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Realism vs. Liberalism Essay


Turn Memo 1: In international relations, two theories are mostly employed in analyzing major issues in politics. Realism and idealism are the two major theories. Idealism is a theory that was first supported by the US president after the Second World War. The theory observes that there are many actors in the international system. The state is not the only actor because other units, such as religious organizations, Multinational Organizations, and supranational organizations exist.

The state does not have massive powers as far as policy formulation is concerned. For instance, Multinational Organizations influence the policy formulation among the Less Developed Countries. Moreover, religious organizations are known to influence the behavior of states in a number of ways (Lamy 78). An example is given in Poland during the Cold War when John Paul II influenced leaders to abandon communism in favor of capitalism.

In this regard, it can be observed that Catholic played a critical role in influencing leaders to keep off from the communism. In the international system, the United Nations plays an important role in influencing the foreign behavior of states. For instance, the UN Security Council can impose sanctions to a sovereign state. In Libya, the UN Security Council imposed a no fly zone sanction to the sovereign state because it is the main actor.

In contrary, realists observe that the only actor in the international system is the state. The state has the power to formulate foreign policies without consulting any other entity.

For instance, the state should not consult the populace before making foreign policies because foreign policy formulation process is considered high politics. In this case, other actors exist to temper with the sovereignty of the state because they should not be involved in the process. Realists claim that states have the powers to either support or oppose global decisions.

It is the responsibility of the state to decide whether to support a policy or not. Moreover, the state confers nationality to individuals. Without the state, an individual cannot move from one corner of the world to the other. The state has established structures that facilitate world security.

Turn memo 2: Liberalists observe that there are many actors in the international system. The international system is a community of both states and human beings. The foreign policy should recognize all actors. In this case, the role of other actors must be recognized. As states struggle to accomplish their missions, they must prioritize their goals.

Those goals that aim at fulfilling the common interests should be pursued first as opposed to the goals that accomplish individual interests. Foreign policy formulation should be based on morality. Moreover, it must be based on internationally recognized codes and morals. This is the reason why states intervene militarily whenever human rights are violated. This shows that liberalists value universal interests as opposed to national interests. Hoffman noted that states have a duty beyond their borders.

For instance, a state should ensure that the rights of other individuals are not violated, irrespective of whether the individuals are citizens its citizens. Liberalists emphasize human rights meaning that they must always be taken into consideration whenever foreign policies are formulated. To liberalists, the end does not justify the means because leaders must be held accountable at every decision they make. Liberalists are prescriptive implying that foreign policy should be reflective (Mansbach 89).

On the other hand, realists observe that the unit of analysis is the state. The international system dictates to the state what should be done. In other words, changes in the international system dictate foreign policies. In this regard, the international system is anarchic meaning that it lacks the central authority. Each state is concerned with its own security. States are preoccupied with national interests, not collective security. Therefore, the state will always prioritize its interests. Realists believe that the end will always justify the means.

Turn memo 3: To liberalists, the international system is characterized by cooperation. This explains why the US could provide aid to its adversaries such as Japan and Russia during calamities. In the international system, law is respected because it dictates what ought to be done.

For instance, states will always cooperate to fight the common enemy. For example, states struggle to achieve peace through nuclear disarmament programs. In the current international system, many states are members of world organizations such as the World Trade Organizations and the Atomic Agency. The main aim is to achieve peace and order (Masker 12).

To realists, the international system is characterized by brutality and mistrust. In this case, the international system is anarchic implying that some states are powerful than others. The less powerful states are usually subjugated and oppressed. The powerful states control policy formulation at the global arena.

For instance, the powerful states control important organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. The powerful states use the world organizations to achieve their national interests. The United Nations and the World Trade Organization exist as far as the US would permit.

Works Cited

Lamy, Steven. Introduction to Global Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Mansbach, and K. Rafferty. Introduction to Global Politics. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007. Print.

Masker, John . Introduction to Global Politics: A Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Realism vs. Liberalism'. 13 December.

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