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Traditional: Immanuel Kant (perpetual peace), J.S.Mill, Locke, Rousseau etc..

Modern: Alfred Zimmern, Norman Angell, Woodrow Wilson etc They believe that state is the result of evolution and this process leading from imperfection to perfection. The basic assumption of liberal world view is human rationality and morality. The human progress depends on reforming the institutions Controlling the basic impulses is important ( seat of moral values and virtues) Reforming political and social institutions The role education to overcome ignorance and misunderstanding.

Liberal Theory: Idealist/moralist

Liberalism was an inside out approach The realism versus idealism debate gave international its character After effects of first world war Solid political backing They believed that it was possible to build an international political system that removed conflict and competition between states Making the world safe for democracy

Early beginning

Idealist plan was designed to change the very constitution of world politics. The liberal internationalism wanted to move beyond the balance of power politics of anarchical international relations. They convinced that establishing firmer institutional structures that supported an idea of collective security would highlight the fact that all peace loving nations could be seen to have a common interest in peace rather than war

Idealist might believe ending poverty at home should be coupled with tackling poverty aboard State preferences rather than state capabilities are the primary determinant to state action Democratic peace and its influences (democratizing international relations The idealist argued that a more peaceful world order could be created The spread of legitimate domestic political orders would eventually bring an end


Liberals proposed the preconditions for a peaceful world order, elimination of war, preference for democracy and free trade Prospects of peace Spirit of commerce Interdependence and liberal institutionalism Human rights Humanitarian intervention

Why they failed? or known as Utopian

Failure of League of nation Aggression of Japan or Italy Absenteeism by USA Influence of powerful actors Failure of the notion collective security Dominance way of thinking (liberal) was itself the outcome of power politics Conflicting national interest could be recognised

Realism: the world is made up of unitary and sovereign nation-states that operate in a competitive self help environment (anarchy). State act rationally, in the national interest, in order to maximise power and thus ensure survival. The political interest of states(power) should always be prioratised in relations with other states and the route to power is almost always defined in terms of military capabilities. Because world politics is made up of states with competing power interests, there is a certain inevitability that states will go to war with one another. Liberalism surpassed realism as the leading guide to inquiry (1995-2000)

Idealism: the individual, rather than the state, ought to be the centre of a theory of international politics. States are, in effect, a necessary evil and the existence of large, unrepresentative, undemocratic states fuels the path to war. Individuals are rational they wish to make things as good as possible for themselves. They therefore share a deep-rooted harmony of interests. These interests include freedom, human rights, opportunities to engage wealth creation. The states are organised around principles of democracy and free trade enable the individuals interests to be reflected in inter state relations. Inevitably, these democratic, economic-liberal (free trade) states are less likely to go war with one another because this would go against the individuals harmony of interests

Liberalism is therefore described in broad terms as relying on claims about the impact of interdependence, the benets of free trade, collective security and the existence of a real harmony of interests between states. In political theory or political philosophy liberalism is explored in signicantly different terms. There liberalism is presented as a set of normative or moral claims about the importance of individual freedoms and rights. In recent work on global poverty and economic justice, humanitarian intervention, international law and human rights the normative element of liberalism is re-emerging as an essential part of liberal argument

The great debate between the realist and the idealists gave the discipline its identity in the post second world war years The idealist regards the power politics as the passing phase of history and presents the picture of a future international society based on the notion of reformed international system free from power politics, immorality and violence. The theory proceeds with the assumption that the interests of various groups or nations are likely to be adjusted in the larger interests of mankind as a whole. This difficulty with idealist approach is that a system could emerge only by following moral principles in mutual relations in place of power, which is not possible in practice. This theory runs short of factual position, because the nations do not behave as they are expected. As a result the realism in international relations appears to be more near the truth.

Classification of Idealism
Liberal Internationalism Idealism Liberal institutionalism Neo liberal internationalism: Fukuyama Neo-idealism English School of Thought