Wednesday, May 29, 2013

comparssion of approaches to international relations

Introduction Halliday (1994) posits that various theories are used in the discussion of international relations, but much of the international relations theory is focused on discussions of realism and liberalism as well as its many variants. The theories, in a sparing manner, tend to explain the recurring patterns of international politics. However, some scholars have challenged the two theories of explaining international relations on a number of grounds. The majority of policy makers in international affairs normally disregard the role played by theorists in the efforts to understand international relations. While this is the case, it is important to note that there is an unavoidable relationship between the theoretical perspective presented by the different proposed theories and the actual policy world. Important to note, is that theories play a major part in clarifying the vast information that is encountered in everyday life. However despite of the criticisms, the theories remain influential in international relations. Jackson, R & Sorensen (2010) suggest that it is difficult to develop a sound international policy without an understanding of the fundamental organizing principles. This paper compares contrasts and evaluates liberal and realists approaches in IR. Realists have their intellectual roots in Thucydides’ classical explanation of the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC. From the orthodox perspective, realism looks at the world the way it is actually instead of the way it is supposed to be. In IR, realism refers to a worldview of international politics that focuses on its conflictual and competitive side. Realists view the state as the major actor in international politics (the abilities measured by the amount of great powers in the international system). The realists argue that anarchy defines the international system; or the absence of a central authority. The actors are independent of each other; they are equal independent states. The state actors are after their own self-interests and none will agree to be subordinate to other states (Burchill, et al 2005). The main belief of liberal theoretical approach is that the national aspects of states are very important in their international relations. The theory looks into the unique behavior of the liberal state players, even if more recent studies have tried to extend it to more general internal aspects in the efforts to explain international relations. The democratic peace is one of the most important developments within this theoretical approach. This defines the absence of war or conflicts between liberal state actors (mature liberal democracies). The theory explores the idea of cooperation following hegemony, where powerful actors pursue cooperation as a way of attaining and restoring power. The basic argument of the theory is that the complex interdependence at times comes close to reality as compared to realism. The main idea of the theory is that in the international system, there are various channels linking the actors past the traditional Westphalia system of states. This is revealed in different aspects such as informal governmental connections and multinational organisations and corporations among others (Weber, 2001). According to Jackson, R & Sorensen (2010) the two theoretical have given great importance in the importance of power in the international politics. The two suggest that power is at the centre of any discussion on international politics. However, the rubric within which power is placed tends to differ from the perspective of the two theories. The two theories also have the same opinion that the state is the main actor in the international system. They also contend that the role played by those states which are referred to as great powers have more leverage in the relations. They agree with the element of each state pursuing its own interests, being concerned with their individual security and struggling for power and survival. The state behaviour is controlled by national interests because they are basically logic egoists and are directed by raison d’├ętat. The two theories agree in that the independent states which take part in the international system are seeking to guarantee their own survival. The assurance of personal survival is considered a requirement in pursuing other objectives. The theories also agree in that the distribution of abilities or power determines results in the IR (Burchill, et al 2005). The disagreement between theories in international relations is common. From this perspective, there are various ways through which liberal and realist approaches to international relations differ. Compared to realist, liberalism makes for a less cohesive and more complex body of theory. The belief of liberal in the aspects of the individual states playing a major role contrasts with Realist account that suggests that all states have fundamentally similar behaviors and objectives (at least internationally); self-interested actors who pursue their wealth or survival (Halliday, 1994). The realist-liberal argument revolves around a variety of criticisms, mainly among the question of which is the realist contention that international institutions have a minimal role to play in influencing international politics and the argument that the possibility of cooperation in the system which is anarchic in nature are dismal. These claims are questioned by liberals, questioning the rational coherence of the argument by the realist and suggesting that the explanatory influence of realism is not strong as if does not go past an emphasis on the pre-eminence of states as main player in IR (Halliday, 1994). The realists do not see any prospects of cooperation in the world that is anarchic the liberals view cooperation a being necessary in a system of economic interdependence. They also hold the belief that shared economic interests make up a system which demand for international rules and institutions. Realists on the other hand stress on the role that is played by independent payers in the IR (Weber, 2001). Both the realist and liberal models provide IR theorists with an important lens for examining international politics. The theories agree that the state is the main actor in the international politics. The role played by those states that are referred to as great powers as having more leverage in the relations and is important in understanding and explaining relations in the international system. The theories, though in different perspectives suggest the important role of states and the ordering of the international system. This enables people to understand why the international system is the way it is. National interests control the state behaviour because they are basically logic egoists and are directed by raison d’├ętat. The independent states that participate in the international system are seeking to guarantee their own survival. The assurance of personal survival is considered a requirement in pursuing other goals. The theories are concerned with the modern debates in IR (Weber, 2001). Burchill, et al (2005) argues that understanding and awareness of logocentric’ thought is important in the international politics. It is important to have answers to the “new spaces” in international relations and this is only possible through application of the theories. The differences between the two theories are also good as the international relations should consider identity and difference paradigm. The theorists have contributed a lot to IR but are criticized for not providing solutions to the problems they highlight. If these issues are addressed, the theories have a major impact on international relations. Conclusion This paper compares contrasts and evaluates liberal and realists approaches in IR. Theories in explaining international relations are very important. While these theories take differing points of view in explaining the international politics, they both agree on various aspects which make them strong in the account of IR. The theories are in agreement on the role played by the state as the main agent or actor in the international relations. The role played by those states that are referred to as great powers as having more leverage in the international relations. It has also emerged that each state pursues its own interests, being concerned with their individual security and struggling for power. National interests control the state behaviour. It has emerged from discussion that realism and liberalism are important theoretical view of international relations. Regardless of the various criticisms that have been proposed by other theorists, the approaches in IR continue to be a very important tool in the study of international relations. Neorealism particularly warns against the overoptimistic and unrealistic belief in international cooperation. They give a real picture of the international politics thus being applicable even in the modern-day IR. References Burchill S .et al 2005, Theories of International Relations, Palgrave Macmillan Jackson, R & Sorensen, G. 2010, Introduction to international relations: Theories & approaches, Oxford University Press, USA; Halliday, F. 1994, The Pertinence of the international in rethinking, international relations, University of British Columbia Press Weber, C. 2001, International relations theory: A Critical Introduction, Routledge