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The Anarchic Structure of World Politics Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2020

Abstract

The following work is devoted to investigation of the issue of anarchy, its main peculiarities and origin. The works The Anarchic Structure of World Politics by Kenneth Waltz and Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics by Alexander Wendt are taken as the basis for this paper. Deep analysis of the main ideas, touched in these works, is provided. Moreover, the comparison of two different approaches of these authors to the issue is made. On the basis of this comparison new approach to the question of anarchy is created. In the end of the work conclusions are made.

Main Body

Human beings have always had the desire to be organized. Having originated from a social mammal, they saved and enlarged this need. Even prehistoric primitive communities of people were organized. There were some men who knew what to do in order to guarantee survival of a community and its further prosperity. With the development of society its structure became more complicated. Not only people who control the activity of a community, but even the whole institutions appeared. However, in general their functions remained the same. These institutions had to guarantee existence and survival of society which gave birth to them.

The sphere of activity of these institutions obtained its own term policy. It was obvious, that a state, to be powerful enough, should have clear course of its policy and adhere to it. Policy became one of the main factors which regulated the life of a country in the whole and every its citizen in particular. Absence of a clear policy was expected to lead to the collapse of a country and was called anarchy. Throughout the time, this term had been associated with wars, destructions and devastations. However, different scientists tried to investigate this issue and analyze different sides of this problem.

Kenneth Waltz is one of them. In his work The Anarchic Structure of World Politics he tries to understand how politics is ordered as a system and the main principles of its functioning. However, he also underlines that the definition of the structure of politics is rather vague and, moreover, different kinds of politics have different structures. The author underlines that there are no rulers in international politics structure, that is why it can be called anarchic (Waltz, 2012).

Every state has its own ideas about what to do and main purposes of its policy. Simultaneous existence of a great number of states with their own international policies creates chaos which, in its turn, leads to anarchy. There is a comparison of international relations with the relations within the USA. Each state has its own peculiarities, needs and strong sides and cooperation between all spheres of economy can lead to prosperity of the whole state. However, this model does not work while talking about international relations as there is no strong leader there.

However, to mitigate effects of anarchy, different alliances are formed in order to create some clear and organized international policy. Nevertheless, in majority of cases international policy still remains anarchic..

The next attempt to analyze this type of political structure is made by Alexander Wendt. In his work Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics he investigates this issue. The author wants to study how anarchy influences interests of the state and its identity. He cogitates about the issue of anarchy, speaking about its importance as a political structure and stating the fact of presence of its elements in the policy of every state. Wendt argues that even if the anarchical system is taken for granted, self-help is not a logical or contingent feature of anarchy itself (Wendt, 2012).

He also states that relations between states are determined by the way in which these states treat each other at international scale and what meaning and importance they have for each other. Referring to the Waltzs article, he, though, creates his own approach to this question. He is not sure that cooperation will be effective measure to mitigate the aftermath of anarchy. Wendt is sure, that self-help is anarchic in its nature and that is why it is just useless to try to organize different kinds of cooperation.

It becomes obvious that these two different researchers try to investigate the issue of anarchy and its influence on politics of a country. Their works have common elements, which show that both Wendt and Waltz analyze the issue basing on the same aspects and factors of its influence. However, there are also some differences in their point of view. Giving international politics as an example of anarchic structure, Waltz, however, is sure. that cooperation can mitigate negative effects of its influence and that is why it is quite logic for states to organize different unions and coalitions. Wendt, on the contrary, sees no use in trying to unite and create cooperation. He is sure that anarchy is natural for any structure as it is made of people and their thrust for self-help leads to the appearance of anarchy.

Having analyzed these different approaches to the question of anarchy and its influence on politics of states, it is possible to come to certain conclusion. It should be said, that it is difficult to take somebodys side in this debate. Each of the authors has its own point of view and clear and understandable ideas. However, it also must be admitted, that the combination of these approaches seem to be an ideal solution to the problem. It is obvious, that Wendt is right in his cogitations about the nature of anarchy and its influence on political structures and the role of self help in this process. However, it is also possible to agree with Waltz in his suggestion about the possibility of mitigation of negative effects of anarchy by cooperation between different elements of the structure. Cooperation seems to us to be the only effective measure to avoid negative aftermath of anarchy.

Having analyzed the data, it is possible to make several conclusions. First of all, it should be said, that the issue of anarchy has been actual for a long period of time. People devoted a lot of their efforts to investigation of this issue. Kenneth Waltz and Alexander Wendt also tried to understand the influence of anarchy on the politics. In their works they investigated the nature of this kind of structure and possible ways to overcome its negative impact. Having compared their works, it is possible to say that Waltzs approach seems more realistic and effective to us, as it suggests cooperation as one of the possible ways to fight with anarchy.

References

Waltz, K. (2012). The Anarchic Structure of World Politics. In R. Art & R. Jervis (Eds.), International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues. (pp. 124-130). London: Pearson. Web.

Wendt, A. (2012). Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics. In R. Art & R. Jervis (Eds.), International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues. (pp. 73-80). London: Pearson. Web.

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