Realism & Liberalism

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  • Realism and Liberalism
    • Human nature
      • Fixed, cannot be changed
        • States want to increase their sovereignty & influence
          • States motivated by need to survive
      • Not fixed
        • Humans are naturally sociable & cooperative
      • More optimistic
      • Humans favour individual liberty & rights
      • Possible to impose order from above
      • Naturally selfish & egoistic
    • Power
      • Recognise the limits of soft power. Can be used in smart power.
      • Some types of power, especially military, can be counterproductive (security dilemma)
      • Increasing & maintaining power is the main goal is states.
      • States can increase power through cooperation with each other
      • Powerful states overcome weaker states
      • Threats & force are particlarly important type sof hard power
        • Self-help system where no other actor can be guaranteed to protect a state's security
      • Importance of economic power
    • International organisations
      • Useful for peace resolutions
        • discussions & negotiations
      • Should never infringe on a states' sovereignty
      • Can enhance state power & sovereingty. Not useful if not possible to achieve national interest
      • Dangerous if the IGO has power to compel the state to do things
      • Offer a means of deepening economic integration
      • Opportunity for states to work together - can be more powerful than acting alone
    • States & sovereignty
      • Sovereignty is used to benefit states' interests. It can be pooled to achieve common aims.
      • Sovereignty is an absolute concept
      • Nothing can infringe on a states' sovereignty
      • Another state's sovereignty may be infringed if it is necessary to uphold state values
      • States are most powerful global actors
      • States should be wary of giving up too much sovereignty to IGOs
    • Order & conflict
      • Conflict is an unavoidable  part of global poltiics
      • Conflict is sometimes necessary to defend national interests or increase power & influence
      • Conflict should be avoided where possible
        • IGOs, such as the UN, provide a good forum for peace resolution
      • Every state is a potential threat to other states
      • Deeper economic integration / economic globalisation makes conflict less likely


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