When Perception Becomes Reality

4 April 2015
Takes a look at the role of perception in international conflict.

This paper explains the important role that perception plays in our day-to-day decisions and how states determine courses of action in international society also according to their perceptions. It also describes the relationship between perception and reality in international relations through the examination of case studies and I.R. theory.
“Perception plays an extremely important role in our lives. The decisions we make every day are based on how we perceive the world around us. This is not so different from how states determine their course of action in international society. With only limited knowledge of the capabilities and intents of their neighbors, states must depend heavily on the perceptions they are able to gather. These perceptions however, are not always accurate assessments of the states that they endeavor to describe. Hence, for all intents and purposes, perception eclipses reality as the primary source of intelligence in the international arena. Unfortunately, misinterpretations of a state’s behavior by another state can often lead to brutal conflict. Historically, perception has played a prominent and vital role in conflict between states, however this role is an elusive one to trace.”
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