Share
Explore BrainMass

International Politics

International relations is the field of study that looks at relations between states as well as other dominant actors such multinational corporations (MNCs), international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Amnesty International, and social movements such as women’s movements, environmental movements and international terrorism. International relations also looks at empirical issues, such as globalization and the distribution of military power; ethical issues, such as humanitarian intervention and human rights; and social science issues, such as the proper methodologies to use in the field, competing epistemological and ontological views, and whether international relations theories are explanatory, constitutive, or both.

While the study of international politics has been the concern of authors for millennia, the academic discipline of international relations is relatively new. This field of study emerged at the end of the First World War as a result of a sense of urgency that the world needed to know how to sustain international peace. The study of international relations thus aimed to better understand the causes of the Great War with the hope that the information collected and the theories developed would help international actors make better decisions about how to avoid such a catastrophe in the future.

International liberalism became a dominant force in international relations following the Great War. Often called idealism or utopianism, this theory suggested that peace would only come about if classical balance-of-power notions were replaced with a system of collective security in which states would see their domestic goals as transferable to the international sphere. This would allow for increased cooperation between states, especially where rational common interests were developed. For example, Woodrow Wilson’s idealism suggested that a state’s goal such as ending poverty at home should also be seen as an international goal of tackling poverty abroad. Under such a system, a country could work with other countries to pursue long-term interests and bring about absolute gains at home without worrying about relative gains, which were the focus of balance-of-power politics. Ideas promoting the transfer of domestic powers to international institutions (such as the United Nations or the European Union) and the importance of international law are rationally supported by the theory of liberalism.

International realism became the dominant force in international relations following the Second World War and throughout the Cold War. Two of the foundational texts in international realism (and in the study of international relations itself) are E.H. Carr’s The Twenty Years’ Crisis (referring to the failings of the international system in the 1920s and 30s), and Hans Morgenthau’s Politics Among Nations. These texts were motivated by a belief that the views of idealists misunderstood the very nature of international politics. That is, realists believe that the liberal project, which looked to tame states’ struggles for power by promoting a collective security, neglected the inherent self-interestedness of states and would ultimately fail. The realist criticism of international liberalism, which began by Carr before the Second World War and was contributed to by Morgenthau and others in the 1940s and 50s, is considered to by the first great debate in international relations.

Since the 1950s, international relations has rapidly expanded by encompasses new theories and new applications. International relations, no longer confined to concerning itself with peace, expanded itself to include discussion on foreign policy, globalization, and other dominant actors (other than states) listed above. Contributions from the English School, neo-realists, Marxists, feminists, and environmentalists expanded the discussions in the field even further. This allows us to accurately look at international relations not simply as the study of relations between states, but more broadly as the study of world politics itself.

 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Categories within International Politics

War, Peace and Intervention

Postings: 16

The study of war, peace and intervention in internal relations looks to understand and analyze ideas, theories, and political contexts that affect international conflict and its resolution. Students studying war, peace and intervention look at both the history of war as well as contemporary examples of international conflict, genocide, and the debate about international responsibilities of intervention.

Terrorism and International Security

Postings: 18

The study of international security looks at how states and international organizations such as the United Nations work towards collective security and look to combat threats to collective security such as international terrorism.

American Foreign and Defense Policy

Postings: 7

Because of the size and strength of the American economy and military, American foreign policy plays a fundamental role in shaping the international political environment, including international law, international political organizations and the pursuit of international security.

International Law

Postings: 6

The study of international law looks to analyze and understand the role that treaties, international criminal law, and international conventions (such as international human rights conventions and international criminal law) play in promoting relations between states. International law International law is an important arena for balancing state sovereignty with collective security; it is often referred to as soft law because it is less binding than traditional domestic law.

Global Justice

Postings: 1

Global justice refers to the international philosophical debate about the scope of international justice and the role that values such as human rights and the redistribution of wealth play in international politics. The study of global justice also seeks to analyze and understand the role that forces such as globalization, and international institutions responsible for justice such as the United Nations and the World Bank, play in promoting or frustrating global justice problems.

Globalization & Global Development

Postings: 5

Globalization has been an important force behind the evolving international political environment. Globalization has also given rise to contemporary issues in international relations including sustainable development.

Housing Issue in Germany and its Impact on National Politics

Need help in researching and examining Germany's housing policy since the end of the Second World War when the country was faced with a massive housing shortfall. I need to produce a summary of the impact and changes in the housing policy--and its political impact--over the last sixty years. It must contain areas that address:

International Resource Management

Describe the complexity of the politics of resource management. (the word "resource could be replaced by one particular item such as "water", "oil" or "minerals")Comment the importance of any of the main types of issues that have made environmental concerns so important in international relations and domestic politics.

Social Personalities- Mother Teresa

• Choose a social or political leader (current or past) to examine through an Adlerian framework of superiority striving and style of life. o Superiority Striving • What might be the motivation behind this leader's career choice, according to Adler's theory? What was this person's perceived inferiority or weakness? How d

HAITI-US Service capability Humanitarian Assistance (FHA)

Instructions In this assessment, you will develop a matrix of key US Service capabilities that could be used in joint operations. The intent is to help you understand service capabilities that may be used to meet challenges presented in joint operations. It should be noted that, by focusing on a Foreign Humanitarian Assistanc

Commander's Intent

Part A: Commander's Intent: Expanded Purpose, Key Tasks, End State Part B: Movement and Maneuver Guidance :Course of action development guidance, Number of courses of action to consider or not to consider, critical events, Task organization, Task and purpose of subordinate units, forms of maneuvers, Reserve composition, m

Is the Chinese communist party sustainable?

Please help me understand the major factors that shaped the Chinese communist party in the past to decades. Point out the strengths and weaknesses to decide if the system that evolved in China the past two decades is sustainable for the next two decades.

Defining the Phrase "in Palestine" in Historical Documents

This solution includes a detailed analysis of the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and other key historical documents in order to understand what the original intent of those documents. In short, the essay answers the question whether the phrase "in Palestine" which appears throughout these documents means "in par

Terrorism as a War on Globalism

Discusses the links between the recent global war on terror and the issues of human rights and distributive justice in the international system. How will the emphasis on national/homeland and global security steal away the emphasis on human rights (human security) and distributive justice? Contrast the use of different ethical

International Relations Theories- Positives and Negatives

Choose two schools/theories other than realism and liberalism of ethics in international relations. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of each. Use factual or hypothetical examples to make your point. Why did you choose them specifically?

Religion and AIDS/HIV

Discuss the religious issues involved in affordable and available AIDS/HIV medication for the 3rd world.

International Ethics

The role of international organizations in the preservation of any international ethics regime is invaluable. Find a website for an International organization that has a role in some level of international ethics. What is their mission and how do they fulfill it? Please provide the link.

War on Terror vs. War on Drugs

Often times, groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) are described as Narco-Terror groups. However, the U.S. makes a clear policy distinction between the war on terror, which is really a war to counter violent islamist extremism, and the war on drugs being prosecuted in South America. Is this distinction v

US-North Korea Challenges and the Four Instruments of Power

I have attached IR theory and Instruments of Power guides for your information. How does the constructivism IR theory best illuminate US-North Korea relations, and how should the US apply the Four Instruments of Power to address this security challenge?

National Interest

As President Obama observed, "It is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan." What vital national interest is a risk in Afghanistan and how does our military involvement support the vital national interest?

Should a global entity hold sovereign states accountable?

Do you agree or disagree that a sovereign state should be accountable to a world body that is not elected but appointed? I disagree for the following reasons. First of all if a "sovereign" state is accountable to a world body then it is no longer sovereign. Joining a world body such as the United Nations on a voluntary bas

Global Enviornmental Issues

Please read: (TS) Issue 19: "Are Warnings about Global Warming Unduly Alarmist? 1. Should we be concerned about global environmental problems? 2. In your opinion what strategy can be used to preserve the environment for future generations?

Sovereign Wealth Funds and Immigration

What are sovereign wealth funds? What are the negative and positive impact of these funds on states? Do Sovereign Wealth Funds Threaten Economic Sovereignty? Is immigration an economic benefit to the host country? How does immigration affect the host country? Why is immigration seen as a threat?

Global Economy of India and China

Answer the following questions: 1- Analyze the issue - The past few years has seen global economic ups and downs with near financial meltdowns of banking and investment sectors in Europe and US; deep economic crises in many European countries and rising indebtedness of many developed countries. What steps can be taken to bring

Can someone help with this please? Thanks

The international economic system structures the prospects for continued economic development for all states. There is a debate within the literature on which economic perspective or approach best explains the workings of the international economic system and provides prescriptions for development. Pick the perspective you belie

Strategically Dealing with Iran and Iraq

Please read: (TS) Issue 8: â??Should All Foreign Troops Soon Leave Iraq?â? (TS) Issue 14: "Is patient diplomacy the best approach to Iran's nuclear program?" (TS) Issue 15: â??Should U.S. Development of a Missile Defense System Continue?â? Answer the question on Taking Sides Issues 8, 14 and 15. Keep your answers to t

Need assistance with this: Thank you for your help.

What are the causes of the civil war in Sudan? What steps can the international community take to resolve this conflict? Why do you think that interstate war is on the decline but civil wars and ethnic wars within a society are on the rise?

Central concept in the study of international politics

Power is a central concept in the study of international politics. Define power and explain the key characteristics of power to illustrate how states and other international actors effectively exercise power in the international arena. In your opinion how can states effectively exercise power in the face of international terrori

Rewording Pol Sci Questions

Can you please rework each individual questions in your own words? 1. In your opinion does the United Nations have a key role in world politics? What reforms should the United Nations undertake to remain relevant? Is UN peacekeeping effective? Yes, the UN does play a key role in world politics, in that it provides a forum

international law

Describe and assess how international law has addressed matters of trade, human rights, and the environment. How have these efforts contributed to developing or slowing down the construction of global civil society? Why?

PRC Republic of China Elite Studies: A Review of the Literature

Discuss Bullard's article (in about 650+ words), primarily addressing the following issues: Why are models of value to a strategic specialist? What are the two main categories of model discussed? Bullard invokes the metaphor of the forest and the trees. How does this pertain to international strategic issues? What ar