Theories of InternationalRelations

Political Science studies aremore often than not situated in gaming or simulation contexts. Theserange from card games to simple classroom demonstrations, to roleplaying exercises which simulate as environments in which theparticipants in the simulation can communicate and negotiate.

Statecraft simulation is justbut one of the many simulations used by Political Science lecturersto examine the changes in the perceptions of the students towardsdecision-making.

Theories of InternationalRelations.

There are various theories ifInternational Relations ranging from idealism, realism,constructivism, nuclear peace, security dilemma and liberalism.International relations theory relates to the study of internationalrelations from a perspective that provides a conceptual frameworkfrom which the said international relations can be analyzed.


Realism as a theory ofinternational relations often contends with other theories. It is aview, which goes a long way to stress the confliction and competitivenature of international politics and relations. Unlike idealism andliberalism, realism focus is not on state cooperation with otherstates but on the acquisition, protection, and maintenance of its owninterests. According to realism theory, a state is the main actor inthe international arena. These states are only seen to be concernedwith their own interest be it security, economical, political,foreign relations, trade, or other interests. Whichever decisions thenation states make in its relations with other states will largelydepend on how those decisions affect the nation states or the effectthat these decisions will have on the nation states interests(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010).

The realism theory suggeststhat in international relations, the key actors are more often thannot states, which consider security and power as the main matters ofinterest. The realist tradition is defined by a set of premisesranging from power, security, morality, egoism, and anarchy. Theseare the principles or premises that guide the state actors ininternational relations and not the need for cooperation or worldpeace and trade.

Realists view human beings asself interested and egoistic to the point that they lack a sense ofmoral direction and focus more on their own power and security.

The realism theory basicallyexplains the nation states nature of self-preservation andself-interests. It brings out the idea that a nation, any nation forthat matter, is run by human beings who are egoistical and are onlypreoccupied with their interests and with their quest to gain powerand security. Nation states, however moral they put themselves out tobe always have priority considerations which will trump over moralityincase they are backed up against a wall or if their interests arethreatened.

However, the realism theorydoes not explain the point to which a nation states is seen to havegone overboard and is now oppressive to other nation states in itsquest for power and security. There should, in my opinion, be checks,balances, proper sanctions, and enforcement agencies to keep theseegoistic human beings with morals in check.

This nature of states toprioritize their interests for power and security over the interestsof others was well brought out in the Statecraft Simulation. In theStatecraft Simulation, the countries were more preoccupied with theirown economic and military development rather than focus on theproblem of the melting of the Ice Mountain. All the countries waitedfor the others to contribute and help solve the problem and this ledto a serious threat. Just as it is in the real world, countriesmainly focus on their own welfare and wait for others to take thefirst step when it comes to solving of global matters that requireall the nation states input and contribution. Global warming, whichis a global threat has solicited a lot of hostility and animositybetween nation states as no nation state wants to take responsibilityand reduce its effects. Nation states have to be forced to takeprecautions or face sanctions, which they struggle to do because theyare busy looking after their own interests.

The decision to fold and allowthe nation state to have its way or at least most of its way brokethe deadlock and led to an agreement though the relationships betweenthe two nation states was so affected. Since its human beings incharge, strategies were made to tighten restrictions in other sectorswhere the two nations were involved in trade and in trade relationswith other nations that were not involved too in order to compensatefor the loss in the infrastructure.

The Security DilemmaTheory.

Security dilemma as a theoryof international relations relates to the nation states self helpendeavors to look after their needs, mostly security needs, givingrise to insecurity in other nation states. The proponents of thistheory were of the opinion that as each nation state adopts,formulates, and enforces their own security and defensive measures,the other nation states more often than not interprets these measuredifferently. These measures are usually interpreted as potentiallythreatening and are countered with similar measures from othercountries or sanctions or a lot of opposition and hostility, whichoften lead to strained relations and hostility ( Winkworth, 2012). Ifa nation state decides today that it is making any kind of bombs, notnecessarily, to be deployed and used on other nation states, therewould be a global uproar with other nation states finding ways toalso make similar bombs and increase their intelligence especially asregards the nationals of the first state.

This theory is anchored on thefact that there is no world government and the world is basicallyanarchic. The security dilemma is caused by the distrust that nationstates have for each other and for their need for survival, whichnecessitates the need to always maximize their security.

The security dilemma theorydoes not quite propose the circumstances under which a nation statesactions are to be seen as threatening or the sanctions that would bemeted out on a nation state that attacks another on a false notion ofthe acquisition or manufacture of deadly weapons.

In the Statecraft Simulation,word went round that one of the countries was secretly acquiringmaterials, which without further consideration would be suspected ofdeveloping some nuclear bombs. There was immediate panic and othercountries were in a rush to either acquire similar materials or makeallies with the country or those that had the financial capability tomake a nuclear bomb.

A real world example of thiswould be the military invasion of Iraq by America on the suspicion ofthe possession of nuclear bombs. These bombs were never found evenafter counties allied with America and invaded Iraq and the othernation states took sides in the war based on their interests andrelations.

This decision more or less ledto so much divisions among member states with some judging others andcutting off ties due to the side that each nation state took. As anation state that is largely dependent on its relations with otherstates, our strategy did not change because it is better to be alliedwith a country that bullies you but will protect you incase of anyfuture attacks. The states capable of acquiring nuclear bombs ordefending themselves effectively from such an attack became even moreegoistical knowing that they are needed by other states. This onlyfurther strained relations with the other countries.


In conclusion, according tothe statecraft simulation and the two theories of internationalrelations discussed, the common thread is that human beings controland steer international relations of nation states. Since humanbeings are by nature egoistical and selfish, there is a lot ofpreservation and protection of self-interests when it comes tointernational relations. However, the statecraft simulation taught usthat the quest for a nations self preservation does not necessarilyhave to harm or impose unfair conditions on other nation states.Decisions can be made that serve the interests of all parties withoutone nation state feeling bullied by the other. Internationalrelations should not be self centered but should accommodate othernation states interests too.


Stanford Encyclopedia ofPhilosophy. (2010). Political Realism in International Relations.Retrieved from:

Winkworth, Adam, (2012). Isthe Security Dilemma Still Relevant in International Relations?Retrieved from: