Realism - case studies

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  • Realism
    • Sovereignty
      • The Iraq war 2003 - it showed that the US was prepared to go in alone without international support. It had directly contravened a UNSC Resolution & did not secure wider international support or approval
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Russia then backed a referendum asking the Ukranian people whether they wanted  to remain part of Ukraine or become part of Russia. 96% of Crimean's voted to join Russia (a presence of Russian troops likely influenced this)
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Russian troops were sent into the Crimea unilaterally. There was no discussion with IGOs or attempts to gain justification through international law. The UNSC could not pass a resolution condemning Russia because, as a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia vetoed this
      • The 2016 leave campaign - The referendum to leave the EU shows the UK trying to regain the sovereignty they had surrendered as a member of the EU.
      • The 2016 leave campaign - The 'Leave' campaign argued that the EU prevented the UK from negotiating its own trade deals with other nation-states, such as the US.
      • The 2016 leave campaign - Argued that the EU has the power to make its own laws & force the UK to adopt these laws
      • The 2016 leave campaign - The central slogan of the 'Leave campaign' emphasised the view that leaving the EU would free the UK from being forced to comply with EU laws
    • Security dilemma
      • The  Iraq War 2003 - A US-led coalition invaded Iraq, believing they owned & were prepared to use WMD's
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Although Russia did not invade the Ukraine with conventional military forces, they did send it special forces that took strategic locations in the Crimea, although they did not wear any identifying insignia
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Pro-Russian rebel groups became active in the predominantntly ethnic Russian eastern regions of the Ukraine, many with Russian govt. backing
    • National self-interest
      • The Iraq war 2003 - The USA & it's allies were acting in what they perceived was their national interest. PM Tony Blair said that Iraq represented 'a current & serious threat to the UK national interest'
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Ukraine, formerly part of the Soviet Union, was torn between the West & possible EU membership, & the East.
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - Russia were worrying reigns that Ukraine might be establishing closer ties with the West,  particularly with regards to joining the EU. Since the fall of the SU, ten other east European states had allied themselves with NARTO, the military alliance countering military strength of the SU. Russia saw this as a threat to national interest & felt the threat of the Ukraine joining NATo & the EU could not be allowed
      • The 2016 leave campaign - argued that because of freedom of movement within the single-market, the UK was no longer able to prioritise admitting foreign workers based on their skills.
    • Increasing their power & influence
      • Chinese activity in the South China sea - China has attempted to expand its territorial waters in the region by building islands & increasing naval patrols. It has also been investing in building up & modernising its naval forces, developing new & improved aircraft barriers.
      • Chinese activity in the South China sea - The USA has increased its diplomatic & military influence in Asia, showing how nation-states seek to exert influence & control in a key strategic region
      • The Russian annexation of Crimea - there was the primary objective of securing accesss to the warm-water port of Sevastopol. This was a key strategic objective & secured Russian access in the black sea region
    • States compete with each other
      • Chinese activity in the South Sea - There have been disagreements among the various nation-states in the South China sea region, such as Brunei, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan & Vietnam.  The region is of stategic importance as it contains valuable natural resources, such as oil & gas, & is a key shipping-route
      • Chinese activity in the South China Sea - The US has responded by carrying out Freedom of Navigation Patrols. While the US claims these patrols take part in international waters, China claim these waters as its own territorial waters.


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