Theories of IR
The word of “Theory” is derived from Greek word “OEWOW” it means to look at. In Greek
theory is called to contemplation speculation as un-substation idea. Theory is considered as a
general principle or formula profounder for the purpose of explaining a phenomena.
“Theory is a set of hypothesis which from a deductive system”
“A systematic study of observable phenomena that tries to discover the principle
variable to explain behavior of national unit.”
“Theory is body of internally consistent, empirical generalization of descriptive,
predictive, and explanatory power.”
iv- “Theory and paradigm are particular ways of looking, angle of explaining and
techniques of understanding a predicting of international relations.”
Importance of theories in I.R:
Theories can tell us what to focus on and what to ignore. It may work as a guide to
action in a international life.
Theory is a body of empirical, logically, interconnected generalization aimed at describing
explaining and predicting event in our world.
International scholars have four goals in their mind.
It is oldest and fundamental of these three goals. This talk sounds a whole lot easier then
it is. International Relations scholar focus on pattern when international relations scholar studies
a single event accrues a time or over space, the object is not to just describe the event. Instead
the goal is to relate then with the pattern of other event.
It is concerned with identifying what cause particular even or state affairs. It explain
event in detail. It factor background and its causes, it explain why this event happened.
It is even more difficult than description because of the complicity of human nature.
Never the less, international relation scholar can use grateful research as basic for analytical
foresting give a reason argument for what they expect to happen next.
It is third goal. Some international relations scholar goes beyond their objective studies
and some to normative conclusion and prescribes policy.
The descriptions of World War I raise a question for such kind of system in which world
problem can be reduce specially war. So, a theory of idealism was claiming to present such kind
of system in which war could be avoided but World War II was accrue. So popular theory
realism was raised. Realist criticized that idealism theory was like a fairy tail because idealist
avoided reality about world politics. Realist claim to give a new theory of the world. That’s why
they are called realist.
Realist believes that the game of world politics was around the pursuit. Power requiring it
maximizing it projecting it using it.
The intellectual roles of realism as a political theory can be trace back to ancient Greek
historian “Thucydides” the writhing of Maryann Indian minister kautilyya and the English
philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes who took deeply view of human nature, believe the
majority of people erupt. Life was brutish and merciless struggle. He shoat the ideas of
renaissance philosopher, Nicole Machiavelli Florentine.
Theorist of realism:-
10-Georg F Kennan.
12-Thucydides (greek philosopher, 5th Bc)
13-Machiacelli (16th Bc)
14-Tomos Hobbs (17th century)
1-the reading of history tells that man by nature is evil and narrow selfish.
2-of all mans quality non is more prevalent inequitable and dangerous then his lost for power
and dominance over other.
3-under such condition world politics is a continuous struggle for power” a war of all against
4-the possibility of eradicating war is utopian and wishful thinking.
5-the most important actor at the world level is state. it is the highest responsibility of a state to
look after it national interest, defined interim of power.
6-power is consist of maximum military power, economic is less relevant to national power,
then its military strength.
7-international system is anarchical in nature.
8-there is no case for moral justice, principles and concentration in world polities rather
indulging in moral scruples is harmful and dangerous.
9-alllies might increases states ability to defend itself but then loyalty and liability is never to
be assumed and trusted.
10-state should never interest the task of self protection to international organization or law and
should resist effort to regulate international conduct.
11-all states seek to maximize power; stability will result from maintaining balance of power.
Thucydides (circa 460-c. 400 bc), Greek historian known for his History of the Peloponnesian
Assumption of war:
1-important of war.
2-the states are unequal in power.
3-conflict is avoidable, if states except there position in power distribution and behave
according to it.
4-but states hardly accept, they are dissatisfied and tries to assert and increase their power so
conflict and war is inevitable.
5-morality has nothing or no place in the action of states.
6-justice is of a special kind in international politics.
7-the world is anarchy and it operates on the principle of power politics.
Machiavelli, Niccolò (1469-1527):-
He was a Italian historian, statesman, and political philosopher & he Born in Florence on May
3, 1469. In his most famous work of a book his named was “The Prince”.
1-world is dangerous place and an opportune place as well.
2-one must be lying as well as fox.
3- a state must always be anticipating and take initiatives to exploited the opportunities , and
exploit them more quickly, more efficiently and more ruthlessly and any of the rivals.
4-the state should be ethically natural, following the moral maximum and religious moralities is
height of political irresponsibility.
5-international means are irrelevant but ends are important, if the ends are political and military
game. It is meaningless weather it was achieved by hook or by crook or deception, correctly or
by another mean.
Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679:-
Hobbes, Thomas (1588-1679), English philosopher and political theorist. Born in Malmesbury
He wrote a book named by “Leniothen”.
nature of state, man, life and sovereign state. in the nature of state he talk about adverse
human circumstance in which their was a permanent state of power. Of every man life
constantly at risk mans life is brutish short poor, salivary, nasty and the solution for this was to
establish sovereign state only sovereign govt. processes authority and creditable power to
protest them form both internal discords and foreign enemies and threat.
Like every individual is in a danger form other initial for their security proposes. Some
is the causes with state .when a state came into a existence it became danger for other state
because when a state insure it security for wide a sense for insecurity for other states.
i-He says no one escape from security dilemma from the international security . But there is the
escape from personal security dilemma because there is no possibility of forming a global a
state or world govt.
ii-sovereign states are not willing to give up their independence for the sake of any global
iii-individual are vulnerable because they have to sleep but state never sleep because it is the
responsibility of the state to look after the security of his people.
If we make a international law and every state follow that international law then it create a
scene of peace and no state impose war on the other state.
War would be hidden and it becomes any time so a state have a good defence system to face the
“Hans. J. Morgenthau”
He wrote a book in 1948 “political among nations” and he belongs from Germany .and born in
1904. This was a core book of philosophical realism.
1-politics is governed by objective law men then challenges this law at their own risk.
2- There is concept of national interest thuds the govern the behavior of nation state defends in
terms of power.
3-nationeal interest does not have fixed mining.
4- Universal moral principle can not be applied in the international politics.
5-realism refuses to identify with moral aspiration of any particular state.
6-it believes in the autonomy of sphere of politics.
Neo or Structural Realism
“Kenneth N Waltz”.
He writes a book in 1979 named “Theory of International Politics”.
1-state behavior is not the result of human nature; rather it is the result of international
structure or system.
2-all states are alike perform same basic functions difference in state is due to difference in
3-there is an international distribution of power the position of state influences its behavior.
4-international structure is not static rather dynamic changes in the capabilities of the state
change the structure and its demand.
During cold war two super powers/bipolar system. After the claps of USSR there was one super
power which was USA.
5-Bipolar structure the most stable and greater grantee of international peace and stability.
Difference Between Classical and Neo-Realism
1-Classical Traditional realist focus on bottom-up approach they studied the individual behavior
Neo-Realist focused on top-down approach. They studied the international relation.
2-Concept of Power
According to classical Realism power consist of maximum military might and power status
determines state’s behavior. While the neo-Realist’s concept of power is much more
comprehensive and include all other element of power as well..
3-Philoosophical VS Scientific:
Classical Realism is much more philosophical or traditional and less scientific while neo-
realism is more scientific and less classical philosophical.
4-Prescriptive VS Explanatory.
Classical theory is a prescription theory while is explanatory theory.
5-Offensive and Defensive Power.
The classical focus to gain power to rule the world while neo-realist in the world.
American Theorist born in 1921, he wrote a book “The Strategy of Conflict” in 1960.
1-For all the realist philosophical, power is the central, concern.
2-Schelling believe that role of power has change, now power is efficient not in its ability to
frighten and coercion.
3-There is a different b/w taking what you want and making the other to give it to you.
4-The real efficient of power is that which achieve national objective without use.
5-The importance of communication.
Example: your communication skill should be good because, in this way you can tell your
enemy about your capabilities.
Relative and Absolute Realism
The idea was given by Joseph Geri co.
He believe states are concerned how much power and influence other states might achieve ,
means states see who are gaining more profit, they just leave corporation in that purpose.
In absolute gain, states do not gain, concern with wither other states are gaining or not
Offensive & Defensive Realism
There two schools of thoughts, developed/established in 1980’s.
1-States should be aggressive in their policy.
2-Believes in relative power not in absolute power.
3-State should try to weaker their political enemies.
4-State should keep intimidating and treating posture to achieve national, objective through
5-State should spend their money on military power.
1-Cost of war outweigh the benefit.
2-Use of power for threat and coercion is dangerous.
3-State should not spend their money on defence.