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.
Neo-realist define security in terms of the security of the state and its survival, with this definition being based on the assumption that the international system is violent and anarchic (Tickner & Sjoberg, 2007). They see the state as paramount, with its citizens secondary to the state itself. 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 Neo Realists view the defining feature of the international system as anarchy (Lake, 2009); there is the constant threat of attack from other states, which forces all states to be suitably prepared. This is the Hobbesian logic of anarchy: “the war of all against all” (Wendt, 1999). 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 power as being crucial towards security, which traditionally has been defined in military strategic terms (Dunne & Schmidt, 2008). As only the state has legitimate authority over the military, neo-realists view the state as a... [continues]
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