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Foreign policy - Essay Example

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In the paper “Foreign policy” the author will explain the various contemporary views and will argue that although all of them are important in devising a good policy, realism is the most compelling perspective. There are three main competing paradigms: realism, liberalism and constructivism…
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Foreign policy
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"Foreign policy"

Download file to see previous pages Realism was predominant during the Cold War between U.S and Soviet Union and guided the international affairs at the time. Realists are of the view that “self-interested states compete constantly for power or security” (Walt, 1998, p. 31). States are often in conflict as they struggle for power and dominance in the world order and as long as the balance of power is not maintained, war between powerful states is inevitable. The U.S and Soviet Union during the Cold War were thus fighting for power; U.S wanted to spread capitalism while the Soviet wanted to spread communism and secure its borders.There are various divisions of realism. Classical realists like Hans Morgenthau believe that states innate desire to dominate others is the cause of war while neorealists like Kenneth Waltz believe the reason for war and conflict is that states are just seeking to survive (Walt, 1998 p. 31). Recently new branches of “defensive” and “offensive” realists have emerged. Defensive theorists such as Robert Jervis, Jack Snyder and Van Evera believe in power of military in guaranteeing security and for their survival. These states have much faith in military force and exaggerated perceptions of threat thus use force to defend themselves but have no intrinsic interest in military conquest (Walt, 1998 p. 37). Offensive realists like John Mearsheimer on the other hand, believe the conflict arises from state of anarchy. States are thus encouraged to maximize their strengths in preparation for any emergence of revisionist power. This is because realism is based on Marxism which emphasized the role of capitalism in enhancing conflict among nations and whose solution is a revolution. For example, the U.S feels threatened by the rise of China which a socialist nation is and would do anything to maintain its dominant position in international affairs. International organizations such as NATO and UN are only of value if they serve the U.S interests and not when trying to equalize affairs among nations. Defensive realist like Evera think that war is not profitable and that in absence of militant forces such as in the post-cold war Europe, there would be peace. However, offensive realists are of the view that great powers are doomed to compete irrespective of internal characteristics hence security competition is inevitable. The U.S role is to act as Global police hence maintain peace in the world.
Liberalism
Just like realism, its main focus is the states. This theory advocates for cooperation among nations as the only way to end conflicts. Scholars in this field (Michael Doyle & Robert Keohane) do not believe that power is important in international affairs. Instead, they argue for democracy in believe that “democratic states are inherently more peaceful than authoritarian states” (Walt, 1998 p. 32). The democratic states aspire to be prosperous and as such, avoid being in conflict with each other but rather cooperate for future gains. This was the rationality used by U.S during Cold War to institute democracies all over Europe. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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