There are different perspectives of international politics and relations. While some ideologists assert that there is constant competition between different members of the international structures and politics, others indicate that these structures work together and in turn affect the ideas and communication of the agents. Constructivism seems to disagree with the realists and liberals in most of their assertions. However, the latter two perspectives share some concepts as discussed in this paper. Neo-realists and neo-liberalists have greatly debated on several issues based on a shared commitment to rationalism. Most of the social theoretical perspectives rely on rational choice in asking specific questions and not others. Rational choice also directs treating identities and interests of agents as exogenously given. These social perspectives seek to explain how behavior of agents generates outcomes. Both the neo-realism and neo-liberalism concepts, therefore, offers the conception that the processes and institutions change behaviors, but not interests and identities. Neo-realists consider anarchies as self-help systems that lack both collective security and central authority.
Therefore, due to the fact that some states might fail to conform to the logic of self-help system, the complex learning involved in the redefinitions of identity is impossible. Realism has been defined as the view that world politics is driven by competitive self-interests. Therefore, countries in the world are struggling for power in order to preserve or improve their economic welfare and military security in competition with other countries. In this perspective, a gain in one country automatically infers a loss to the other competing countries. These realists also see human beings as intrinsically divided by national identity and loyalty to religion, culture, and political ideologies. The neo-realists consider the struggle for power and anarchy in international politics as the source of international politics.
According to Liberalism, people and countries representing them are capable of finding the mutual interests and cooperate to achieve their mutual interests according to international law and through international organization. While they do not dismiss power as a factor in international politics, they reject the realists’ assertion that the struggle for power results into international conflicts. However, they add other concepts such as ideology, morality, cooperation habits, emotions, and altruism as influencing the behaviors of national leaders and the status of world politics. This perspective believes in a win-win situation, where countries do not accumulate gains at the expense of other countries.
On the other hand, constructivism represents a more complex approach to international relationships. This perspective views the priority of ideas and human consciousness, therefore the core assumptions – idealism and holism. The major difference between the constructivist and realist perspectives is evidenced by their approaches to ideas. While constructivism demands that human beings take seriously the role played by ideas in world politics, neo-realism disregards this assertion. Nevertheless, realism has much historical evidence, which favors its arguments that makes this perspective a possibility of defending social constructivism. According to constructivism, the course of international relations is an interactive process, where the communications among, and the ideas of actors or agents of international politics such as individuals, groups, and social structures such as states serve to create other structures such as laws, treaties, international organizations, and the international systems of governance and trade among other aspects of interaction. This perspective further indicates that these structure in turn influence the communications and ideas of these agents.