Studying International Relations

StudyingInternational Relations

StudyingInternational Relations

  1. What it means to study International Relations

Theterms international relations underline the study of the manner inwhich governments are related to each other, as well as the rolesthat inter-governmental organizations, sovereign states,non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations,international non-governmental organization play in the internationalarena. This study revolves around public policy and academic fields,where an analysis and formulation of a particular state’s foreignpolicy is carried out. In essence, the study of internationalrelations encompasses the analysis of the manners in which the rolesof sovereign states and international players shapes domestic andforeign policies of a particular state,.

  1. Differences between realism and liberalism

Realismunderlines the notion that anarchy is an international system’sdefined condition and that statecraft and foreign policy, as aconsequence, is primarily devoted to safeguarding the survival of thenation, as well as the pursuit of national interests. In essence,realism fundamentally revolves around states and their actions withinthe international system under the pressure of competitiveself-interest. It underlines the notion that sub-state, trans-stateactors and international organizations have little capabilities whencompared to states as unitary actors that are seeking their owninterests.

Liberalism,on the other hand, underlines the notion that states would amasspower through increased collaboration and cooperation with otherinternational entities. It states that there has been a shift ofpower definition in the contemporary human society from militarycapabilities to economic status, a shift that has established thenecessity for enhanced linkage and cooperation1.Liberalism states that it is possible for international institutionsto be manipulated so as to enhance the likelihood of peace throughincreased interaction of states.

  1. Characteristics of a state

Thereare four features that make an entity identifiable as a state. First,it must be having a population. Of particular note is that thepopulation size or composition is not considered when determining theexistence of a state. Second, states must have territories, which areknown and acknowledged or recognized boundaries. Third, states arecharacterized by sovereignty where they have the capacity to decidetheir own domestic and foreign policies and be neither responsiblenor subordinate to another country or entity2.It is well noted that sovereignty is the distinguishing factorbetween states and all other lesser political units. Indeed, statesthat are within the United States are not considered sovereign, inwhich case it is imperative that the location of the sovereignty isdetermined. Lastly, states must have governments, which are made upof personnel, machinery and structures through which the states areruled3.In essence, the government must have the capacity to exercise itspower and authority over the state and its subjects.

  1. Meaning of “unipolar”, “bipolar”, “tripolar” and “multipolar”.

Thedistribution of power in the international system is categorized inthese four groups. A unipolar system is the power distribution whereone state has the overall or most economic, cultural and militaryinfluence. Bipolarity, on the other hand, has cultural, military andeconomic influence in the regional and international sphere vested ontwo states. Tripolar systems is a rare power distribution systemwhere there states equally share world power4.Multipolar systems are characterized by more than two nation stateshaving nearly equal magnitudes of economic, military and culturalinfluence.

  1. Constructivist theory in Pakistan and United States relations

Constructivismrefers to the claim that considerable elements of internationalrelations are socially and historically constructed and notinevitable consequences pertaining to human nature or any othercrucial features of world politics. The relations between Pakistaniand United States have been considerably feisty5.However, these relations did not happen by chance rather they are theproduct of poor governance and militancy in Pakistan.


Brown,Chris.&nbspUnderstandingInternational Relations.Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.

Dunne,Tim, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith.&nbspInternationalRelations Theories: Discipline and Diversity.Oxford [etc.]: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Reus-Smit,Christian, and Duncan Snidal.&nbspTheOxford Handbook of International Relations.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

1 Brown, Chris.&nbspUnderstanding International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.

2 Dunne, Tim, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith.&nbspInternational Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. Oxford [etc.]: Oxford University Press, 2013.

3 Brown, Chris.&nbspUnderstanding International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.

4 Reus-Smit, Christian, and Duncan Snidal.&nbspThe Oxford Handbook of International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

5 Reus-Smit, Christian, and Duncan Snidal.&nbspThe Oxford Handbook of International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.