Realism Theory in IR

  • Realism explains international relations in terms of power.
  • The most important single indicator of a state’s power is its GDP.
  • Realists consider military force the most important power capability.
  • Rational-actor approaches treat states as though they were individuals acting to maximize their own interests.
  • International anarchy–the absence of world government–means that each state is a sovereign and autonomous actor pursuing its own national interests.
  • The international system traditionally places great emphasis on the sovereignty of states, their right to control affairs in their own territory, and their responsibility to respect internationally recognized borders.
  • Seven great powers* account for over half of the world’s GDP as well as the great majority of military forces and other power capabilities.
  • Realists believe that a hegemon–the predominance of one state in the international system–can help provide stability and peace in international relations.
  • The economic variant of realism, mercantilism, shares many of realism’s central assumptions (in particular about primacy of states, power and anarchy) and applies them to economic issues.
  • Mercantilists tend to suggest policies of economic nationalism.

Source: International Relations by Joshua S. Goldstein and Sandra Whitworth

The Japan Times G7 Issue .jpg

The Group of Seven or G7 is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union has participated fully in the G7 since 1981 as a “nonenumerated” (separate) member. These countries represent the 7 largest advanced economies in the world.

Angela Merkel at Ise Jingu

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Ise Jingu during G7 Ise-Shima Summit


Obama and Abe at Ise Jingu

President Obama and Prime Minister Abe at Ise Jingu