By Joy (Zhiruo) Wang
Written for Prof. Steven David’s Contemporary International Politics class
Prompt: Realism was arguably the dominant approach in international relations during the Cold War. But is it still relevant in today’s world? Select an issue that threatens world stability today (e.g. terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, cyber warfare, the rise of China) and discuss how relevant Realism is in understanding that issue. Where Realism falls short, what other approaches would help?
Throughout human history, territory has remained one of the most fought over assets by nations and individuals alike. Indeed, nearly all warfare involves some form of territorial dispute or adjustment. The Thirty Years’ War, a religious war at its core, can also be viewed as a struggle for territorial domination between Protestant and Catholic states; the Cold War, though not a war in the traditional sense, to a large extent consisted of a race for incorporating unaligned territories into established spheres of influence.