Realism - Essay Example

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Realism is a school of thought containing numerous related branches. It emanates from factual truth that hinges on the idea of imperialism.
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Download file to see previous pages Various heated arguments have developed on realism and many scholars have come out their own construed versions of the perceived realism. Kenneth Waltz argues that all of the various explanations for the causes of war can be easily filtered into three images: that of man, the state and the international system.
Applying Waltz’s logic to the realist camp, distinct categories of explanations can be readily identified. For example, traditional realism, with its emphasis on individuals, explains international phenomena and state behaviour from the point of view that human nature is intrinsically evil. Structural realism on the other hand throws out this assumption, and conducts an analysis based on the objective nature of the international structure, a system-level analysis. From the perspective of units of analysis, the different casual stories told by realist thinkers can be divided into three distinct categories: human nature realism, state-centric realism and system-centric realism2.

Human nature realism, also known as biological realism, 3Donelly emphasizes man's biological abilities and intrinsically evil nature. Most classical realists (including the many modern political philosophers who have contributed to the development of realist thought), including especially Machiavelli, Herbert Butterfield, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Hans Morgenthau fall into this category. Morgenthau's theory is the best example of human nature realism in international relations.
In “Politics among Nations”, Morgenthau. presents a systematic discussion of the basic principles of realism.
The first of these principles consists of an assumption regarding the role of human nature in politics: politics 'is governed by the objective laws that have their root in human nature.' In Morgenthau's view, 'political man is a selfish animal, and all human behaviour tends towards the control of others.' As a result, battles over power are rooted in human nature and as such are central to politics.4

State-centric realism looks for explanations for international relations phenomena and state behaviour from the vantage point of individual states (including national attributes, national interests and domestic politics). It is generally thought that realism does not concern domestic aspects of politics, or that consideration of such domestic issues represents a step away from realism's core concerns. Griffiths. M (1999) this type of view though represents an obvious misunderstanding of realism.

The neo-classical realism argues more explicitly that individual states should be integrated into the theories of foreign policy. Scholars working to these ends have attempted to establish a connection between the state and system-levels of analysis, and have emphasized the role of domestic factors in explaining how state behaviour leads to outcomes at the system level. From the writings of the mainstream neo-classical realists, states are still treated as the determining factors in the analysis of foreign policy and state behaviour, thus these theories are considered to be 'second image' theories. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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