Change In International Politics

1423 Words 6 Pages
In international politics there are there are “two predictable, and nearly always mistaken, responses to any great international upheaval: one is to say that everything has changed; the other is to say that nothing has changed.” Theorist of international politics are generally found in one of two camps; those who believe that state relations and behaviors today are consistent with those found during the time of Thucydides and those who believe that everything has changed. The various views about change or continuity are useful in developing theories about international politics, but also present a danger for those who adhere too strongly to their views and disregard competing ideas. Proponents of realism, liberalism, and constructivism …show more content…
Picture in your mind two theorists of international politics, one a realist and the other a constructivist. Now imagine these two theorists sitting next to each other at a movie theater. The theorists have come to see The History of International Relations in 3D. The constructivist is given a pair of 3D glasses and the realist is given a pair of glasses with clear lenses. Both theorist watch the opening act, The History of the Peloponnesian War, but see things quite differently. The realist sees a screen where things are uncertain, fuzzy, and somewhat chaotic. The constructivist sees the images more clearly as they were intended to be seen, in 3D. If these theorists continue watching the rest of the film wearing the lenses through which the viewed Thucydides’ time, they will continue to see things the same way they viewed the opening act. However, if they trade lenses they will see things differently and say that the film had changed. This metaphor describes the answer to the questions asked …show more content…
First, what constitutes the fundamental assumptions of the modern realist paradigm? Second, how do these assumptions relate to the world of ancient Greece as described by Thucydides? While there are a multiple nuanced views of what constitutes realism, in his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer outlines three features of the international system. (Mearsheimer, 3) The first of these features is that there is no central authority that resides at the level above states which can protect them from each other. This view explains the idea that the international system is anarchic. Anarchy is, as Mearsheimer points out, “an ordering principle, which says that the system comprises independent states…there is no higher ruling body in the international system.” (Mearsheimer, 30). Second, states always have some offensive military capability. States have the ability to hurt one another and are therefore a danger and a threat to other states. Those with more military might become more of a threat to those who have less military capabilities. Third, states can never be certain of the intentions of other states. Because all states have offensive capabilities and states are unsure of one another’s intentions states cannont be sure that others do not have designs to harm them. This uncertainty is unavoidable, even amongst

Related Documents