Teori-Teori Hubungan Internasional

Sebagaimana ilmu pengetahuan sosial lainnya, Hubungan Internasional bukanlah sebuah studi yang eksak dan presisi. Berbagai macam fenomena yang terjadi dalam lingkup HI tidak dapat diprediksi kapan terjadinya. Hal ini dikarenakan fenomena HI muncul sesuai dengan isu yang berkembang yang terus berubah dan berkembang secara dinamis. Seperti yang telah diketahui bersama bahwa fenomena-fenomena sosial termasuk di dalamnya hubungan internasional tidak semuanya dapat dikuantifikasi. Tetapi itu bukan berarti bahwa hubungan internasional tidak dapat dirumuskan secara ilmiah. Hal inilah yang kemudian menjadi tantangan tersendiri bagi studi Hubungan Internasional untuk dapat mempunyai sebuah “alat” yang dapat digunakan untuk menjelaskan isu-isu dan fenomena-fenomena tersebut secara ilmiah, dan “alat” yang dimaksud tersebut adalah teori.

Teori berasal dari bahasa Yunani yang berarti “melihat” dan “memperhatikan” (Dugis, 2013). Namun, idealnya ketika kita berteori, hendaknya kita tidak hanya berhenti sampai melihat dan memperhatikannya saja, tetapi juga bagaimana kita dapat menjelaskan suatu kejadian, fenomena dan permasalahan secara menyeluruh dan dapat memberikan alternatif jalan keluar bagi permasalahan tersebut sehingga kita juga dapat berkontribusi dengan menuangkan abstraksi pemikiran kita ke dalam sebuah teori. Secara garis besar, pengertian teori dapat dibagi menjadi tiga, yaitu kejadian, asas/hukum dan pendapat (Dugis, 2013). Kejadian berarti fakta dan fenomena. Asas/hukum berarti keteraturan tentang peristiwa atau kronologi mengenai suatu peristiwa yang terjadi.  Sedangkan pendapat berarti perspektif atau cara pandang kita terhadap sesuatu. Dan yang menjadi fokus kajian teori dalam studi Hubungan Internasional adalah bagaimana menghubungkan suatu kejadian dengan pendapat atau cara pandang (Dugis, 2013). Maksudnya adalah, bagaimana fakta-fakta dan fenomena-fenomena yang ada dapat dijelaskan dengan berbagai macam perspektif dan pendekatan yang sudah dirumuskan secara teoritis. Misalnya, ketika terjadi peperangan atau konfllik di antara dua negara, salah satu pendekatan yang dapat digunakan untuk mengkaji fenomena tersebut adalah dengan menggunakan pendekatan realis. Karena pendekatan realis mengatakan bahwa situasi internasional berada di dalam sebuah kondisi yang anarki dimana tidak ada institusi lain yang lebih tinggi dari negara. Hal ini menyebabkan semua negara dalam posisi yang sejajar tetapi masing-masing dari mereka selalu ingin lebih mendominasi dari yang lain sehingga terjadilah persaingan di antara negara-negara tersebut yang pada akhirnya membuat hubungan internasional selalu bersifat konfliktual seperti yang telah dijelaskan oleh Morgenthau. Tetapi pendekatan yang digunakan akan berbeda ketika fenomena yang terjadi berbeda pula. Misalnya, ketika dua negara sepakat untuk melakukan sebuah kerja sama, pendekatan yang cocok digunakan untuk mengkaji fenomena tersebut adalah pendekatan idealis. Dimana pendekatan tersebut menyatakan bahwa manusia adalah makhluk yang rasional yang dapat diajak bekerja sama. Hal tersebut menunjukkan bagaimana kejadian-kejadian dan fenomena-fenomena dapat dijelaskan secara analitis oleh pendekatan atau perspektif yang ada.

            Knutsen mendefinisikan teori sebagai sekumpulan proposisi yang saling berhubungan yang membantu menjelaskan mengapa kejadian-kejadian dapat muncul seperti yang terlihat (Dugis, 2013). Dalam studi Hubungan Internasional sendiri, penggunaan teori tidak selesai ketika berhasil menjawab pertanyaan filosofis, tetapi lebih bagaimana suatu teori sampai pada proses pemecahan masalah. Dan hal yang menjadi sangat esensial yang harus dimiliki oleh sebuah teori adalah adanya proposisi yang dapat menjelaskan minimal dua variabel (Dugis, 2013). Dalam mengkaji hubungan internasional, fenomena-fenomena yang terdapat di dalamnya memang sulit diukur, oleh karena itu proposisi menjadi sangat penting. Proposisi sendiri merupakan usulan-usulan yang disusun secara logis yang berusaha untuk menghubungkan dan menjelaskan setiap variabel yang ada agar menjadi satu kesatuan yang padu, utuh dan menyeluruh sehingga menghasilkan sebuah teori yang tidak diragukan nilai kebenarannya dalam menjawab suatu fenomena yang berkembang.

            Keberadaan suatu teori di dalam kehidupan manusia tentu sangatlah diperlukan, mengingat manusia adalah makhluk berpikir yang selalu muncul dengan berbagai pertanyaan tentang sesuatu yang berada di sekitarnya. Ketika ia berhasil menemukan jawaban-jawaban dari pertanyaannya, maka itu akan menjadi lebih baik apabila dari setiap abstraksi pemikirannya dituangkan ke dalam sebuah teori sehingga dapat bermanfaat bagi orang banyak dan bila mungkin dapat diperhalus, diperluas dan diperbaiki oleh orang-orang sesudahnya sehingga menghasilkan sebuah teori yang terus berkembang dan jauh lebih baik dari waktu ke waktu. Dengan begitu teori akan lebih mudah beradaptasi dengan perkembangan zaman dan dapat memberikan solusi atas berbagai macam persoalan yang ada. Selain itu, teori juga berfungsi untuk mengurangi kompleksitas dari fenomena-fenomena yang terdapat di dunia nyata (Wardhani, 2013). Fenomena hubungan internasional juga termasuk dari salah satu fenomena yang tingkat kompleksitasnya cukup tinggi, tetapi dengan adanya berbagai teori atau pendekatan, kita dapat menjadi lebih mudah dalam mengidentifikasi setiap fenomena yang muncul ke permukaan, apa implikasinya dan pada akhirnya menemukan sebuah alternatif penyelesaian yang tepat. Dengan kata lain, dapat dikatakan bahwa kenyataan di luar selalu lebih rumit dan lebih luas daripada yang dapat dijangkau indera manusia, berapapun tajam pemikirannya (Sudarsono 1996, 5). Sehingga dapat disimpulkan bahwa teori dapat dijadikan sebagai alat penyederhana bagi manusia dalam memahami dunia luar dengan lebih seksama dan juga sebagai alat konstruksi bagi perkembangan pola pikir manusia.

            Dari penjelasan di atas, maka dapat diambil kesimpulan bahwa keberadaan teori dalam studi Hubungan Internasional sangatlah diperlukan. Karena dengan adanya teori, fenomena-fenomena hubungan internasional menjadi lebih mudah untuk dikaji akibat dari adanya proses simplifikasi dari teori itu sendiri. Dengan begitu fenomena dan permasalahan yang ada dapat dianalisis dengan lebih mudah. Dan pada akhirnya, yang kita perlukan adalah kemampuan kita untuk mengidentifikasi sebuah fenomena dengan pendekatan yang ada sehingga dihasilkan solusi yang tepat dalam menjawab fenomena dan permasalahan yang tengah berkembang yang membutuhkan alternatif penyelesaian yang bersifat holistik.

 

1. Realism

Realism makes several key assumptions. It assumes that nation-states are unitary, geographically-based actors in an anarchic international system with no authority above capable of regulating interactions between states as no true authoritative world government exists. Secondly, it assumes that sovereign states, rather than IGOs, NGOs or MNCs, are the primary actors in international affairs. Thus, states, as the highest order, are in competition with one another. As such, a state acts as a rational autonomous actor in pursuit of its own self-interest with a primary goal to maintain and ensure its own security—and thus its sovereignty and survival. Realism holds that in pursuit of their interests, states will attempt to amass resources, and that relations between states are determined by their relative levels of power. That level of power is in turn determined by the state’s military and economic capabilities.

Some realists (offensive realists) believe that states are inherently aggressive, that territorial expansion is constrained only by opposing powers, while others (defensive realists) believe that states are obsessed with the security and continuation of the state’s existence. The defensive view can lead to a security dilemma where increasing one’s own security can bring along greater instability as the opponent(s) builds up its own arms, making security a zero-sum game where only relative gains can be made.

2. Liberalism

The precursor to liberal IR theory was “idealism“; however, this term was applied in a critical manner by those who saw themselves as ‘realists’, for instance E. H. Carr. Idealism in international relations usually refers to the school of thought personified in American diplomatic history byWoodrow Wilson, such that it is sometimes referred to as “Wilsonianism.” Idealism holds that a state should make its internal political philosophy the goal of its foreign policy. For example, an idealist might believe that ending poverty at home should be coupled with tackling poverty abroad. Wilson’s idealism was a precursor to liberal international relations theory, which would arise amongst the “institution-builders” after World War II.

Liberalism holds that state preferences, rather than state capabilities, are the primary determinant of state behavior. Unlike realism where the state is seen as a unitary actor, liberalism allows for plurality in state actions. Thus, preferences will vary from state to state, depending on factors such as culture, economic system or government type. Liberalism also holds that interaction between states is not limited to the political/security (“high politics”), but also economic/cultural (“low politics”) whether through commercial firms, organizations or individuals. Thus, instead of an anarchic international system, there are plenty of opportunities for cooperation and broader notions of power, such ascultural capital (for example, the influence of films leading to the popularity of the country’s culture and creating a market for its exports worldwide). Another assumption is that absolute gains can be made through co-operation and interdependence – thus peace can be achieved.

3. Democratic Peace

The democratic peace theory argues that liberal democracies have never (or almost never) made war on one another and have few lesser conflicts between each other. This is seen as contradicting especially the realist theories and this empirical claim is now one of the great disputes in political science. Numerous explanations have been proposed for the democratic peace. It has also been argued, as in the bookNever at War, that democracies conduct diplomacy in general very differently from nondemocracies. (Neo)realists disagree with Liberals over the theory, often citing structural reasons for the peace, as opposed to the state’s government.

4. Institusionalism

The democratic peace theory argues that liberal democracies have never (or almost never) made war on one another and have few lesser conflicts between each other. This is seen as contradicting especially the realist theories and this empirical claim is now one of the great disputes in political science. Numerous explanations have been proposed for the democratic peace. It has also been argued, as in the bookNever at War, that democracies conduct diplomacy in general very differently from nondemocracies. (Neo)realists disagree with Liberals over the theory, often citing structural reasons for the peace, as opposed to the state’s government.

5. English School

The ‘English School’ of international relations theory, also known as International Society, Liberal Realism, Rationalism or the British institutionalists, maintains that there is a ’society of states’ at the international level, despite the condition of ‘anarchy’ (literally the lack of a ruler or world state).

A great deal of the work of the English School concerns the examination of traditions of past international theory, casting it, as Martin Wight did in his 1950s-era lectures at the London School of Economics, into three divisions: 1. Realist or Hobbesian (after Thomas Hobbes), 2. Rationalist (or Grotian, after Hugo Grotius), 3. Revolutionist (or Kantian, after Immanuel Kant).

In broad terms, the English School itself has supported the rationalist or Grotian tradition, seeking a middle way (or via media) between the ‘power politics’ of realism and the ‘utopianism’ of revolutionism.

6. Critical Theories

Many schools of thought in international relations have criticized the status-quo – both from other positivist positions as well as postpositivistpositions. The former include Marxist and Neo-Marxist approaches and Neo-Gramscianism. The latter include postmodernist, postcolonial andfeminist approaches, which differ from both realism and liberalism in their epistemological and ontological premise.

7. Marxist Theories

Marxist and Neo-Marxist international relations theories are positivist paradigms which reject the realist/liberal view of state conflict or cooperation; instead focusing on the economic and material aspects. It makes the assumption that the economic concerns transcend others; allowing for the elevation of class as the focus of study. Marxists view the international system as an integrated capitalist system in pursuit ofcapital accumulation.

8. Constructivism

Whereas realism deals mainly with security and material power, and liberalism looks primarily at economic interdependence and domestic-level factors, constructivism most concerns itself with the role of ideas in shaping the international system (Indeed it is possible there is some overlap between constructivism and realism or liberalism, but they remain separate schools of thought). By “ideas” constructivists refer to the goals, threats, fears, identities, and other elements of perceived reality that influence states and non-state actors within the international system. Constructivists believe that these ideational factors can often have far-reaching effects, and that they can trump materialistic power concerns. For example, constructivists note that an increase in the size of the US military is likely to be viewed with much greater concern inCuba, a traditional antagonist of the US, than in Canada, a close US ally. Therefore, there must be perceptions at work in shaping international outcomes. As such, constructivists do not see anarchy as the invariable foundation of the international system, but rather argue, in the words ofAlexander Wendt, that “anarchy is what states make of it.” Constructivists also believe that social norms shape and change foreign policy over time rather than security which realists cite.

9. Functionalism

Functionalism is a theory of international relations that arose principally from the experience of European integration. Rather than the self-interest that realists see as a motivating factor, functionalists focus on common interests shared by states. Integration develops its own internal dynamic: as states integrate in limited functional or technical areas, they increasingly find that momentum for further rounds of integration in related areas. This “invisible hand” of integration phenomenon is termed “spill-over.” Although integration can be resisted, it becomes harder to stop integration’s reach as it progresses. This usage, and the usage in functionalist in international relations, is the less commonly used meaning of the term functionalism.

More commonly, however, functionalism is a term used to describe an argument which explains phenomena as functions of a system rather than an actor or actors. Immanuel Wallerstein employed a functionalist theory when he argued that the Westphalian international political system arose to secure and protect the developing international capitalist system. His theory is called “functionalist” because it says that an event was a function of the preferences of a system and not the preferences of an agent. Functionalism is different from structural or realist arguments in that while both look to broader, structural causes, realists (and structuralists more broadly) say that the structure gives incentives to agents, while functionalists attribute causal power to the system itself, bypassing agents entirely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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