Melian Dialogue as interpreted through perspectives of Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism

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Melian Dialogue as interpreted through perspectives of Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism

Imagine Cleomedes, son of Lycomedes, general of the famed forces of the lustrous Athenian Empire, waiting for a trio of representatives to return from The Melian Dialogue. “Well?” he demands impatiently as they arrive, “What did they say?”

As perspectives and opinions in the realm of political science are fluid and bound to change, he receives a variety of replies, for the representatives body he sent happen to comprise a Realist, a Liberal and a Constructivist. The variances the philosophies and universal laws his representatives throw back at him intrigue General Cleomedes. He recognizes that within the power play of the world, and the
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I wonder how the outcome of our discussion would have altered had every social group in Melos heard our message and offered their own response.” So saying, the Constructivist knit his brows and pondered the possible consequences of had radical new theory been introduced to the whole of Melian society .

Expounding upon the universal moral laws of liberalism, the Liberal turns to the General and gravely explains her own position within the dialogue. “Liberalism is governing attitude which acts through a collective and common law of honor. The Melians supported this honor even in the face of dogged realist slings, even when Athenians refused to grant them the appeal of justice in negotiation. Holding firm, the Melians believed “so long as [they] remain[ed] in action, there [was] still a hope that [they] may yet stand upright (pg. 11, ll.102)”. They held faith in a code of conduct throughout the Dialogue; the Athenian side could not corrupt their resolution. Their faith in the law of ‘right’, even in the face of destruction, threaded the entire argument.”

To this idealist version of The Dialogue, the Realist snorts, “To be liberal is to require a common agreement of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, of ‘justice’, as universal law. The Melians sought to establish such an agreement with we Athenians, thinking ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as entities above human institution and culture. The fools did not see that “the

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