Scope and Nature of International Relations

Scope and Nature of International Relations

Scope and Nature of International Relations




Scope and Nature of International Relations
Scope and Nature of International Relations

What is International Relations?

  • “First of all, it covers all intercourses among states and all movements of people, goods and ideas across the national frontiers.”
  • “Secondly, it is a study of all human behaviour that originates on one side of a political boundary and affects the human behaviour on the other side of the boundary.”
  • In addition, the term International Relations has been interpreted in two senses – broader sense & narrow sense.

What is the difference between Narrow Sense and Broad Sense?

  • In the narrow sense, its study is confined to that of the “official relations conducted by the authorised leaders of the state” only.
  • While, in the broad sense, it includes “all intercourses among states, and all movements of the people, goods and ideas across the national frontiers”

What is the nature of study of the International Relations?

The nature of the study of INR has the following striking features –
  • The study of INR is centered around Nation-states,
  • INR is not a well organized discipline,
  • It centers around power approach,
  • Change from Bipolarity to Multi-Polarity & Realism
  • Lastly, International Politics or International Relations




Why the organized discipline not well?

  • Because it lacks a clear-cut conceptual framework and a systematic body of theory.
  • It is heavily dependent on better organized disciplines.
  • But it has a distinctive methodology, distinctive theories & a distinctive subject-matter.

Describe the Change from Bi-polarity to Multi-polarity & Realism?

  • First, Many a conflicts and crisis between the two power blocks led to the creation of a multi polar world from that of a bi-polar world in the later part of the cold war era.
  • Later on the multi-polar world changed into a uni-polar world.
  • International relations operate under any circumstances.
  • What is realism to some is unrealism to others.

What is the difference between International Relations and International Politics?




International Politics:

  • Its area is confined to the study of only political relations among the nation-states
  • It primarily deals with the state-to- state level relations/official relations conducted by the authorised leaders of the state.
  • Therefore, the scope of International politics is narrower & very much limited.
  • Mostly the study of INP employs Descriptive and Analytical Methods.
  • It mainly deals with conflicting, either oppositional or unfriendly relations between the nations.

International Relations:

  • It includes political as well as non-political kind of relations among nations.
  • Apart from the official relations it also includes in its scope the people to people level relations.
  • But INRs has a much wider scope than that of the INP.
  • It uses wider versatile & Scientific methods in its study.
  • Co-operative as well as oppositional & all kinds of relations are included inits scope.

What is the scope of International Relations?

It is a study of the world community in transition. Different writers have defined the scope of INR differently. Broadly speaking the relations between the states can be of three types –
  • Co-operative or friendly,
  • Oppositional or Unfriendly &
  • Indifferent or Neutral kind of relations.
Co-operative relations are non-political in character like e.g. cultural or trade relations between the states. These do not involves any use of force.
Power relationships, these involves conflicts or struggles among groups – demands a considerable either use of force or power.
Indifferent or neutral relations are co-operation of a limited nature.

What are the contents of the International Relations?

1. State System : Nation-states constitutes the basic units of the study of INRs. It is also the study of conflict of interest among sovereign states is the main area of its study.
2. National Power : It is one of the major determinants of international politics today. It is either the ability or capacity of a nation to its goals or national objectives(interests).
3. International Law : which regulates the behavior of the states both in times of war & peace.
4. International Organizations : a forum for co-operation & conflict resolution. E.g. UNO, IMF, IBRD, etc.
5. International Systems : Out-come of the application of systems theory in International Politics. It developed typology of International systems such as Uni-polar, Bi-polar & Multi-polar International systems.
6. Conflict Management & Conflict resolution
7. War & Peace : Its study also covers the problems of war and peace.
8. Ideologies : Rival ideologies and ideological warfare complicated International politics especially during the cold-war era.
9. Nationalism, Colonialism & Imperialism : posing challenges to world peace endangering the cordial relations between the nations.




10. Foreign Policy : these are the external policies of a state which defines the plans actions of a state in its dealings with other states.
11. National Interests : These are the national goals & objectives of a nation-state.
12. Military Strategic Factors : Preparation for and protection against war and also involves security arrangements.
13. Alliances & groupings : NATO, SEATO, CENTO, WARSAW & Regional groups like Arab World, African Countries, Non-Aligned Countries, etc.
14. Arms control & Disarmaments : Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, NPT, CTBT, SALT – I, SALT –II, START – I, START – II etc.
15. Economic Forces: Most of the International problems are economic in nature like international trade & commerce, foreign aid, customs and Tariffs, etc.
16. Diplomacy: It is an important instrument of foreign policy & Diplomatic history is of significance in the study of INR.

What is the importance of the International Relations?

a.) For human survival and progress:

  • It promotes human survival & progress by solving international conflicts amicably.
  • In addition, it also promotes it by cultivating the lessons of goodwill & co-operation between nations.
  • Finally by promoting world peace & world government.

b.) To avoid wars:

  • First, Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
  • Secondly, Wars are highly destructive, instead of solving problems it causes hundred and one problems which has no solution at all.
  • Finally, Through an international agency like UNO can be used to avoid wars and to promote world peace.

c.) To understand he defects of nationalism:

  • Extreme nationalism caused a number of wars.
  • World peace and world government becomes difficult due to this nationalism.
  • The study of INRs helps mankind to devise some solutions to these problems to make this world a better planet to live in.




d.) To study the basic motivations of the nation-states in the world politics:

  • The study of international relations enabled us to understand and analyse the basic motivations and objectives of any state in world affairs and in addition the techniques which it adopts for the attainment of these objectives.
  • In addiMost of the states in reality take any decisions or action based on their national interest.

e.) To achieve International co-operation:

  • Firstly, today no state can lead an isolated life.
  • Also, without international co-operation problems of international society like that of Global Terrorism cannot be solved.
  • Finally, International co-operation is necessary to promote Internationalism & world Government and also world peace.

f.) To know the significance of Internationalism:

  • Its study helps us to understand that international co-existence is more important than National sovereignty, so as to achieve the welfare of all nations in the international society.
  • In fact, internationalism creates a feeling of oneness among the people of all nations in the world.

g.)To understand the significance of Collective Security & Disarmament:

These are the methods for achieving world peace, forming part of the study of INR.
  • Collective Security is based on the principle of “Each for all and All for each.”
  • Disarmament is the reduction or elimination of certain or all armaments for the purpose of ending armament race.




h.) To understand world public opinion:

As a result, no statesman or leader can ignore world public opinion in their dealings with other states.

i.) Goal of attaining a better world:

  • Firstly, it is an intellectual discipline which will make the people more intelligent, more vigilant, more co-operative and tolerant.
  • Its study will make everyone of us a better citizen and also pave the way for a better world and a peaceful one.
  • In conclusion, Human civilization on earth can be saved by its study alone.

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