REALISM vs. LIBERALISM
COMPARE AND CONTRAST BETWEEN REALISM AND LIBERALISM
We were supposed to compare and contrast the two very prominent theories of international relations. Liberalism and realism are going to be strived to compare with their peculiar claims to explain the inter-states relations in this study. I will try to order the comparisons and contrasts very briefly. Let’s start with four main assumptions of them.
1.State is the principal actor.
2.View of Actor is, State is unitary actor.
3.Behavioral Dynamic is, State is rational actor seeking to maximize it’s own interest or national objective in foreign policy.
4.National security issues are most important.
Lets see mostly used terms of Realism very quickly
Balance of power, The survival of the state, anarchy, sovereignty, military strength, security dilemma, self-help system, authority, hegemony, inherent pessimism…
Here are there some basic assumptions of Realism
1. The most basic assumptions of realism reflect an inherent pessimism in the school of thought.
2. Realists begin with a Prisoner’s Dilemma. They assume that international politics is a zero sum game
and each player has a strong incentive to betray the other (defect).
3. They also begin with the assumptions that power is the means by which a state’s security is guaranteed, that power is fungible, that states are unitary and rational actors, and they are the primary units of international politics.
4. Lastly, realists assume that the international system is anarchic; there is no super-state authority to enforce rules, norms, or contracts.
And here are the basic features of Realism;
1.There is an inherent pessimism for realists to explain the worldly events.
2.Prisoner’s dilemma: There is never a situation in international politics in which states value in absolute gains.
3.Power is the means by which a state’s security is guaranteed.
4. States are unitary actors.
5. States are rational actors.
6. States are the primary units of international politics.
7.International system is anarchic.
1.States and non-state actors (mostly institutions) are important.
2. View of Actor(s): State disaggregated into components, some of which may operate transnationally.
3. Behavioral Dynamic is, foreign policymaking and transnational processes involve conflict, bargaining, coalition, and compromise not necessarily resulting in optimal outcomes.
4. Multiple agenda with socioeconomic or welfare issues as, or more, important as national security questions.
Lets see mostly used terms of Liberalism very quickly
Democracy, institutions, democratic peace, corporation, international order and harmony, economy, inherent optimism, anarchy, non-state actors, integration…
Basic assumptions of liberalism are below;
1. The most basic assumptions of liberalism reflect an inherent optimism in the school of thought.
2. Liberals, as well as realists, begin with a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Liberals, however, assume that the prisoner’s dilemma is non-constant because it is a product of conditions and can beovercome.
3. Liberals also begin with the assumptions that states are unitary and rational actors. However, liberals do not share the realist assumptions that power is the means by which a state’s security is guaranteed, that states are the primary units of international politics. Liberals believe
security can be guaranteed by other means.
4.Liberals, like realists, assume that the international system is anarchic, but do not assume that a super-national authority is the only means by which to enforce rules, norms, or contracts.
5.Institutions can help with communication and interaction to overcome prisoner’s dilemma.
And here are the basic features of Liberalism;
1.Contrary to realists, liberals carry a inherent optimism for inter-state relations.
2. The prisoner’s dilemma is non-constant because it is a product of conditions and can be overcome.
3. Security can be guaranteed by means other than power.
4. Non-state actors matter: This is clearly the case. Consider the role of non-state actors such as the
WTO, EU, Al-Qaida, etc. . .
5. The international system is anarchic.
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