Difference between Realist and Liberal approach to IR

What is the liberal approach to international relations?

Realist and Liberal approach to IR:

Realist and Liberals have always been in discussion about their policies of the International system. Realists are in favor of competition and liberals believe in cooperation.

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The realist school of thought suggests an anarchic International system where all the states or actors are in a constant struggle for power. Realists promote hard power because they think that states are brutish, nasty, and selfish just as individuals are.

And they will always try to take over other states and enjoy the prestige of being sovereign.

That’s why they propose that the states should always maintain the balance of power in the international system. For this, they have developed policies like Thucydides trap and Thomas Hobbs state of nature to be practiced so that the balance of power is not disturbed.

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Liberals on the other hand propose a cooperative International system where coordination among the states takes place. They are in favor of soft power. Liberals are of the opinion that individuals are peaceful, kind, and loving, so democracy should be practiced in order to maintain international peace.

They think that democracies are peaceful because democratic states are rational and they do not want to disturb the International system.

They believe in mutual coexistence and cooperation among states for which they propose policies of free trade, an advantage of the opportunity, and promotion of international organizations.

I myself agree with the Realist school of thought because Liberal policies like the advantage of the opportunity will land you in vulnerabilities. States and actors always look for their own interest and benefit that’s why they will exploit your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Greed for power is the nature of individuals and that’s what compels them to exploit others. The same is the case of states and actors.

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America is a democratic state that has been increasing its capabilities such as military power and ammonization. These are both tools of hard power. America’s attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan are proof of how America practices realist policies of International relations.


Global politics guide, 2017, international baccalaureate.
Heywood, Andrew. Global politics. Basingstoke; Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Difference between Realist and Liberal approach to IR”

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