Democratic PeaceInternational Relations

Since World War II, realists have sought a balance of power between the US and the USSR as a means of maintaining the peace. Constructivists have sought to socially construct a new political reality based on liberal values, trade, and international organizations. In a world with weak international organizations, such as the United Nations, the world is left to anarchy.
Veto power by selected member nations has left the UN as an impotent body to determine the lawful respect for sovereign states. The US War in Iraq is an example where a weakened UN was powerless to stop a unilateral action. According to Brown, "Anarchy alone does not create the insecure, competitive, and war torn world… Social structures and shared knowledge determine whether states are friends or enemies. The fact that social structures are socially constructed does not, however, mean that they can be changed easily" (xxxi). Institutionalists hold some hope for order, but "treat states as rational egoists operating in a world in which agreements cannot be hierarchally enforced, and that institutionalists only expect interstate cooperation to occur if states have significant common interests" (Brown 384). Common interests most often revolve around trade and commerce. Actors do not wish to disrupt trade agreements and lose economic benefits.
In the post Cold War period of nuclear availability, realism presents some clear dangers. The break-up of the Soviet Union has left a Europe where nationalism could be problematic in a scenario where a nuclear balance of power exists. Realism, a pessimistic view of human nature, would lead to further tensions in Europe and while it may provide a temporary lull in hostilities, it is incapable of solving the complex social problems of immigration, religious zeal, global health issues, or world environmental problems. Humanitarian intervention has