarily considered a theory; rather it is taken as a myth by theorists of international relations. Theorists of international anarchy hold that the world is made of sovereign states, each yielding power over its territory, people, and resources. According to Brown (2002, pp. 145,) such a sovereign state holds the ultimate power over its area of jurisdiction and no other authority, whether domestic or international, should challenge its position. Therefore, as far as international politics of anarchy are concerned, all states are sovereign, but the degrees of sovereignty vary from state to state. International independence among states varies, according to the political structures of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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