Understanding International Relations

Topics: International relations, International relations theory, Rational choice theory Pages: 4 (1411 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Defining International Relations
State-centric: It is the study of the relations of states, understood in diplomatic, military and strategic terms. The relevant unit is the state, not the nation. Sovereignty is the key feature. Due to international developments, we may weaken the assumption that external policy of the state is based on security. But states remain dominant in IR. Globalization theorists focus on it rather than the states. We live in a ‘borderless world’ (Ohmae 1990). Development of IR Theory in the 20th Century

Liberal Internationalism: After the end of WW1, British and American thinkers shaped the IR thinking. They adapted broadly liberal political principles to the management of the international system. Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points were under these. The theory was that in domestic politics, people didn’t want to go to war; war came because people are led into it by militarists and autocrats, or because their legitimate aspiration to nationhood were blocked by undemocratic, multinational, imperial systems. The solution is to promote democratic political systems, i.e. liberal-democratic, constitutional regimes, and the principle of national self-determination. The rationale is that if all regimes were national and liberal democratic, there would be no war. These theorists also criticise pre-1914 international institutional structures. Thus League of Nations was formed, as an opposition to the balance of power system. Collective security was pursued. They were liberal because of the rule of law and the assumption of the underlying harmony of interests. Criticism: Nazi regime and popular view towards war was a blow to the theory. LoN wanted to solve everything by war, but law had to be maintained by war. Liberals wildly exaggerated the capacity of collectivities of human to behave in ways that were truly moral (Niebuhr 1932). Carr criticised liberal internationalism to make realism. The influential book was ‘The Twenty Years Crisis’ (1939). His...
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