What is realism? Essay Example

Published: 2023-03-27
What is realism? Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History International relations War Government
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 651 words
6 min read

What is realism? How does it differ from the liberal view of world politics?

Realism is a current view of international politics that insinuates that the main problem of world politics is war, as well as the usage of force, and the central actors are the states (Nye, 2008). While realism believes that states should protect their interests and there is no other higher entity than the state, Liberals have faith in the use of international agreements as well as establishments in forming a global consent on essential issues.

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What does Thucydides pinpoint as the leading causes of the Peloponnesian war? Which were immediate? Which was underlying? Was the Peloponnesian War inevitable? If so, why and when? If not, how and when might it have been prevented?

According to Thucydides, the leading causes of the Peloponnesian war was the already growth of the Athenian power and the fear the growth put to Sparta. The immediate causes of the war were as a result of Spartan's ultimatums issued to Athens that the men of the Athenian muster rejected at the urging of Pericles. The ultimatum swore for an attack unless Athenians remove its economic sanctions against Megara. The most underlying cause was the rapid rise of the Athenians. According to Thucydides, war was inevitable because when a growing power provoked another power, they hence, unavoidably wage war against each other in furthering or protecting their interests.

What role should ethical considerations play in the conduct of international relations? What role do they play? Can we speak meaningfully about moral duties to other nations or their populations?

Ethics plays an important role in international relations by suggesting a crucial position of moral consideration that determines global order. They offer moral thinking that shapes politics as well as state action in an international perspective. We cannot speak meaningfully about moral duties because they can constrain people and may rhetorically be used as propaganda in disguising intentions. Also, moral duties suffer impartiality, as some are more compelling than the rest.

Is there a difference between moral obligations in the realms of domestic politics and international politics? On the basis of the Melian dialogue, did the Athenians act ethically? Did the Melian elders?

There is a notable difference between moral obligations between domestic and international realms of politics because of weak international consensus on values, the intricacy of causation, and the great incoherence between order and justice in international (Viotti & Kauppi, 2014). In Melian dialogue, Athenians did not act ethically since, despite Melians explaining to them that they were just a neutral city not worth of destruction, they did not consider the morality of the situation. They thought retracting will make them look weaker than the Melians. The Melian elders, however, acted ethically towards the Athenians since they were morally just and politely dismissed all their envoys.


  • There are many changes in the present world in terms of technology and inventions, yet many features of international politics are still the same
  • Balancing of power and security dilemmas still exist after a whole millennium
  • If separate states were abolished, international politics could have been transformed

Three basic forms of politics are:

  1. world imperial system
  2. feudal system
  3. anarchic system of states
  • There is no global police force
  • There are international courts which are limited in authority if a sovereign state decides to ignore them
  • Policies of President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, the state secretary, exemplifies realism to the modern Americans
  • renaissance of liberal claims has attempted to raise the social and economic interdependence that has somehow altered the nature of international politics
  • According to cosmopolitans, international politics is not the only society of states but also an individual's society.
  • If we reason in terms of distributive justice, inequality in national boundaries would be completely abolished
  • The main reason why it is difficult to apply morality in international politics is the difference it has with the domestic politics


Nye, J. S. (2008). Understanding international conflicts (p 1-6, 12-20). New York, NY: Longman.

Viotti, P. R., & Kauppi, M. V. (2014). International Relations Theory. Harlow: Pearson.

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