Monday, November 2, 2009

Historical Evolution and Significance of International Relations

The term ‘International’ was used for the first time by Jeremy Benthun in the later part of the eighteenth century with regard to the laws of nations consequently by the term international relations was to define the official relations between sovereign states. However some scholars even included the economic, social and cultural relations amongst the state also within purview of the subject. Thus there are broadly two views * regarding the meaning of international relation. Those who take narrow view assert that international relations include only “the official relations conducted by the authorised leaders of the state”. To them the relations between nations, other than the official relations such as trade, financial intercourse, missionary activities, travel of students, cultured relations etc do not fall in the domain of international relations. Prof. Dunn taken a narrow view of internationals boundaries or as the body of knowledge with we have of those relations at any given time.

Scope of International Relations:

The scope of international relations has greatly expanded in modern time. Initially international relations was concerned only with the study of diplomatic history. It concentrated on the study of contemporary foreign affairs with a view to draw certain lessons. Later on emphasis began to be laid on the study of international law and international relations began to be studied with in the form work of international law. The field of the study of international relations was further widened with the establishment of the league of nations after the First World War (1914 – 18) and the study of international organizations and institution was also included within its purview.

Scope: The scope of international relations in the post World War II period got further widened due to significant change which took place viz. the emergence of USA and USSR as two super powers, the entry of large number of non-European states into the society of nations, the danger of thermon clear war, increasing inter dependence of states and rising expectations of the of the people in the under developed world, etc greater emphasis began to be place on scientific study of international relations which led to development of new methorlogies and introduction for new theories in the study of international relations. The scholars began to study of the military policy of country as well as the behaviour of political leaders. More emphasis began to be laid on area studies. In the post World War II period the state ceased to be the sale factor in the study of international relations and more importance began to be attached to the indicidual and other corporate factors. Thus at present the scope of international relations is quite extensive and it embraces the study of diplomatic history, international politics international organisation and administration international law, area studies as well as psychological study of the motives of member states in their mutual relations.

As a academic discipline:

In the present day inter-dependent world the study of international relations has great significance. It enable us to understand the basic motives underlying the policies of various countries as the international sphere and the reasons which contribute to their ultimate success or failure. The study also enable us to have an insight in to the problems facing the world and to face them boldly and confidently.

The study of international relations is also helpful in bringing home the point that narrow inter nationalism is the bane of humanity and poses a serious, threat to world peace. It teaches us that so long the various nations try to view the problem subjectively and give precedence to national interest over all other considerations, conflicts are bound to arise. If world peace is genuinely desired an objective out look is highly necessary.

Thirdly, the study of international relations demonstrate that the traditional concept of national sovereignty has become out model in modern times and needs modifications. No state in modern times can claim full authorities to act as it likes and has to operate within several constraints inherent in the present inter national order. The acceptance of the principles of collective security and disarmament is a clear indication of this change.

Finally, the study of international relations as greatly contribute to the strengthening of feeling among the member states that they must try to conduct their relations along peaceful times and acid military pacts and alliances. In other world they have come to realise that they must avoid police of confrontation and adopt policy of co-operation and co-existence. This change in attitude is likely to go a long way in promoting feeling of universal brother hood and elimination of war.

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