Notation on Realist Approaches


Now we turn to this on the basis of the above discussed theoretical preconditions. With historical precedents, one of the most fundamental schools of IR was created: realism.

Realism has different types, the most important of them are:

–        classical realism (H. Morgenthau, R. Niebuhr, E. Carr, H. Kissinger, R. Aron, ect)

–        geopolitical realism (A. Mahan, H. Mackinder, N. Spykman, C. Schmitt, ect)

–        neo-realism (K. Waltz, R. Gilpin, S. Walt, ect)

All the realists share, more or less, the same main axioms, and in accordance with these, they evaluate the structure of IR. They completely follow the fundamental principles of European politics of the modern era:

These axioms are:

–        the main actors in IR are the national States;

–        the sovereignty of the national States expects an absence of any normative institutions exceeding the State borders;

–        in view of that fact, each State acts with anarchy (chaos) in the IR structure;

–        the State's behavior is guided by the logic of the maximum achievement of national interests (that must be determined in each case);

–        the authority of the sovereign State is the only institution that is competent to conduct international politics, to comprehend it, to implement it (ordinary citizens or individuals have no place in IR to influence the processes in it);

–        the State's security, in the face of a potential external threat or competition it, is the main goal of the political governing of the State in IR;

–        all the States are at potential war with each other for their egoistic interests (the war becomes real when the conflict of interest reaches a critical degree);

–        the State and human nature stays unchanged, despite all historical changes they are compelled remain the same in the future;

–        the actual side of the processes of IR  is quite distinct from the standard side;

–        the last level of IR's comprehension of events, happening in the structure, is the revelation of objective factors and regularities, having a material and rational basis.

Absolute Sovereignty

Realism IR is defined, as it understand the Westphalian system, as an universal law, existing even in early stages in history, but was only understood and created by the majority of developed countries since the 17th century. The basis of this approach is the primacy of the principle of the national State's sovereignty and the accepted meaning of "national interests". At the same time, the realists are skeptical of thee creation of international legal or other institutions, claiming to regulate processes of IR on the basis of legal norms and values, having international (over national) character. Any view of the national State sovereignty restriction is regarded by the realists as “idealism” (E.H. Carr) or “romanticism” (C. Schmitt).

The realist are positive that any reunification or, conversely, any dissolution of traditional States leads to the appearance of new national States, doomed to repeat, at higher or lower levels, the same scheme is put forward with unchanged principles of sovereign and national interests; and the State, under any circumstances, remains the only one actor in IR.