Realism is the oldest and most lasting theory of international relations (IR). The roots of realist theory go all the way back to Niccolo Machiavelli’s work “The Prince,” and, “History of the Peloponnesian War” by the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. This video provides an easy to understand description of realist IR theory:
Liberal international relations theory should not be confused with Liberal American political ideology. Though Liberalism is a “newer” IR theory relative to Realism, variations of liberalism are probably the most predominant IR theory driving American foreign policy. Neoconservative foreign policy is a derivative of liberal IR. Traditional liberal IR focuses the uses of soft power, democratic institutions, and cooperation in foreign policy, while Neoconservative foreign policy, though certainly not realist, emphasizes the use of hard power (hard power is direct military intervention). Watch this video on Liberalism:
Constructivism is a very recent IR theory, so I will leave it to the video:
A smaller, but fairly common IR theory in academics, but not politics, is Feminism IR theory. Feminist IR theory suggests that international relations is driven by gender conflict rather than conflict between nation-states.
Another smaller, but fairly common IR theory in academics, but not politics, is Marxism IR theory. Marxist IR theory suggests that international relations is driven by class conflict rather than conflict between nation-states.
Given to the listed theory for 1st question below 75 words
Which theory do you think most accurately explains and informs international relations and ultimately our political decisions regarding the military? How might each of these theories explain recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan? What policies would be suggested by each theory, or your preferred theory, with regards to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan?
2nd question 75 words deals with personal economic incentives that drive military enlistment.
Do you think that it is a problem that personal economic benefits still drive enlistment today? Does this bias enlistments toward demographics that tend to be less affluent to begin with – does this further institutionalize several sources of racism or class conflict in our society? Would compulsory military service be the only “fair” remedy?