Essay: Grand Strategy and Theory

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

Grand Strategy and Theory

There are three different theories involved in international politics and relations. These theories are realism, liberalism, and constructivism. The theories are used in the grand strategy of the war on terror by the United States. Each theory has its own approach, which differs greatly from the others. Analyzing the different theories and relating them to the war on terror has provided a better understanding on how different approaches can be used to fight terrorism. Each theory has its own merits as will be demonstrated in the paper. Using these theories the fight on terrorism has been quite effective and has reduced the attacks on U.S. soil. After the September 11th attacks, the United States has taken seriously to any terrorist activities and has really tried to fight terrorism both within its borders and outside.


In international relations, realism is the dominant theoretical tradition.

Realists depict international relations as power struggles among self-interested, strategic states. Any international order that is not based on force and power is discounted by the realists. The lack of a central authority that protects states from each other makes the realists describe the international society as international anarchy. Realists perceive states as independent sovereign political units which are focused on their survival. It is for this reason that the main objective for national security be survival of the state instead of guaranteeing international security.

Since realists do not want to engage in any long-term cooperation or accommodation, they view the political world as a jungle that is characterized by war. This is not a single, or constant war, but rather a constant possibility that war can occur among all states. A period of peace is perceived to be a state of non-war by a realist.

To the realists there is no possibility of eliminating conflict or war.

Realism predicts the persistence of conflict in an age of global economic interdependence, and the continuous centrality of military strength. The United States response to the September 11th attack was by use of force.

This can be better explained by using the realism theory, which specifies the use of force. The United States has continuously stated that it does not negotiate with terrorists, and this is the main reason that it has continued to use force in fighting terrorism within its borders. Realists believe that in order to win the war on terrorism, the United States should use military force. This way they believe they will manage to stump out terrorists and stop these attacks. Using force the United States has managed to stop potential attacks as the terrorists groups are forced to reorganize their attacks all the time. Using the realism theory, the fight on terrorism has achieved some success as the United States has managed to break down their networks. Using military force the United States has infiltrated their terrorist organizations and forced them to break up, which has led to the reduction in number of attacks. Since September 11th, there has not been any serious attack against the United States. This indicates that the fight against terrorism has been successful although it has not been won.

The advantages of using realism are that demonstration of power creates fear in the terrorists, which causes them to retaliate or attack other states. Taking the fight to the terrorists instead of waiting for them to attack the country has greatly reduced their force. The terrorist used organized networks and by using military force the United States has been able to break the networks, which in turn has reduced their impact. For example, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden who had been in hiding would not have succeeded had the United States not used military force.

Using military force has its cons too. The number of casualties has increased as the war on terror has increased. Innocent people are suffering or get injured in the cross fire.


Liberal theory is the principal challenge to realism. The foundations of liberalism were laid by Immanuel Kant a German philosopher. In international relations liberalism contends that there is a stunted vision in realism, which cannot create progressive relations with other nations.

Liberalists have refused to view international politics like a jungle and instead see it as a cultivatable garden. Liberalists combine the state of war with a possibility of peace. Liberalists argue… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Grand Strategy and Theory."  May 28, 2013.  Accessed August 23, 2019.