TA: Amy Cox
The way anarchy is interpreted is the single most influential factor in forming international
It is determines how one views his neighbors, his allies, his enemies, and consequently,
how one acts in a world with no rules.
The three most common interpretations of anarchy,
including one of violence, one of uncertainty, and one of optimism, are directly linked to three of
the most common systems of international decision making.
The interpretation a particular
country seems to ally itself with will determine the way it behaves in today’s world.
Realism is one of the oldest political theories in the world.
Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke
were some of the most famous realists of their time.
The theory revolves around the notion that
nothing else matters in international relations besides States.
All other things, their various
domestic institutions, international institutions, people, and local governments, are completely
irrelevant on the whole.
That is to say, because the world is inherently anarchic, and because
there is no global police force, there can be no way for a country to be held accountable for its
What goes on within a country is irrelevant; it is only the actions of the State that
Because there is no one to protect oneself, security is viewed as the main goal of realism.
And in a world where all motives are viewed with the greatest skepticism, the only way to assure
security is attain the greatest amount of power possible.
As a result, realism results in a world
where arms races are possible, power struggles are inevitable, and the cost of being less powerful
than someone else is huge.
It is a world driven by fear, but a world driven by rational thinking.
Since there is no way to ensure that anyone is telling the truth, it seems logical that one must