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International Relations as Seen by Kenneth Waltz and William Golding

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International Relations as seen by Kenneth Waltz and William Golding

As the world continues to globalize, and states become more intertwined and dependent upon each other, theorists search for explanations that arise due to conflicts as a result of international relations. Kenneth Waltz was the first to categorize international relations into three levels of analysis in Man the State and War: a Theoretical Analysis. The first level of analysis Waltz explains, is international politics as being motivated primarily by actions of individuals; it is human nature that causes war, and to prevent it you must change human nature. The second level states that international politics is a result of the states and any conflicts that develop are the consequences of "bad states." Waltz's last level of international relations focused on the role of system as a whole, or the effects that international anarchy exerted on state behavior. The third level looks at the nature of the relations between states and affirms that states will work for their own interests; when there are conflicts of interest between states, discord will erupt in the form of war. By assessing Waltz's theories we can apply them to parallels that can be drawn from William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Golding's story is of a group of British boys who become stranded on an island after their plane crashes. They create order that soon turns to chaos and war. Throughout the novel, images are presented that correlate to Waltz's three images of international relations and show the course that led to the impending warfare. I will relate Walt's theories of international relations to significant events and images in Golding's novel to explain the eventual outbreak of war that transpired on the island and also analyze these under the lens of social constructivism.

As the boys arrive on the island, they have now stepped into the world of the Lord of the Flies and hence a world of anarchy. They have become detached from the hierarchical world they knew; a world of order, rules and reason, all which could be only ensured and enforced through the existence of adults. The novel looks to make sense of what will happen and how the boys will behave now that they have been removed from order and placed into the center of chaos and disorder. The first attempt at order is the boy's actions towards creating a hierarchy and therefore an effort en route for a civilized society within the anarchy of the island. As Piggy says, "we've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we aren't savages." Ralph is elected leader of the island; Ralph, the initial leader, is the one who assembled the children by sounding his conch shell, the shell which comes to embody the rules and rights of the island. Ralph then delegates Jack to lead his group of choir boys, who designate themselves as the hunters since Jack is the only one with a knife. Looking to Waltz, we can already see human nature acting upon the boys' decision to create order and elect a leader. There is also an emergence of states as groups of boys are assigned certain tasks they must execute in order to keep order within their makeshift civilization. These events are the first to relate to waltz's first and second images of international relations and are the foundation for the commotion that will ensue.

Waltz's second image becomes prevalent when Jack and his boys neglect their responsibilities for their own interests. Everything was proceeding well until one day a plane flew over the island, but didn't stop. The boys realized this because the fire had extinguished, a job assigned to Jack and his boys, a job that had been neglected in order to satisfy their "need for meat." Jack's state focused their resources on their own interests and disregarded the overall well-being of everyone else; Jack's



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