Topics: United Nations, Immanuel Kant, International relations Pages: 7 (1863 words) Published: January 23, 2013
Idealism and Realism in International Law and Relations:

Submitted To: Sir Bilal

Subject Name:International Communication


Sahrish Kausar
Mass Communication BS (Hons)
Smester 3rd

GC University Faisalabad

International Relations Paradigms

• Paradigm

– An intellectual framework that structures one’s thinking about a set of phenomena – A “cognitive map” that helps to organize reality and to make sense out of a multitude of events – Different paradigms offer different models of reality or views of the world – Different paradigms have the effect of focusing attention toward some things and away from others


As early as the 14th Century the Italian poet Dante wrote of the “universality of man” and envisioned a unified world state Immanuel Kant argued that doing good was an end unto itself rather than a means to some other end • Hope to minimize conflict and maximize cooperation among nations • Focus attention on legal-formal aspects of international relations, such as international law and international organizations • Also focus on moral concerns such as human rights

Woodrow Wilson

• US President Woodrow Wilson had formative experiences that influenced his idealist world view • He was born in Virginia in 1856 and had seen the destruction of the Civil War • He was the son of a Presbyterian minister and was devoutly religious • He was an intellectual, graduating from Princeton (then the College of New Jersey) and the University of Virginia Law School and then earning a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University • He had an academic career as a professor of political science and president of Princeton • As president, Wilson championed socially conscious legislation that lowered tariffs, graduated the Federal income tax, created a more elastic money supply, prohibited unfair business practices, prohibited child labor, and limited railroad workers to an eight-hour day • He won reelection with the slogan “he kept us out of war”

Fourteen Points
• Wilson had announced his “Fourteen Points” as a proposed basis for the armistice a year before the Paris Peace Conference opened • Represented a school of thought that a new world order had to be constructed based on a respect for law, the acceptance of shared universal values, and the development of international organizations • Wilson envisioned:

• Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at,
• Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas in peace and in war, • The removal of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all nations, • Adequate guarantees for a reduction in national armaments, • Adjustments of colonial disputes to give equal weight to the interests of the controlling government and the colonial population, and • A call for “a general association of nations” • Many perceived Wilson’s Fourteen Points as excessively idealistic • For the Allies, they conflicted with the secret wartime agreements they had made to distribute among themselves territories and possessions of the defeated nations


• While realists are just as interested as idealists in conflict management, realists are less optimistic about the effectiveness of international law and organization and about the extent of international cooperation that is possible • Realists view international relations almost exclusively as a “struggle for power” among competing nation-states – States, like human beings, have an innate desire to dominate others • The ultimate goal of all countries is security in a hostile, anarchic environment • Realist policies are determined by power calculations in pursuit of national security – Countries satisfied with...
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