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Karl Marx's Perspective on Diplomacy and Statecraft International Relations

Updated on February 1, 2022
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Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics.

The emergency of the discipline of international relations is largely linked to concerns relating to the existence of long conflicts between different states or societies. The concern reached the highest level after the experience of the world war as well as the emergency of the nuclear weaponry. The war phenomenon and its psychology had been previously treated by politicians, historians, diplomats and philosophers. Their contribution in explaining war is however, does not offer a systematic body and hence, no scientific approaches in this theories. It can therefore be assumed that the theory of international relations is somehow new. This hub analyses the perspectives of Marxist, realism and liberalism in respect to international relations. In addition, we also focus on the political theories behind U.S intervention of Ukrainian conflict, as well as the Russian response to U.S role in Ukrainian uprising and eventual coup.

Marxist perspective

Heinrich Karl Marx was a philosopher; economist and revolutionist who lived in German between 1818 and 1883. His writings form the root of the body of Marxism philosophy. Marxism’s basic tenet is that our world is divided economically and is determined by classes and not nations. Consequently, politics does not precede economics, rather, economics tends to triumph politics. Several of Marxist theories concerning international relations are established on the assumption that international state system were established by capitalists and as a result serves only the interest of corporations and wealthy states, which only seek to expand and protect their wealth. Even though Marx left several theories concerning international relations, Marxism has not yet shaped a paradigm, which tackles the wide problem of international relations both in economic and political dimensions. Numerous attempts have been made, but not with a good approach which analyses the world politics and economy as its starting point. In the book that Marx and Engels wrote, they develop concepts, which will become valuable instruments that are subsequently extended and enriched by other authors.

Karl Marx did leave a rather large amount of different writings which have given rise to numerous interpretations and also created other schools of thought linked to it. According to Marxists, both liberalism and realism are merely self-serving ideologies, which were initiated by economic elites for justifying and defending global inequality. He argues that the fundamental unit of analyzing international relations is the id class. Moreover, international systems are instigated by wealthiest nations and upper classes so as to defend and protect their own interests. The level of analysis that Marxism adopted is that of the global society since his idea is greatly focused on the assumption that social reality is what is considered globally. The whole of these must be understood from the perspective of historical materialism since it is progressive and dynamic and provides a theory of social change. This implies that an ever-evolving and dynamic society. States appear just as institutions that serve the bourgeoisie, alongside being an instrument for the prevailing social class. This means that the international society emerges as a society where the main players are not the states, but the social classes, and in which the international relations are subjugated by class struggle.

The primary feature of methodology that Marx and Engels used for investigating international relations is that they valued it as if it was an integral part of intricate social organism. They named it scientific socialism, since it is against utopian communism as a groundbreaking ideology, which can transform the society. The books centerpiece is the “Critique of Political Economy”, and this gives an overview of the Marxist ideology. This is by studying the solemn contradictions of capitalism and presenting hefty amounts of substitute solutions. The reflective study of the economic tolerance will allow them to compose and assess critically the bourgeois society.


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