Liberalism (international relations)

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Liberalism is a combination of beliefs that reject power politics, and relies on international cooperation and shared interests between actors in order to shape state preferences and international relations.[1] The most prominent roots of Liberalism began during the18th Century. A German philosopher, Immanuel Kant wrote To Perpetual Peace in 1795, an essay which outlined that independent republics should respect the same mutual responsibilities and rules of law.[2] Kant also argued that in order to secure peace and freedom, “civilization demands a contract among states, called a league of peace.[3]” Another philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and jurist, Hugo Grotius shared similar beliefs about international law and how states should behave with one another. Unlike the Realists, whose primary goal is security; Liberalists primary goal is prosperity. Liberalists believe that international institutions play a key role in cooperation among states.[4] With the correct international institutions, and increasing interdependence (including economic and cultural exchanges) states have the opportunity to reduce conflict.[5] Interdependence has three main components. States interact in various ways, through economic, financial, and cultural means; security tends to not be the primary goal in state-to-state interactions; and military forces are not typically used.[6] Liberalists also argue that international diplomacy can be a very effective way to get states to interact with each other honestly and support nonviolent solutions to problems.[7] With the proper institutions and diplomacy, Liberalist believe that states can work together to maximize prosperity and minimize conflict. [8]

International relations theory
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Liberalism is one of the main schools of international relations theory. Its roots lie in the broader liberal thought originating in the Enlightenment. The central issues that it seeks to address are the problems of achieving lasting peace and cooperation in international relations, and the various methods that could contribute to their achievement.

Broad areas of study within liberal international relations theory include:


  1. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014, 79)
  2. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014, 80)
  3. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014,80)
  4. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014, 86)
  5. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014, 88)
  6. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014, 86)
  7. ^ (Shiraev and Zubok 2014,90)
  8. ^ Shiraev, Eric B., and Vladislav M. Zubok. 2014. International Relations. New York, NY:Oxford University Press.
  9. ^ The Democratic Peace Theory, Kevin Placek, Feb 18 2012
  10. ^ Democratic Peace Theory , Dan Reiter