This statement is true to larger extent but also in contrast to the other theories of international politics such as liberalism and structuralism. According to Galston (2010), Realists believe that the sole motivation of nation states is their national interests as opposed to the moral concerns. In this regard, a nation-state can take immoral actions that are meant to safeguard its national interests. These national interests include the safeguard of the political autonomy, as well as the territorial integrity of nation states. However, upon the achievement of all these, states engage in the practice of the acquisition of more resources and land while others extent their political and economic systems. Generically, Galston (2010) states that national interests are defined with regard to power. This power is defined based on the military, political, economic, diplomatic and even economic strength. However, in the realists view, power is relative and not absolute such that a state can have power to defend herself against the power of others or have the power to coerce other state or states to change their economic policies.
The truth in this statement lies in the emphasis that is placed on politics by the inherent nature of human beings. In the realists view, humans are egoistic due to the absence of one international government. This conflict based paradigm of the realism theory of international relations holds that power and security are the main concerns and morality is greatly ignored. Anarchy, egoism, security and power are the fundamental tenets of the realists beliefs (McGrew & Lewis, 2013). In their view, each single nation is responsible for their own survival and should, therefore, define its interests and pursue its own power. In this case, anarchy becomes the source of the overriding role of power in the shaping of interstate relations. This is true to the extent that nation states have their own interests, which are defined by their leaders representing the citizens of those states. In this regard, some nations have political or economic interests over others. Additionally, in the view of McGrew & Lewis (2013), the notion that nations protect their national concerns makes the realists view right. In this regard, although there might be a sense of friendly relations between and among nation states, they only seek to put their interests first. A perfect example of this is when countries such as the US and UK offer travel advisories to their citizens not travel to particular countries or areas on the basis that those places are insecure.
The principle of non-intervention is one of those which support the statement that realist are always right. In this regard, according to Glanville (2012), during the 1992 genocide in Rwanda, the United Nations applied this principle that saw the massacre of more than one million citizens. Additionally, the US was categorical that it does not have friends but rather interests. As there were no interest in Rwanda, she did not intervene until it was too late. During this fiasco, the US and other European countries evacuated their citizens so that they could take them to their countries where they were secure confirming the safeguard of national interests advanced by the realists (Glanville, 2012). This was a good show that nation states safeguard their own national interests.
Realism accounts for a greater percentage of the domestic policies that are made by nation states. An example of how realists are very practical and right is seen when the United States sought to humiliate Japan in the 1860s by sending an envoy of ships to their bay with the intention of forcing Japan to open their markets, which was a threat to their (Japans) security. However, the US sought to benefit from this. Additionally, the imposition of agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by more powerful states to other less powerful are some of those scenarios that show how realists view of the abuse of power is vindicated. Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are also in favor of the dominant and most powerful sates and are, therefore, influenced by those states. In 1991, the United States and Britain abused their dominant power when they attacked Iran after they suspected them of possessing instruments of mass destruction. The same is seen today where the United States is threatening to attack Syria on the basis that they are using chemical weapons on civilians in the war between the Syrian government and Hezbollah rebel forces.
The abuse of power by those countries who have more political, economic and military might is seen in the composition of the United Nations Security Council, which is the decision-making organ of the UN. In this regard, a group of permanent members consists of nations like US, UK, Russia, among others. This composition is based on the economic, political, democratic and military power possessed by those countries and is, therefore, a contradictory to the liberalists ideas on equality and liberty (Nolan, 2010). Specifically, the liberalist are of the support of ideas such as free and fair elections, human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, free trade, and private property. This belief by liberalists does not entirely hold true. In this regard, the assertion that democracy generates a majoritarian tyranny is true, as the minority will be disregarded.
The economic structuralism has its focus on the economic interactions between nations. In this regard, its concern is on the distribution of wealth. Specifically, it is a fundamental tenet of structuralism that the capitalists strive to gain wealth from their poor states while the poor states strive to gain maximum profits from the commerce between the two. In its view, structuralism is that the economy is deterministic in nature. It divides the world in two countries with opposing economic interests, and the division of the society and world into the foundation and superstructure. These tenets of economic structuralism are just as ideal as the liberalism ideals (Horton, 2010). As these divisions are not easy to identify in the society. This, therefore, makes the realists view the only right one as it explains the events that take place in the present world.
The statement that realists are always right can, however, be challenged on the abuse of power by the states who possess more economic, political and military power than the others do. That is where liberalism comes in to protect the arbitrary use of authority. As a result, liberalists aver than a state is an actor in the international front and should, therefore, cooperate with others. However, this is not always the case, as there are states that will remain to be superior to others due to their economic progress (Weiss & Wilkinson, 2014). An example is the influence that the United States and United Kingdom have over the other international players. Therefore, the realist views are real while those of the liberals are ideal. Although the view of the liberalists are appealing, they are nevertheless, not completely realistic and viable. While equality could be achieved through cooperation and integration, nations such as the US would always be opposed to such suggestions as they view them as an affront to their superiority and authority over other nations. As a result, the statement that the realists are always right holds true to a very large extent.
"While climate change is a scientific reality, developing policies to alleviate, if not reverse its harmful impacts, is about political and economic interests and influence of companies and states."
Climate change has mainly been caused by the industrial sectors in many countries. The transition countries are amongst the most carbon intensive economies in the world. In the view of Giddens (2009), the reduction in the emission of carbon has primarily arisen from the consistent restructuring and transformation by those countries. There is a big connection between the economic and political interests of a country and the level of emission of carbon. In this regard, if the reduction will serve to work contrary to the economic interests of a country, it will be hard for them to adopt such policies. Additionally, there has been political ramifications of the policies, with the least developed countries blaming the climate change on the industrialized and developed countries. As such, the policies have taken a political and economic dimension that ought to be evaluated before the policies are made (Giddens, 2009).
The international politics and economic interests affect how states and governments approach the issues of climate change. The design of climate change policies therefore takes a two level dimension. Specifically, the upper and the lower level. In the upper level, there is a strategic interaction between and among the governments. In this regard, each of the states will seek to benefit from the global climate change initiatives while reducing its own costs. However, Hamilton (2011) opines that the lack of any international authority that will see the implementation of the policies means that this will be a game of voluntary contributions to the alleviation of climate change effects. Contrastingly, in the lower level, the national governments that form the international community implement the policies related to climate change. As such, several factors will guide how the individual states will formulate their domestic policies on climate change. Specifically, they will consider how the policies would affect their economy and the costs of the implementation in the end.
Domestic policymaking will be depended on a variety of factors. In this regard, one of them is the veto players who have a greater say on the policies. These include the companies who have a very critical role to play in the economy of the country. For instance, in the making of climate change policies, the United States will have to consult the multinational companies and evaluate the effects that the policies will have on their businesses. According to Hamilton (2011), The veto players, which are those big companies, will have a greater say and would, therefore, make it difficult for the government to change the policy. The characteristic of the interest groups will also have a say in the domestic front (Larson, Dinar & Blankespoor, 2012). These will respect the economic interests in the society with regard to the inherited economic structure. Another example is forcing china who is largely industrial to have the same percentage of reduction of carbon with another country such as South Africa who is not in the same industrial level.
The policy interactions, therefore, provides critical reasons as to why some countries will pursue the climate change policies more swiftly than others. One of the reasons is that some countries are greatly reliant on the carbon-intensive industries than others. If most of the citizens rely on that either directly or indirectly, then the politicians who represent them would most likely resist reforms that serves to threaten the livelihood and economic wellbeing of their constituents. Additionally, if the advantages of the use of clean energy in the industries exceeds the costs of retiring the heavy environmental polluters, then the voters would have to be compensated. Looking from the flipside of the coin, even when the citizens do not entirely rely on the carbon-intensive industry, the industry will still mobilize against the policies depending on the share of votes and the veto powers that they have (Larson, Dinar & Blankespoor, 2012). As a result, the high presence of carbon industries generally results in the blockage of reforms on climate change po...
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