The Roots of the Realist Tradition 1.
The basic assumption behind the construction of the major IR theories is that we live in an anarchic world. The lack of a centralized government or enforcement mechanism has posed many challenges to the definition and the support of international cooperation.
Let us think about this concept for a moment: Conversely, at the international level there is no such thing as a superior centralized government, able to dictate rules and to enforce them. In the realm of foreign policyrelations are among States, and there is no guarantee that international rules and norms will be respected.
Indeed, in the international scenario, institutions and rules to regulate the dynamics among States have been created. The main ones are: However, States willingly give up part of their sovereignty and autonomy to become parties to such organizations and to abide by their rules.
International treaties encompassing both economic and political issues; and Bilateral or multilateral agreements.
Yet, despite the existence of such bodies, the lack of a centralized government or enforcement mechanism has posed many challenges to the definition and the support of international cooperation.
This term refers to a situation in which actions by a State that aims to increase its security i. Such dynamics and perceptions lead to an increase in tensions that may result in a conflict. The Security Dilemma can be articulated in three main points.
Countries fear that other countries could cheat: The balance between offensive and defensive weapons is at the core of the balance among countries. Yet, as it is not easy to distinguish among defensive and offensive arms, mistrust and tensions easily arise.
Many scholars have dealt with the assumption of an anarchic world and the consequent insurgence of the Security Dilemma.
It is interesting to note that from the same starting point, opposite outcomes have been reached. The two main opposed perspective are realism and idealism or liberalism — that have, then, evolved into neorealism and neoidealism or neoliberalism.
Hobbes Machiavelli and Moregenthau — the most prominent realist scholars — had a clear and pessimistic view of the world. In fact, classical realists viewed States — and human beings — as selfish and egoistic entities whose only goal was power and survival in an anarchical society.
For instance, according to the classical scholars, States lived in a status of war against each other and every action was dictated by self-interest and struggle for power.
In the realist perspective: There can be no cooperation among States: In order to maintain peace within a country and to dominate the egoistic and brutal instincts of the citizens, the government must act as a strong and merciless power; States and human beings have the same corrupt and selfish nature; Just as human beings want to prevail over other human beings, States wants to prevail over other States; There can be no trust among States; and Anarchy cannot be controlled.
Classical realism also rejects the possibility of creating international institutions where negotiations and peaceful debates can take place. Indeed, this assumption has changed with the passing of time when international institutions both governmental and non-governmental have begun to play a more important role in the international scenario.
Realism has evolved into neorealism. The international asset is achieved through asymmetrical cooperation; and The international structure reflects the distribution of power among countries.
Therefore, neorealists cannot claim that the possibility of creating international organizations is an illusion. On the contrary, according to the neorealist perspective, the institutionalized structure of our anarchic world is the very reason why States are egoistic and selfish.
Idealism or liberalism has a more positive perception of the world of international relations and, according to this perspective, international institutions play a pivotal role in the creation and maintenance of a peaceful international environment.
According to Kant, human beings can learn from their past and their mistakes. In addition, he believed that an increase in trade, in the number of international organizations and in the number of democratic countries in the system could lead to peace.
In other words, Kant and the idealist perspective believe that: Human beings and States are not necessarily selfish, brutal and egoistic; There is no need to have a strong and merciless power to maintain peace both within the country and among different countries; There are elements that can increase the possibility of having peaceful relations among countries: Increase in trade both bilateral and multilateral ; Increase in the number of international institutions; Increase in the number of democracies in the international system — such assumptions links back to the democratic peace theory that assumes that democracies are less likely to initiate conflicts with other countries; and Global cooperation and peace is possible.
As in the case of realism and neorealism, neoliberalism or neoidealism is the recent elaboration of classical idealism .As in the case of realism and neorealism, neoliberalism (or neoidealism) is the recent elaboration of classical idealism.
Again, the main difference between the classical and the new form is the idea of structure. Again, the main difference between the classical and the new form is the idea of structure.
Neoliberals think that the structure of the international system fosters the creation of international organizations that are information providers and reduce the likeliness to cheat. However, some have argued that defining the debate between realism and idealism in terms of a great debate is a misleading caricature and so described the "great debate" as a myth.
  Second Great Debate . Difference Between Idealism and Realism • Categorized under Miscellaneous Difference Between Classical realism and neorealism: How to view the world as “half empty” in two similar ways; Realism VS Idealism in Foreign Policy; Difference Between Milk and Lactaid;.
- The "First Great Debate" also known as the "Realist-Idealist Great Debate"was a dispute between idealists and realists which took place in the s and s and which was fundamentally about how to deal with Nazi Germany.
Realist scholars emphasized the anarchical nature of international politics and the need for state survival. Not all realists, however, deny the presence of ethics in international relations. The distinction should be drawn between classical realism—represented by such twentieth-century theorists as Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau—and radical or .