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International Relations Theories - Essay Example

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The essay "International Relations Theories" illustrates the fundamental differences between two theories by discussing how each would interpret the 2003 U.S. military intervention in Iraq. The two theories are critiqued and analyzed in their persuasiveness in explaining the intervention in Iraq. …
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International Relations Theories
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, for realists the desire to maximize state interest within a situation of global anarchy is the most crucial component required in the understanding of political actors and state behavior. First and foremost it is important to remember that state interest operates within an anarchic environment.The international system is inherently unstable and is aptly characterized by widespread anarchy. Due to the absence of a suprastate or overarching Leviathan authority, states are placed in inevitable and perpetual competition, described as the security dilemma. Because of the anarchic nature of international affairs, states are perpetually concerned with their survival. For realists, the international system is a “dog-eat-dog world” and ensuring survival is paramount for any and all states. According to Hans Morgenthau, pioneering German political scientist and an early proponent of realist thought, due to the inherent instability of the international system, the fundamental national interest of all states is to “protect [its] physical, political, and cultural identity against encroachments by other nations” (Morgenthau, 1952, 67). Specifically, threats to states are determined by their relative power vis-à-vis one others in the international system. The structure of the system – the distribution of power and capabilities state wide - is important because threats or challenges facing a state which affront the national interest should be “calculated according to the situation in which the state finds itself” (Waltz, 1979, 77).
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