International Relations

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Submitted by: L.S.Kaveisthaa


International Relations is the field of study, which concerns the relationships among the governments of the nations states. International Relations concerns people and cultures around the world. This is a vast subject area, which is an articulation of other actors such as, international organizations, multinational organizations and individuals, of other social structures as economics, culture, domestic politics etc, and with geographical and historical influences. The historical background which has brought up International Relations as such a vital unit of the political practice in current global arena is discussed in this assignment.

The fundamental structure, principles and concepts of International Relations which are still in use, genuinely embedded from the historical developments. The current international practice is a result of a particular civilization – Western civilization, which was centered in Europe. It was developed in the European states 300 to 500 years ago was transferred to the rest of the world. Not only the Europe was groundwork for the development of International Relations, but also the other civilizations too had an influence on its development. European civilization developed from origins in the Mediterranean, Egypt, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and in particular Greece. Classical period of Greek city states around 400 B.C. is given priority in the field of International Relations, because it demonstrated some of the basic principles of interstate power politics. During that period states were carrying out complicated trade dealings and warfare with almost all of the nations, from the Mediterranean through India to East Asia. Also these Greek city states first used warfare as a tool power politics. This was clearly defined in the classic work, The Art of War by SunTzu. By about 800 A.D. China under the Tang rule was an advanced civilization, but it was independent of Western influence. Japan also had a great influence of Chine where they were too isolated from the Western influence under Tokugawa shogunate for so many centuries, which came to a conclusion after 1850 when the Meiji restoration began Japanese industrialization and international trade. The Arab empire of A.D. 600 to 1200 plays an important role in the International Relations of the Middle East. Europe began its world dominance about 1500, after the renaissance (when the Greek and Roman classics were rediscovered). The Italian city states of the time also found again the rules of interstate power politics, as explained by a consultant to Renaissance princes named Niccolò Machiavelli. Feudal units started to unite into large territorial nation states under single dictatorial rulers (monarchs). The European monarchs, after the military revolution, put cannons on sailing ships and started to invent the world. The development of international systems, of imperialism (the acquisition of colonies by conquest or otherwise), of trade and war were all gathered speed by the Industrial Revolution after around 1750.Later on the regions which were dominated by Europe got independence. It came earlier in the Americas (in 1800). In the 16th century the Imperialists brought slaves in Africa and shipped them to Mexico and Brazil to do the gold and silver mining work. The wealth produced was exported to Europe, where monarchs used it to buy armies and build states.

The great power system:
The modern international system basically evolved from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, where the modern states system developed, which established the principles of independent, sovereign states that continue to shape the international system today. Before this, the European medieval organization of political authority was based on a vaguely hierarchical religious order. Westphalia instituted the legal concept of sovereignty, which essentially meant that...
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