Brief Introduction of International Relations
International relations refers to the collective interactions of the international community, which includes individual nations and states, inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, non-governmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders, multinational corporations, and so forth.
International relation is a very broad concept. In modern usage it includes not only relations between states but also between states and non-state organizations such as churches, humanitarian relief organizations and multinational corporations, and between states and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the UN and the EU.
The concept of international relations on some level is probably quite old, given that humans have been establishing governments and communicating with each other for thousands of years. However, many people agree that international relations truly began to emerge around the 15th century, when people started exploring the world and interacting with other governments and cultures. Organizations like the Dutch East India company were among the first multinational corporations, for example, while representatives of various European governments met with foreign governments to establish trade agreements and to discuss issues of mutual concern.
The scope of IR should include study of "varied types of groups-nations, states, governments, peoples, regions, alliances, confederations, international organizations, even industrial organizations, cultural organizations, religious organization" etc. which are involved in the conduct of these relations.
One of the earlier scholars of international relations, Professor Alfred Zimmern had written before the Second World War that : "International Relations . . . . . is clearly not a subject in the ordinary sense of the word. It does not provide a single coherent body of teaching material . . .. . It is not a single subject but a bundle of subjects . . . . . of law, economics, political science, geography, and so on . . . . . "
Why Study IR?
International Relations (IR), is closely related with several disciplines. These include History, Political Science, Law, Economics, and Geography. What is the utility of the study of IR as a separate subject'? You know that no country in the World can live in isolation. Even when means of transportation and communication were primitive or much less developed than today, sovereign states did interact with each other. They cooperated at times, and had frequent conflicts which often led to wars. Relations among those states were generally studied by Historians and Political Scientists. Diplomatic History was usually studied for understanding relations among sovereign states.
We are today living in an interdependent state - system. It is essential for all of us to have a clear idea of what is happening in the world. Political events are important, but even economic developments, trade, commerce and activities of actors like multinational corporations are no less significant. We live in an age of growing international cooperation. Therefore, not only do the activities of the United Nations and its numerous agencies affect all the nations and their peoples, but regional organisations like the European Union, South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ' Organisation of African Unity (OAU) also play important roles in our lives. International terrorism has been a concern for the humankind and economic institutions like the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) affect international relations. The study of International Relations has therefore become highly useful and enlightening for students and others alike.
Scope of International Relations
Beginning with the study of law and diplomatic history, the scope of international relations has steadily expanded. With growing...
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