Realism in contemporary politics

Matt Sleat Politics Recovered: On the Revival of Realism in Contemporary Political Theory Matt Sleat The Ambitions of Realist Thought When Socrates announces to Callicles in the Gorgias that 'I am the only one practicing politics among people today' it is hard to imagine that the reader is supposed to take this as anything other than ironic; though it is irony with a critical sting. For Socrates wants his audience to accept that even those politicians credited with making Athens great, such as the revered Pericles, succeeded only in turning the city into 'a swollen, festering sore' filled 'with harbors and dockyards and walls and tributes and rubbish of that kind, without a thought for restraint or justice'. And it is in this sense that Socrates, who assures us that 'I say the things I say on any occasion not out of any desire to please, but with a view to what is best rather than what is most pleasant', was claiming to practice the true science of politics.

Realism in contemporary politics

Realism Today Emanuela VoineaMar 1views This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree.

SparkNotes: International Politics: Theories of International Relations

This essay will argue that Realist theory continues to be one of the most accurate tools for understanding the events in the sphere of international relations. Realism takes an explanatory rather than a normative approach to its study of International Relations, and through its analytical character provides a pragmatic framework for the examination of current issues in the international arena.

To begin with, several aspects related to the ongoing conflict in Syria can be explained through looking at Realist theory. States form the bodies of other actors, such as International Organizations, thus they have influence on the actions of the latter.

For instance, Russia, along with China, as permanent members of the Security Council, vetoed three UN resolutions that aimed to sanction the Syrian regime and cease violence.

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Accordingly, these states had the influence to block United Nations support of foreign military intervention in Syria. The Russian political class places great importance on sovereignty and it illustrates this view by supporting Damascus.

The realist assertion that states are self-interested can assist a deeper analysis of the reasons behind the above mentioned decisions.

InUnited Nations Security Council resolution on Libya, in favour of a no-fly zone and protection of civilians, was passed The Guardian, In contrast to its vote on the resolutions concerning intervention in Syria, in the case above Russia abstained. Its neutral status in this conflict can be explained by its lack of interests in the Northern African country.

Regarding Syria, the Eastern European state has several major interests; one of them is to maintain a high level of munitions exports to the Syrian army, which would be weakened if the conflict is brought to a halt Rosenberg, This can be illustrated by quoting directly from Ruslan Pukhov, defence analyst: Syria is the only country in the Middle East which follows our advice, this is the country where we can exercise certain tangible influence […] It has some symbolic value for the Russian authorities and the foreign policy establishment as a sign of Russia as a great power.

Nonetheless, explanations for the actions of Russia cannot be limited to its drive for power and greatness. If the current Syrian regime comes to an end, the United States is likely to contribute to the establishment of a democratic system and gain influence in the area, isolating Iran.

Regarding the United States — Russia relationship, even though the latter implemented a democratic and capitalist regime after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rancour that started in the Cold War era can still be noticed.

Theories of International Relations

Between andthe international system was characterized by bipolarity; Russia and the United States of America had the status of superpowers and, as Mearsheimer As presented previously, Russia takes measures in order to preserve its influence over areas such as Syria and Iran, which risk undergoing changes that favour the United States.

The nuclear program started in the s and was cancelled after the Islamic revolution of However, this explanation is highly doubted by the rest of the world, including organizations such as the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continue to apply sanctions against the Middle Eastern state.

At the same time, Israel considers the nuclear program of Iran a threat to its existence and does not exclude the use of military force in case international sanctions are not successful in ceasing it Knell, When men dislike Bismarck for his realism, what they really dislike is reality.

Take his most famous sentence: Moreover, it aims to be acknowledged as a key international actor The National, In this respect, achievement of military nuclear capabilities can serve its intention to guarantee its regional and international status, as well as security and self-reliance.

Realism in contemporary politics

According to Carr quoted in Wight, As a conclusion, it can be said that although it is hard to determine which theoretical perspective explains most precisely the events occurring at the international level, realism makes a major contribution to the comprehension of the current situation in international relations.

Through the case studies presented, this essay has shown that Realist concepts such as state primacy, self-interest, drive for power, balance of power, and security can be used effectively in the analysis of contemporary events. All in all, recent and ongoing events can be understood clearly if they are studied through the lenses of this explanatory and practical critical approach.

An introduction to the Study of International Relations, London: Power, Politics, and U. An Introduction to International Relations, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Jackson, R. Theories and Approaches, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Katz, M.

Perspectives and Themes, Harlow:The end of the Cold War was accompanied by a rush to proclaim the failure of realism as a theory of international politics.

The news about the demise of realism is premature, however, as this volume The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International Security | Foreign Affairs. Bernard Williams and Raymond Geuss, influential representatives of the new political realism, a movement in contemporary political theory, criticize what they describe as “political moralism” and stress the autonomy of politics against ethics.

Realism, in the arts, the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or of contemporary life. Realism rejects imaginative idealization in favour of a close observation of outward appearances. While realism faded and liberalism emerged, the theory of realism did not vanish.

A rather insightful example is the one of the events of the 9/ The theory of realism in international relations can explain the circumstances of the war that followed against terrorism after the events of that day. Realism inquires into the intricate reasons behind international actors’ actions, thus it assists in understanding the causes of conflict and crucial decisions in world politics.

Through the case studies presented, this essay has shown that Realist concepts such as state primacy, self-interest, drive for power, balance of power, and security can be used effectively in the analysis of contemporary events.

A theory of international relations is a set of ideas that explains how the international system works. Unlike an ideology, a theory of international relations is (at least in principle) backed up with concrete evidence.

While realism faded and liberalism emerged, the theory of realism did not vanish. A rather insightful example is the one of the events of the 9/ The theory of realism in international relations can explain the circumstances of the war that followed against terrorism after the events of that day. Bernard Williams and Raymond Geuss, influential representatives of the new political realism, a movement in contemporary political theory, criticize what they describe as “political moralism” and stress the autonomy of politics against ethics. Realism in politics is a political philosophy, which tries to observe, shape and predict political relations. It is based upon assumption that power should be the primary goal of any political act, both in international or domestic sphere.

The two major theories of international relations are realism and liberalism.

Political Realism in International Relations (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)