Strengths and Weaknesses of Neorealism, Neoliberalism and Constructivism

Topics: International relations, Sovereign state, Military Pages: 5 (1384 words) Published: March 13, 2012
Strengths and Weaknesses of Neorealism, Neoliberalism and Constructivism Introduction
Our world since its origination has been a ‘hotbed’ of activity. Activity in the sense, we humans have been showing activeness both mentally and physically, which have transformed our globe from an archaic one to an advanced one. That advancement is evident in every sphere of our life, as well as in the ‘sphere’, we live in. In addition, that advancement or development is seen in one of the important activities of the ‘sphere’, the activity of politics. With the advancement, humans spread out to new territories. In course of time that territories became cities, states, and eventually countries. Along with this evolution of humans and territories, the political setup, which ruled villages, also evolved and new political setups came into being, to rule cities, provinces or states and importantly countries. So, this evolution and establishment of different countries and their government setups have lead to the formulation of various theories and ideas by renowned thinkers and researchers, constituting under the International Relations domain. International Relations or IR for short, focuses on the relations between the countries of the world and how those relationship is handled from the diplomatic and military perspective. This handling of relationship under IR is further divided into three main theories, Neorealism, Neoliberalism and Constructivism. So, this paper will focus on these three theories and will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Neorealism, Neoliberalism and Constructivism as theoretical approaches to the study of International Relations

Neorealism or in other words structural realism was firstly formulated by Kenneth Waltz in his book, Theory of International Politics. The basis of this theory is that, the international political structure is defined by anarchy, which directly correlates to a decentralized setup. That is, the anarchic ordering principle and the resultant decentralization, leads to no formal authority or setup, and thus the international structure is mainly composed of equal sovereign states. These equal sovereign states function on the basis of self rule and self help, without subordinating their interest to other countries or institutions. Strengths

The main strength of this theory is that it will enable the countries to assume and actualize the “minimum wants”, it needs for its survival, including military strength, financial strength, etc. A country can survive and succeed, only if its security is guaranteed. And if the country equips militarily according to its minimum needs, it will ensure its safety as well as build multi-polarity. The other strength is, it stipulates the policy of containment, which can be used to prevent ‘rogue’ countries from indulging in problems and at the same time prevent large scale wars leading to loss of lives. Weaknesses

The main weakness is that, it ignores domestic public opinion in times of crucial international decisions. Importantly, Neorealism mainly focuses on the military capabilities of a country and misses to look at states’ other power capabilities. “It does not deal with the various dimensions of power (military, economic, cultural or hard-soft power) nor with the elite perceptions of power. More importantly, neorealism misses the important role of foreign policy elites or leadership structures” (Erdem, 2004)

The basic principle of Neoliberalism is the actualization of free markets and free trade. So, it involves market deregulation, minimum intervention from the state and its government, and also increased privatization. With the actualization of this kind of political economy perspective, there will be break down of barriers to international trade as well as foreign investment. Thus, there will be adequate transfer in the control of a nation’s economy, from the state actors or...
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