Security Issues Are Most Effectively Addressed by a Neo-Realist Approach to International Relations

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Security has been the source for much debate within International Relations; ranging from the optimum way to provide security, through to the definition of security itself. Neo-Realism has, in the past, been the dominant approach to security issues within International Relations. However, in the past few decades events such as the end of the Cold War, international terrorism and globalisation have dramatically changed the world, which has only intensified the debate over which approach most effectively addresses security issues within International Relations. This essay seeks to argue that although, at one time it may have been, a neo-realist approach is not the most effective way to address security issues within today’s International Relations.

The neo-realist definition of security is that of survival. They see the state as paramount, with its citizens secondary to the state itself. Thus, security is the survival of the state. This definition is based on the assumption that the international system is violent and anarchical. The main goal of all politics is survival, with survival dominating all policies created. This stems from a fear of insecurity due to the fact that international system is anarchical; there is the constant threat of attack from other states, which forces all states to be suitably prepared. Waltz, describes it as a “shadow of violence” in which some states may use force at any given time, so it is imperative that all are prepared to do so. Neo-Realists see military power as being crucial towards security and as a state can not be seen to be sovereign unless it has a monopoly over the military, neo-realists view the state as the key actor in regards to providing security.

The United States of America is seen to be the only hegemonic state on the planet, due to the fact that it has the military strength to not only repel any form of military invasion, from either of its neighbouring countries, but to also conquer them. From a...
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