Every student who is studying political science or international relations knows how much it is difficult to understand those theories of realism and give your opinions. And that’s why many students ask essay writing service to write an essay for them on it.
And that’s the reason why I am writing about Realism, Classical Realism.
Realism is, basically, an attempt to present the truth and reality without falsification.
The theory of Realism in International politics has a very pessimistic view because the founders of this theory, called realists, think that reality is very bitter. They think that humans have the desire to dominate over another.
According to Hans Morgenthau, leading realist thinker of the 20th century, every man has a will to power.
They think that all humans are bitter from inside and that’s why the whole world is bitter. And because now the world is bitter, there is a requirement to play smartly in order to survive in this world.
Han Morgenthau once said
“Politics is a struggle for power over men, and whatever its ultimate aim may be, power is its immediate goal and modes of acquiring, and maintaining and demonstrating it determines the technique of political action.”
According to realism, to defend the interest of the state is the main point of foreign policy and a leader or statesman can do anything in order to protect his or her state whether it is right or wrong, good or bad or bad or lesser bad because the world is a bitter place to live in. That is why everything is allowed to do.
Types of Realism
There are three types of realism
1) Classical realism
2) Neorealism, and
3) Neoclassical realism
Classical realism is of the most pessimistic view. Its primary focus is a political value of national security and state survival.
Classical realism is one of the most traditional approaches to International Relations.
The Classical realism has arisen in Greece.
The most leading three classical realists, whose works and theories are still studied and praised, in past, are
1) Thucydides, historian of Greece
2) Niccolo Machiavelli, the political theorist of Italy, and
3) Thomas Hobbes, Britain’s political and legal philosopher of the 17th century
Thucydides was a Greek historian who was a resident of Athens.
According to him, inequality is a natural phenomenon in the world. He once said that
“Political animals are highly unequal in their powers and capabilities to dominate others and to defend themselves. All states large and small must adapt to that given reality of unequal power and conduct themselves accordingly. If states do that, they will survive and even prosper. If states fail to do that, they will place themselves in jeopardy and may even be destroyed. Ancient history is full of many examples of states and empires, small and large which were destroyed.”
Basically, Athenian historian limited the power of taking a decision of a leader of a state. According to him, the leader should take the decision thoughtfully and carefully. He should know where his country stands. How much authority or power his country has.
The basic political ethics according to Thucydides were
The leader should see where his country stands. He should try to understand what will be the consequences if he would take the particular decision and then decide.
The leader should take decision cautiously after observing and accepting how much power his country has.
The leader should take decision carefully after observing the complete anarchy of power because the countrymen are totally dependent on him, and
After judging where his country lies in the anarchy of power, he should take decision otherwise his country will face difficulty and countrymen will find it difficult to survive in this competitive world.
One of the most famous Athenian historians stopped the war between Athens and Melos during Peloponnesian War by asking Melos, who want respect because of their being an independent nation, to keep this wish away because JUSTICE IS OF SPECIAL KIND IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.
And that INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS’ SPECIAL KIND OF JUSTICE is
“The standard of justice depends on equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept…this is the safe rule-to stand up to one’s equal…you are discussing the fate of your country, that you have only one country and that its future for good or ill depends on this one single decision which you are going to make.”
Thucydides found it challenging and painful to distinguish private morality from principles of justice and equality.
Niccolian Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat and humanist who was one of the classical realists of R Renaissance period.
According to him a leader is required to act as brave as a lion and as cunning as a fox because of it his duty to safeguard his country and work on national interests. It is his duty to seek advantage and defend the country in order to keep the country and his countrymen secure and safe.
He once said:
“A prince…cannot observe all those things for which men are considered good, for in order to maintain the state he is often obliged to act against his promise, against charity, against humanity and against religion. And therefore, it is necessary that he have a mind ready to turn itself according to the way the winds of fortune and the changeability of political affairs require…as long as it is possible, he should not stray from the good, but he should know how to enter into evil when necessity commands.”
According to the Italian diplomat, the world is a dangerous place but full of opportunities.
Hans Morgenthau, who studied international politics in the 20th century, once said
“Realism maintains that universal moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of the states in their abstract universal formulation, but that they must be filtered through the concrete circumstances of time and place. The individual may say for himself “let justice be done if the world perish” but the state has no right to say so in the name of those who are in its care”
According to Italian humanist of Renaissance period, leader of a country should conduct and made foreign policy intelligently on the basis of his given power against his rivals and competing countries.
He once said:
“Be aware of what is happening. Do not wait for things to happen. Anticipate the motives and actions of others. Do not wait for others to act. Act before they do. The prudent state leader acts to ward off any threat posed by his or her neighbours. He or she should be prepared to engage in pre-emptive war and similar initiatives. The realist state leader is alert to opportunities in any political situation and is prepared to exploit them.”
Above all, the views of Machiavelli rely on the importance of survival and security of a country and its countrymen. And that’s why it is his opinion that a leader should not be obedient follower of Christian who wants peace in the whole world instead of being pure-hearted he should act as brave as lion when it comes to security and as cunning as fox when it comes to survival and security because the fate of its country people is entangled with his fate and decisions.
And that’s what classical realism says i.e. to think about your survival and fight for your survival.
Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher who is regarded as the founder of a modern philosopher. He was a realist.
According to him, men and women were living in their state of nature long ago when there was no concept of civilization. At that time fighting and wars were very common. Everyone’s life is at risk and endangered because no one is confident that whether that particular person is a safe girl or not.
He once said:
“In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation, nor use of commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building…no arts; no letters; no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. ”
But the philosopher has assumptions that to save the world from more bleeding, some sensible humans gave the concept of sovereign state. And it succeeds because each of them had a fear of death and losing life. Thus they were indirectly forced to cooperate politically because of their fear of losing life against their rivals. And that’s how civil conditions arose where a human can enjoy happiness and well-being.
But the founder of modern philosopher also thinks that civilized life can only be enjoyed within the state no outside the state. At outside there is the SECURITY DILEMMA because the creation of sovereign states in order to eradicate daily basis wars and fight created the state of nature between states. And that state of nature is the INTERNATIONAL STATE OF NATURE. And no country can be free from it because the whole world cannot be made in one state or one country.
Above all classical realism discusses the very basic nature and insecurity of human beings that lead to the creation of states, the need of a political body to solve problems and human cannot run away from this dilemma.
Morgenthau also agreed with a realism that human has LUST FOR POWER due to which he wants political space free of political dictation from other countries and states.
Classical Realism has shown the very darker side of human behavior that a human, by nature, is brutish and selfish. And because every human is brutish that’s why the world is brutish. To live in that brutish world a person needs to smartly in order to survive and the state should be run smartly. And it’s the duty of statesman or a leader to do what is right for the state, whether it is ethically wrong or not.
Classical Realism explains the very bitter reality of this world but that reality is somehow very right. The examples of USA’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan along with an attempt to invade Vietnam is at the very front of us.
Furthermore, the Saudi led war against Iraq in Yemen also proves that reality is bitter and Classical realism is right.
What do you say?