Realism is a major theory of international politics in the US and globally
It offers an integrated set of concepts and propositions for describing what it believes are objective and systematic laws of world politics
It also offers prescriptive guidelines for rational policymaking in a complex world
In general, realism focuses on the competitive nature of world politics, the self-interest of states, and the inevitability of conflict in situations of major power shifts in world order
It rests on a conservative view of human nature, social life, and the state
How did this body of theory evolve?
Lineages of Realism
Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War theorized the conflicts between Athens and Sparta in Ancient Greece as the inevitable result of a shifting balance of power
“What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.”
This conflict was also rooted in human nature, as “fear, the desire for glory, and the pursuit of self-interest,” rule our genes, according to Thucydides.