The Theory of Realism in International Relations

Topic: International Relations
Words: 1065 Pages: 4

The theory of international relations implies the existence of several schools that consider the nature of the interaction and functioning of states in different ways. Therefore, one of the most permanent is realism, which in turn is divided into classical, neorealism, and neoclassical realism. Each of these branches implies the presence of different points of emphasis, but it comes from general concepts. Thus, within the framework of this work, the existence of commonality between classical realism, neorealism, and neoclassical realism will be proved.

First of all, it is necessary to gain an understanding of what the theory of realism is in the framework of international relations. Therefore, this approach to the vision of the world is one of the most widespread and permanent. Over time, this concept has gained some changes and additions, but they are all centered around one thought. Hence, “realism is a school of thought that emphasizes the competitive and conflicting side of international relations”. In other words, all the main divisions of this approach consider how countries approach the pursuit of wealth and power.

Further, the various opinions united under the school of thought of realism are based on several aspects that form their basis. The first of them is centering on the state, which implies that it is the leading actor in the activity of gaining strength and well-being. The next indicator is anarchy, which causes the presence of various degrees of independence, superiority, and power among the states. Furthermore, nothing can be higher than the value of the state and its interactions with other states in the framework of international relations, which also implies making any decisions. Moreover, all possible international system exists in a state of constant anarchy.

The third aspect that underlies the theory of realism is egoism. This indicator determines that all states are primarily driven by their own interests and goals (). In addition, selfishness concerns acquiring as many valuable and necessary resources as possible solely for building the well-being of a particular state. The last component of realism in the framework of international relations is power politics. It implies that all the goals and activities of the state should revolve around the concern of preserving its power and security. One of the main dilemmas is the construction of a military base to maintain this aspect, which causes the division of realistic views into three main subgroups.

It is also worth noting that in addition to these aspects, political realism in the framework of international relations takes into account three indicators of statism, survival, and self-help. These concepts are assumptions that guide the activities of the states and can become an explanation of certain decisions taken. It is essential to understand that these indicators largely echo the basic concepts of realism. Thus, statism determines that states are characterized by unitary and rational actors. Survival is the ability of States to act in order to survive in an international system. Self-help is an assumption that they cannot trust others and must secure their security.

Realism in the framework of international relations is divided into classical realism, neorealism, and neoclassical realism. This work adheres to the opinion that all these branches are interconnected and have standard foundations from which they start when forming their concepts. Therefore, the first subdivision of realism that should be considered within the framework of this scientific paper is classical realism. The basis of this approach is human nature, which becomes the driving force in making decisions concerning the state. In other words, it is this aspect that contributes to the preference of the interests of the state over ideologies. Thus, nations are ready to transcend the principles of morality for the sake of gaining prosperity and power for the nation. The main representatives of this movement are Hans Morgenthau, Raymond Aron, and George Kennan.

Another branch of realism is neorealism, which is also divided into defensive and offensive realism. It has become part of classical realism, but unlike it, it focuses on the anarchic structure of the international system. Thus, this approach does not determine the existence of political monopoly and believes that there is no force that would be above any sovereign. Hence, the main focus is on this indicator through levels of analysis or structure and agency debate. Within the framework of neorealism, States should be in constant readiness for the emergence of a possible conflict that may arise for economic or military reasons. Thinkers such as John Mearsheimer and Kenneth Waltz belong to this movement.

It is worth paying attention to the differences between offensive and defensive neorealism. Thus, the first division focuses on the fact that states make decisions and act in order to preserve power and security through domination and hegemony. Defensive realism, in turn, is based on the belief that states and nations adhere to reserved policies to achieve security within the framework of an anarchical structure. Thus, it refutes the concepts of offensive realism, as it believes that it violates the balance of power.

The last kind of realism becomes neoclassical realism. This approach originated from classical and neorealism, which is the unifying part. Neoclassical realism provides a more detailed view of particular states’ behavior rather than political activity. Therefore, this worldview is based on the distribution of power in the international system and the domestic perception of the system, and domestic incentives. On the other hand, despite the fact that neoclassicism is based on the behavior of states, it can also provide value when studying certain types of political outcomes. Among the most prominent representatives of this movement are Aaron Friedberg, Randall Schweller, and William Wohlforth.

In conclusion, this work considered realism within the framework of the international theory of relationships. It focuses on the fact that all states function based on the desire to gain power and wealth while adhering to the opinion that everything in the world is archaic. Moreover, with the development of the theory of realism, it has received several subtypes, which are classical realism, neorealism, and neoclassical realism. All these approaches are based on the same basic concepts, but they have their own characteristic differences. Thus, classical realism puts the nature of people in a leading position, neorealism focuses on the anarchism of international relations, and non-classical realism considers the behavior of the states. Therefore, this work supports the view that there is unity among these different realist branches.


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