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Realism and Idealism in International Relations - Essay Example

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In the paper “Realism and Idealism in International Relations” the author underlines some of the ideas of Realism in a more fully expanded form. Realism operates under the underlying assumption that the in there is no over riding sense of order and justice governing international states…
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Realism and Idealism in International Relations
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Download file to see previous pages It was from this source where the cynicism of the idea that th ends justifies the means first saw their origins. The ideas of Modern Realism took root in the ideas of Hans Mogenthau who laid out the principles of Modern Realism. Before proceeding further it is important to underline some of the ideas of Realism in a more fully expanded form.
Realism operates under the underlying assumption that the in there is no over riding sense of order and justice governing international states. In other words there is a sense of international anarchy which can only be kept in check by individual states acting in their own self interests to keep control and authority over their own national borders. Sovereign states in these conditions therefore act to strengthen their own relative position in regard to their competitors. In this scenario the problems of conflict arise when states acting in their own interest become powerful and threaten the security of their neighbors. In this shifting balance of power there is a pattern of alliances that occur.
Hans Mogenthau in his seminal work Politics among Nations laid out a group of certain principles that he believed outlined the ideas of Realism. He argued that power was the main currency between nations. Political actions of states were therefore governed by this need to acquire power. This was a rational impulse which could be understood in terms of recognizable patterns. The important distinction he made from earlier ideas was that morality was irrelevant. It was not that states were immoral but rather that they were amoral, because in being guided by the pursuit of power relations, morality played little role. Mogenthau's ideas are now often seen in conjunction with the thoughts of another influential thinker in...
It was not that states were immoral but rather that they were amoral, because in being guided by the pursuit of power relations, morality played little role. Mogenthau's ideas are now often seen in conjunction with the thoughts of another influential thinker in the field at the time, Rhinehold Niebuhr. Both theorists' ideas grew out of the darker realities witnessed in the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War that followed. Observing the dangers of the escalating scale of nuclear armament throughout the Cold War both thinkers espoused what has come to be seen as Classical Realism where they warned against the dangers of a dual balance of power as was seen between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Not all shared the distrust of the the bipolar theory of balance of power. Kenneth Waltz argued for the very bipolar balance of power that the previous two thinkers resisted. Kenneth Waltz focused on the anarchy among satellite states and called for that bipolar framework of power which allowed states to balance their interests in terms of well defined allegiances. Because this theory tended to remove the behavioral aspects out of the framework of the argument it tended to be known as the Neoclassical Realist Approach as it looked at structural determinants rather than strictly focusing on the drive to acquire power as a behavioral expectation of individuals, and by extension states. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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