Realist and Neo-Realist Views on World Politics Comparison Essay by orise

Looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the realist and neo-realist perspectives on world politics.
# 150440 | 1,570 words | 7 sources | APA | 2012 | KE
Published on Feb 17, 2012 in History (Greek and Roman) , Political Science (Political Theory)

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This paper explains that realism as applied to international politics emphasizes the role played by the nation-state and assumes that national interests are the motivating factors of all nation-states; whereas, neo-realism argues that the international structure is a hindrance to state behavior. Next, the author contends that the weakness of the neo-realism theory is that it is static, pessimistic and parsimonious; whereas, the realism theory fails to recognize the process through which the internal structure of various states leads to their various foreign policies. Using examples from ancient Greek history, the paper concludes that, despite the various weaknesses of these theories, both of them are useful in the study of international relations. An essay plan is included in the paper.

Table of Contents:
Neo-Realism, its Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths and Weaknesses of Realism
Essay Plan

From the Paper:

"Realists and more so the neo-realists of today think of anarchy or lack of government as being able to determine the political outcomes at the international level. Failure to have a process of making rules that is common and the authority that enforces these rules means according to them that the international arena becomes in essence a self help system. Each state takes the responsibility of its survival and can pursue power and also define the interests it has. Anarchy therefore causes a situation in which power takes the supreme role in giving shape to the interstate relations. The envoys of Athens in Melos say that where there is no common authority to enforce order independent states can be assured of survival only at the time when they hold the power. Realism looks at the states world as being anarchic and also perceives security as a core issue. In order to get security, states normally increase power and go into balancing of power so that they can deter potential aggressors. Fighting of war is done in order to prevent those nations in competition from gaining military strength. Thucydides while making a distinction between the immediate and underlying Peloponnesian War issues fails to get the cause in each of the events that came before its outbreak."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Booth, Ken and Smith S. (eds.), 1995. International Relations Theory Today, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Donnelly, J. 2000. Realism and International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Guzzini, S. 1998. Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy: The Continuing Story of a Death Foretold, London: Routledge.
  • Linklater, Andrew, 1990. Beyond Realism and Marxism: Critical Theory and International Relations, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Vasquez, J. A., 1998. The Power of Power Politics: From Classical Realism to Neo-traditionalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Realist and Neo-Realist Views on World Politics (2012, February 17) Retrieved November 25, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Realist and Neo-Realist Views on World Politics" 17 February 2012. Web. 25 November. 2020. <>