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What does it meant by International Relations

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    1.0 Introduction

    International Relations (IR) is a term that is used to identify all interactions between state-based actors across state boundaries1 (Evans and Newnham 1998). What is meant by International Relations (IR)? International Relations refer to both discipline as well as the process between the entities2. (Rusli 2011) Several scholars have different interpretation in IR, according to Hans J. Morgenthau, International Relations as a struggle force and the use of power among the states. International Relations is a process by which the nation tries to serve their national interest, which may be a conflict in actor nation and by means of their policy and nation3. (Rusli 2011) Whereas K.J Holsti argues that IR may refer to all forms of interaction between the members of separate societies, whether sponsored by the government or not, the study of international relations would include the analysis of foreign policies or political processes between the nations, however, with its interest in all fact of relations between distinct societies, it would include as well studies or international trade, transportation, communication and the development of international values and ethics4 (Rusli 2011). In a simple word, this scholar stated that International Relations is a process between state and non-state actors.

    IR started in the early 1900 as an academic discipline to study state behavior, where conflict is the main focused of the behavior. The study of war has become the important focus of the subject, eventually the field is dominated by conflictual studies in the early 19th to 20th century. In 1950’s, the focus on the field subject has changed as cooperation between state actors appear. The appearance of Non-state actors such as 1

    2

    3
    4

    Evans G., Newnham J. The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations, London, Penguin Books, 1998 pg.274 Rusli, Majar. “The Meaning,Scope and Nature of International Relations.” 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49013482/THE-MEANING-SCOPE-AND-NATURE-OF-INTERNATIONALRELATIONS. (accessed 11/03/2013) Ibid.

    Ibid.

    2

    Intergovernmental

    Organizations

    (IGOs),

    Transnational

    Corporations

    (TNCs);

    International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs); International Political and terrorism groups; Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are gaining status and influence. Thus, IR is a study of complex interdependence between actors in the world. This paper will focus on four main ideas and they are considered as the core principles in IR. In order to understand IR, these main ideas have to be identified and understood. The four main ideas are:

    i)

    The development of IR as an academic discipline

    ii)

    The actors in International Relations

    iii)

    The nature of International Relations

    iv)

    The scope of International Relations

    2.0 The development of IR as an academic discipline.
    International Relations (IR) started in the early 1900s. The development contains four phases, starting from the 1914 from the outbreak of World War I (WWI) until the end of World War II (WWII). This section will explain all the four phases of the development of the academic discipline.

    Phase One, The beginning
    of World War I(1914-1915)

    The development of
    the academic
    discipline

    Phase two, during the
    World War I (1915-1918)
    Phase three, The interwar
    years (1920-1930)
    Phase four, Post war
    period, since 1945

    Figure 1.0 The development of IR as an academic discipline
    3

    Phase one, The beginning of World War I (1914-1915)

    World War I happens during 1914. It was the most intense and mechanized war yet experienced, with new technologies, including the advent of air power, allowing for new heights of destruction to be reached (Devetak 2012)5. European scholars were shocked by the outbreak of the war because total destruction and total war happens. In order to find out the outbreak of WWI, the academic discipline was created. In this period, IR was dominated by diplomatic historian who, in general, uses history to explain the behavior of states and the present phenomena.

    This methodology concentrated on states as the main actors in international relations and included the study of the major diplomats and ministers of the period6. (Papp 2002) As it was historical in orientation, the studies were highly narrative and chronological. The subject lack of analysis, no theoretical contributions because attempts for theorization does not happen and the field was dominated by historians. Phase Two, during the World War I (1915-1918)

    Again, at this stage, the subject is highly descriptive, there is no theory being developed and there was no contribution towards the study of the development of international relations. At the late 1918, schools and departments have been set up in universities to study IR. It began at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, when Welsh industrialist and philanthropist David Davies established the Woodrow Wilson Chair of International Politics. (Devetak 2012)7 Soon after that, few universities in UK followed such

    5

    Devetak, Richard. “An Introduction to International Relations: The Origins and Changing Agendas of a Discipline.” 2012. http://assets.cambridge.org/97811076/00003/excerpt/9781107600003_excerpt.pdf.

    6

    Papp, Daniel S. Contemporary International Relations: Framework for Understanding (6th Ed.). New York: Pearson Longman, 2002.

    77

    Devetak, Richard. “An Introduction to International Relations: The Origins and Changing Agendas of a Discipline.” 2012. http://assets.cambridge.org/97811076/00003/excerpt/9781107600003_excerpt.pdf.

    4

    as The London School of Economics, University of Oxford. The spreading of IR after that not just only within the UK but also spread to other countries such as the United States of America and Western Europe such as Geneva, Switzerland.

    Phase three, the interwar years (1920-1930)

    The study of IR is different in this phase compared to the first two phases as there are attempts for theorization. Classical Realism and Idealism appeared after the end of WWI. Notable scholars such as Edward Hallett Carr, Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr had created influential classics. Carr’s The Twenty Years’ Crisis and Niebuhr’s Moral Man in Moral Society had tried to explain International Relations during that time, which is by the view of a classical realist. The focus of classical realism is to explain IR as they are as realist argues that man is evil, self-centered and greedy in nature, and states are control by man, thus the states always goes to war. Whereas idealism was spearheaded by Woodrow Wilson as he created the League of Nation to promote peace to eradicate war. On top of that, Wilson also encourages members of the League to practice multilateralism8 and open diplomacy.

    After the Great War, utopians like Wilson wanted to make the world what it odd to be, by taking a prescriptive approach to provide a solution to prevent war. Idealist argues that humans are good and evil and we should nurture the good side. Although classical realism and idealism were created, they are not considered as theories, because these are just attempts for theorizing the subject. Again, historians and philosophers dominated the field. It is important to keep in mind that the first three stages were to study the state behavior. There are no theoretical contributions by scholars as the field is dominated by historians, philosophers and political scientists. IR is extremely narrative and descriptive, as scholars merely explained IR chronologically and does not contain any analysis.

    8

    Multilateralism refers to a system of coordinating relations between three or
    more states in accordance with certain principles of conduct.

    5

    Phase four, post war period, since 1945

    This period saw the development of IR, the subject rise to become a scientific subject that can be analyze. Various disciplines such as political science, political economy, political sociology, international law and etc. 9 (Rusli 2011) were included in the subject. In the meantime, different theories are created to explain the different behavior of states. These theories are Realism, Liberalism and Structuralism. After 1945, realism dominated the field. Hans J. Morgenthau was the founder of modern realism. Morgenthau’s Politics Among Nations, the Struggle for Power and Peace-1949 has point out power politics theory that explained IR during that time. According to Morgenthau, IR is all about the pursuit of power and only with power you can bring peace. During 1949, USA and its allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to create a military alliance to contain the spread of communism, as the Red Army from the Soviet Union had walked into Eastern Europe to spread communism.

    In this situation, power refers to military might and only with this ‘power’ it can prevent another war. The reason realism has dominated the field because the world during 1949-1969 is best to be explained through this theory and Morgenthau’s Politics Among Nations, the Struggle for Power and Peace. Realism remained as the dominated theory, until the 70’s where cooperation exists between the USA and the Soviet Union, it has been challenged by the liberalist and finally Structuralism joined into the field in the late 70’s. The four phases above shown a clear picture that the academic discipline undergo an evolution process. The academic discipline began as a subject that study war and conflict in states, and it was dominated by diplomatic historians and philosophers. The content was highly narrative and descriptive which lack of analysis. After the third phase, attempts for theorization happened but not to the extent of the development of theory. It is until the fourth

    9

    Rusli, Majar. “The Meaning,Scope and Nature of International Relations.” 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49013482/THE-MEANING-SCOPE-AND-NATURE-OF-INTERNATIONAL-RELATIONS. (accessed 11/03/2013)

    6

    phase where theories are developed and the focus of the study is not only at war and conflict but also cooperation among states and non-state actors.
    3.0 Actors in IR

    In IR today there are two major actors, State actors and Non-state actors. For years, the primary actor in international affairs was the state. To a certain extent it is still, but its primacy is no longer absolute. Non-state actors are playing greater roles in the international arena, which influence the decision of policy making of a state. 10 (Papp 2002) This section will explain the two actors in International Relations.

    State actors

    Actors in IR
    Non-state actors (NSA)

    Figure 1.1 Actors in International Relations

    State actors
    A state is a territorial entity that executes sovereignty, recognition and control over population and territory. According to Goldstein and Pevehouse, a state is a territorial entity controlled by a government and inhabited by a population. The state government answers to no higher authority; it exercises sovereignty over territory11. (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012)

    10

    11

    Papp, Daniel S. Contemporary International Relations: Framework for Understanding (6th Ed.). New York: Pearson Longman, 2002. Pg33
    Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C. Pevehouse. International Relations (10th Ed.). New York: Pearson, 2012.Pg. 13

    7

    This sovereignty recognized by other states through formal diplomatic relations and usually by the membership in the United Nation 12 . (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012) The state is inhabited with population that forms a civil society. A group identity is formed and shared among the population, and they may consider itself a nation. 13 (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012). According to Max Weber, the state is “a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.”

    Example of state in today is The United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain, France and The People’s Republic of China. States are considered the most important actor in IR because they are the units who make decisions to form policies. Policies such as economic policies, security policies, and trade policies are created by states. States are considered as major actors in IR especially in the early 1900 to1950 where state has become the main focus in IR. The creation of International Organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, and The International Red Cross Society had created a shift where IR is used to be state-centric, had become pluralistic.

    Non-State actors (NSA)
    Non state actors are entities that practices autonomy, representation and influence in IR. NSA can also be defined as actors other than state governments that operate either below the level of the state (within states) or across state borders (transnational) thus sometimes NSA is referred as transnational actors. There are five types of NSA in IR, which is: i)

    ii)

    12
    13

    Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
    International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs)

    Ibid.
    Ibid.

    8

    iii)

    Multinational Corporation/Transnational Corporation (MNC/TNC)

    iv)

    Political groups / Terrorist groups

    v)

    Transnational criminal organizations

    As general, Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) are voluntary associations of sovereign states established to pursue many objectives for which states want to cooperate through sort of formal structure and to which states are unable to realize by themselves. (Ataman 2003) 14 According to Goldstein and Pevehouse, IGOs members are national governments that are created by nation states and documented by government agencies. (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012)15 . IGOs fulfill a variety of functions, and vary in size from just a few states to virtually the whole UN membership.

    Examples of IGOs are The organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), The United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and political groupings such as the European Union (EU). International Nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) are private organizations. There are many kinds of NGOs such as transnational, government organized, government-regulated and initiated, business and industry, donor-organized, donor dominated, people’s organizations, and so on.16 (Ataman 2003). INGO operate in a wide variety areas of activities, ranging from human activity, humanitarian missions,

    14

    Ataman, Muhittin. The Impact of Non-State Actors on World Politics: A Challenge to Nation-States. “Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations” 2003. Pg.43

    15

    Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C. Pevehouse. International Relations (10th Ed.). Pg. 15

    16

    Ataman, Muhittin. The Impact of Non-State Actors on World Politics: A Challenge to Nation-States. “Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations 2003. Pg.46

    9

    monitoring human rights and collaboration between professional organizations that seek further interests of their members17. (Papp 2002)
    Multinational Corporation/Transnational Corporation (MNC/TNC) are huge corporate firms that span multiple countries. 18 (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012), Usually their interest does not correspond with the state’s interest because the main driving force for MNCs is the maximization of profits. In order to achieve this, most of the MNCs have heavy investment in research and development to create their own specialization in certain products or services. For example, Toyota is specializing in manufacturing Hybrid technology cars, the technology that Toyota uses are cutting edge technology that dominates the car industry. On top of that, MNCs often control greater resources and operate internationally with greater efficiency 19 . (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012) Examples of MNCs are Toyota, Samsung, Apple Inc., Royal Dutch Shell and Sony. Terrorist groups use terrorism20 as the main instrument and largely lack large-scale support from the public. Individuals and groups engage in terrorism for different political, economic, social, religious, cultural, and even personal reasons. Their goals are to publicize their goal and aspirations to the international community by hijacking, assassination, kidnapping and attacking on embassies.21 (Ataman 2003) Terrorist organizations exist around the world. In Europe, Turkey’s Gray Wolves, Ireland’s Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican Army, Italy’s Red Guard. In Asia, certain of India’s Sikh, Japan’s Red Army Faction and Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatists.

    17

    Papp, Daniel S. Contemporary International Relations: Framework for Understanding (6th Ed.). Pg119

    18

    Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C. Pevehouse. International Relations (10th Ed.). Pg. 16 Ibid.

    19
    20

    Terrorism refers to political violence that targets civilians deliberately and indiscriminately.

    21

    Ataman, Muhittin. The Impact of Non-State Actors on World Politics: A Challenge to Nation-States. “Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations” 2003. Pg.57-58

    10

    Transnational Criminal Organizations are organized communities that involve in a wide range of criminal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, credit card fraud, and prostitution. These organizations have the ability to cross borders and penetrating societies that are under the control of states. For example, the Italian Mafia, the Chinese Triad society, the Japanese Yakuza, the Indian Underworld and the Russian Mafiya executing criminal activities not only in their home country, but globally. In short, IR contains two categories of actors, which are state actors and non-state actors.

    During the 1950, IR is state-centric, where states are the main focus as the actor of IR. But since the cooperation between states and International Organization happens after 1950, and the creation of International Nongovernmental Organizations and Multinational Corporations in the world, the definition has started to be criticize. Eventually non state actors are given more attention and influence in the International arena of politics. 4.0 The nature of IR

    The nature of IR refers to the behavior of the field. Since the development of the academic discipline, scholars are focus to study how does states behaves because this generates the nature of IR. This section will discuss three nature of IR that shows the behavior of IR, which is:

    i)

    Dynamic, volatile and fluid

    ii)

    Protection of national interest and global interest

    iii)

    An anarchical society

    11

    Dynamic, volatile and fluid
    The nature of International Relations itself is dynamic, volatile and fluid, meaning that it is always in the change, not static. Major changes have occurred in succession in the world since the start of the 1970s. These include new developments in U.S.-China and U.S.Soviet relations, unrest and reform of the international monetary system, the fourth Middle East war and the ensuing oil crisis, intensification of various difficulties in the international economy, and the drastic changes in the situation in Indochina22 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1975). Events happen from time to time intent to impact the whole nation, and this shows the fluidity of IR.

    Protection of national interest and global interest

    The nature of IR is to protect the national and global interest of the state, for example to get the total sum of national values such as state survival, pursuit economic interest, territorial integrity, prestige and international peace 23 . (Rusli 2011) According to Joseph Frankel, national interest is ‘the total sum of all national values, which include territorial integrity, democracy and free trade. Whereas Hedley bull says, IR develops from international anarchy (the absence of control), states develop relations with states or non-state actors for pursuing their interest and develop cooperation. Thus IR is about the protection of national and global interest of a state.

    An Anarchical Society
    Literally, anarchy means the absence of government, but in the context of IR, anarchy implies the absence of any authoritative institutions, rules or norms above the sovereign state.

    22

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. International Environment surrounding Japan. 1975. http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/1975/1975-1-1.htm (accessed 11/03/2013). 23

    Rusli, Majar. “The Meaning,Scope and Nature of International Relations.” 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49013482/THE-MEANING-SCOPE-AND-NATURE-OF-INTERNATIONAL-RELATIONS. (accessed 11/03/2013)

    12

    This will lead to the assumption that international relations is permanently in ‘the state of nature’ which is itself ‘a state of war of all against all’24. (Evans and Newnham 1998) The concept of self-help is applied onto states itself, as the world is an anarchical society, only the fittest will survive. As realist argues that man is evil, greedy and self-centered, so does the nature of the state, because states are run and manage by man. 5.0 The scope of IR

    IR to an extent is an interdisciplinary course, relating international politics to economics, history, sociology and other discipline.25 (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012) Political relations among countries cover a wide range of activities includes: diplomacy, war, trade relations, alliances, cultural exchange, and participation in international organization. Scholars term to look at IR in terms of conflict and cooperation in the relationships among the nations. (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012). The scope of the field of IR can be defined by the subfields, according to Goldstein and Pevehouse, these subfields are International Security studies and International Political Economy (IPE).

    Traditionally, the subfield of international security studies has focused on war and peace. The movement of armies and of diplomats, the crafting of treaties and alliances, the development and deployment of military capabilities, these are the subjects that dominated the study of IR in the past, especially during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and they continue to hold a central position to the field.26 (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012).After the Cold war, security phenomena such as regional conflicts and ethnic violence have received more attention, while

    24

    Evans G., Newnham J. The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations, London, Penguin Books, 1998 pg.18-19 Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C. Pevehouse. International Relations (10th Ed.). Pg. 11 26 Ibid. pg12

    25

    13

    interdisciplinary peace studies programs and feminist scholarship have sought to broaden the concept of security further.27 (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012) International Political Economy (IPE), the second subfield of IR that involves tensions amongst a variety of state, market, and societal actors and institutions. (Balaam and Dilman 2011) Normally, IPE is the study the trade and financial relations among nations and focuses how nations have politically to create and maintain institutions that regulate the flow of international economy and financial transactions.

    28

    (Goldstein and Pevehouse 2012)

    According to Balaam and Dilman, there are several central elements of the antecedent fields of study that contribute to IPE. First, IPE includes a political dimension that accounts for the use of power by a variety of actors including individuals, domestic groups, states (acting as single units), international organizations, NGOs and Transnational corporations (TNC). All these actors make decisions about the distribution of tangible things such as taxes or intangible things such as security. In almost all cases, politics also involves the making of rules pertaining to how states and societies achieve their goals.29 (Balaam and Dilman 2011) Second, IPE involves an economic dimension that deals with how scarce resources are distributed among individuals, groups, and nation-states. A variety of
    public and private institutions routinely allocate resources on a day-to-day basis in local markets where people shop.30 (Balaam and Dilman 2011)

    27

    Ibid.
    Ibid.
    29 Balaam, David N., and Bradford Dilman. Introduction to International Political Economy (5thEd.). New York: Pearson, 2011. Pg. 7
    30 Ibid.
    28

    14

    6.0 Conclusion
    In conclusion, International Relations (IR) is a field of political science concerned mainly with explaining political outcomes in international security affairs and international political economy. Starting from 1917, the discipline has been created and it has been through several phases of change. From that change, IR had become multidisciplinary as other fields began to be included into the field. Various theories had been created to explain international events and outcomes. In order the understand IR, we have to know about the roles of states and nonstate actors, the way they interact with each other and also the nature of IR in this world. All the four principles above are important as they provide a framework to explain what is meant by International Relations.

    15

    Bibliography
    Books
    Balaam, David N., and Bradford Dilman. Introduction to International Political Economy (5thEd.). New York: Pearson, 2011.
    Evans, Graham, and Jeffrey Newnham. The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations. London: Penguin Books, 1998.
    Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C. Pevehouse. International Relations (10th Ed.). New York: Pearson, 2012.
    Papp, Daniel S. Contemporary International Relations: Framework for Understanding (6th Ed.). New York: Pearson Longman, 2002.

    E-book
    Devetak, Richard. “An Introduction to International Relations: The Origins and Changing Agendas of a Discipline.” 2012.
    http://assets.cambridge.org/97811076/00003/excerpt/9781107600003_excerpt.pdf.

    Journal

    Ataman, Muhittin. The Impact of Non-State Actors on World Politics: A Challenge to Nation-States.”Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations”, 2003.

    Website
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. International Environment surrounding Japan. 1975. http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/1975/1975-1-1.htm (accessed 11/03/2013). Rusli, Majar. “The Meaning,Scope and Nature of International Relations.” 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49013482/THE-MEANING-SCOPE-AND-NATUREOF-INTERNATIONAL-RELATIONS. (accessed 11/03/2013)

    What does it meant by International Relations. (2016, Dec 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/what-does-it-meant-by-international-relations/

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