Importance Of Realism In International Politics

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From the works of Thucydides, realism was created and has become a major paradigm in international politics. Thucydides studied the Polynesian War between Athens and Sparta, and he studied the relations between these city-states. From his many observations, he put a focus on how the balance of power is a major factor in international politics as well as the importance of the state. The state is an essential component of realism and it is the foundation for many of the central assumptions coming from realism. With this importance put on the state, many realists are attached to the state as the dominant actor in international politics. They incorporate these components of realism into many of their theories and explanations of why certain events …show more content…
For a government or nation to be a state, there are several characteristics that it must establish. A state must have two things: authority and sovereignty. Authority is where the citizens accept that states and their leaders have the right to issue rules. For sovereignty, it is where states can issue rules without much interference from competitors, external or internal over a set geographic area. In other words, a state has the ability to govern its own territory and have the power to issue rules over its people. The treaty of Westphalia established these states throughout Europe and laid the foundation for realist ideas as wars continued through …show more content…
Realists combat this argument by stating that multinational corporations and other non-state actors can be controlled by the states themselves. The states can decide if certain organizations can enter their states and operate within their own territory. States can allow these corporations to further their own interests and power to achieve relative gains. For example, when South Korea adopted a U.S defense system, China saw it as a threat and in order to fight against it, China caused many South Korean corporations such as Hyundai to halt production due to a huge loss of revenue (Mullen). China was able to convince its media to boycott its products while also having the government put restrictions on the company itself (Mullen). This shows how a state can control non-state actors such as corporations in order to gain advantages. Non-state actors are able to be controlled by the state and this is another key reason why realists focus on the state as the dominant actor. States have the authority to control what happens within its territories and this is what occurs numerous times in contemporary

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