Recent theories have declared anarchy to be the fundamental assumption in international politics. Over the last couple of years, a significant number of scholars, and more so, those belonging to the neo-realist tradition, have posited that anarchy is the most significant characteristic of international relations (Milner 1991). Anarchy refers to the absence of government. More generally, it refers to the lack of a political power over or between the political unit systems. In the international relations, anarchy can be interpreted as a concept, which holds that the world is a leaderless system; no sovereign universal or global government exists. Therefore, there is no hierarchically superior and coercive power that can be charged with the responsibility of resolving disputes, law enforcement, or maintaining order in the international platform like in the domestic politics (Lake 2009). In international relations, anarchy has been extensively adopted as the focal point for the International Relations theory. It is critical to note that the lack of a global government does not imply the lack of political order or presence of disorder.
In the modern world, anarchy is commonly understood to imply the modern global system, in which countries are the core units of analysis. Each country is fully sovereign, and all countries are formally equal. It is this condition, which separates international relations from other political domains and renders it a distinctive field of study with varying regulations and patterns of interaction (Lake 2009). Other political domains may also be anarchical; for instance, there are legislatures where vote trading between different members cannot be legally enforceable. However, the analytical concept has not been extensively adopted beyond the realm of international relations, and in an insignificant number of cases, failed states.
A good example of anarchy in international politics can be traced as far as the First World War. Some causes of the War can be traced to anarchic interpretations of international relations, that is, issues regarding state matters and state interactions. For instance, conventional accounts of the War would include among the causes of the War Conrad von Hötzendorff’s pronouncement, the then Austrian Chief-of-Staff, that the First World War was a result of the motive forces in the lives of different states. Such accounts of the War rely on the interpretations of the Grand Alliances that divided Europe at the time the war in the Balkans broke out. Historians, such as Richard Lebow, have traced the causes for the inevitability of the 20th century war in the anarchic system to causes ranging from social Darwinism to patriotism, the coalition structure, and changes in the balance of power (Viotti and Kauppi 1987). Not only historians have adopted these terms, scholars in international relations have also adopted them. The balance of power hypothesis and coalition politics have remained as central concepts in the realistic and neorealistic models of international relations theory. To a big extent, the First World War can be traced to Great Power Politics, entangling coalitions, and a feeling of inevitability. In an anarchic system, conflict is inevitable. However, the assumption of a chaotic system allows for different conclusions, among them the assumption that the war could not have been avoided.
The latest alliance conquest in the war against Iraq is another good example of international anarchy. A critical question, which attracts two answers depending on the side of international politics, is “does the latest alliance conquest in the war against Iraq enhance Israeli’s security?” International anarchy gives ‘no’ for an answer since there is no international system, which is superior to the country. Each state is an arbiter of its own security issues. International relations theory suggests that the international stage is a self-help system. Self-help includes such things as establishing military forces and preemptive wars, forming alliances, and/ or relying on such international institutions as the United Nations (Owens 2003). The victory of the war against Iraq has not displaced international anarchy; therefore, only Israel can determine what comprises security for the Jewish state.