Saturday, December 4, 2010
International Politics Essay 1 2010
Name: Chan Jing Hui Student ID: 367109
Essay Topic: ‘Now that the Cold War has ended, realism can no longer explain international
politics’. Critically analyse this statement.
Realism should not be understood as a single stream of ideas but a theory with continuity with room for growth and adaptation as the world evolves. However, all forms of realism share the common platform of statism and sovereignty, self-help and the survival of states. Realism was highly successful in explaining the events that occurred during the Cold War. The Cold War begun with the power vacuum in the international system ...view middle of the document...
5). The end of the Cold War signalled the rapid ascend of multilateralism with the growing role and legitimacy of the UN coupled with the formation of new institutional forms such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), security and economic communities such as the EU, and good examples such as ASEAN and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). However, as these multilateral institutions continue to grow but so have their opposition. Many will point to George W. Bush’s administration in the aftermath of 9/11 when the US waged war on Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretext of the ‘War on Terror’. While the invasion of Afghanistan was justified under the realism principle of security after Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attack, the Iraqi campaign has drawn huge criticism. The Bush administration’s decision showed how multilateralism was challenged by the hegemonic power of the US through the declaration of war on Iraq without the sanction from the UN Security Council. That action may have shifted international politics towards unilateralism and weakened the role of multilateral institutions. Realism is well alive again as its characteristics of survival and security of its own nation state becomes the ultimate goal for the US (Rosefielde, Mills 2007).
Furthermore, the emergence of China as a great power in the Far East in the 21st century has also revived realism in international politics. China has seen its rise as a global power, credited to its rapid economic growth. The Chinese have grown into important trade partners to the global market and many Western corporations have opened manufacturing plants there. With its growing powers, it shifted from its previous “five principles of powerful coexistence” foreign policy to “putting Chinese interest first” which supports the shift towards realism rather than liberalism (Kapstein , Mastanduno 1999). For instance, China’s economic policies are usually prioritised before taking its effect on the others. Besides, its focus on China now sees itself as a challenger towards US dominance and also faces the permanent separation of Taiwan from itself. (Rosefielde, Mills 2007). Furthermore, the Chinese view US presence in Central Asia as an American strategy to surround her, hence, her current focus in nationalism and military build up are well aligned with the realist agenda of security, balancing the power and expanding its influence in the region. In short, this development in international politics can clearly be depicted using realist principles regarding the balance of power, self-help and security. The liberals’ counter-argument is the pessimism of China’s ability to challenge the US as a superpower when its bureaucracy is still run by an authoritarian government while labour and human rights practices are still controversial. However, the current economic success of China in spite of these non-liberal principles clearly places them in pole position to rival the US s in this century.
Thirdly, the threat...