Realism and Idealism in the Statecraft Simulation Essay
Realist and idealist visions of world politics
The views of realists vs. idealists
When it comes to the key actors of the world stage, realist theorists tend to name the sovereign states as the main agents. Idealists agree with this idea, but, at the same time, their view of main actors includes international organizations such as the United Nations, non-governmental and treaty organizations and groups such as transnational terrorist organizations (Political Realism versus Political Idealism, n. d.: par. 4, 12). Realists do not reject the power and influence of the international organizations but see them as secondary forces that can be controlled and directed by the states in their pursuit of power.
Realists view human nature as violent and competitive, selfish and power-hungry (Political Realism versus Political Idealism, n. d.: par. 3). That way, according to the realist point of view, war is a natural state for human beings driven by rivalry conducted with the purpose of survival. Realists see the world as the war of everyone against everyone. According to this theory, peace is either impossible or can be maintained for a very short period of time while the states are preparing for the new war. As for the idealists, they view human nature as capable of altruism and selfless deeds, and humans as able to see beyond their selfish passions and needs (Political Realism versus Political Idealism, n. d.: par. 8).
The Nature of the International System
The realist view of the human nature predicts the vision of international system as unstable and anarchic (Political Realism versus Political Idealism, n. d.: par. 2). At the same time, the idealist perspective assumes that “international systems of morality, law, organization, and agreements can and should exist as a buffer against the anarchic nature of the international arena” (Political Realism versus Political Idealism, n. d.: par. 7).
World Wars I and II from the realist vs. idealist perspective
Such conflicts as World Wars I and II can be better characterized and explained using the realist perspective. For instance, according to Nye’s point of view, the main causes of these wars were such factors as the strengthening of social Darwinism views in the societies of that time and the rapid growth of nationalist moods (Nye). That way, the author points out that the agitation on the word arena was caused by aggressive and selfish nature of humans and states pursuing new territories and resources. Besides, Nye also notices that the vagueness of the foreign policy of Germany was one of the factors that alerted the other states, so driven by their survival instinct they were forced to form unions to protect their sovereignty and well-being (Nye). In other words, the unions and cooperation of various states with each other (such as the Entente) cannot be seen as altruistic attempts of some states to help the others. On the contrary, it is more plausible to assume that the states during the time of these two wars had just one goal – to protect themselves. The countries located far from Europe and were not affected by the battles directly preferred to stay of out the conflict to avoid the destruction and the following years of renovation accompanied by poverty and challenging economic conditions. That way, the actions of all states during the World Wars I and II can be described as selfish and motivated by the pursuit of new resources or survival which fits into the realist approach.
Realist and idealist predictions of countries’ behaviors in the Statecraft world
In the Statecraft simulator world, there are six different countries. Each of them has different resources, orientation, economic situation, and development level. To determine the potential behaviors of these states in the international area, one is to evaluate some of the most relevant determiners such as the resources these countries own, their orientation, the strength and support of various political forces within the states.
Taking into consideration all of these parameters, it becomes easy to determine which states follow the idealistic approach and stay away from the violent pursuit of new resources and territories. In the simulated world, these countries are Jupiter and Rordudordu. The former is scientifically orientated with knowledge and education as the main values and goals. The latter is green and pacific; it is openly anti-war and anti-violence. Even though this country is not rich in resources, it does not seem to want to obtain them employing violence.
At the same time, there are two countries that can be viewed as potential aggressors in this world – they are Panam and Boomerang Island. These are not the only militaristic states of the world, but the reason why they are considered as potential agitators is the strong support of nationalistic parties on their domestic arenas. This means that the growing popularity of nationalism may soon lead to the idea of the excellence and supremacy of these nations over the others and result in military attacks. Besides, these are the countries with the highest military expenses in the world, which means they are preparing to either attack or be attacked. Panam can be compared to the USSR and the USA during the Cold War period as just like both of these states Panam is rich and developed, but its militarism, nationalism, and military expenses demonstrate that this state is in rivalry with some other nations.
Nye, Joseph. Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History. 7th ed., Longman, 2008.
Political Realism versus Political Idealism. (n. d.) Web.
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