Realism and liberalism are the most popular theories which regulate international relations. In the sphere of international relations, awareness of the key points of both theories helps to explain many of its phenomena. In world politics, realist and liberal theories represent the opponent poles. Many scholars even relate these theories with pessimistic and optimistic views on the world order. The main concepts of realist as well as liberal theories are reflected in the statements of its main supporters. On the one hand, Thomas Hobbes, one of the founders of classic realist theory, called the state of the nature “the war of all against all”. On the other hand, Francis Fukuyama, supporter of liberal theory, claimed that: “western liberal democracy is the final form of human government” (Jumarang, 2011).
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The theory of realism interprets the bases of the state system through its interdependence with the bases of human nature. From the realists’ point of view, all human actions are driven by the instinct of self-protection. Thus, human beings concentrating mostly on meeting their needs and satisfying their own desires can create a state after the same example. Such kind of a state, as a rule, gets its priorities straight and an ideal way of regulating international relations for it is anarchy. Consequently, the initial fight of the state for its survival turns into the fight for accumulation as much wealth as possible, in such a way the state contributes to prosperity of global anarchy. On these conditions, the might of the state is measured by its military capability, which leaves slim chances for solving interstate conflicts by peaceful means.
Liberalism, in contrast to realism, makes the main emphases on the human capacity of compassion and an ability to do altruistic actions. Therefore, liberalists promote global cooperation as a vital condition of overall success. Liberal model of the state also differs from its realistic variant. An ideal state, for liberalists, is the one which puts all its resources to reinforce economics. In other words, it is economically developed country, rather than military power. This change of priorities demands mending good relations with other states, which also stimulates interaction between different countries. In spite of the growing popularity of liberal theory within democratic society, there are still many opponents of it, who claim that liberal ideas are too idealistic. Anyway, the theory of liberalism offers the way of peaceful attaining stability in the world of intense rivalry between the countries (Jumarang, 2011).
No matter how strong the impact of liberal ideas on current international situation is, the presence of realistic elements in it cannot be rejected as well. In spite of all claims about crucial role of cooperation between the states, the majority of them are mostly oriented on the ensuring the dominant positions for themselves on the world arena. As a result, it leads to the struggle for the title of leading power between the states.
Recently, the criteria defining the power distribution in world politics have substantially changed. The priorities in this sphere have shifted from the stress on military capability to the significance of the economic development of the state. Joseph Nye (2002) assumed that in modern society, the power of the country is measured by its economic progress, educational and cultural development, rather than by its military forces, territory or mineral resources. Naturally, the strategy in attaining world superiority has transformed. Nowadays, it is not enough to gain an advantage over a country prevailing it by force, current situation demands a complicated plan of making profit out of market relations with this country (Nye, 2002). However, the necessity of keeping military establishments on decent level remains a high priority for every state. Therefore, the states which run the world successfully combined well- developed economics and substantial military capability. To the number of these states belong USA, China, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, and Britain (Realist Theories, 2011).
The incentive of the states to prosper in economic development and keep leading positions initiates the appearance of such phenomenon as globalization. The main goal of globalization is business extension on large territories worldwide. Quantitative indices of globalization are based on GDP (Gross Domestic Products), HDI (Human Development Level) and Industrialization. They define the overall development of the country and its place on the world arena. According to the data from International Monetary Fund, the most globalised countries are Austria, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States (How Globalization Affects Developed Countries, 2012). Globalization contributes to the integrative processes in capital market, the improvement of production systems, and conduction of international trade. Many states benefit from such processes greatly, as they improve economics and enhance their business competitive capacity. However, the consequences of globalization for different countries are quite different.
Naming the winners and the losers of globalization has been one of the major tasks for the scholars for the last twenty years. They have made conclusion basing on the unequal distribution of the income in the world. According to it, the countries from Africa, Latin America and counties which belonged to former Soviet Union sustain losses. The leading positions still keep USA, Britain, Japan, Germany and France. Furthermore, due to current statistics, the top 1% of the richest people on the planet consists of 12% of Americans (approximately 30 million people) and other 3% and 6% are divided between the privileged citizens of the other leading countries (Milanovic, 2012).
In conclusion, the root of current situation in the world politics lies in the fear of leading states to lose their spheres of influence. They continue accumulating wealth, recourses, and forces, in order not to be defeated by another leading power. In such a way, the rich and powerful countries flourish, preventing other less developed countries from advancement.
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