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What Is The Point Of Studying International Relations Theoretically? Essay

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2019

Many tertiary education level institutions having international relations as part of their syllabuses for business students; some institutions have the unit as a whole study subject.

The reason what the subject has improved in relevance is after considering the prevailing business environment; contemporary business environment is dominated by international trade, globalisation, and international corporations. To produce competitive graduated, tertiary institutions has adopted the topic in their syllabuses.

An international society can be explained to mean a group of autonomous states that have not only formed a system that ensures that the behaviour of each state is considered by others, but have also established a common dialogical agreement that ensures that the conduct of the members is governed by common rules and institutions.

The states also acknowledge their common roles in sustaining these arrangements. The concept of international society has four views of departure. First, the international society cannot be comprehended as anarchy.

Secondly, international relations should not be conceptualized as simply a direct swapping of domestic phenomena regarding the government and order, instead, the main concern of the scholarly research should be on the idea of a society comprising independent states and the observation of order within it, based on unique instruments rather than domestic ones.

This non-consideration of the domestic perspective enables one to appreciate a broader view of governance systems than those related to authority and enforcement that is based at one point.

The third fundamental point is that looking at it in terms of the society does not mean that associations among the states are necessarily peaceful, and stable. The question is whether and to what limits the conflicts take place against the framework of common institutions.

Whether agreement on vital issues exists or not, it does not depend on the number or degree of these conflicts, but rather on what is fuelling these conflicts, and if they are occurring within the context of agreed regulations. Therefore, to concur with the aspect of a common structure of rules and social practices does not mean that conflicts and power do not play a major role in relations among many nations.

Social practices are vital in the understanding of how the balance of power operates, and the dynamic nature of war. It is in this same vein that they help in understanding the morality or law that governs relationships among nations. Therefore, international society does not result, as is normally misconceived to a simple liberal aspect that is concerned with the enforcement of law and morality.

The last view of departure was that a plausibly harmonious international society had historically originated from the classical European state system. The basic duty was therefore to comprehend the past aspects upon which the theory and practice of international order was based.

The uniqueness of the contemporary international society is historically exceptional and can only be conceptualized through a collection of experience right from the Renaissance times. Getting these historical basics required that theorists of international society get to comprehend both order and cooperation, with respect to how legal and moral norms function.

The international society rests on three components: power, common interests, and common values. Power is imperative in the institutions of the international society. These institutions entail the equilibrium of power, the duty of great powers, and the way in which this should be managed, as well as the organization of power.

Actually, there is a crucial way in which the balance of power remains the most critical basis. Without it and without firm understanding between the great powers and on how they should conduct relations affecting them all, then the crucial components of international relations such as law, organizations and shared values will not be attainable.

One of the most essential propositions about our contemporary experience of international relations is that, the ability of independent states to exist together implies the existence of a balanced aspect of power in the sense of the way power is spread so that no single state is more powerful than others are. Therefore, international order is a reflection of common interests

States show cooperation due to the fact that, despite differences in their values and controversies in their power relations, they are able to see the possibility of benefiting from forming a framework that enables them have a common ground in numerous aspects.

The international society is defined by its shared regulations, norms, and institutions. In the contemporary international society, the aspect that sticks states together is the Westphalian ideology of independence, territorial integrity and the principle of non-intervention.

In the international society, states acknowledge the common need to maintain these social arrangements. Moreover, the structure of an international society is of a hierarchical order, founded on western supremacy. For example, the unchanging position of Africa in the global division of labour since independence shows that the international society is of a hierarchical makeup

What Do Neo-Realist Explanations Of International Politics Emphasise?

From the standpoint of Neo-Realist, states are the sole barriers of rights and responsibilities within a law that is governing many nations; however, states consent only on some low principles like common recognition of independence and non-intervention. They have different perspectives of justice, their cumulative desire for order results to the creation of some fundamental rules.

The solidarity’s standpoint places a major emphasis on the implementation of international law. Since the international society ultimately comprises of individuals, a right and obligation to charitable involvement exists, that the pluralists will not be ready to admit.

Engaged in the concept of international society, we find the appreciation that states have legal duties that are implementable. However, the use of force is justifiable by the international society, even though the connection has been in a frequent changing association to the moral and lawful order.

The international society concept therefore unfolds an apprehension on this question. This, nevertheless, could be perceived as a fruitful system for dealing with interesting issues like humanitarian intervention.

Bull criticizes solitaries and defends pluralism for two reasons. He claims solitaries create a sense of false solidarity that may undermine the international society instead of strengthening it.

Second, is moral skepticism due to multiplicity of moral perspectives by various nations thus hard to find a common morality between nations as implied by the solidarism perspective. Later, Bull grew disillusioned with the pluralism because it failed to provide or bring order among nations hence could not provide order in the international or wider society.

In purposive associations, states work together to enhance joint relations such as commerce and shared security while in practical associations, states are defined by shared rules. Whereas the latter is argued to carry obligations, the former has the authority and rules pegged on the resulting benefits; and the connection represented by norms can place a set of laws and obligations as binding as such.

The practical association is in some way compatible with pluralism, but the purposive association requires the uniformity of its members that cannot be achieved or pleasant. Those who criticize this line of thought normally emphasize on the impartiality and totality that has to be attributed to the basic traditions of international society such as independence, non-interference and the European form of state.

This perspective can further be demarcated in two different ways. First, being the connection between states and the actions they engage in together with persons who attempt to engage in politics with one another. Even though the state as a system can be conceptualized in its own terms, it is often intertwined with politics at some other points.

Therefore, politics and morality that is people oriented create unique dynamics compared to politics that are within the state system. The politics within the state system does not only pose a threat to the organization international society, but also promises to provide a stronger political and social structure to the international society.

What Does Marxism Say About The Consequences Of Globalisation Internationally

According to Marxism a key element in globalization is growth and strengthening of international trade also referred to as world trade. This is facilitated by the elimination of barriers to trade such as tariffs. International trade is the exchange of goods, services or/and capital between different countries.

It has been in existence many years ago although much of its significance has been recognized recently. It has continually strengthened economically, politically and socially with many countries participation.

International trade plays a very important role in ensuring continuity of globalization. It has benefited nations with variety of options to choose from which they would not have accessed without it.

Barriers exist which put restriction to international trade. These trade barriers are governmental policies, fiscal and physical barrier. The government may impose restrictions which burrs the importation or exportation of goods or services from certain countries.

On the other hand there are trade regulations defined in different nations which restrict trade with specific goods and services. It may also open its borders to facilitate trade. A recent case is East Africa Community (E.A.C.) which started operation on July 1st 2010.

It has five members, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. Trade barriers take many forms including but not limited to import licenses, quotas, subsidies, tariffs and non tariffs barriers, and embargoes. Most of the trade barriers use the same principle; they impose some cost on trade so as to raise the prices of the goods in question.

Why Is One Theory Of International Relations Insufficient

First, a vivid comprehension of the contemporary international society requires a clear departure from some of the old concepts that blur its meaning.

Secondly, in a situation where modern states find it difficult to coexist, they should learn to embrace common interests, power and shared values that should govern them. Thirdly, international conflict does not originate from international society if the latter has reciprocities mechanisms among its members, which glues them together.

The international society should be strengthened to increase international cooperation which will help to protect the global environment and lead to increased security via alliances. The cooperation will also help to bring about international financial security and stability.

More importantly, the international society should try and bring more states on board so that some states do not feel as the ‘other’ in the international arena. This can be done through tolerance and understanding of the different cultures because each state has its own unique culture and then the countries can cooperate on a larger scale.

What Does The English School Believe Is Missing From Realist Accounts Of International Politics

The English School Believe does not necessarily refer to chaos in this context, but rather, to the absence of world government or generally political authority above or amid nation states. Anarchy therefore simply connotes absence of a world government.

Structural realists view anarchy in this vein as the core aspect of the international system; it is what differentiates local from international politics. Without the existence of a global government to implement international tranquillity, states dwell in a state of anxiety without there being dependence on each other for defence.

They will tend to overestimate the security machinery of others and will tend to take initiatives to beef up their own security systems such as investing more in their military expenses. An example is the recent strain on U.S – Iran ties concerning the latter’s development of nuclear weaponry.

This leads to a security dilemma where states attempts to buttress their security systems, raising tension among their counterparts who see their own defence thwarted by those attempts. They then respond by improving their own defense mechanisms. The outcome in accordance to the supporters of offensive realism is unavoidable conflict.

Other theorists tend to dispute this by asserting that, a security dilemma is avoidable and that in the absence of a world government, states may deem it fit to embrace the advantages of mutual aid as much of as of conflict. Anarchy, explained in the context of lack of government may not mean total disorder.

It is not very different from the existence of an international society that are autonomous and yet governed by shared regulations and institutions. Their existence is possible without there being any government to ensure that law and order has been adhered to.

The existence of an international society with its own values and institutions influences the behaviour of states in the same way that the absence of a global government does. This raises doubt as to whether anarchy should be accorded the significance granted it by the realist theories.

It is just among many other factors that affect behaviour of states. The international law operates within the anarchical order through a non-coercive order. Hedley Bull says that the function of the international law is to identify as the highest principle in the mankind political organization where the idea of sovereign state operates.

It therefore means that the state is the main player in international law and consent is established via sources of law in accordance to the states responsibility towards the international society.

The second function is stating the rules of coexistence which prescribe the treaty rules, when to use force and defines rules that relate to independence and sovereignty of states. Third, the international law helps to mobilize the states to compliance with the rules.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "What Is The Point Of Studying International Relations Theoretically?" March 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-the-point-of-studying-international-relations-theoretically/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'What Is The Point Of Studying International Relations Theoretically'. 29 March.

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