This book is designed to be a ‘Day 0' introduction to International Relations. As a beginner's guide, it has been structured to condense the most important information into the smallest space and present that information in the most accessible way. The chapters offer a broad sweep of the basic components of International Relations and the key contemporary issues that concern the discipline.
- When military theorist Carl von Clausewitz remarked in the early 1800s that war was the continuation of policy by other means, he sought to normalise the idea of war in modern politics. But, his words also indicated that actions short of war are available to help states achieve their objectives. These are typically the actions of diplomats. And, their work is often far less expensive, far more effective and much more predictable a strategy than war.
- Global political economy is a field of study that deals with the interaction between political and economic forces. At its centre have always been questions of human welfare and how these might be related to state behaviour and corporate interests in different parts of the world. Despite this, major approaches in the field have often focused more on the international system perspective.
- It an impossibly complicated task to study religion and culture at the global level? Fortunately, the answer is ‘no’, for we can recognize and respect complexity without being confused about what we mean by each term. In this chapter, we will explore why thinking about religious and cultural factors in global affairs is as integral as the other issues we have covered thus far.
- Poverty and wealth are often found side by side. They are two dimensions in our world that are interrelated because they affect each other and influence both the willingness and capacity of states to ensure a stable global system. Traditional approaches to IR are premised on the notion of state sovereignty. But, sovereignty as an absolute concept that reinforces separation between states has been tempered through the many processes of globalization.
- The people referred to in this chapter are those citizens who want more say in what their rulers do and are not content with current political arrangements – even in the context of an existing democracy. Popular protests have been an issue in international relations for a very long time. Popular movements are not only growing in frequency but also in importance due to how they shape international relations.
- As had been explored in previous chapters, globalisation has brought with it not only unprecedented opportunities and progress in human development but also greater risks. Events in one economy can quickly spiral to others and the same can be said of social, cultural and political events. One theme that we have not explored in detail is how terrorism has evolved in the era of globalisation.
- A standard dictionary definition of international relations runs that the term ‘is used to identify all interactions between state-based actors across state boundaries’ (Evans and about the future or fearful for one’s family. So we ought to require, perhaps, that a definition does something more than simply demarcate boundaries. A more reflective gaze points to what it is that we, the prospective student or emeritus professor, actually do when we ‘do’ academic IR and why it matters to us.