Essay Realism, Liberalism, And Constructivism

1696 Words Oct 19th, 2016 7 Pages
There are three main schools of thought in International Relations and they are realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Liberalism is the paradigm that in short, holds the belief that emphasizes the importance of the international institutions that would serve to check relations with other international state actors. Realism stems from the notion that in this anarchic international stage, each state is out to better itself and the only way to survive is to gain more power. Constructivism is a term that has risen to prominence recently. It claims that people are at the heart of what gives the state power and it is the people’s social norms that determine the behaviors and interests of states. With that general synopsis, if we were to apply these 3 schools of thought to President Obama’s past eight years in office, his foreign policy specifically is most consistent with constructivism.
President Obama has had a constructivist approach towards his foreign policy when breaking down what constructivism thought looks like and applying that to his actions in response to conflicts in the Middle East. When looking at Martha Finnemore’s “Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention”, she makes the claim that, “A constructivist approach does not deny power and interest are important… Rather… it investigates the ends to which and the means by which power will be used” (Finnemore, 1996). And the ends and means of this are reliant on the social nature of international relations. This…

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