Realism or idealism?
Thinking about World Politics and International Relations people tend to divide into a number of separate groups wish have different points of view and visions on how World Politics should be managed. Every individual has his point of view on this issue and he is prepared to prove that everyone should share his belief because the approach he chose is the most appropriate and reasonable one out of all the other perspectives, as we did during our last class.
I personally choose to side the realists and consider them the best out of all, but not perfect. Today, realism is dominating over other perspectives and has been the central approach to the study of international politics for several decades1 as well as now. Many people today tend to side this approach, although I was surprised to see that a very big part of our class during the debate tended, on the contrary, to actually criticize it and were quite discontented with it’s norms and points of view.
However in my opinion, Realists of our class during the debate stood up for them selves toughly against all the Liberals, Radicals, Idealists, Feminists and everybody else by trying to prove that the reality should be looked at from a realistic point of view. We should look at the world without the pink eyeglasses on and see it as it is. Realists say that humans are actually very selfish and self interested. That they seek dominant power and would cooperate only if it brings profit to their side, and thus, would stop the cooperation when it is no longer profitable.
A realist sees the world we live in exactly the way it is. Furthermore, being selfish in international politics and to seek profit from everything being done is probably the correct way of surviving in politics on an international level. Usually the dominant states, major super powers tend to have Realistic approaches. United States of America is a good example of realistic approach to international politics.
During and after the Cold War era United States have been looking at international relations from a realistic point of view. This approach did not fail for many decades and it still does not seem to have any reasons to do so in the future, although it does need to bring some innovations into it’s conceptions, because nothing is permanent and needs to change as peoples’ minds and values change as time passes by. Of course the most active opponents of the Realists would be the Idealists.
Their tendency to think that all humans are naturally good and that by cooperating we can solve all of the conflicts and problems that we have today makes me want to say the same thing that one of the students have said during the debate: ” Let’s come back down to Earth! ” Idealists have failed once in history trying to be peace-loving and trying to bring everyone together. President Woodrow Wilson and other idealists were supporting the creation the League of Nations when Hitler and the Nazis were planning on conquering the world.
Creating the new world order, defeating aggression and bringing the world together were on Idealists’ minds while World War 2 started, vanishing all of the illusions that the idealists were having before. However, idealists are not entirely wrong, just like the realists are not entirely right. States should do it’s best to cooperate and try to solve the conflicts and problems around the world with the abilities they already have. States don’t usually act as unitary actors and do obey international laws, usually becouse it’s in their own interest, rather then just because they are so ‘good’.
2 My personal suggestion would be to combine the two opposite positions and create a new one wich includes the realistic visions of the world of the Realists and the optimistic visions of the future of the Idealists. Unfortunately we did not come to a conclusion on the debate, but some things were clear. For some reason Iedalists, Radicals, Feminists and even the Postmodernists consider Realists violent and think that Realists are acctually fond of wars.
The defenders of the Realists point of view were trying to say that being a realist is not all about gaining power and encouraging wars, on the conerary it is about considering the facts, the things that there already are, rather than looking at things the way the ought to be like Idealists would do. My own conclusion to the debate would be that it is possible that in the near future the majority of the peolpe would want to change their realistic beliefs and start considering other perspectives, coming up with new ones that would be more peace encouraging, but still profitable for the states.
Bibliography: 1. World Politics 6th Edition Ed. Bruce Russett, Harvey Starr, David Kinsella. Bedford/St. Martins Boston, New York 2. Dabates in Intoduction to International Relations class on the 06 February 2001 1 World Politics 6th Edition Ed. Bruce Russet, Harvey Starr, David Kinsdella p. 25 2 World Politics 6th edition Ed. Bruce Russett, Harvey Starr, David Kinsella. p. 26.