Liberalism vs Realism - A Comparison

Topics: International relations, Political philosophy, Military, Diplomacy, Superpower, Army / Pages: 3 (939 words) / Published: Mar 21st, 2015
(Write an intro, then a background paragraph (with info on Lib/Realism), then however many paragraphs you need to cover each of your points, and then a final conclusion)

The theories that this essay will look at are realism and liberalism. These two theories are notorious for their contrary nature in regards to their main ideologies in relation to politics, specifically the role of the state, power and human nature.

Realism is a theory based on the importance of the state being the only actor in the political arena and where conflict is the dominant theme. They would argue that humans can only act according to their nature, which is prone to violence. Liberalism is in essence is the view that states should interact with one another through negotiations and peace treaties with conflict being the absolute final resort. They would argue that states have many options and should not resort to conflict as a solution. A good way of illustrating the two is by looking at a school; the children there can take part in many activities that are not only fun, but also mutually beneficial for everyone. Or they can be the school bully and resort to conflict to get what they want. Therefore opportunities are there for both good and bad things to happen, but it is up to the children, or the political actors, to decide what they want to do.

In accordance with realism, the state is in essence a reflection of the population and so will act in mirror to their characteristics, which realism defines as being egotistical and power hungry, or in more insensitive terms, as Hobbes put it;"solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short", describing human nature as being evil, ruthless, and power wanting and that the state of nature that humans are in is prone to “the war of all against all”. That we are all at war. It is important to note that realism is not one theory but an umbrella for a number of similar explanations for the way in which international politics is conducted,

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