Free «Key Elements of a Liberal Perspective on International Politics» Essay Sample


International relations is a discipline believed to have emerged after the World War II and relied on the balance of power. This is where the states felt that each country should have its own rights and freedoms, meaning it should not be supervised. This is where each country had its own freedom to make its own decisions without any external force or interference. The system of balance of power replaced the system of collective security where decisions of states where made collectively; such actions it led to the rise of idealists and realists. Idealism is a method of thinking which suggests a country should make its philosophy a working goal towards foreign policy. This means that the political, social and economic rules of a state should be known to avoid corruption from other states and uphold to their traditions. This will, therefore, foster good international relations among the states.

Realist and Liberal Views of International Security

Similarly to the World War II, once the issue was over and done with and one party was defeated or forfeited altogether, then there would be no need in the alliance. Thus, most alliances are mostly situational, occurring during conflict or opportunity. The only stable versions are those created by regional and global organizations such as the United Nations Security Council. Currently, two worldviews dominate the world system of thought when it comes to security, especially as a factor in the global scale. These are liberalism and realism (Burchill 2001).

Realism is the view that the state is the principal deciding factor on the world stage. This view is popular in the United States in Washington. It deals with the politics of national security and the relationships needed to safeguard the conditions between superpowers on the world stage. They do have a point in this context because the state is the only organ with the legal authorization to carry out military protection and offensive actions in the international context. However, the state is slowly becoming obsolete as the number of transnational political organizations continues to increase with a steady rate (Burchill 2001). Additionally, an increase of transnational actors is strengthening national security through their efforts on a global scale. Liberalism, on the other hand, is more flexible than realism; it determines that both actors of the state and those that are not are vital. It recognizes components at the international level that operate at lower as well as higher levels. This is because, eventually, states will desegregate into smaller transnational components.

Why Some Security Alliances Endure for a Long Time while other Security Alliances Dissolve Quickly

The strain during this period was not that bad because Kenya more or less ignored the situation at the border as if it would partially handle itself. The emigrants found a way to circumvent the system so as to leave the land; this has cost much more than it would cost to register and keep track of the mass of individuals in the country at that time. Instead, the masses of refugees have come up with an intelligent way of escaping procedure. There are popular estates in the capital that do not regulate the registration in terms of citizenship. These venues are the ones that house these people.

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They hole themselves in an apartment meant for use by one person and fill it with an excess of five of their own. This method is meant to save costs and increase the carrying capacity. They have set up numerous businesses around the vicinity. These are meant to generate businesses to run their operations that may be sometimes illegal or controversial in nature. They are a partial to drugs, which they grow in various areas of the country and transport to their living areas while running arms sales and stocks at the same time. Security alliances in the current world are probably based on common interests and these are financial in nature. The resources are what most countries want to fight for without alerting their citizens as to their intentions with the bad publicity as most countries are now democratic. The cold war system for security alliances in the 50s and the 60s was based on the balance of power. The alliance was not about the fight for resources, but for ideals.

Perspectives on Liberalism

Perspective is a view concerning a certain idea, topic or issue; for instance, a view concerning international relations among the states. Liberalism pertains to being favourable to or in accord with the concepts of total individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties; it permits freedom of action or freedom of expression. This is where an individual has the right to say what he or she thinks is right and favourable to the concerned. Liberalism is a perspective on international politics that views the state as the unit of analysis, but also includes international law, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations as increasingly important factors in world politics. Liberalism prefers that the needs and demands and not the state capabilities are what will control the behaviour of the government. The saying that one should not judge the book by its cover can be transferred to the meaning that one should not judge the state by what it has or what it is capable of doing, but one should rather judge it by the decisions it makes, since these factors dictate behaviour.

Realist and Liberal Approaches to International Security

Liberal democracies seem like a path to the future and they come with an advantage. Mankind has always had the luxury of going to war when it was at its economic peak as a way of displaying its authority over territory. However, in most instances, when it was economically impractical to conduct such actions, governments usually did not practice such decisions. Liberal economies do not have the strength to make enemies and go on crusades with each other in the name of a cause. On the other hand, the transnational forces may move together to form a corporation structure of sorts. This would be a global force without borders.

They would have ultimately eliminated the need for conflict or war. There is no side of the equation that would prefer to go to war with another if it would harm both sides economically in the process. The population nowadays is the one that determines war as they bear the cost of their young lives and the economic losses. If they feel the endeavour is not worth it, they will withdraw support. An example in this context is the United States president in each case when they wanted to go to war. During World War II, they had to create a scenario manipulating the public to back them up. The same thing happened with the terrorist attacks and the incursions into the Iraqi territory. The occupation did not perform substantial positive changes, but further worsened the situation. They had originally wanted to exploit the resources, which they did. The political administration needs backing from the public because the funds for weapons and munitions will come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

Liberal international relations became a working theory after World War I in response to the inability of the countries to control the war; hence, these factors threatened the international relations of the states. They argued vigorously that the states mutually gained from the cooperation and that the war was rather harsh so that it would not be essentially futile. Therefore, liberalism was not considered coherent until it was later referred to as idealism. Idealism focussed on human rights as the basis of legitimacy of the international law (Steins 2004). They later came up with the regime theory, which emphasized that international institutions or regimes affected the behaviour of states, and concluded that this would foster international co-operation. While realism predicts that conflict should be the norm in international relations, the regime theorists argue that there could be co-operation. This co-operation between states is mostly cited in trade, human rights and collective security among other issues. We can, therefore, conclude that a regime is an institution possessing norms, rules or decisions and procedures, which facilitate a convergence of expectations. In conclusion, the concept of power in international relations can be described as the degree of resources, capabilities and influence in international affairs; it is divided in the concepts of hard power and soft power. Hard power relates to the coercive power, which includes the use of force, while soft power refers to commonly those covering economics, diplomacy and culture influence (Steins 2004).

One can claim, therefore, that the liberal perspective on international politics is the overview of the ties between the states and it possesses some key elements; these may include the replacement of irrational politics by rising primacy of commerce in human affairs leading to more rational, peaceful and productive relations between states. This is where the states have promoted and encouraged peace among them to avoid internal conflicts. This would be the time they call upon mediators. For instance, such activities could be performed during the post-election violence when there were political differences between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Therefore, one can see that the campaign for internal peace fosters good relations with other states, as charity begins at home. Spreading of peace fosters international relations.

The principle of the idea is that economic linkages between people are a uniting, pacifying force in international affairs, and that realm of economics operates according to its own powerful logic (Doyle 1986). Some of the trade unions foster the international ties like the SADC, ECOWAS, COMESA, EAC etc. In addition, it is also true to say that, when states have good economic ties they will definitely have good political ties and, as a result, there will be in good international relations. James Shotwell, who stated that “political doctrine of international peace draws a parallel to economic doctrine”, also approved of this.


The states should seek to maximize power; this will result to stability and to maintaining a balance of power. In this case, we see that when states want to maintain a balance of power, they will have to maximize their forces; as a result, they will be at the same level since they will all have the same powers and this, as a result, will foster good ties between them. It also gives people freedom to do what they want due to freedom of expression. We can summarize and state that the liberal perspective leads to the rise of idealism and realism.


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