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Bicol University

College of Social Sciences and Philosophy


POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
Daraga, Albay

WORLD POLITICS:
Its Theories, Importance and
Perceptions

Submitted by:
Victoria Denise M. Monte
ABPS IV-A

Submitted to:
Prof. Alexander de Guzman
Subject professor

Theories and Point of Views about World Politics


Realism
Realism is a term that is used in a variety of ways in many different disciplines.
However, in International Relations, political realism is a tradition of analysis that
stresses the imperatives states face to pursue a power politics of the national interest.
Political realism, is the oldest and most frequently adopted theory of international
relations. It is a limited yet powerful and important approach to and set of insights about
international relations.
Realism is a tradition of international theory centered upon four propositions: (1)
the international system is anarchic, (2) the states are the most important actors (3) all
states within the system are unitary, rational actors and (4) the primary concern of all
states is survival.
At its most fundamental level, the national interest is generic and easy to define:
all states seek to preserve their political autonomy and their territorial integrity. Once
these two interests have been secured, however, national interests may take different
forms. Some states may have an interest in securing more resources or land; other
states may wish to expand their own political or economic systems into other areas;
some states may merely wish to be left alone.
Generally speaking, however, the national interest must be defined in terms of
power. National power has an absolute meaning since it can be defined in terms of
military, economic, political, diplomatic, or even cultural resources. But, for realists,
power is primarily a relative term. This emphasis on relative, and not absolute power,
derives from the realist conception of the international system which is, for the realists,
an anarchical environment. All states have to rely upon their own resources to secure
their interests, enforce whatever agreements they may have entered into with other
states, or to maintain a desirable domestic and international order.
For some states, emphasizing an interest in accumulating power is to ensure
security in an anarchic world. Power is a concept primarily thought of in terms of
material resources necessary to induce harm or coerce other states. The use of power
places an emphasis on coercive tactics being acceptable to either accomplish
something in the national interest or avoid something inimical to the national interest.
Realists believe that Sovereign states are the principal actors in the international
system, and special attention is afforded to large powers as they have the most
influence on the international stage. International institutions, non-governmental
organizations, multinational corporations, individuals and other sub-state or trans-state
actors are viewed as having little independent influence. States are inherently
aggressive and/or obsessed with security, and that territorial expansion is only
constrained by opposing power(s). This aggressive build-up, however, leads to
a security dilemma whereby increasing one's security may bring along even greater

instability as an opposing power builds up its own arms in response. Thus, security
becomes a zero-sum game where only relative gains can be made.
Realists believe that there are no universal principles with which all states may
guide their actions. Instead, a state must always be aware of the actions of the states
around it and must use a pragmatic approach to resolve problems as they arise.
In summary, realists think that humankind is not inherently benevolent but rather
self-centered and competitive. This perspective, which is shared by theorists such
as Thomas Hobbes, views human nature as egocentric (not necessarily selfish) and
conflictual unless there exist conditions under which humans may coexist. It is also
disposed of the notion that an individual's intuitive nature is made up of anarchy. In
regards to self-interest, these individuals are self-reliant and are motivated in seeking
more power.
Radicalism
The word "radical" is popularly used to designate individuals, parties, and
movements that wish to alter drastically any existing practice, institution, or social
system. In politics, radicals are often seen as individuals and/or parties reflecting "leftist"
views.
Radicalism in politics from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the Cold
War was generally associated with proposals to fundamentally alter the capitalist
economic and social system. In varying ways, radicals demanded far-reaching changes
in property relations.
From this point of view, the problem of crime stems from the very nature of
capitalism. This view begins with the idea that capitalist societies are characterized by
conflict between classes, races and gender. Also, inequality is created and
perpetuated by the capitalist system, largely because profits do not trickle down very
far.
From this perspective, the role of government is not neutral but rather tends to
support the capitalist system and those who benefit from it. Currently, most of the
efforts of the Obama administration (and the previous administration) are directed
toward saving the capitalist system. Radicals will also argue that even the New Deal
during the Roosevelt years of the Great Depression aimed to save capitalism, although
millions of working people received assistance.
Liberalism
The foundations of contemporary liberal internationalism were laid in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by liberals proposing preconditions for a peaceful
world order.

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and


equality that has had a profound impact on the shape of all modern industrial societies.
It has championed limited government and scientific rationality, believing individuals
should be free from arbitrary state power, persecution and superstition. It has advocated
political freedom, democracy and constitutionally guaranteed rights, and privileged the
liberty of the individual and equality before the law. Liberalism has also argued for
individual competition in civil society and claimed that market capitalism best promotes
the welfare of all by most efficiently allocating scarce resources within society. To the
extent that its ideas have been realized in recent democratic transitions in both
hemispheres and manifested in the globalization of the world economy.
One strand of liberal thought argued that economic interdependence would
discourage states from using force against each other because warfare would threaten
each side's prosperity. A second strand, often associated with President Woodrow
Wilson, saw the spread of democracy as the key to world peace, based on the claim
that democratic states were inherently more peaceful than authoritarian states. A third,
more recent theory argued that international institutions such as the International
Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund could help overcome selfish state
behavior, mainly by encouraging states to forego immediate gains for the greater
benefits of enduring cooperation.
Although some liberals flirted with the idea that new transnational actors,
especially the multinational corporation, were gradually encroaching on the power of
states, liberalism generally saw states as the central players in international affairs. All
liberal theories implied that cooperation was more pervasive than even the defensive
version of realism allowed, but each view offered a different recipe for promoting it.
For liberals, peace is the normal state of affairs. In Kants words, peace can be
perpetual. The laws of nature dictated harmony and cooperation between peoples. War
is therefore both unnatural and irrational, an artificial contrivance and not a product of
some peculiarity of human nature. Liberals have a belief in progress and the
perfectibility of the human condition. Through their faith in the power of human reason
and the capacity of human beings to realize their inner potential, they remain confident
that the stain of war can be removed from human experience.
Liberals believe that democratic society, in which civil liberties are protected and
market relations prevail, can have an international analogue in the form of a peaceful
global order. The domestic free market has its counterpart in the open, globalized world
economy. Parliamentary debate and accountability is reproduced in international fora
such as the United Nations. And the legal protection of civil rights within liberal
democracies is extended to the promotion of human rights across the world. With the
collapse of Communism as an alternative political and economic order, the potential for
continuity between the domestic and the international became greater than in any
previous period.

In broad summary, they concluded that the prospects for the elimination of war
lay with a preference for democracy over aristocracy and free trade over autarky.

Practice and Study of World Politics


In a world where thousands of nuclear weapons exist and more countries are
trying to acquire them, where suicide terrorist strikes come without warning and
thousands die each day from poverty caused by the way the international system
operates, we need to know about and understand world politics.
World politics is the study of how global actors' activities entail the exercise of
influence to achieve and defend their goals and ideals, and how it affects the world at
large also, names both the discipline that studies the political and economic patterns of
the world and the field that is being studied.
Put simply, world politics is about war and peace, conflict and cooperation, wealth
and poverty, power and change, and un derstanding patterns of behavior between the
actors in the world - from states, to presidents, to corporations.
International relations is an academic discipline concerned with the interactions
among nations and other international entities. There are many reasons to study
international relations. Many issues span national borders, including crime,
environmental protection, human rights, and disease. Nations must cooperate to solve
these global issues. The interaction of nations, institutions, cultures and ethnicities is
relevant to everyone. Every person is affected by the decisions the government makes,
and learning about these issues can help everyone better understand their life and the
world around them. Thus, understanding international relations can help one affect the
decisions made by governments, corporations and other institutions.
It has never been more important to understand world affairs and transnational
issues. In the era of globalization, people, products, ideas and cultures are interacting
and circulating at previously unimaginable scales and speeds. War and conflict, as well
as new security threats such as terrorism, environmental degradation, resource
shortage, and disease are increasingly of significance to us at home, as well as abroad.
International relations are an exceptionally important aspect of citizenship in a
global society. As our world becomes smaller and smaller through communication
technology, rapid air transportation and a complex international economy, the value of
peaceful and cooperative relationships between nations is increasingly important.
Historically, one of the oldest expressions of international relations was the
establishment of treaties and agreements between nations. Maintenance of these
treaties ensured that ordinary people could go about their everyday tasks of earning a
living and raising their families rather than dedicating themselves to armed conflict with
neighbors. This function of world politics remains just as relevant today.

Positive international relations also promotes effective trade policies between


nations, both in terms of importing natural resources and finished products not available
in one country and in terms of gaining access to the larger market afforded by exports to
foreign countries. International relations define the requirements and limitations of
cross-border trade.
Besides the transport of goods over international borders, people also frequently
migrate between countries, looking for opportunities to enhance their lives. This travel
may be temporary or permanent, but in either case it must be regulated to ensure the
rule of law--criminals must be kept out of the country while legitimate business, tourist
and immigrant travel is preserved. International relations plays a key role in determining
border control policies.
Nations often face global issues that are larger than any specific country or even
continent, such as concerns over the environment, pandemics and terrorism. Sound
international relations are required for nations to cooperate effectively to meet these
challenges, allowing nations to share relevant information quickly and pool resources.
World Politics is not studied for aesthetic reasons, since world politics is not
exactly beautiful. Students of world politics have an obligation to democratic publics to
help them understand the most pressing problems of the current day. Yet this moral
obligation does not imply that we should focus on topical issues or be policy-relevant
in a narrow sense by speaking to governments in terms that are acceptable to them.
Our task is to probe the deeper sources of action in world politics, and to speak truth to
power insofar as we can discern what the truth is.

Perception Pertaining to World Politics


Realists believed that the primary concern of all states is survival. Thus, states
acquire and use power for their own interests, regardless of anothers interest that shall
lead to conflict and then war.
For liberals, peace is the normal state of affairs and argued that economic
interdependence would discourage states from using force against each other because
warfare would threaten each side's prosperity.
On the other hand, radicals believe capitalism is the root of all problems. It is
because it causes inequality in different sectors of society and the world.
Of these three point of views, I agree with the realists and the liberals. Agreeing
on these two point of views may sound contradictory considering that they believe in
opposite things: Realists believe in war while Liberals believe in peace.
History as well as the current situation of the world provides the actual scenario
that Realists claim to be. A good example of the past was the World War I and World
War II. World domination and territorial expansion being the main interest of the
instigators of this world wars are in conflict of other states interest which is their
territorial security and having direct control of their sovereignty. As for the present
situation, the dispute over several islands of the Philippines could be an example.
Different nations staking claims on these certain islands, although not exactly declaring
war against our country, are being hostile and unfriendly. These encounters could then
lead to war and violence. These events, coupled with the fact that each and every state
would think of its best interest, whoever the leader is, makes it hard not to agree with
the Realists point of view.
However, economic relations between countries that started long ago and are still
held until now provide the idea that due to progress, certain wars and
misunderstandings are resolved so as to prevent any damage to each others budding,
building or existing economic development. Technological advancement and economic
progress are advantages of achieving peace for it begets allies. Alliances is viewed
good for when it comes to a time where a strife is present, an alliance is willing to
extend certain assistance. Considering also that most countries engage in market
capitalism, a war can change the direction each country is headed for.
The ideas of Realism and Liberalism both exist in the contemporary times. And
as conflicting as these ideas may seem, understanding both could help understand
Politics and the World.

References:

Big Questions in the Study of World Politics - Princeton University


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_(international_relations)
http://www.ehow.com/about_6460804_importance-international-relations.html
http://www.ehow.com/about_6460804_importance-international-relations.html
http://www.ehow.com/facts_5768629_study-international-relations_.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/student/magazines/why-international-relations-isthe-key-to-all-our-futures-409792.html
http://www.sheldensays.com/conserlibrad.htm
https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/socialsciences/subjectareas/internationalrelations
/
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/realism.htm
International relations: One world, many theories
Theories of International Relations (Third edition) by Scott Burchill, Andrew
Linklater, Richard Devetak, Jack Donnelly, Matthew Paterson, Christian ReusSmit and Jacqui True