Realism vs. Liberalism

What is Realism?

Key Points:

The Global setting is anarchy

Focus on State Actors

State's are always self-interested

States are unitary, rational actors whose only focus is survival

War and Violence is always a threat and always the answer

War and Violence are inevitable so preemptive strikes are preferred

Historical Example

Helicopters and Soldiers comb the fields in Vietnam

Historical Example: The Vietnam War

In order to stop communism from spreading across the world, the US took a Containment Policy stance and preemptively invaded different countries to overthrow or fight growing communist strife in the areas. The biggest example of this was the Vietnam war.

Present Example

Osama Bin Laden

Present Example: Osama Bin Laden

The US spent 10 years tracking, planning, and hunting the infamous terrorist as a response to the Twin Towers terrorist attack of September 11th, but also to take him out before he would attack again.

Fictional Example

Fictional Example: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is the supreme example of Realism in fiction because the children reaped from their different districts are forced to kill each other until only 1 remains, forcing the children to focus on self-survival and plot and strike against others before they can attack them.

What is Liberalism?

Key Points:

Violence is not always the answer, there are many options to try

More focus on diplomatic and economic negotiating

Can reach the same conclusions as Realism, but takes other approaches to minimize violent outbursts

Cooperation and peace can exist in a world of self-interest and anarchy

Historical Example

Historical Example: The UN

Formed in 1945, the UN was formed to deal with conflicts and tension across the world by providing a global response, not just expanding violence.

Present Example

Present Example: Russia/US Relations

Due to Russia's current actions in Ukraine, the US chose to impose sanctions on Russia so they would stop their troubling actions in Ukraine, including travel bans and freezing US assets going into Russia, then escalated to bans on business activity with key Russian business individuals and oil companies, and escalated again to further sanctions on Russian energy companies and financial companies (i.e. banks). These sanctions were a direct reason why the Russia ruble almost collapsed in early 2015.

Fictional Example

Fictional Example: The Avengers

The Avengers are a group of superheros that work together to respond to global super-threats. While violence is the conclusion usually reached, they have also uses diplomatic means.

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