First 304 words of the document:
Why do realists believe that global politics is characterised by conflict? (15 marks)
A realist's perspective of global politics is first and last about power and selfinterest. This is why it
is often portrayed as a `power politics' model of international politics One of the features of a realist
is how human nature is fixed and given therefore individuals react in a predictable manner based on
their instinct. Such instincts can be applied from the individuals to states.
As human egoism leads to unending conflict amongst individuals and groups, state egoism means that
international politics is marked by inevitable competition and rivalry. As essentially selfinterested
actors, the ultimate concern of each state is for survival, which thereby becomes the first priority of
its leaders. As all states pursue security through the use of military or strategic means, and where
possible seek to gain advantage at the expense of other states, international politics is characterised
by an irresistible tendency towards conflict.
The realist model of power politics is based on the combined ideas of human selfishness or egoism
and the structural implications of international anarchy. While this implies a strong tendency towards
conflict, bloodshed and open violence can be constrained by the balance of power. The key
dynamics in the international system flow from the distribution of power (or capacities) between and
The central theme of the liberal view of international politics is a belief in harmony or balance. The
tendency towards peace, cooperation and integration is by factors such as economic
interdependence, brought about by free trade, the spread of democracy and the construction of
international organizations. However, over time, liberalism (or neoliberalism) has become
increasingly indistinct from realism.