Theories in IR

There are many classifications of modern trends in science of international relations, because of differences in the criteria used by various authors. The diversity of today’s international political science theories and opinions may ultimately be reduced to three well-known paradigms:
-Realist (which includes classical realism and neorealism),
– Liberal (traditional idealism and neo-liberalism),
– Neo-Marxist.

Each of them comes from its understanding of the nature and character of international relations. These paradigms, of course, do not exhaust the content of the theory of international relations. Last two decades are marked by intense development of such directions as transnationalism and institutionalism, constructivism and postmodernism, the increasingly independent value is gained by international political economy and sociology of international relations; rather often there are differences, and even quite substantial, within these paradigms. At the same time, the most common and important is debate between neorealism and neoliberalism. This allows us not only to consider the above three paradigms as “basic” for international political science, but also to analyze it on their basis (Burchill 2009).

Central definitions in the theory of political realism are “the concept of interest defined in terms of power”, and related concepts of balance of powers, geopolitical strategy, etc. In neorealism, the basic ideas of which have been formulated in the late 70’s by K. Waltz, the emphasis is shifted (Jahn 2006). Defending a structural understanding of power, neorealism does not reduce it to the military component, but also includes economic, information and communication, scientific, financial and industrial components. It found new concepts, such as interdependence, non-territorial essence of a new, more effective the type of power – power over ideas, credits, technology, markets, etc. The essence of realistic approach with characteristic understanding of world politics as an uncompromising struggle of States for power and influence remains the same.

With the end of the Cold War, the authority of political realism has been severely shaken. Some of the representatives of neo-realism even began to call themselves “liberal realists,” or “utopian realists”, thereby showing a willingness to revise certain provisions of certain realist paradigm, including the provisions on the nature of anarchy in international relations (Humphreys, 2008). So, B. Buzan, without questioning the realist thesis about the radical difference of political interactions within the state and the international arena, at the same time believes that the whole nature of international relations is changing in the direction of “mature anarchy” in which the Western liberal-democratic states are capable of playing the role of guarantor of international security, and progress becomes available to all, including the weak states and ordinary individuals. However, critics point out that if the fact that Western democracies have no desire to fight with each other partly confirms the thesis of “mature anarchy”, it does not apply to the relations between them and the rest of the world. They emphasize the absence of any guarantee that the rich and powerful democratic powers will help the weaker states in other regions where there is a threat to their security.

Neo-Marxism also criticises the main provisions of the realist paradigm. Its supporters represent the world as a global system of diverse economies, states, societies, ideologies and cultures. The basic concepts of “world-system” and “world-economy” help in understanding this complex idea (Sullivan 2002). The latter reflects not so much the amount of global economic relations as the most extensive system of interaction between international actors, in which the leading role is played by the most economically powerful ones. The main features of the “world-economy” are a global organization of production, the increasing importance of TNCs in world economic development, strengthening coordination of industrial complexes, the internationalization of capital and reducing the likelihood of government intervention in the financial sector. According to neo-Marxists, the state that have previously defended themselves against external shocks, today turn into agents of transmission to national economies demands of “world-economy” in order to adapt to the conditions of competition in the global market. Moreover, these processes as well as the relevant structures, are the result of human activity, a product of history. At the same time neo-Marxists emphasize that there are processes opposite to globalization – the diversification of economic, political, social, socio-cultural and other organizations and institutions, the search for different paths of development. However, radical-liberal ideology tends to disguise these processes. It inspires people that there is no alternative to globalization, that the basis of observed in the global arena of fierce competition, deregulation interactions and selfishness is the inexorable logic of economics.
Works Cited

Humphreys, Adam R.C. The heuristic application of explanatory theories in International Relations. European Journal of International Relationships, December 2008, Volume 10, Number 4, pp. 693-707.
Burchill, Scott., Devetak, Richard., Donnelly, Jack. 2009. Theories of international relations. pp. 78-79. Print.
Jahn, Beate. Classical theory in international relations: Volume 103. 2006. pp. 201-202. Print.
Sullivan, Michael P. Theories of international relations: transition vs. persistence. 2002. p. 156. Print

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