2 Feb 2023


Realism Theory: Definition, Explanation, and Criticism

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Personal Statement

Words: 322

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The international relations theory that most accurately describes the world is the realism theory. Realism is based on the principle which indicates that states strive to increase their power when compared to other states. The result is that the world is in a constant state of battle and the international system can be described through anarchy. The observation by realists is that human beings are generally selfish and immoral. Human beings have divided the world into different countries and different states and each country strives to amass a significant amount of power and status at the expense of other countries. Most international conflicts apparent in the modern world show the reality of realism theory. 

One current world event that provides evidence to support the realism theory is the trade war between the United States and China. China and the United States have risen to be the two most powerful states. According to the realism theory, powerful states can act warily in order to compete so as to ensure that one does not fall behind or become dangerously vulnerable to another. The United States, under President Trump, has acted on its own interest and by putting tariffs on Chinese imports in order to help the United States economy. The actions of the United States by trying to selfishly exert its dominance and power show that it is acting based on the realism theory. 

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Other examples of realism can be found in different parts of the world. North Korea has gone through enormous lengths to acquire nuclear weapons in order to exert its power and dominance. The United States has been wary of the capability of North Korea and has undertaken several steps to stop the development of nuclear weapons. Additionally, the current Brexit crisis in the European Union was as a result of the United Kingdom acting on the interest of its own state and not of the entire EU. The historical and modern world has been at conflict from time to time and this can be understood by considering the realism theory. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Realism Theory: Definition, Explanation, and Criticism.


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