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Realism - Essay Example

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………………… ………………… Realism: the Role of International Organizations 1. Introduction Scholars and researchers in the field of International Relations widely agree that realism depicts the international system as a “brutal arena” where states seek to take advantage over each other and have “little reason to trust each other” (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 9)…
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Download file to see previous pages... Therefore, even if not a constant state of war, international relations would appear a state of “relentless security competition, with the possibility of war always in the background” (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 9). This paper examines the role of institutions in the system of international relations, most notably their capacity, or alternatively, incapacity to prevent war and foster stability, as perceived by the realist tradition; as well as the degree to which institutions actually contribute to cooperation in a realist world. 2. Realism and International Institutions There are between four and five major assumptions about the international system identified with realism, which actually denote the main lines of realist tradition and form the basis for the development of any hypothesis or theory (Viotti and Kauppi 55; Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 10). ...
at stipulate the ways in which states should cooperate and compete with each other”, prescribing acceptable forms of state’s behavior, as well as the unacceptable ones; while other definitions encompass virtually all of international relations, i.e. from tariff bindings to war (“The False Promise“, 8). According to Young, however, the latter is too broad a definition for a meaningful concept (cited in Mearsheimer 8). Realists, in turn, recognize that states operate – at least sometimes – through institutions (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 13). Insofar as in non-hierarchic political orders each political actor, i.e. state, must count on its own resources to realize its interests, and order is not imposed by a higher authority, but rather arises from the interactions between formally equal political partners, institutions – as understood by Mearsheimer (see above) – inevitably reflect states’ calculations of self-interest (Waltz 107; Donnelly 17; Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 13). Thus, according to realism, the most powerful states in the international system “create and shape institutions so that they can maintain their share of world power, or even increase it”; hence institutions largely mirror the distribution of power within the system (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 13). Or in other words, institutions are regarded as “arenas for acting out power relationships” (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, 13). Assuming that states are the principal actors in the international system, institutions – as a set of rules defining states’ behavior – are negotiated by states and inevitably entail the mutual acceptance of higher norms, “defined in terms of rights and obligations” (Mearsheimer, “The False Promise“, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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