Are the rationalist approaches appropriate for the study of international relations?
International relations (IR) are ‘the diplomatic strategic relations of states, and the characteristic focus of IR is on issues of war and peace, conflict and cooperation’ (Brown and Ainley, 2009). Many different theories exist within IR to define and analyse certain situations. Rationalism is classified as the major in IR analysis theory (Baylis, et al, 2011). The study of IR according to a comprehensive and scientific methodology became a key demand after the First World War, resulting from a desire to clarify international politics. Following the First World War, international relations were initially taught in different fields, such as international law and diplomatic history and international organisations. The importance of studying international relations as an independent rapporteur emerged after the Second World War, precipitated by unprecedented US involvement in global affairs (both during the war and in the subsequent Cold War) and the decline of the European empires in the post-war political situation (Hook and Spanier, 2007). International relations seeks to interpret the phenomena of international reality and reliably and realistically conceptualise and analyse international events for the purpose of building theory and prediction and the study of IR itself. IR aims to reach analytical exact facts of the international situation by recognising the power that controls the formation of various approaches of States with each other and by determining how they dynamically interact, and their consequent impact on the conditions of the international community (Burchill, 2011). International relations are changing constantly under the influence of international politics and pressure, which affect the content and characteristics of IR. The problem of correlation between domestic and foreign policy of the most complex and controversial problems precipitates debate in many theoretical trends in the science of international relations, such as neo- realism (Baldwin, 1993). The theory of international relations is a homogeneous group and methodology of assumptions that seeks to clarify relations, which we call internationalisation. This essay will demonstrate critically some of international relations theories and the interpretations of some key concepts, for example power, state and world order, by using historic and contemporary examples in terms of: firstly, realism and neo-realism; secondly, liberalism and neo-liberalism; thirdly, decision-making theory; and finally, to evaluate the extent to which the rationalist approaches are appropriate in the study of international relations and to illustrate the weaknesses and the strengths of rationalist approach in the study of IR, to bring out the essence of various social entities through epistemological approaches grounded in rationality and interpretation based on the event goal finding forms of social organisation. The events of September 11th, 2001 (hereafter referred to as ‘9/11’) and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 respectively have alerted researchers in international relations to the role of ideological factors in the behaviour of states, something that contributed to the enrichment of the debate and opposed some fundamental assumptions of Western sociology, especially those relating to humanitarian actions based on rationality and social councils, and the associated view that the world is moving towards a common destiny of liberal democracy and market economy, overriding the self-specificities of peoples and cultural differences (Baylis, et al, 2011). Many researchers have tried possible analyses of reality and built theories from to enable a preview of variable events in international reality, and others used these models for intellectual and contemplative purposes in an attempt to extrapolate theoretical exchange, leading to a different...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document