most well-established academic outlook in International relations discipline is
Realism. It is highly contended that realism has influenced International
relation to the extent that students, intellectuals have almost forgotten that
it is the one viewpoint out of many. It is perceived that it’s has touched those
of heights of prominence which have pursued all intellectuals to think that
opinion of the world should be based on this approach. However, it would be
more appropriate to bring in limelight, in the beginning that it is the one
viewpoint out many and it is not the ‘only’ aspect by which we can picture the
politics of the world (Realism.
n.d., pp 53).
At times, Realism is defined as the supreme theory in the discipline of
International relations. It is linked to almost every great debate over the
last fifty years. We can differentiate the theory of Political Realism in its
description of affairs around the globe. In the period of Ancient past, the
origins of Realism could be marked in the prominent works from China, India,
and Rome, Greece. Realist perspective could be traced back in Kautiliya’s
Arthastra. As it focused on the stance of probable champion who always tried to
boost his power to an optimum level even at the cost of others. In the 21st
century, Realism originated in 1939, when Edward Hellett Carr’s book overruled
other approaches in the discipline of International relations. To strengthen
the work of Carr’s Political Realism, many prominent intellectuals, added more
reflective work to the theory of Realism. The Contributors who raised to the prominence
for their work on Realism were,
Nicolson (1939), Shuman
(1933) Butterfield (1953, Schwarzenegger (1941),Wight(1946),Morgenthau (1948),
Kennan (1951) and Niebuhr (1940) revived
realist stance and contradicted with the
declaration of liberal approach as
influential in that period . But the
book which rose to prominence as an idol combatant for the theory of ‘Political
Realism’ and gained utmost prominence was Politics among nations by Hans
Morgenthau. He published sic versions of it between 1948-1985. (Amin et al. 2011, p.1)
Realism in the
twentieth-century born form the cradle as a reaction to the idealist
perspective that actually ruled International relations in the interwar period.
Idealism aimed at maintaining stability in the world to avoid another world
dispute. They only way out of this inter-states rivalry would be the creation
of revere system of international law that would be favored by international
organizations. So the Idealism resulted in the establishment of League of
Nations in 1920 and in the “Kellogg- Briand Pact of 1928. Central to this pact
was that it prohibited war and provided for amicable settlement of conflicts.
Intellectuals such as Alfred Zimmer, Raymond D. Fosdick and other eminent
idealist of that period extended their support to the League of Nations. They,
instead of concentrating on what they could see unavoidable of disputes between
nation states and people, decided on to highlight the common interest that
could unify humanity and strived to make a plea to rationality and morality.
However, it should be mentioned here that their stances were highly condemned
in the early 1930’s by Reinhold Niebuhr and E.H Carr. The league of Nation
failed to prevent another war. This reality provoked a strong realist backlash
against idealism. During the post-war period the field of International
relations was extremely influenced by the compositions of “Classical Realist”
such as Hans Morgenthau, George Kenna, and Raymond Aron Etc. However, during
1950- 1960’s realism again went to the trial of intellectuals who attempted to
take a more scientific method to study this discipline of international
politics. There was and another shift that could be seen in international
relations theory during 1980’s and that was “Neo-Realism” (Amin et al. 2011, p.2)
Korab (2010), says that Realism is based
on following assumptions.
have a very pessimistic view about human Nature. They call them Self-interested
and Self-centered individuals and that self-interested is deep-rooted in their
bones that it overcome the moral principles.
System is anarchical. Absence of supreme power makes the world a “self-help”
system. Each state is accountable for its own durability.
believe that in order to maintain their sustainability, they security and
defense system should always be up to the mark. Wars are essentially fought
among the “competing” nation states from becoming militarily stronger.
believe that there is no place for and no relevance of morality in
international relations. They say that states use morality as a tool to justify
Under this heading I shall briefly highlight
various viewpoints related to Classical Realism.
Idealists, in the world
have always tried to widen their horizon about the perception that what fits in
the politics as they were highly unsatisfied with the working of world system.
There were some eminent political idealist who assumed that there could be a
set of universally applicable principles of moral values on which political
life could be based. Aristotle, Plato and Cicero were among them. Machiavelli,
placed himself as a political innovator and questioned congenital moral
tradition. He separated Morality from politics and considered it as unrealistic
and impractical approach. The
Comprehensive type of political realism that can be applied to both
International and domestic politics is Machiavellianism. Machiavellianism is a set of beliefs that
completely negates the applicability of morality in politics and defended a
state can use all the means to attain its political objectives. (Machiavelli,