Concept of International Relations

International Relation is an old discipline as State, but its study as a separate discipline is of recent origin. The North Americans and the East Europeans began it after the First World War. It is a subject, which is very and identically near with International Politics, History as well as in some cases Economics too. It is studied in most of the Indian Universities as a part of political science and yet to receive the status of a separate academic discipline. A student of International Relations have to study not only what happened in the recent past, but also what is happening in the present and does so from a wider angle with the various factors of the particular relations and future impact on relationship.

International Relations, the study and practice of political relationships among the world’s nations, especially their governments. International relations may also refer to the interactions between nongovernmental groups, such as multinational corporations (companies that operate in more than one country) or international organizations such as the Red Cross or the United Nations (UN).

International relations is a broad and complex topic both for countries engaged in relationships with other nations, and for observers trying to understand those interactions. These relationships are influenced by many variables. They are shaped by the primary participants in international relations, including national leaders, other politicians, and nongovernmental participants, such as private citizens, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations. They are also affected by domestic political events and nonpolitical influences, including economics, geography, and culture. Despite all of these other influences, the primary focus of international relations is on the interactions between nations.

To understand these interactions, scholars look at the world as a system of nations whose actions are guided by a well-defined set of rules. Scholars call this system the interstate system. The interstate system has existed for less than 500 years and is based on a common understanding of what a nation is and how it should treat other nations. But recent changes in technology and international norms have caused some scholars to question whether this system will continue in the future, or be replaced by some other system of relationships that is not yet known.

Until the 1970s the study of international relations centered mainly on international security studies—that is, questions of war and peace. Scholars believed a nation’s military power was the most important characteristic in determining how that nation would relate to others. As a result, scholars focused on the relative military strength of one nation compared to others, alliances and diplomacy between nations, and the strategies nations used to protect their territories and further their own interests.

Since the 1970s the importance of economics in international relations has grown and the study of international political economy has received increased attention. Scholars in this field believe that the primary force driving the interaction between nations is economic, not military. They focus on trade and economic relations among nations, especially the political cooperation between nations to create and maintain international organizations which benefit all nations involved, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

In both security studies and international political economy, scholars strive to explain patterns of conflict and cooperation among nations. Conflicts among nations are inevitable since their political and economic aims and interests often diverge. Cooperation does not refer to the absence of conflict but to the ability of nations to peacefully resolve their differences in a way that is acceptable to all parties involved. When cooperation fails, conflicts often escalate into coercion and ultimately war.

  1. b) International Politics and International Relations:

International Politics and International Relation are very often used in the same way both by layman and scholars. International politics is much narrower in its scope than international relations. International Politics deals mainly with the “official” actions of the government, being much narrower in scope. International politics describe the official political relation between government acting on behalf of their states but no doubt that it is the core of International Relations.

International Relation deals with not only the political relation of state but also deals with non-political relation of state as well as various international organizations. It is a study of changing relationship between world communities in terms of state, international organization, tribes, religious groups and other kind of groups. International Relations include interactions among the states, non-state associations and international organizations and the details of these relations may be political, even non-political like; social, economic, humanitarian etc.

International Relations is a creation of the International Politics, which includes all type of relations with one another, whether harmonious or conflicting, peaceful or war-like, civilian or military, economic and others. Because of that international Relations becomes “inter-state relations” along with relations of state with other international independent entity (like UN, NATO, European Union, Red Cross etc) which has the semi-or partially sovereignty.

The term ‘International Relations’ incorporate the vast and multicolored phenomena composed of international conference, the comings and goings of diplomats, the signing of treaties, the deployment of military forces, and flow of international trade as well as burning issues of  migrant worker, asylum seekers etc.

The term international relations have been used by scholars in two different senses, narrow and broad. In the narrow sense it is taken as the study of ‘official relations conducted by authorized leaders of the state’. These scholars have tried to exclude relations between businessmen, scientists, etc. of various states from the purview of international relations. In the wider or broader sense the term international relations includes ‘all intercourse among states and movements of people, goods and ideas across national boundary.’