Realism is a school of thought that accepts life for the way it is. A realist sets idealism and cynicism aside so they are neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Furthermore, they aim for improvement, rather than perfection. It is a theory based on security and power. Power is a large part of realism and there are two definitions that go along with it: influence and resource. Although influence is not what most defines power, it is part of the definition. Power as a resource includes military, economic and cultural assets.
It is a large predictor of how things will turn out for a certain party. But firstly, the term ‘Realism’ appropriated by the author to his theory is a loaded conceptual trap, like many such concepts categories of International Relations. For, ab initio, it trivialised alternative historical constructs as, at best, non-realist idealism or worse, speculative fantasies. This is in conformity with the gene trend of this field of scholarship which emerged in aid of the glo system’s power as a policy science to project its dominance: dominant appropriating the universal to be interpreted in terms of national interests, with built-in policy-implications. (Aswini 110-128).Realists are known for being more grounded, than for instance, idealists. As a result, realists are more prepared for what comes toward them.
In addition, the international system is seen as anarchic and that states are vital components. Realism relies on defeating all those who stand in their way of ultimate power. This leads to the assumption that humans are greedy and only seek power. Realism is the view that states are just out to maximize their own power, and they are just self-interested. All they are doing is attempting to expand their material capabilities, and their security interests in the international realism.
They are not bothered by the political systems of other states, they are just promoting their interests. In a way, this is true. There is an innate and natural tendency for humans to be power-seeking and greedy. From an evolutionary perspective, it serves as an adaptive function to gain possession of resources to survive. This is the root of human’s need to establish power, and increase their possessions.
Realists ask the question, “How would this benefit me?” For instance, realists would be opposed to intervening in the Syrian civil war occurring at the moment because there is no strategic interest. Yes, they are violating international norms such as protection of non-combatants, the protection of human rights, not using chemical weapons in warfare, etc., but the fact that Assad is bombing his citizens has no effect on the United States of America. Issues similar to this are spread out across the world, so what makes Syria specifically important? The United States would not gain anything from going to Syria except engaging in warfare that costs a lot of money and numerous lives. Is it even a moral thing to do? Is it moral to send the United States soldiers in to die for a country that is not theirs? For freedom that is not theirs? For security that is not theirs? Realists would take a stance stating that the rational decision would be for Syria to work it out themselves and figure out what system they desire rather than having American lives be put at risk. The United States has attempted intervening and toppling a bad regime of Saddam Hussein and what happened was worse.
The United States unleashed even more sectarian tension region. Moreover, there was not a clear unifying leadership in Iraq that rose up out of the ashes. Syria is in a much worse state than Iraq ever was and if the United States defeated Bashar al-Assad who would take its place? What comes after Bashar al-Assad may be much worse. It may increase instability and unleash more violence. And according to recent news, it has. “The fighting over the last five days has exposed as a dangerous fantasy the US hopes that its new interventionist policy would stabilise northern Syria. Instead of weakening President Bashar al-Assad and Iran, it will benefit them, showing the Kurds that they badly need a protector other than the US. The Kurds are now demanding that the Syrian Army go to Afrin to defend it against the Turks because it is an integral part of Syria” (Cockburn).
The United States has gone against its former policy of not getting involved with Syrian issues, and as a result, it became even more of a mess. The new interventionist policy goes against the realist perspective and in this case, realism would have led to a better solution. In conclusion, world leaders and scholars think about international relations using different perspectives. A perspective is a particular attitude towards how international relations works and how actors should react that emphasizes certain facts over others. The oldest international relations perspective is realism.
Furthermore, this power-seeking theory is against interdependence because the world is dangerous and unpredictable. In fact, today’s ally could be tomorrow’s enemy.