Nigeria Biafra Civil War

2373 words 10 pages
| Realism, Power and the Nigerian Civil War | | 211540478 | Ntsika Nduli | 3/15/2013 |


International Relations is a field of politics that takes a look at the interactions that occur in between states in the international arena. Its aim is to explain why certain events have unfolded in certain ways, as a result of how states use their power relatively to each other. Mostly the interactions that International Relations tries to examine or explain, is the conflicts that arise as a result of differing interests that states have. To provide a base for analysis, this essay is going to use the central theory of realism to explain the civil war that occurred in Nigeria in between 1967 to 1970. This essay will seek to explain the
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It is thought that Realism was realised as early as the years between 500-400 B.C.E, when the Greek political theorist Thucydides applied Realist perspectives in the description of the Peloponnesian war. In the description, the Melian Dialogue showed a Realist-Idealist debate of whether or not international politics can be ‘based on a moral order derived from the principles of justice or on conflicting national interests and power’. This was furthered by Niccolo Machiavelli when he challenged the Idealist view by stating that states have no higher duty than to maintain themselves. He also introduces the concept of Realpolitik, where he defines the actions of states as ‘power plays’. This means that every interaction in the international system is done as a showing of a state’s power capabilities/resources. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, Thomas Hobbes characterized interactions between states as a result of egotistic human nature, international anarchy and Realpolitik. He attributes this to the ‘Anarchic state of nature’ whereby: I) there is no government, therefore everyone has equal status, II) there are no behavioural constraints III) anyone may use force, and force may be countered by force IV) every individual ensures their own safety V) individuals are driven by pride and the desire for glory
The Hobbesian state of Nature has become a classic account of the Realist perspective, but in the 20th century, Realism as we


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