Politics among nations is a book based on the theory of realism. Realists believe that a man is selfish and egoistic and his ultimate goal is his self interest. Hans.J Morgenthau the author of this book was born in 1904 and died in 1979. He was an American citizen. He is known as the father of political realism. This book purports to present a theory of international politics. The test by which such a theory must be judged is not a priori and abstract nut empirical and pragmatic. The theory in other words must be judged not by some preconceived abstract principle or concept unrelated to reality but by its purpose to bring order and meaning to a mass of phenomena which without it would remain disconnected and unintelligible.
His book politics among nations literary defined the IR field in 1948 as it heralded the post world war 2 paradigm shift in American thinking about diplomacy, as it emphasized the power interests.
During the period of cold war, this book was largely followed by those Americans who made policies and worked on the international relations. Before the publishment of this book, the concept of idealism was almost overwhelmed by all the states of the world. But after the publishment of this book it gave the concept of realism a new soul and opens the new dimensions of the political realism to the world.
Realism refuses to equate the moral principles of any given nation or time with overall moral laws that govern the universe.
Political realism maintains a separation and integrity of intellectual substance, while recognizing other frameworks.
This book has two purposes. The first is to detect and understand the forces that determine the political relations among nations and to comprehend the ways in which those forces act upon each other and upon international political relations and institutions. In most other branches of social sciences this purpose would be taken for granted because the natural aim of all scientific undertakings is to discover the forces underlying social phenomena and the mode of their operation.
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The most formidable difficulty facing a theoretical politics is the ambiguity of the material with which the observer has to deal. The events he must try to understand are on the one hand unique occurrences. They happened in this way only one and never before or since. On the other hand they are similar for they are manifestations of social forces. Social forces are the product of human nature in action. Therefore under similar conditions they will manifest themselves in a similar manner. But where is the line to be drawn between the similar and the unique? Ambiguity is still there.
International politics is like all politics is a struggle for power. Whatever the ultimate aims of international aims of international politics, power is always the immediate aim.
Two conclusions follow from this concept of international politics. First not every action that a nation performs with respect to another nation is of a political nature. Second not all the nations are at all times to the same extent involved in international politics. The degree of their involvement may run all the way for the maximum at present attained by the United States and the Soviet Union, through the maximum involvement of such countries as Switzerland, Luxemburg or Venezuela to the complete non involvement of Liechtenstein and Monaco.
The nature of the political power is defined as a psychological relation between those who exercise it and those over whom it is exercised. It gives the former control over certain actions of the later through the impact which the former exert on the latterâ€™s minds that impact derives from three sources.
The expectations of benefits
The fear of disadvantages
The respect or love for man or institutions
Hans J. Morgenthou is of the opinion that the struggle for power can be achieved through the policy of status quo, policy of the imperialism and through the policy of prestige. Status quo is a diplomatic term referring to usual clauses in peace treaties which provide for the evacuation of territory by enemy troops and its restoration to the pre war sovereignty. As we all know for realists power is the currency of the international relations and it can also be achieved through Imperialism. Imperialism used as synonymous with any kind of colonial expansion. Imperialism mean whatever the colonial masters think behaves and act it is right and adopt able, nevertheless without pondering by the colonial states that it is suitable to them or not. The policy of prestige has rarely been recognized in modern political literature for what it is: the third of the basic manifestations of the struggle for power on the international scene.
The policy of prestige shares this neglect with the subtle and intangible relationship the understanding of which, as we have seen, has suffered from the predominant theoretical and practical concern with the material aspect of power in the form of force actual or threatened. Furthermore the policy of prestige has used as one of its main vehicles the aristocratic form of social intercourse practiced in the diplomatic world. The policy of prestige is one of the instrumentalities through which the polices of the status quo and of imperialism try to achieve their ends. It is attained through diplomacy, negotiations and table talkingâ€™s.
Han.J.Morgenthau also emphasized in his book about the concept of national power. He talked about the essence of national power and its elements that are geography, population and natural resources, industrial capacity, military preparedness like technology, leadership and quality and quantity of arm forces. We see that Japan is a small country lack of natural resources but still it is one of the developed countries of the world because its population is well trained and well skilled. Population also matters a lot. China is the largest populated country in the world and china uses its manâ€™s power in a right direction and developed rapidly because of cheap labor force. America is having a strongest military well equipped and well trained because of its army it is one of the stakeholder in international affairs.
Countries like Canada and Norway voluntarily come forward and act as mediator. If a conflict arises between any two countries of the world so this kind of attitude of their national image also considered their national power.
In the next portion of his book he talked about the limitation on the national power. He talked about the two patterns of the balance of power that is the pattern of direct opposition and the pattern of competition. There are four methods of balance of power named as:
Divide and Rule
The structure of the balance of power consists of dominant and dependent systems. When there is no balance of power between two states, the system of compulsion exists but when there is balance of power between two countries the system of deterrence exists.
International morality and world public opinion also act as an impediment in the way of implementation of national power. For example Bush attacked on Iraq and neglects the basic rights of Iraqi citizens. The whole world condemn this act and Bush was castigated severely by all over the world because he neglects all the basic tools of morality.
Hans. J. Morgenthou also considered international law an obstacle and limitation in the exercise of national power. Before the use of national power we will have to see that it is not against the spirit of international law. There are international courts which determine that no state violates the international law and every state is working in its own sphere.
Then he talked about the concept of sovereignty. He talked about hz sovereignty is challenged sovereignty is challenged due to globalization, transnational movements and transnational crimes. These are the threats to the sovereignty of the modern state. He talked about the role of multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations in decision making and their influence on the state.
In the last section of his book he was mostly concern with peace. Two world wars within a generation and the potentialities of the nuclear warfare have made the establishment of international order and the preservation of international peace, the paramount concern of western civilization. Disarmament is the reduction or elimination of certain or all armament for the purpose of ending the armament race. It is believe that, by doing away with one of the typical manifestation of the struggle of the power. On the international scene, one can do away with the typical effects of that struggle international anarchy.
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In a nutshell, I want to say that if someone wants a complete understanding to the subject of political realism, he should read this book. This book gives the reader a complete understanding of all the topics related to political realism. We are easily able to judge the worth or value of this book by finding the fact that after the publishment of this book, it is not read only by all the people of the world but the decisions of the foreign policy had been made in the past on the basis this book. The decisions had been taken on foreign policy in the cold war era between USA and USSR is highly influenced and inspired from this book.
The six principles of political realism and termed the international politics as a struggle for power is Morgenthous remarkable achievements.
He talked about the concept of national power and also defined its limitations that are balance of power, international morality and international law. Hans.J.Morgenthou for the very first time talked about the new balance of power and states the reason of the decline of the west and also talked about the colonial revolution. In his book, he also concern with peace and discuss the problems of peace. He was of the view that peace can restored in this world by following of strategy of disarmament, collective security, by making alliances like league of nation and international government like United Nation.
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