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Motivational Realism

Dr.Amir Hooshang Mirkooshesh

Taken from the article:

Analysis of Iran-Saudi Arabia Relations from the Perspective of Motivational Realism Theory (2005-2015)

Motivational realism can be considered as a branch of realism that focuses on security-seeker governments. Andrew Kidd first introduced the concept into the international relations literature in his book Trust and Distrust in International Relations. Although Randall Schweller had previously discussed the motivation of actors seeking security and greed for work, according to Glazer, Kidd's argument is stronger and depends on a set of empirical topics.

The main theme of motivational realism is the discussion of security-seeking governments. Motivational realism pits greedy governments against security-seeking governments.

Motivational realism sees distrust as a serious threat to security-seeker governments, and believes that the distrust of these actors in each other's motives will lead to conflict and conflict, but immediately emphasizes that although distrust of Eliminate incentives altogether, governments have ample opportunity to reduce it, and security-seeking governments are able to identify each other as security seekers and prevent conflict due to internal inclinations.

Motivational realism versus structural realism, which presupposes governments seeking security, emphasizes the importance of changing actors' motivations and goals; In particular, motivational realism argues that the most important point for understanding international competitive behavior depends on the nature of individual states, not the international structure.

In one hand, in a world where all the major powers seek security, cooperation and peace are possible, and on the other hand, in a world where most of the major powers are greedy governments, competition and war are possible.Of course, this does not mean that the international structure is irrelevant, but it does emphasize that the structure cannot be inherent in the cause of cooperative or competitive behavior. Rather, structure can only affect the expansionist ability of governments.

Motivational realism identifies two factors for identifying security-seeker governments:

Transparency and costly signs. These two factors, while introducing security-seeker governments to each other, will also make them different from greedy governments; because greedy governments, due to their goals and intentions, cannot show costly signs.Transparency is possible through timely, accurate and reassuring information. The security-seeking government should focus on the other side's concerns and issues that reinforce distrustful motives, and in this regard, provide the other side with the necessary information, especially information about its military goals and intentions, to ensure confidence.

Proponents of this approach argue that the factor of greater transparency emerges in democracies. If democracy seeks security, other governments will understand this intention sooner, and distrust of motives will disappear, and as a result, a sense of cooperation will develop between democratic governments and other security-seeking governments.The interesting point about this subject is, if a democratic government is greedy for work, their intentions will be more apparent to governments.If the factor of transparency is more pronounced in democratic governments, the factor of costly signs can also appear in both democratic and non-democratic governments.

On the other hand, the factor of transparency alone cannot be sufficient; it means, the factor of transparency is a necessary condition and the factor of costly signs is a sufficient condition in the process of building trust. Expensive signs can be examined in four general contexts: ideology, policies toward the country's minorities, policies toward weak neighbors, and military policy.

If a country's political system has a sharp, bigoted and aggressive ideology, it can be considered aggressive, and often the pursuit of security by such governments, They will arouse the distrust of the neighbors.Here is the sign of costly, ideological moderation. Ideological moderation will come at a great cost to the idea of​​a political system; therefore, the appearance of these signs to the other side will show the seriousness of the political system in changing the offensive strategy.

The second hypothesis is that policies and attitudes towards internal minorities, in which governments that oppress internal minorities and do not allow them to operate, will be less restrictive.Such policies reflect the nationalist tendencies of the government. Thus, the costly sign here is the granting of political rights to internal minorities. In terms of policies towards weak states, aggressive governments often seek to dominate weak states, fill in power gaps, and thus increase their power.While the costly sign in this context is shown through respect for independence and non-interference in the internal affairs of weak countries. The last area for costly indications is military policy, which maybe includes reducing or refraining from increasing military readiness.

In the third hypothesis, aggressive states often seek to dominate weak states; while the weak countries of independence are a sign of respect through this costly framework (Abdullah Khani, 1394: 94).The fourth hypothesis is military policy, which includes reducing or refusing to increase the level of military readiness.

Glaser cites three characteristics for this costly sign: arms control agreements, especially those that reduce offensive capabilities, shift toward more defensive positions, and unilaterally reduce military forces across borders.


Editorial Board of Iranian Journal of International Relations

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