International Relations is a branch of political science. The core research fields of International Relations includes political phenomena, for instance, integration and cooperation, international organizations, war and peace. Furthermore, International Relations are also relevant to various other fields, including economics, law, sociology, psychology, philosophy and geography – International Relations can be deemed as a cross-border subject (Klabbers, 2015). The topics of International Relation can be Globalization – which is the current and global trend, Nuclear Crises, Territorial Disputes, Nationalism and Terrorism, and, most importantly, human rights (Klabbers, 2015). In this course, the sovereign countries and the international organizations are the subjects of international relations research. This essay will be about International Relations and Modern Politics, Foreign Policy and British Politics, Conflict & Force and US political structure, Law & International Organization and Russian Politics, Trade and Chinese Politics.
International Relations and Modern Politics
International Relations involves the reality including people, choices, current development and the current situation. It is not an abstract matter, it is concrete – actors involved in the world are connected together and form a relationship. Also, according to the theory of “the three world views”, there are 3 possible views of how to intend International Relations: Liberal, Conservative and Revolutionary (stands for evolution, reservation and overthrow of ‘status quo’). The potential research topics range from the use of diplomacy, internal & external policies and the management of the ‘status quo’. In addition to this, there are also four levels of analysis which are Global Level, Interstate Level, Domestic Level and Individual Level (Klabbers, 2015). Four major actors – UK, USA, Russia and China will be discussed later on as representatives in the world.
Foreign Policy and British Politics
On international affairs, the government adopts certain foreign policies to guide their actions, in which foreign policy development is also a process of decision making. When talking about decision making, rational actor model, organizational process model and government bargaining or bureaucratic model will be considered (Kissinger, 2019). In order to generate the appropriate foreign policy, the officers of the state need to collect the precise and correct information. Additionally, their decisions should not be influenced by biases – affective bias and cognitive bias – and just driven by politics. The different political ideology (such as Capitalism, Communism, Socialism and Liberalism) is also a factor to cause different foreign policies.
Taking UK as a constitutional monarchy representative, the UK parliament takes an important role in UK politics. Although being the queen the Head of State, with the reason that the UK is a democratic country, therefore the Head of an elected government is the prime minister (Evans and Menon, 2017).
Conflict, Force and US political structure
Conflict is also a common global phenomenon, which is a difference in preferred outcomes in a bargaining situation. Either humanitarian reasons, financial impact, destruction of culture or the allocation of resources to inappropriate areas can cause conflicts. In addition, there are some types of conflicts, including territorial border disputes and economic conflicts over trade or natural resources. In history, especially for the past century, wars have been a main way to resolve conflicts. However, nowadays, compared to ‘hot wars’ based on weapons, ‘cold wars’ are preferred by most states. For instance, economic sanctions and political pressure (Haggard and Kaufman, 2018).
As an example of constitution-based federal republic, the constitution of the USA defines three main principles, which are ‘Inherent rights of anyone living in the United States’, ‘Government by the people’ and the fact that constitutional principles are applied by three main branches: Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch (Gilpin, 2016). The constitution tries its best to provide as much democracy as possible to people.
Law, International Organization and Russian Politics
Some international organizations are essential in order to maintain the order of the global activities. One of the most influential organizations in the world are the United Nations (the UN), which confronts common challenges, manage shared possibilities while work with other 193 member states jointly (Klabbers, 2015). Another example of a supranational organization, is the European Union (the EU). Through customs and treaties, the international law can be formed from the norms of behaviors as the initial state.
As an example of a federation, Russian politics structure changed a lot during the past 30 years, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After that, on the autumn of 1993, the president of Russian at that time dissolved the parliament and then forced democratic elections (Biryukov and Sergeyev, 2018). Currently, Russia consists of 21 republics, that form a federation, that takes Moscow as the capital. Also, Russia has several important parties, such as United Russia, Communist Party of the Russian Federation, A Just Russia and Liberal Democratic Party (Biryukov and Sergeyev, 2018).
Trade and Chinese Politics
It is essential for states to develop trade links, which can take various benefits including but not limiting to get strengthen ties with key partners, provide a generation of income and surplus and provide work opportunities and a better quality of life for the state’s population (Gilpin, 2016). By dividing international trade theory into two main parts, Mercantilism and Liberalism, the behavior in the trade will be different. Additionally, in a trade, it is not easy to find a balance point that will benefit both actors. For Mercantilism, each’s own interests in trade will be protected by the states at the expense of others, it will concern more with the relative distribution; for Liberalism, states can benefit based on economic exchange by building norms, institutions and international organizations, meanwhile it will concern more with the joint benefits. Most importantly, by massive increasing trade and culture exchange, Globalization is also a significant process and phenomenon.
China is one of the few classical communist states in the world. Mainland China is currently governed by Chinese Communist Party, while Hong Kong and Macau enjoy of autonomy from China, in some degree. However, China is till considered as a single party socialist republic. From People’s Congress Members to National People’s Congress, through Regional People’s Congress, the levels of control and election in China are developed vividly (Li, 2016). It is also worth mentioning that the largest standing army globally is the People Liberation Army, in China.
From the lessons, the 3 week’s program, a lot of fundamental and trend topics in International Relations field had been discussed. We talked about the modern politics, foreign policy, conflicts, force, law, international organizations and trade. In addition to this, some major actors in the world were analyzed in detail: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. Overall, personally, it was a fruitful program.
Baylis, J., Smith, S., and Owens, P. (Eds.). (2017). The globalization of world politics: An introduction to international relations. Oxford University Press.
Biryukov, N. and Sergeyev, V. (2018). Russian Politics in Transition. Routledge.
Evans, G. and Menon, A. (2017). Brexit and British politics. John Wiley & Sons.
Gilpin, R. (2016). The political economy of international relations. Princeton University Press.
Haggard, S. and Kaufman, R. R. (Eds.). (2018). The politics of economic adjustment: international constraints, distributive conflicts and the state. Princeton University Press.
Kissinger, H. A. (2019). Nuclear weapons and foreign policy. Routledge.
Klabbers, J. (2015). An introduction to international organizations law. Cambridge University Press.
Li, C. (2016). Chinese politics in the Xi Jinping era: Reassessing collective leadership. Brookings Institution Press.