Assessment Of The Realism International Relations Politics Essay

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Realism in international relations theory is one of the dominant schools of thinking within the international relations discipline. Realism or political realism prioritizes national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions. The realism talk about the world as it is and do not create or assume anything from its own for the world or the working of international relations. Basic ideas or realism are

Pessimist view of human nature

International relations is name of conflicts between states.

The state only seeks for power or in other word National interest.

The system is anarchy. There is no higher political authority above state which can control the international system

They talk about human nature that it is greedy and only seeks for its interest. If one is improving that means other is reducing or losing. They called international relations a zero sum game.

Classical realism states that it is fundamentally the nature of man that pushes states and individuals to act in a way that places interests over ideologies. Classical realism is defined as the "drive for power and the will to dominate [that are] held to be fundamental aspects of human nature

Thucydides (460BC-395 BC)

Machiavelli (3 May 1469 - 21 June 152)

Hobbes (5 April 1588 - 4 December 1679)

Thucydides ( 460 BC - 395 BC)

An ancient Greek historian who wrote the History of the Peloponnesian war in which he mention conflicts of Greek city states.

He refers man as apolitical animal in the political culture.

Every man is different in his abilities, skills, and defense capabilities. No one is equal or same.

Concept of justice in the view of Thucydides is not to treat everyone equally but justice is to know ones position in the society weather he is weak or strong. For that he says three things about that

To behave with deference (respect) with your superiors

To stand up to one equals

To treat inferiors with moderation.

To get respect in the society you need power and reality is that one who is strong he does whatever he can do with his power. And those who are weak they have to accept what they have to accepts.

Example for that is when Athens go to attack Sparta they come around a neutral state MILAN. Milan was a weak state in front of Athens and thus was forced to accept Athens dominancy

Machiavelli (3 May 1469 - 21 June 152)

Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was the adviser of the king. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He is known as the father of modern realism. His most famous book in the field of political science is "The Prince".

While defining the leader, Machiavelli says that a leader should be lion and fox. That means that the leader should be ruthless violent like lion which can go beyond any limit to achieve his goals and to maintain and establish the order in its society for his interest and should be clever and cunning like fox that refer to practical wisdom by which he can understand the crises situation and react quickly. He says that never let your enemy to become strong and gain force. He believes in act before other act.

He emphasize on the quality that leader should be able to distinguish between the reality and the appearance which he named the shrewdness

Leader should have practical wisdom that means that he should be able to understand the doings of world and behavior of peoples which he defines as PRUDENT.

He refers to the dual moral standards for the leader.

Ends justifies the means

Means justifies the ends

Political scientist say that ends has more importance than the means the leader should do whatever he want to achieve the goals of national interest.

Machiavelli also says that leader can do right or wrong to achieve the safety and order in the state. He says it as ethics of responsibility. That at the public attraction level leader should not follow those moral values which he follows in its private life because the private decision didn't affect any one else life but the decision taken at the leaders level effect the whole political culture and state therefore the moral values should not be followed at that stage.

For the betterment of state and wellbeing of people they have to break their promises and they have to deceive other peoples for their national interest.

The Machiavelli assumption is that world is a dangerous place. If anybody is willing to survive in this world one must be very aware of all the dangers, must anticipate them, and must take necessary steps against them.

Hobbes (5 April 1588 - 4 December 1679)

Thomas Hobbes WAS an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory.

Hobbes says that the world in which we are living is war of all against all. Every individual is trying to save its own interest and it's our natural life is to fight with each other.

In natural world might is right this is law of nature and that's why individual fears from each other. With the development of states in international community, that fear transfer from individual to state now state is responsible for that because those individuals have done a social contract with the state and now they are willing to follow and being restricted by those laws which will be impose on them by the state. Individual submit his will in front of states and by the developing of too many states same problem is now being faced by the states.

Every state is now feared from other state for its sovereignty, authority etc. every state is aware of other state and keep prepared itself for war and its defense.


Hans Joachim Morgenthau (February 17, 1904 - July 19, 1980) was one of the leading twentieth-century figures in the study of international politics. He made landmark contributions to international-relations theory and the study of international law, and his Politics among Nations. He is considered as father of realism in international relations. His book politics among nation is known as BIBLE of INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. He criticizes the policy which was developed in the first half on 20th century regarding the international relations. He talked about the system of interaction between states.

Human nature is unchangeable. This is the idea given by Morgenthau he says that human nature has not changed from the start and will not change till its end. From the start human nature have an instinct of "Animus Demandi" that they get involved in search of power which refers to politics. It is founded in all human being but different in digress. Everyone is in the search of power

The bear minimum degree of this instinct is that how to avoid to be influenced by other. That means the every one try that he or she should be free and no one could influence him or her. This is consider as the bear minimum and extreme form on that instinct is, to physically and mentally influence other and have full control on them. This instinct of getting the power cannot come to end. Whatever the final and ultimate goals there are but main goal for everyone will be to get the power.

Morgenthau describe the political activities revolve around three main stages of acquiring the power, maintaining the power and showing of the power. These are the stages of political actions and very one is involved in these stages. Morgenthau justifies the power in politics as the interaction may be public or private for a political leader. Private interaction means the private life of political leader and public interaction means its interaction with general public and the peoples of state. Morgenthau says that political leader should distinguish between public and private interaction. Here he strongly criticizes the idea which was given by Woodrow Wilson in which he combines the public and private role of political leader.

Morgenthau says that is will be very dangerous for political leader if he didn't separate its public and private interaction. No lie, no promise break will be ok in private life but in public or political role, it is not possible to survive without ethics of responsibility. Because whole political community have to face the consequences of any decision taken by political leader so Morgenthau says that noble lie are allowed in to maintain security, existence, and law and order situation in any state.

For betterment and development of state, universal moral principle should not have much priority for ant political leader because they are judged by time and space; political leader should only follow ethics of responsibility.

In other words he defines that as Situational Ethics. Which means that leader should do that the situation is demanding at that time. State main goal is only to safeguard its political interest they cannot be achieved by following the moral standards. Here Morgenthau define same characteristics of a political leader which were define by Machiavelli that he should be Prudent, Judgment quality, and should have courage to face the risk. Leader must be strong enough to face problems in all circumstances.

Morgenthau define the realism in his famous six principles which are famous as six principle of realism

Political culture is rooted in permanent and unchanging human nature. Human nature is self centered which means that human being think of himself that he is much capable in every thing from every one in this unverse and the whole universe is revolving around him.