From the point of view of the major theories of International Relations, is the present international system likely to be more peaceful/conflictual than period of 1989-2001 (end of the Cold War -...

From the point of view of the major theories of International Relations, is the present international system likely to be more peaceful/conflictual than period of 1989-2001 (end of the Cold War - the 9/11 attacks)? 

Asked on by oberholzer

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are four major theories of international relations, each of which is likely to have a different perspective on this issue.

First, there is realism.  From the realist perspective, it is likely that the current system is going to be less peaceful than the post-Cold War period.  The reason for this is that there are more states with military potential to cause wars.  For example, the rise of China and the growing nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran are likely to cause conflict as various countries come to feel that their security is threatened.

Next, there is idealism.  This theory would be more optimistic.  It would say that more institutional ties are being built between countries around the world.  These ties (such as membership in the WTO) are likely to help prevent conflict.  So is the apparent increase in democracy in the Arab world.

Third, there is constructivism.  This theory’s take is harder to pin down as it depends on opinions as to how various countries and groups see one another.  We could argue, however, that conflict with countries like China is less likely because we see ourselves as trading partners and members of a global society.  However, conflict with Muslim peoples may be more likely as we and they define ourselves in ways that are antagonistic toward one another.

Finally, there is Marxist theory.  From this point of view, there is likely to be more conflict as some countries get richer and others fail to do so.  The exploited countries are likely to want to engage in conflict with the richer countries to throw off their oppression.

Of course, there is no way to know which of these theories is correct.

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oberholzer | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

There are four major theories of international relations, each of which is likely to have a different perspective on this issue.

First, there is realism.  From the realist perspective, it is likely that the current system is going to be less peaceful than the post-Cold War period.  The reason for this is that there are more states with military potential to cause wars.  For example, the rise of China and the growing nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran are likely to cause conflict as various countries come to feel that their security is threatened.

Next, there is idealism.  This theory would be more optimistic.  It would say that more institutional ties are being built between countries around the world.  These ties (such as membership in the WTO) are likely to help prevent conflict.  So is the apparent increase in democracy in the Arab world.

Third, there is constructivism.  This theory’s take is harder to pin down as it depends on opinions as to how various countries and groups see one another.  We could argue, however, that conflict with countries like China is less likely because we see ourselves as trading partners and members of a global society.  However, conflict with Muslim peoples may be more likely as we and they define ourselves in ways that are antagonistic toward one another.

Finally, there is Marxist theory.  From this point of view, there is likely to be more conflict as some countries get richer and others fail to do so.  The exploited countries are likely to want to engage in conflict with the richer countries to throw off their oppression.

Of course, there is no way to know which of these theories is correct.

Wow. This is amazing thank you so much!

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