According to Realism, will the anarchic international system ever establish a sustainable peace?

A realistic approach to a peaceful world.

In the anarchical international system, sovereign states are always in a struggle for power. Realists believe that in an anarchical realm, international actors are self-interest-oriented and they hold responsibilities in sustaining and pursing for power.

“International politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power.” Hans J. Morgenthau.

The insatiability of competition among constituent states reinforces the notion of ‘survival of the fittest’, in comparable to Hobbesian state of nature. Statism; sovereign states are international actors that compete with each order for power, which instils order and security within the international system. The hunger for power, of which states pursue to ensure their survival in this anarchical realm, relatively brings out the power struggle between states.

It is vital that states hold sufficient power, to guarantee its survival in a competitive nature of the international arena. Survival plays a salient role in maintaining order and security in the international system. States as realists behave in two different functionalities; a defensive realist and an offensive realist. A defensive realist argues that security is vital to continue its survival. To establish security within the international system, states hold requisite power to safeguard itself. From this perspective, states are not prone to pursue greater power often not by the cost of threatening its own security.

Take the most prominent military forces in the past for instance; the retrospective of the Cold War had not resulted in any major form conflict catastrophe in the scale of that of a World War. The rhetoric was that NATO and the Warsaw Pact came into a zero-sum game, which neither of had ever engulfed in a major conflict. A balance of power between U.S.A and the Soviet Union insured a global peace for the past half of century with the exception of proxy wars. Defensive realism was in the backbone of these two superpowers, that neither of which would risk their own security to pursue greater power.

Offensive realism; states are in search of power to rule over the international system, in a form of hegemonic position. The thirst for power is imbedded in states, first and foremost assuring its security and if an opportunity arises, one would subjugate for greater power.

The war on the Middle East; set by the notion of America’s democracy which in fact is up for debate. U.S.A has prevailed through the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, by overthrowing the ruling regime, which by initiating a global world order or in pseudo hegemonic position in the international system. It is the ethic of responsibility that U.S.A has to uphold by pushing its offensive against the rest of the world, in providing a peaceful international system.

The reconciliation of states of past global events such as the two previous World Wars, are in a perpetual state of anarchism. States should self-help and not depend on other states for aid and assistance, but rather as a matter of mutual gains that may benefit in a form of multilateralism. A continuous roll of multilateralism in the form of trade and multilateral relations over naïve interdependence of each other is a more benign aspect of achieving peace in an anarchical realm of international system.

Peace is attainable; the notion of realistic approach to perpetual peace is through security and a guarantee for survival in power politics, in doing so a rhetoric in such benignity the balance of power.


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