To have a grasp of all kind of contacts among nations, scholars have proposed theories. A theory is a set of ideas, a perception or speculation as opposed to action based on profound observation by significant scholars and philosophers. It is instrumental for a certain concept to be established as an established fact. Philosophers professing respective theory make out only positive side of the theory and ignore dark side of their respective theory altogether. Similarly, in international relations scholars consider their respective theories as applicable to the discipline and other school of thoughts.
Main theories of international relations are realism and liberalism. But according to Snyder (2004 p52) the three most popular theories are realism, liberalism and constructivism. Theory of constructivism has also gained popularity in recent times in international relations. Further, institutionalism, Marxism, functionalism and feminism are inconsistent ways of thinking, playing major role in international relations’ comprehension. These theories are helpful in making international relations a conceptual domain to understand nature of contacts among nations. They also help shape foreign policies and plan economic interaction and defence and military strategies coupled with their successful execution and management.
One of the dominant theories of international relations since the inception of this discipline is theory of realism. Early writers such as Thucydides, Machiavelli and Rousseau are said to be among the supporters of this theory (Jackson 2005 p7). Realists believe that nation states are the main actors in international politics (Snyder 2004 p59). These scholars assume that nation-states, particularly sovereign ones, being unitary in form and geographically based are the main characters of the international system having no authority to govern them.
As a result, in the absence of a central governing body, there prevails a state of disorder and ushers power struggle among nations in pursuance of their national interests.
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