International Politics: Concepts, Theories and Issues


Edited by: Rumki Basu

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part A: Concepts

    Part B: Theories

    Part C: Issues

    Part D: India's Foreign Policy and Bilateral Relations

  • Copyright

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    Dedicated to our students in the Department of Political Science Jamia Millia Islamia


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    List of Boxes

    • 3.1 India's Cultural Diplomacy 80
    • 3.2 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961: Diplomatic Bag 84
    • 4.1 Neocolonialism 105
    • 4.2 Pan-African and Non-aligned Movements 105
    • 12.1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 318
    • 12.2 2005 World Summit Outcome 331
    • 13.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Abbreviated), Adopted in 1948 340
    • 13.2 UN Human Rights Instruments: Some Landmarks 342
    • 14.1 Two Important Summits in 2012 371
    • 16.1 Group of Eight (G-8) 406
    • 16.2 Group of Twenty (G-20) 407
    • 16.3 What Is Human Security? 416

    List of Abbreviations

    AAPCAll-African Peoples’ Conference
    ABM SystemAnti-Ballistic Missile System
    ACABQAdvisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
    APECAsia Pacific Economic Cooperation
    ASEANAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations
    ASEMAsia Europe Meeting
    ATTArms Trade Treaty
    BASICBrazil–South Africa–India–China bloc
    BIMSTECBay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
    BISBureau of Indian Standards
    BRICBrazil, Russia, India, China
    CBMsConfidence-Building Measures
    CEBChief Executive Board
    CHRCommission on Human Rights
    CIS countriesCommonwealth of Independent States
    CPCCommittee for Programme and Co-ordination
    CSDCommission for Sustainable Development
    CTBTComprehensive Test Ban Treaty
    CTCCounter-Terrorism Committee
    CTEDCounter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate
    DGMOsDirectors General of Military Operations
    DMFASDebt Management and Financial Analysis System
    ECAEconomic Commission for Africa
    ECEEconomic Commission for Europe
    ECHREuropean Court of Human Rights
    ECLACEconomic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
    ECOSOCEconomic and Social Council
    EPRLFEelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front
    EPTAExpanded Program of Technical Assistance
    ESCAPEconomic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
    ESCWAEconomic and Social Commission for Western Asia
    ESMAEmirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology
    FCCCThe Framework Convention on Climate Change
    FTGSFeminist Theory and Gender Section of the ISA
    G-77Group of 77
    G-8Group of 8
    GCC countriesGulf Cooperation Council
    GDPGross Domestic Product
    GEFGlobal Environment Facility
    GEIGender Empowerment Index
    GHGGreenhouse gases
    GNHGross National Happiness
    GSPGeneral System of Preference
    HDIHuman Development Index
    HIPCsHeavily Indebted Poor Countries
    HPIHuman Poverty Index
    HRCHuman Rights Council
    IBRDInternational Bank for Re-construction and Development
    ICAInternational Consultation and Analysis
    ICBMsInter continental Ballistic Missiles
    ICCInternational Criminal Court
    ICCPRInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    ICESCRInternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    ICJInternational Court of Justice
    ICT WorkingInformation and Communications Technology
    GroupWorking Group
    ICTRInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
    ICTYInternational Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; established by the Security Council
    IDEXInternational Defence Exhibition and Conference
    IFJPInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
    IGOsIntergovernmental Organizations
    ILOInternational Labour Organization
    ILTPIntegrated Long-Term Programme
    IMFInternational Monetary Fund
    IMTRATIndian Military Training Team
    INGOsInternational Non-Governmental Organizations
    INSAT-1DIndian Satellite
    IPEInternational Political Economy
    IPKFIndian Peacekeeping Force
    ISAInternational Studies Association
    ITLOSInternational Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    JEGJoint Economic Group
    JTFJoint Task Force
    JWGJoint Working Group
    LACLine of Actual Control
    LDCsLess Developed Countries
    LoCLine of Control
    LTTELiberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
    MADMutually Assured Destruction
    MDGsMillennium Development Goals
    MEAMinistry of External Affairs
    MFNMost Favoured Nation
    MONUCUN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo
    NAFTANorth American Free Trade Agreement
    NAMNon-Aligned Movement
    NATONorth Atlantic Treaty Organization
    NDFBThe National Democratic Front of Bodoland
    NEPADThe New Partnership for Africa's Development
    NHRCNational Human Rights Commission
    NIDSNew International Development Strategy
    NIEONew International Economic Order
    NNWSNon-Nuclear Weapon States
    NPTNon Proliferation Treaty
    NRINon-Resident Indian
    NSSPNext Steps in Strategic Partnership
    NTPCNational Thermal Power Corporation
    NWSNuclear Weapon States
    O5Outreach Five or the Plus Five
    OAUOrganization of African Unity
    OCHAOffice for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    ODAOfficial Development Assistance
    OECDOrganization for Economic Co-operation and Development
    OHCHROffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    ONUCUN Operation in the Congo
    OPECOrganization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
    P-5China, France, the UK, the US, Russia
    PIOPerson of Indian Origin
    PKOPeace Keeping Operations
    PRCPeople's Republic of China
    R&DResearch and Development
    SAARCSouth Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
    SACEPSouth Asia Co-operative Environment Programme
    SAFTASouth Asian Free Trade Agreement
    SALTStrategic Arms Limitation Talks
    SDIStrategic Defense Initiative: Star War programme by the US
    SLBMsSub-Marine Launched Ballistic Missiles
    SLOCsSea Lines of Communications
    SNDVsStrategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles
    SNPASubstantial New Programme of Action
    START-I/IIStrategic Arms Reduction Treaty
    SUNFEDSpecial UN Fund for Economic Development
    TSORTreaty on Strategic Offensive Reduction
    UDCsUnderdeveloped Countries
    ULFAUnited Liberation Front of Assam
    UNCTADUN Conference on Trade and Development
    UNDOFUN Disengagement Observer Force
    UNDPUN Development Programme
    UNEFUN Emergency Force
    UNEF IISecond UN Emergency Force
    UNEPUnited Nations Environment Programme
    UNESCOUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
    UNFCCCUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    UNFICYPUN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
    UNFPAUnited Nations Population Fund
    UNHCRUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    UNHRCUnited Nations Human Rights Council
    UNICEFUnited Nations Children's Fund
    UNIFEMUnited Nations Development Fund for Women
    UNMEEUN Mission in Ethiopia And Eritrea
    UNMIKUnited Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
    UNOSOM I, IIUN Operation in Somalia
    UNPAAERDUN Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development
    UNPROFORUN Protection Force
    UNRWAUnited Nations Relief and Works Agency
    UNSCUnited Nations Security Council
    UNSOUN Sudano-Sahelian Office
    UNTACUN Transitional Authority in Cambodia
    UNTAETUN Transitional Administration in East Timor
    UNTAGUN Transition Assitance Group
    UNTSOUN Truce Supervision Organization
    WFPWorld Food Programme
    WMDWeapons of Mass Destruction
    WOMPWorld Order Models Project
    WTOWorld Trade Organization


    The study of international politics has become truly global in nature and scope as the world stands politically organized in nearly 200 nation states at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. The globalization of political economies and the ‘internationalization’ of the nation state system is the most characteristic feature of the 21st century.

    As economies integrate in this age of globalization and advanced communication technologies bring the world closer, the youth of today have not necessarily inherited a safer world than we lived in. Poverty, hunger, war, inequality and environmental degradation are what they have to cope with as the challenges of tomorrow. We have to address these issues as truly global citizens need to in order to understand the world we live in. Just as the Second World War ushered in a new age in world politics, even in the post–Cold War era, the rules of world politics are evolving and being rewritten in some ways. Relations among states remain pivotal to world politics, but transnational and supranational actors also have a significant impact on the global system. Power is an important variable, but economic forms of power predominate today in real terms; its military forms remain important as symbols of notional value. Global telecommunications and multinational businesses integrate economies, as terrorism and conflicts—especially intrastate—undermine state sovereignty from within and without. Multilateralism coexists with trends towards regional cooperation, and the European Union has pioneered an archetype of cooperation which may remain a role model for others to follow. All these changes have had an impact on the theories and practice of international relations, expanding the scope of the discipline by introducing new approaches to the study of the subject.

    The East–West schism has given way to the North–South gap and other inequalities between the states of the South. The information revolution continuously has an impact on the multi-state system, in terms of access to knowledge. Civil society is much better informed today of the impact of military spending and the need for ‘peace dividends’. The concept of ‘security’, like the concept of ‘development’, has undergone a sea change—the military dimension of security is considered just one aspect of the problem; the focus of state policy has now moved on from providing physical security to its citizens to encompassing all aspects of human survival and well-being. The concept of ‘human security’ is a major innovation in international relations, which shifts the notion of security from a state-centric standpoint to a citizen-centric perception, thereby enabling a truly transformatory synthesis in the discipline of international relations.

    There is much that is ‘classical’ in interstate relations that symbolizes continuity amidst big changes, but the small transformations—social, economic and political—sometimes result in more substantive transitions in world politics, making the writing of a textbook a huge challenge. This book is an attempt to provide a road map that can orient the student to the main concepts, theories and issues in world politics today, necessitating explorations in ‘new theorizing’—making the study of global politics a much more exciting and absorbing project than ever before.

    Every textbook has a target audience. We hope this book will be used by all the students who read ‘core’ courses of international relations and global politics in Indian universities and others who may be peripherally interested in the subject. For us in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, it was truly a labour of love and commitment to our students when we decided to undertake a collaborative enterprise of this kind. It is our second departmental publication and our first textbook. Personally, as the editor of this book, I owe some more specific debts which need to be acknowledged. I thank each of my colleagues for the time and energy spent writing the articles assigned to them. The long discussions I had with each of them individually, and sometimes collectively, led to an ‘intellectual bonding’ that I hope will result in more such departmental endeavours in future. Every chapter of the book had a dual mandate—it needed to be ‘student friendly’ in terms of its handling of the theme and, at the same time, would bear each author's independent opinion on every issue.

    Whether this multi-authored book has fulfilled this dual mandate, only our readers can tell us. We await their verdict with patience. My special thanks to SAGE Publications and their representatives for their untiring efforts to put this book together within stipulated deadlines.



    International relations (IR) today refers to both an academic discipline and the field of activity that deals as much with relations between and among states as with transnational global actors, problems and issues. As an activity, diplomacy is as old as recorded history, but as an academic field of enquiry, IR's lineage can be traced to 1919 when the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in England, created its Department of International Politics, followed by the establishment of a Department of International Relations in early 1920 at the London School of Economics. As an activity, IR refers to the sum total of relations (cooperative and conflictual) among states based on the principles of foreign polices of nations. As an academic discipline, IR initially focused on the study of political and diplomatic, much later commercial, relations among sovereign states. As an academic field, IR—an offspring of political science and history—was denied the status of an independent discipline till almost the advent of the Second World War. During the interwar period, studies in IR were largely devoted to the ‘normative’ and the ‘Utopian’ pursuit of preserving order and the rule of law in what was considered a largely anarchical and self-regulated international system of sovereign states.

    A distinction between the two terms, international relations and international politics, came to be made increasingly in the post–Second World War period. Hans Morgenthau, the great Realist thinker, believed that the core of IR lies in the study of politics between and among nations. It is the study of the continuous processes by which states adjust their national interests to accommodate those of other states. Power is the means through which nations promote their national interest; therefore, international politics is a struggle for power. IR covers wider ground, inclusive of varied relationships between sovereign states. The study of international politics is narrower in scope, dealing with conflict and cooperation among nations, essentially at the political level.

    The nature of IR underwent tremendous changes in the post–Second World War period. Traditionally, the universe of IR had been Eurocentric with interstate relations being conducted by diplomats with a great deal of secrecy. Diplomatic negotiations, or even their outcomes, were not treated as knowledge for the public domain. Since the post–Second World War period, there has been a democratization of the foreign-policy-making processes, with public opinion playing an increasing role in governmental decision-making. With the revolution in modern communications, travel and connectivity, the nature of diplomacy has also changed. Today, heads of state and foreign ministers personally establish contact with each other, marginalizing the role of diplomats and ambassadors to a great extent.

    Second, in the post-1945 era, Europe ceased to be the hub of international politics, with its economies in shambles and most of the countries having succumbed to war fatigue. The nature of war changed with the beginning of the nuclear proliferation. The erstwhile ‘balance of power’ concept was replaced by the notion of ‘balance of terror’, referring to the uneasy peace being maintained by both the superpowers, the USA and the USSR, with the knowledge that nuclear confrontation would mean complete destruction. Being the first country in the world to possess nuclear weapons, the USA emerged supremely confident from the Second World War, ready to shed its earlier isolationism and assume a leadership role in global politics. The Soviet Union, despite its severe war losses and dented economic conditions, was no less determined to retain and extend its role in world affairs, especially in Eastern Europe. It was the emerging mistrust, arms race, hostility and competition for power between the two emerging superpowers that quickly produced an ongoing bipolar power struggle, which remained the central issue in international politics for the next 30 years and was referred to as the ‘Cold War’. This Cold War was led by the two superpowers representing ideologically and militarily two power blocs heading rival military alliances. While Western Europe, including the UK, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), headed by the USA, the East European countries were bound by the Warsaw Pact. There were a group of non-aligned countries, led by India, Egypt and Yugoslavia, who were not aligned to either of the two rival blocs. They remained the ‘third force’ in world politics, and the majority of these countries were the newly independent developing countries referred to as the ‘Third World’.

    Another very important development of the second half of the 20th century was the phenomenon of decolonization, which resulted in a large number of former colonies of European powers attaining independence; decolonization was a continuing process in world politics from the 1950s to the 1980s. The former colonies of the European powers, including India, have now become part of a multipolar world of nations on the global stage. The United Nations was created in 1945, envisioning that it would truly become a global organization where every independent state in the world would be represented. The total number of UN members has gone up from 51 in 1945 to 193 at present. This makes world politics truly global in its nature and scope.

    With the development of military alliances, a number of regional organizations also came into being, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Organization of African Unity (OAU), with the sole purpose of enhancing the development of trade, security and political cooperation at the regional level. For instance, efforts towards the integration and emergence of a more unified Europe started with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community and culminated into today's European Union (EU). The European experiment went through a laborious process of deepening and broadening to include more countries and functions from 1951 to 2004. The EU is an interesting experiment in terms of conventional sovereignty rules. Its member states have created supranational institutions (the European Court of Justice, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers), which have decision-making powers that can undermine the juridical autonomy of its individual members. The European Economic and Monetary Union created a central bank that now controls monetary affairs for three of the union's four largest states. The EU has emerged as a colossus, next only to the USA, in terms of economic power and status.

    During the Cold War period, both the superpowers, which never ever faced each other's armies directly in the battlefield, began a relentless arms race, claiming that ‘security’—both national and global—lies in military power and that rearming was necessary to balance the other's stockpile of armaments which posed a threat to world peace. The military standoff between the nuclear powers brought about a truce between them—balance of terror—when they fought proxy wars on Third World territory. No part of the world, therefore, was a conflict-free zone and at least more than 150 local wars have been fought (though geographically contained and limited to conventional weapons) by small and medium-level powers on diverse issues.

    Another legacy of the pre-globalization period is the growing gulf between the world's rich and the poor; both interstate and intrastate disparities having widened during the Cold War period. In the world's southern hemisphere—often referred to as the Third World—one finds the world's lowest human development indices, poverty, disease and low standards of living. The governments of these underdeveloped and developing countries struggle to raise their countries from debt, poverty and poor governance, all of which make them politically volatile and vulnerable to foreign intervention and militarization. Nearly every war fought since the Second World War was fought in the Third World, with weapons supplied by industrialized countries.

    The International System: A Profile of States

    The history of IR is often traced back to the treaty of Westphalia of 1648, through which the modern state system evolved gradually. States are the most important actors in IR. Westphalia encouraged the development of the nation state and the institutionalization of diplomacy and militarization. The modern international system was finally consolidated in the post–Second World War period with the decolonization of a large number of Asian, African and Latin American countries in the Cold War era. It is only in the last 200 years that the idea of nationalism evolved—which has come to mean that a group of people sharing a sense of national identity, including a language and culture, can claim a state of their own. Most large states today are nation states. But since the Second World War, as the decolonization process unfolded, much of Asia and Africa disintegrated into many new states, not all of which can be considered nation states. A major source of regional conflict since the Second World War has been the frequent mismatch between emotionally perceived nationhood and actual state borders. When people identify with a nationality their parent state government does not represent, they may have to fight to form their own sovereign state. Sub-state nationalism is only one of several destabilizing trends in the present international system. The independence of former colonies and, more recently in the post-1990s period, the breakup of large multinational states (the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) into smaller states have increased the number of new states in the world system. There were 193 member states of the UN in 2011.

    The international system is the sum total of relationships among the world's member states structured according to certain set rules and patterns of interaction. The rules include terms of membership of the system, rights and responsibilities members have and actions and responses that occur between states. International institutions and international law form a vital part of contemporary IR. A lot of interaction at the system level is governed by the rules made by the UN and its agencies. Apart from the UN, there are a number of international legal bodies such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR); regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), EU, SAARC and ASEAN; and international economic organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which influence the making of rules in the international arena.

    Who are the actors in IR? The actors in IR are the world's governments. They are decisions and acts of governments in the international arena (e.g. foreign policies) that are included in the study of IR. However, in today's age, state actors would include individual leaders, citizens and bureaucratic agencies in foreign ministries of different states. Non-state actors have also proliferated in number with specific areas of concern and activity. Sub-national actors with a base in one state can develop activities which profoundly affect the policies of that state in other states or which bypass the state machinery completely. Supranational actors (of which the European Union is the best example) can in particular functional areas override the authority of the state to implement policies which may curtail state sovereignty in those spheres. Transnational actors, headed by the multinational corporations (MNCs) can establish operations with a multinational base, acquiring the ability to carry on their activities across state boundaries on a large scale. Therefore, the international system has ‘mixed actors’, creating the potential for a multitude of coalitions and balances.

    In International Politics, the words ‘state’, ‘nation’ and ‘country’ are used interchangeably, usually to refer to the policies and actions of governments. In reality, state decisions are the result of complex internal processes and the interplay of multiple domestic pressure groups and interests. The most important actors in the international system, however, are still states. The citizens inhabiting a state constitute civil society to the extent that it has developed participatory institutions of social life. The size and wealth of states vary enormously as do their political regimes. China is the world's most populated state on earth and there are microstates with populations less than a lakh. About 20 states hold three-quarters of the global wealth and these are important actors. States vary hugely in their national incomes and activities, from the $15 trillion US economy to the economies of some microstates which have an income of not more than $500 million. The US alone accounts for one-fifth of the world economy. The larger states possessing military, economic and nuclear strength are called ‘great powers’. The current international system is often referred to as being multipolar, with a few great powers sharing similar degrees of power and status. Other IR critics refer to our international system as unipolar, considering the USA to be the world's only superpower in the post–Cold War period, with no other country having the countervailing economic, military or nuclear strength to match US power in the global arena.

    Post–Cold War Developments

    By the late 1980s (between 1989 and 1999), the Soviet leader Gorbachev's perestroika (‘opening up’) eventually came to reject communism as an ideology, arriving at the conclusion that a fresh beginning was required if the Soviet Union was to keep pace with the economies of the West. All the communist parties in East Europe gave up their hold on power gradually, and 15 different nations emerged after 1991. The Soviet army withdrew from Eastern Europe, and a number of nuclear arms reduction agreements came to be signed between the USA and the USSR. Thereafter, a number of new members, such as India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and Iran, joined the growing club of new ‘nuclear’ nations. Communist China opened up its economy to adopt many aspects of a capitalist system, playing a stronger role in East Asia as well as in the global economy. As the two superpowers made peace, their old antagonists of the Second World War began to reassert themselves. Germany did so after its reunification in 1990, becoming the largest economic power in Europe. Germany has now devoted itself to the integration of the nation into the European Union.

    Japan's reassertion into international politics was uneven after its disastrous defeat in the Second World War, when it abandoned militarism in favour of pacifism; the nation was happily pursuing economic growth under the US defensive and diplomatic umbrella during the Cold War period. In the post–Cold War period, Japan is playing a substantive role in the global economy, after funding a portion of the Gulf War and participating in the UN peacekeeping operations in Cambodia. Japan's initiatives in the global arena are largely restricted to economic activity. In the 1980s, Japan's economic miracle was imitated first by the East Asian Tigers (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) and later in the 1990s by the Southeast Asian countries (Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia), which joined the list of the world's fastest-growing economies. China and later India registered high growth rates after their conversion to market economies in the 1990s.

    When the post–Cold War period led to paradigmatic changes, IR theorists started talking of a New World Order. In the post-globalization period, since the 1990s, power has come to be measured by new indices and top priority has been given to economic power, based on wealth, trade, technological innovation and influence in the international financial system. Although security and defence issues remain important, military power is now perceived as only one element among many sources of strength and influence. A new concept, that of ‘human security’, has emerged, shifting the notion of security from a state-centric vision to a citizen-centric one. National power is now measured not only in terms of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a nation but also the general well-being of its citizens, measured by its human development. After the 1980s, the world witnessed a new stage in the industrial revolution, a shift away from the iron and steel–based ‘core’ industries to knowledge-intensive industries and the evolution of a global system of communications based on mass media, Internet and digital networks. This has resulted in an information revolution, which empowers groups and individuals to gain access to public information, facilitating public discourse and political activity among civil society groups. Diplomacy and transnational businesses have been completely transformed by the involvement of new communication technologies. MNCs as well as international banks and financiers have a massive impact on the world economic system. The world's largest economic enterprises are all corporations, with transnational operations and spatially dispersed production centres. Many of the organizations created at the end of the Second World War, such as the IMF and the World Bank, may no longer be able to regulate the world system as they once did. Thus, though economic output, energy, military and resource factors remain central in shaping power and foreign policy in the 21st century, they now operate in transnational theatres in the post-globalization era. In the post-globalized international system, new trade and communication links have created a new world where individuals, goods, services and ideas are moving across national boundaries, leading to a situation of complex interdependence and integrating people, societies and economies politically, economically and financially in an irrevocable manner. A whole range of new issues have emerged in the international arena, including: (a) environmental concerns, such as air pollution, global warming, fossil fuel depletion and climate change; (b) new communication technologies and their global impact; (c) new patterns of dialogue between the economically advanced North and the ‘poor’ South group of developing countries; and (d) international terrorism and the illegal trade in arms and drugs. These are problems which cannot be tackled by nations acting alone.

    Global or regional instabilities in stock markets, currency markets and international financial system are due to the absence of a substantially self-regulating equilibrium, further leading to recessionary cycles in spite of the activities of the IMF and the secondary role of the World Bank. Apart from some reforms in the IMF, no major new system of financial governance has been put in place. Global affairs at all levels are affected not only by the actions of states, governments and international organizations such as the UN, but also by the actions of non-governmental groups. These include international non-government organizations (INGOs)—about 20,000 of them—which are now not only internationally recognized as observers and participants in the creation and implementation of international treaties by the UN, but are also known for internationalizing their activities, acting as ‘pressure groups’ in the global arena.

    Other disquieting developments are ethnic conflicts (e.g. in erstwhile Yugoslavia, Chechnya and Rwanda), genocidal forms of war and the rise of international terrorism. The late 1970s saw the appearance of militant Islam as a global ideology, challenging the Liberal ideology of the West. The most dramatic manifestation of militant Islam was the emergence of Al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. What had started as a civil war within Arab Islamic societies—militants challenging corrupt Westernised dictators (notably in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria)—was transformed into direct attacks against the visible symbols of Western power and influence in the non-Muslim world.

    Countries distancing themselves from bipolar camps was a trend visible since the days of the Cold War. Even at the height of the Cold War, France detached itself from the NATO; Nehruvian India did not want to be part of either bloc, choosing to be part of the ‘non-aligned group of nations’. Many communist nations—China, Vietnam, Romania, Albania and Cuba—tended to guard their independence against both Washington and Moscow. This fragmentation only increased after the end of the Cold War. The Soviet Union's East European bloc ceased to exist, and the United States could no longer count on a number of its allies. Most middle-level powers had asserted their ‘independence’ in world affairs despite Globalization-induced integration of world economies.

    During the late 1990s, two conflicting global trends became visible. On the one hand, the ‘global village’ was becoming smaller and many of its citizens began to view themselves as members of one planet with a common destiny. On the other hand, the world was becoming increasingly fragmented as ‘sub-nationalisms’ asserted their claims to independence from ‘mother’ countries. Rapid economic and technological changes were the precursors to globalization, better known as the trend towards ‘borderless economies’. However, an opposing trend seemed to be emerging in various parts of the developing world: a trend to preserve identities and cultures from the invasion of the ‘global’. Localization is reflected in trends towards a demand for autonomy among small regions or communities within a state. It is found in trends towards ethnic nationalism in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa where small communities (such as in Yugoslavia and the USSR) sought to secede and retain their own identity. These trends have created 15 nations from erstwhile USSR and a pending demand for statehood in Chechnya. Sub-nationalisms have proved to be equally divisive in India, for example, in Kashmir and in the northeast. globalization and localization are often coterminous trends. INGOs make local issues a global affair. This process is dubbed as ‘glocal’. Key players in the nexus between local, national, regional and global affairs are not just states, intergovernmental organizations and corporations, but also INGOs. Thousands of NGOs and civil society organizations have been influencing UN policies, human rights and environmental agendas.

    The international system has undergone rapid and dramatic changes since the last decade of the 20th century. It has thrown up new challenges which no nation state can deal with alone. The end of the Second World War had triggered off landmark changes in world politics—it began the nuclear age, the Cold War, the beginning of decolonization and the emergence of the ‘Third World’. The period of the 1990s have started yet another landmark era in world politics—communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and East Europe and with it sunk the Cold War antagonisms. The world simultaneously became both unipolar and multipolar as China and India, the two largest economic powers in Asia, integrated into the world economy. After the Cold War, military power is being replaced by economic power; state actors coexist with non-state actors; and issues of ‘low politics’, for example, environmental and human rights concerns, have come to occupy international space and deliberative time. Policy coordination will remain important for the promotion of these issues and concerns.

    Current Developments in the Discipline

    IR as a discipline focuses on the study of interstate relations, essentially in the political and economic domains. It also includes the study of interstate conflict and cooperation. Today, in the era of globalization with the gradual integration of world economies, interstate diplomatic cultural or trade relations have developed into subfields of knowledge. These are intimately connected with other global actors (such as INGOs or MNCs), social structures (domestic politics, economies or culture), geographical influences and historical legacies. As a subfield of political science, IR essentially embraced the study of International Politics, covering the entire ambit of interstate political relations and foreign policies of governments. Political relations among nations cover a range of activities from diplomacy, war, trade relations and military alliances to cultural exchanges.

    The study of contemporary IR covers comprehensive ground, embracing the whole gamut of diplomatic history, the study of international politics, international organizations, international law and area studies. The focus is still on the nation state system and interstate relations, but the actions and interactions of many groups, international bodies and non-state actors are now included in the scope of the discipline. The scope of the field of IR may also be defined by the subfields it encompasses. Traditionally, the study of IR has focused on questions of war and peace—this subfield is now known as International Security Studies. While the study of armies, war and weapons continue to be the core concern of International Security Studies, conflict and peace studies programmes also emerged in the 1980s as areas of research within the security studies programmes.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, international political economy (IPE) became an important subfield of IR. Scholars of IPE study trade and financial relations, international economic and financial institutions, North–South relations, economic dependency, debt, foreign aid and technology transfer. In the post–Cold War era, while the East–West confrontation has receded into history, North–South disparities and the global environmental debate between the developed and the developing countries have moved to centre stage. The study of the impact of human rights and the environment, non-state actors and terrorism on IR are other important areas of study. The wealth and poverty of nations and issues of international political economy concern all nations—big and small. The issue of nuclear weapons may seem to concern only their possessors or those who may become their potential victims, but the issue is effectively global because the resultant radioactive fallout and climate change would leave none unaffected. Therefore, many writers of IR would prefer to use the term ‘world politics’ to refer to the widening scope and nature of the academic discipline today.

    Understanding IR requires both descriptive and theoretical knowledge. It would be intellectually futile to merely generalize or draw lessons from current events. Nor would it do much good to formulate purely abstract theories and models without being able to link them with real-world practices. Perhaps, it is due to this complexity that scholars of IR do not agree on a single set of theories to explain the discipline or even on a single set of concepts with which to discuss the field.

    People have tried to make sense of world politics, especially since the separate academic discipline of International Politics was introduced in 1919 at Aberystwyth. David Davies—the founder of the department and a Welsh industrialist—saw its purpose as being to help prevent war and conflict. For the next 20 years, during the normative phase of the growth of the discipline, it was marked by a commitment to global institutional reform and change. This initial utopian phase of the study of world politics, known as ‘idealism’, was developed during the late 1930s and 1940s, with a clear focus away from the politics of power and security. ‘Realism’, in contrast, looked at the world as it really ‘is’ rather than how we would like it to be. For Realists, human nature is essentially selfish and the main actors on the world stage are states. As a result, world politics represents a strength for power between states, with each trying to maximize their national interests. At the same time, the Marxist perspective, based on the politics of ‘dominance and dependence’, experienced a resurgence with the process of decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s and was used to interpret the experience of nation-building and development in the newly independent decolonized states.

    The areas of divergence between these perspectives are not difficult to comprehend. Each perspective embodies a distinctive view of the relationship between the macro and the micro in the international arena. A view based on Realism (politics of power and security) postulates a constant tension between the interests of states and the dynamics of the state system, which creates an ambience of insecurity and possible war. An approach in terms of interdependence and transnational relations (Liberalism) enshrines a view of a world as a pluralistic political system within which there is a constant process of mutual and multilateral adaptation to events. The perspective of ‘Marxism’ centres upon a world in which the existing economic structure conditions all political action and in which the actions and interests of the parts are reflections of the relationships built into the international system as a whole.

    Social constructivism is a relatively new theory about world politics and has become increasingly influential since the mid-1990s. Constructivism argues that we create and recreate the social world and, therefore, there is much more autonomy for human agency than with the other theories which believe that the world is external to the people that live in it and is, therefore, not subject to easy transformations. The seemingly ‘natural’ structures, roles and identities of world politics could, in fact, be different from what they currently are, and implying otherwise is a political act.

    Thus, it is clear that each of the four theories focus on divergent aspects of world politics. Realism focuses on the power relations between states; Liberalism on a much wider set of interactions between states and non-state actors. Marxist theory stresses on the stratification patterns of the global political economy, and Constructivism on the ways in which we can develop alternative social structures and political processes. Different strands of feminist and post modernist theory also became popular from the 1990s and beyond in International Politics.

    Emerging Patterns

    We remain in a period of transition. Today's post–Cold War and post-globalized generation of students face a world very different from what their parents did at their age. Issues of ‘war and peace’ are increasingly becoming complex as we witness the transformation of both war and the global security agenda. In today's world, terrorism and crime, economic growth and human development, human rights and environmental protection are no longer necessarily ‘national’ problems, amenable to domestic policy solutions. They may require transnational cooperation and policy coordination for effective remedial action. Therefore, we are witnessing new forms of cooperation, as states develop regional and global institutions and practices to address a widening agenda of transnational threats to survival, besides working together to derive benefits from the interconnected networks of globalization. The growing authority of economic institutions like the WTO and the EU reflects a major process in global politics, that is, delegation of power by states to global and regional actors in selected financial areas.

    While the end of the Cold War may mean increasing ‘peace dividends’ in terms of long periods of peace, prosperity, democracy and protection of human rights around the globe, other developments may be irksome. Globalization has led to rising inter-state or intra-state inequalities, uncontrolled migration, environmental degradation and increase in the illegal arms trade. Fear of a nuclear holocaust, a Third World War or a ‘Hot War’ between the two erstwhile Cold Warriors no longer seems a possibility, but low-intensity conflicts in Asia, Africa or Latin America are an ongoing reality of world politics. Identity politics is central to another major global process: fragmentation of states. Ethnic, tribal, religious and racial cleavages have exploded in countries such as Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda, turning them into virtually ‘failed states’.

    Several scholars have opined that the term ‘international relations’ seems obsolete, for it reminds us that ‘international’ matters may no longer be the dominant paradigm of global life; other dimensions have emerged to challenge or offset the interactions of nation states.

    Whether changes in world politics in the post–Cold War, post-globalized era are seminal enough to bring about transformative changes, comparable to the other ‘big shifts’ in world politics mentioned earlier, is being debated. We may live in an era of diminishing state authority and capacity in which sovereignty is being nibbled at in various ways, nevertheless, it is important to see that the state-centric international system coexists with a decentralized multi-centric system where global power and authority often gets shared with non-state collectivities. Second, wars are now not necessarily inter-state or global or nuclear, but low-intensity conflicts—inter-state or intra-state—which dot various parts of the globe. Finally, citizens may participate more actively in ‘global decision-making’ today as they are more educated and exposed to new technologies which are informative and distance reducing in nature. As a result, they can understand their own interests and can participate directly in global politics, rather than remaining mute observers on the world arena. Security now extends beyond guarding state territorial frontiers to protecting the citizen from physical and material threats to his well-being. Security has come to mean ‘human security’, as national development is now measured as much by the average well-being of a citizen—human development—as by the gross national product of a nation.

    James N. Rosenau, the eminent scholar of International Politics, insists that these changes can be labelled as a movement towards ‘post-international politics’ because they clearly suggest the decline of long-standing patterns, and at the same time they do not indicate where the changes may be leading. It is these complexities and uncertainties that make the study of global politics so interesting, fascinating and unpredictable today.

    Despite paradigmatic changes, the globalized state still remains the key politico-legal institution recognized by international law in global politics and the physical boundaries between nation states still remain the critical lines of demarcation in our post-industrial, post-globalized international system.

    The book is thematically organized into four parts. Part A looks at some concepts of International Politics and their current application in IR. The state system, national interest, diplomacy, Neocolonialism, disarmament and arms control are old concepts which continue to be part of the new vocabulary of post–Cold War international politics and, therefore, need to be contextually analysed. This has been done in five chapters. Part B is a critical overview of the major theories of International Politics, providing the students with a roadmap of the entire intellectual discourse in the academic discipline of international politics in the post-1945 period. Liberalism and Neo liberalism, Realism and Neo realism, Marxism, Feminism, Postmodernism and Constructivism are important theories which have been introduced in undergraduate courses very recently. Part B outlines these theories, their major strands and exponents, with their contribution and relevance to the understanding of world politics today. Part C examines contemporary globalization and other issues like terrorism, human rights and the changing parameters of the global discourse on development, security, international organization and the environment. Part D is the only India-specific section that attempts to review the continuity and change in India's foreign policy and bilateral relations in the contemporary era.

    Each chapter is preceded by an abstract which introduces the article by a short summary of content. Every chapter provides an analytical overview of the issues addressed, identifies the central actors and perspectives, and outlines past progress and future prospects. Model questions and suggestions for future reading additionally enrich the text. Every effort has been made to understand the ‘new’ vocabulary debates and discourses in IR and global politics today.

    In a textbook, some amount of selective presentation of data becomes inevitable. Obviously, not every political development or international event that occurred since 1945 can come between the covers of this book; the themes chosen have relevance to currently taught courses of IR and world politics in Indian universities.

  • Afterword


    The uniqueness of the 20th century lies in its being witness to paradigmatic shifts and transitions worldwide as a result of new ideological and technological innovations and practices never witnessed before in earlier ages with seminal changes in interstate relations, diplomacy and war. Much of these came to be reflected in the discipline of international relations. The academic discipline made an attempt to provide theoretical and interpretative frameworks to all the historical events that shaped the struggle for power between and among nations. The 20th century was also a witness to two world wars followed by the Cold War, which lasted for nearly four decades. The Cold War was a multidimensional conflict between the United States and the erstwhile Soviet Union to exercise control in their respective ideological and military spheres of influence through two antagonistic polar camps. A major feature of the Cold War was the arms race (conventional and nuclear) between the US and the USSR. Nuclear weapons are often credited for having prevented the Cold War from becoming hot because both sides feared total destruction. It also played an important role in the measurement of power, therefore most big powers entered the nuclear arms race as well.

    Major changes were visible in world affairs from the last decade of the 20th century. Former communist states of Eastern Europe experienced serious problems of transition, ranging from economic collapse to disintegration of the state itself. The Warsaw Pact was disbanded, while NATO reinvented itself in the new context where European security was being redefined. The abrupt end of the Cold War suggested that great power rivalries could end without direct use of force or violence among the major antagonists. The immediate outcome of the disintegration of the Soviet Union (the most peaceful retreat from spheres of influence by a major power in world history) was the rise of the US to hegemonic leadership in the global arena. The United States—despite being in its worst recessionary cycle in history—still leads globally in military and economic strength, and its soft power attributes (ideological and cultural appeal) make its superpower status difficult to be challenged. Indeed, since 1991, beginning with its aggressive interventionist foreign policy in the Northern Ireland peace process, enlargement of NATO in 1994, anti-Taliban struggle in Afghanistan to the overthrow of the Saddam regime in Iraq, the US played its role commensurate with its power status in the post-globalized era.

    The ‘balance of terror’ however did not prevent frequent and intermittent regional conflicts in various parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the two Cold War opponents fought ‘proxy wars’. The Cold War, though essentially bipolar, saw a Third Force (the non-aligned world) maintain a tripolar presence on the global scenario, with over a hundred countries of the UN officially not joining either poles.

    The changes that have taken place in world politics since 1989 led to the dismantling of Soviet communism and the Soviet state into 15 independent republics, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, nuclear arms agreements between the superpowers during the period of detente and the onset of globalization. A new global configuration of power marks the post-Cold War era heralding in what is expected to be a new world order. These developments have brought in the end of the Cold War but also ignited fresh debates in international politics. It has been argued that the end of the Cold War marks the triumph of capitalist democracy as the final stage in the evolution of political history (Francis Fukuyama's 1992 End of History thesis), while others have argued that the end of the bipolar rivalry has given way to a new war, (Samuel Huntington's Clash of civilizations thesis)—a fight between the West and the Islamic fundamentalists around the globe.

    The end of the Cold War and the collapse of Soviet communism, acted as a catalyst for the onset of globalization. Areas of the world that were formerly excluded from the grip of global capitalism—the communist Second and the Non-aligned Third World—are now more integrated into the global market place through a complex network of communications and ‘free trade’ regimes. The reach of global financial regulatory institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has increased substantively. After the Gulf War of 1991 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its economy, the post-Cold War world moved towards unipolarity. The US was the only superpower with enough military, nuclear and economic assets to be a decisive player in any conflict in any part of the world.

    However, there are other powers that have grown rapidly in the last two decades to challenge the economic superiority of the United States and its global position and status. China, India, Germany, Japan and other regional organizations like the EU are growing in economic power vis-à-vis the US with analysts suggesting that the post-Cold War era is moving towards multi-polarity in practice. There is talk of ‘peace dividends’ (gains from relative political stability and absence of war) in terms of human security and development. The conception of world order today is a more inclusive category of order than what was meant by the term before. Most IR analysts would include not only states as the primary actors in the international system but individual human beings and their well-being, the behaviour of non-state actors and a multiplicity of non-governmental and transnational actors as decision-makers in this pluralist international system as distinctive elements of that order.

    Wars have also changed in the post-globalized era. This was reflected in the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre and other acts of terrorism that followed. The immediate outcome was the declaration of the War on Terror, which was reflected in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, 2003 invasion of Iraq and the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US Forces in Pakistan in 2011. While the theatre of war in the last century was the European continent, it has shifted its base to other continents in the new millennium. Wars have now come to mean low-intensity conflicts (interstate or intrastate), which may be short conflagrations or long ones with the use of conventional weapons. Despite integration of national economies, disintegrative forces are at work in the form of ethnic conflicts, terrorism, proliferation of nuclear weapon wielding powers and the progressively deteriorating global environmental situation.

    At the end of the Cold War, there was much talk of a new world order based on the principles of international cooperation, peace and borderless economies. However, global governance or any idea of a world government seems a distant reality and the reincarnation of the nation state as the ultimate guarantor of the territorial borders of a nation and the well-being of its citizens seems to be the prevailing ideology of the day. Some things have changed and some things have not changed at all in the post-Cold War era. The US remains the sole superpower, Europe continues on the path of integration, major powers have emerged in Asia, like China, India and Korea, and the North-South economic divide persists as local wars dot the global landscape.

    1. Understanding Globalization and the New World Order

    Despite cataclysmic shifts in the general landscape of global politics, the basic political unit in international relations remains the territorial sovereign political entity called the state. Its designation as the most fundamental unit in contemporary world politics simply means that it is the ultimate guarantor and trustee of its own territorial borders and the security and well-being of its citizens. The state has not only assumed different forms but also witnessed its authority being challenged in recent years by the globalization of trade, production and finance, revolution in communication and transportation and, above all, the increased ecological and military risk related problems that can no longer be solved within national boundaries. It necessitates the founding and expansion of political institutions on the supra-national level, which may undermine the value of the nation of indivisible sovereignty. The cascading effects of cultural globalization also threaten to break and atomize older societies as the concept of borderless economies threatens the ‘protected’ markets of developing countries. In the future, we may witness a further erosion and decentring of the power of the sovereign state by non-state, international and multinational corporations. They all have something in common: being larger than states or without geographical boundaries, they are better positioned to assume some of the functions of the nation state or manage to evade its power of control.

    War as an instrument of foreign policy has also changed with globalization. Ever since the advent of nuclear weapons, there seems to be a global realization that war cannot so easily be used to defend national interest. Though war cannot be completely abandoned as an instrument of policy, it has changed its forms significantly. Interstate wars are less common; they have now come to be replaced by intrastate ones and global terrorism has often proved that wars are not waged by state actors alone. War and conflict remain localized with the use of conventional weapons though substantive ‘peace dividends’ are expected to follow in the post-Cold War period.

    One of the paradoxes of the post-globalized era is that despite the global influence of Western capitalist democracies, national fragmentation of political communities has not ceased. These two processes, globalization and fragmentation are the two contradictory influences in the contemporary era. Ethnic conflicts have proliferated not only in fragile Third World states but also in relatively developed regions as well. The disintegration of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are striking examples of fragmentation in relatively affluent socialist societies. The communal riots in UK in 2011 were the worst in its modern political history.

    Demands for citizenship rights emerged in response to the growing power of the modern state. The demand to be treated as a citizen was initially concerned with securing legal and political rights but citizenship was redefined early in the 20th century to include social or welfare rights. Claims for group rights have produced global changes in attitudes to citizenship. Feminists have argued that the advancement of citizenship was gender blind, since no account was taken of the special needs of women in times of war and peace. Proponents of new conceptions of citizenship have maintained that the differences between citizens—differences of culture and gender—must be reflected in public policy (in rights of women and minorities, for example).

    Globalization has triggered off debates which question the idea of nation states being primarily responsible for securing the safety and well-being of its citizens. Public support for humanitarian intervention in Somalia, Kosovo and Rwanda developed in the wake of media images of state terror, civil conflict, natural disaster and famine. It is important to probe whether there is now an emerging pattern of order in the post-globalized Cold War period and if so, what are its distinctive elements. It is no doubt difficult to make any definitive and neutral assessment of an order we live in and, therefore, a part of our historical time.

    However, various perspectives presented in this book have attempted to interpret this order through their own lens. The international system continues to be state centric, though we can see that international and transnational connections are a very important element of the order, due to the high levels of interdependence. However, there is fresh thinking about the role of human security and rights, the impact of environmentalism and strategies for national development. Underlying the disparate elements of this vision, different frameworks of order can be gleaned. Some derive from traditional state-centric stable equilibrating models of world order. Others take the individual human being as the unit of construction in terms of rights and justice and to measure the impact of that world order.

    Let us now look at the approaches to the search for a unified framework to understand the emerging world order. The realist approach looks at the power distribution in the world today among the great powers and believes that a return to multi-polarity could herald the erosion of the stability generated by the cold war's bipolarity. Realism focuses on continuities rather than change in world politics. War, the balance of power, the rise and fall of Great Powers, and so on, according to the realists, reflect the essential national interest in the foreign policies of different states. The second approach is broadly liberal in vision and focuses upon regimes and institutions, on the one hand, and norms and values, on the other. Its pivotal argument is that patterns of integration and interdependence had become so deeply entrenched in the global system in the Cold War period for geopolitical reasons, that they can only be reinforced under a regime of globalized states. War and anarchy are exceptional breaks in a general pattern of relative peace and growing prosperity among and between nations continue under a system of global governance from the Second World War period. A third argument or line of theorizing interprets order in terms of its achievements in human development and advancement of the well-being of citizens.

    Whether globalization constitutes a form of order is often debated. A very important aspect of the emerging global order is the complex network of contemporary forms of international governance: international organizations and international nongovernmental organizations. They cover a wide spectrum of life and society, human rights, war crimes, environmental and economic regimes. Interestingly, with the loss of Cold War constraints, regions now have chances of greater autonomy—and a number of regions have felt the need to develop regional institutions; though one would think that globalization presents reduced possibilities for regional autonomy to develop. However, it would do well to remember that EU-like institutions—the best of such examples—are unique and new, but will coexist with, not displace, the sovereign state.

    Globalization is often viewed as an after effect of the end of the Cold War. Though globalization brings in an element of continuity between the Cold War and the post-Cold War orders, it is not specific to any historical era and has recurred in different forms in earlier periods of history and, therefore, cannot be regarded as wholly new. Globalization is a defining element in the contemporary order but it does not supersede all traditional elements of the existing order. Even in an age of globalization, there remain both states and a state system. The norms and rules of this state system will have different norms and rules in recognition of the new nature of states and their changing functions. The new emerging order is currently seeking to develop a set of principles that will ably reflect the changes in the post-Cold War globalized world.

    A more worrisome aspect of the emerging world order is the continuing gulf, separating the experience of the industrialized North from the increasingly marginalized South. Inter- and intrastate inequalities in power and resource is a legacy of the pre-globalization era, which continues even today. The North-South gulf persists, though there is much fluidity in these two blocs. There are huge variations and inequalities within states and regions, which is the biggest divide in world politics today.

    2. Where Do We Go from Here?

    Eventually, it is important to understand that though we have moved from an era of international relations to post-international politics, we are still in a state of transition, since the contours of the emerging new world order is not clearly delineated as yet.

    Historically, the problems of IR are not very different from what plague human society: the tradeoffs between liberty and equality, struggle for power and resources, efforts to find harmony despite differences, the effort to balance anarchy and order, the need to confront wars and conflict with efforts at nation-building and creating institutions of global governance. It is now readily agreed that IR is a vast field encompassing the relationship among states in all their dimensions, including interactions with various other political and non-political groups along with the study of international history, law, society, political economy and international security. IR's new agenda embraces a vast range of policy issues like the global environment debate, international migration including refugee movements, the North-South gaps, human rights, terrorism, ‘new wars’, identity politics, reform of the UN and issues of human security.

    Technology-driven innovations are just one aspect of the profound changes taking place in international relations. New actors and new patterns of interactions are emerging, which pose new challenges to states. Forms of power and influence have changed and information allows actors—state, sub-state and supranational—to act in coordination wherever necessary. So, where do we go from here?

    State sovereignty may have been eroded by several developments but we believe that the nation state is here to stay. Supranational organizations like the UN, transnational MNCs or even regional organizations like EU will coexist with considerable reach and powers but there is no distinct trend towards world government or supplantation of the nation state. Globalization will continue with localization and fragmentation, class divisions and environmental degradation, attracting social justice movements around the globe. Most anti-globalization movements worldwide are based on democracy or human rights, this trend will continue in future. Institutions of global governance will not get more teeth in implementing global rules, there will always be ‘dissenters and rebels’. The UN may be restructured to reflect the realities of a multipolar world, as efforts to bridge the North-South divide will continue. Inequalities (inter- and intrastate) will be the key to unrest worldwide even as information and communication technologies will integrate nation states. ‘Peace-dividends’ will become more real as states invest less and less on defence and more on human development.

    Terrorism, international drug trafficking or illegal trade in arms will continue as unwitting degenerations of the global environment. As fragmentation, and low-intensity conflicts continue unabated, the constituency for peace will increase worldwide, as pragmatic governments will invest more in peace. Nations have come to realize that in today's world, all countries are responsible for each other's security and welfare. Against such threats as nuclear proliferation, climate change, global pandemics, or terrorists operating from safe havens in failed states, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others. Only by working to make each other secure can we hope to achieve lasting security for ourselves. Without a measure of solidarity, no society can be truly stable. It is not realistic to expect that some people can go on deriving great benefits from globalization while billions of others are left in, or thrown into, abject poverty as interstate or intrastate inequalities reach obscene proportions around the globe.

    3. Emerging Areas of Concern and Unfinished Agendas

    Economics will take precedence over politics in the years to come in the global arena. Power and rating of a nation will be measured by the following indices (a) economic performance (b) government efficiency (c) conventional and nuclear arms capabilities and (d) human development of citizens. For all functional purposes, the world will remain multipolar with China, Japan, Germany, Brazil and India playing increasing roles of power and influence in world affairs. The G-20 (most important industrial states) represents the countries that matter in the global economic domain, but its collective wisdom should push it to represent the collective interests of those on the other side. The East-West confrontation is dead; the only one left is the North-South divide. Ninety per cent of the world's GDP is represented by these 20 industrialized countries (G-20), but 80 of the nearly 200 countries of the globe are absent from this list. Ten years ago, the world agreed that by 2015, it would have achieved the Millennium Development Goals. The world will fail in this task without new effort, new thinking and new funding. With aid levels barely rising, new sources of money are required for development. The World Bank indicates that $315 billion is required to meet the gap between what developing countries require and what is currently available in 2010 alone. The G-20 should endorse a serious action plan to identify innovative potential sources of non-sovereign financing to fill the funding gap. The G-20—the largest and richest countries on the planet—should deliver on their financial pledges to support the smallest and poorest on this earth.

    The world is undergoing major and swift changes that highlight the need for corresponding transformations in global governance in all relevant areas. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are both the fastest-growing and largest-emerging market economics (will be the largest in 2020), representing almost 3 billion people or just under half of the total population of the world. Vast differences in governance systems, cultural divides and immense geographical differences separate the four members. Although all four nations claim to be working towards common goals, they have hugely different aspirations in foreign policy matters. BRIC countries differ in trade policies. As resource exporters, Brazil and Russia seek high prices for their commodities; India and China, on the other hand, benefit from low prices for raw material; they also differ in their opinion of the US dollar. Although all claim an interest in a stable predictable and more diverse international monetary system, the Chinese do not want a weakening of the dollar in the short term, since they have huge dollar reserves. Challenging the existing global power structure, BRIC nations call for urgent reforms of the UN, want international financial institutions to accommodate aspirations of rising powers and have pitched for including India and Brazil in an expanded UN Security Council, along with the group's intent to see a multipolar, equitable and democratic world order. They also call upon the IMF and the World Bank to address their own ‘legitimacy deficits’. Reforming these institutions governance structures requires first and foremost a substantial shift in voting power in favour of emerging market economies and developing countries to bring their participation in decision-making in line with their relative weight in the world economy.

    The worst economic crisis in six decades has still not abated, and Asian economies—led by China and India—will be at the forefront of a global recovery. According to IMF, these economies will not only make up for the stuttering growth in the developed economies but also play a key role in a future world order that will be supported by a more robust and stable economic and financial framework. For the first time, Asia's contribution to global recovery makes it well positioned to assume the leadership role, set the standards of policies, performance and collaboration in the years ahead. The IMF sees this as a vindication of sound economic policies pursued by many Asian countries.

    There will be a mid-term review of the Millennium Development Goals and their execution. The MDG's eight goals, to be achieved by 2015, that respond to the world's main development challenges are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empower women; reducing child mortality and improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

    The UNDP Human Development Index over the past few years has registered growing regional disparities in the world. The average income in Norway (tops the list) is 85 times the average income in Niger (UNDP Report, 2009: 12). The US is 13 in the list of countries ranked according to their domestic human development record and India is ranked 119. Both are democracies, the former is the only superpower, though with huge reserves of debt and slow economic recovery, its global position has taken a considerable beating. India is the most populated democracy with the tenth largest economy in the world. India is a nuclear power with the second largest army and the world's largest pool of scientific and technological power. We were ‘non-aligned’ in the context of the Cold War and currently an ‘emerging’ global power with an ‘independent’ foreign policy. Despite all this, why do we fail to evoke the same kind of respect which our other Asian neighbours evoke, for example, China and Japan? It is probably due to our poor record in human development, and poor indices of domestic governance. A country's power rating can never be insulated from its domestic policies and performance—a nation's true strength lies in the degree to which it can legitimize its citizens’ claims and entitlements. The nations that can best do this fine act of balancing are and will be the nations to be watched for in the future. Even the US has been unable to perform well on its human development record, which needs to improve much further.

    In this post-international relations era, citizens of the world need to reassess the gains and losses of the earlier decades and move to set the goals of this one. Setting Millennium Development Goals was one such exercise. We need more of such ‘convergent’ exercises, and even stricter norms of accountability for implementation. More importantly, nations need to learn from one another's success and failures.

    Suggested Readings
    Fukuyama, Francis.1992. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press
    Huntington, Samuel.1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    United Nations Development Programme. 2009. UNDP Human Development Report: Country Classification. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Model Questions

    Chapter 1 The Nation State System: National Power, Balance of Power and Collective Security
    • 1.1. What are the characteristic features of the modern state system?
    • 1.2. Explain the concept of power and examine its importance in international politics.
    • 1.3. What are the different constituent elements of national power? How do they influence foreign policy decision-making?
    • 1.4. Critically evaluate the realist concept of power and find out how far power politics is important in contemporary democratic and globalized world?
    • 1.5. What are the underlying assumptions of balance of power? Are there any conditions for successful operation of power balancing?
    • 1.6. How do you evaluate the concept of balance of power from a liberal perspective of international politics?
    • 1.7. Do you think the realist theory of balance of power is relevant in the contemporary globalized and interdependent world?
    • 1.8. What are the underlying assumptions of the collective security system?
    • 1.9. Do you think the collective security system provides a better alternative to balance of power system?
    • 1.10. Examine the implications of the collective security system in the uni-polar hegemonic international order.
    Chapter 2 Role of National Interest
    • 2.1. Discuss the concept of national interest.
    • 2.2. Explain the views of Morgenthau on national interest.
    • 2.3. Critically examine the grounds on which nations arrange their priorities regarding national interest.
    • 2.4. Examine the role of national interest in formulating foreign policy.
    • 2.5. Differentiate between the vital and non-vital national interests of state.
    • 2.6. Evaluate the role of ideology in national interest. Do you think ideology is subordinated to national interest?
    • 2.7. Discuss the important instruments for the promotion of national interests?
    • 2.8. Examine the role of diplomacy for the promotion of national interests.
    • 2.9. How do countries use economic instruments to further their national interests?
    • 2.10. How does the concept of national interest conflict with global ideals?
    Chapter 3 Diplomacy: Nature, Forms and Relevance
    • 3.1. Define diplomacy and distinguish it from foreign policy.
    • 3.2. Critically analyse the role of diplomatic agents in the development of bilateral relations.
    • 3.3. Discuss with appropriate examples, how cultural diplomacy has emerged as an important form of diplomacy.
    • 3.4. Write an essay on the attributes of a diplomat.
    • 3.5. ‘Negotiation is an art and most important diplomatic method.’ Elaborate.
    • 3.6. Critically examine the evolution of diplomatic services since the Greek era.
    • 3.7. Analyse the difficulties of diplomats during the nuclear age.
    • 3.8. The evolution of diplomacy has acquired many forms. Elaborate some prominent ones.
    • 3.9. Write a note on India's cultural diplomacy.
    • 3.10. Write a detailed note on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.
    Chapter 5 Disarmament, Arms Control and Nuclear Proliferation
    • 5.1. Define disarmament and discuss its differences with arms control and collective security.
    • 5.2. Examine the nature of disarmament as an instrument of international peace.
    • 5.3. Explain the various theories of disarmament, which favour it as a means of international peace and security.
    • 5.4. Discuss the different forms and types of disarmament.
    • 5.5. Distinguish between different types of arms control.
    • 5.6. Write a short essay on various steps to stop nuclear proliferation in the post-Cold War era.
    • 5.7. Examine the efforts at disarmament after the end of Cold War or in the era of globalization.
    Chapter 4 Colonialism and Neocolonialism: Impact of Decolonization
    • 4.1. Define colonialism and explain the difference between colonialism and imperialism.
    • 4.2. Discuss the factors responsible for colonialism and briefly explain different types of colonies.
    • 4.3. Critically examine the features of British colonization.
    • 4.4. What do you understand by the term neo colonialism? Discuss its similarities and dissimilarities with imperialism.
    • 4.5. Explain neo colonialism as economic dominance and examine the Dependency Theory.
    • 4.6. Explain the concept and features of postcolonialism.
    • 4.7. Define decolonization and explain the factors responsible for decolonization.
    • 4.8. Discuss the different methods and stages of decolonization.
    • 4.9. Critically examine the impact of decolonization on the world.
    • 4.10. Discuss the genesis and growth of Third World countries.
    • 5.8. Critically examine the hindrances or the problems of disarmament.
    • 5.9. Analyse the problem of nuclear proliferation in the era of globalization and examine its various factors.
    • 5.10. Write short notes on a) CTBT b) START-I and II c) Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
    Chapter 6 Liberalism
    • 6.1. How would a liberal theorist view the international system?
    • 6.2. Discuss the main assumptions of Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham as leading liberals of 18th-century Enlightenment?
    • 6.3. What was the main focus of the 19th-century liberalism?
    • 6.4. Discuss the contribution of 20th-century idealism to liberalism?
    • 6.5. In what way did liberalism change after the Second World War?
    • 6.6. What are the main differences between the liberals and the neo liberal institutionalists?
    • 6.7. Do you agree that international institutions have any role in making cooperation possible among states? Discuss how?
    • 6.8. How have the proliferation of transnational bodies like NAFTA or APEC influence the foreign policy of developed and developing countries?
    • 6.9. In what way is globalization likely to have an impact on neo liberal thinking?
    • 6.10. Would you agree that globalization of the world economy has the potential of creating a market society on a global scale without creating disparities in wealth?
    Chapter 7 Realism
    • 7.1. What are the core arguments of classical realism?
    • 7.2. Critically evaluate the principles of political realism enunciated by Hans Morgenthau.
    • 7.3. Discuss the key ideas of Waltz's theory of structural realism.
    • 7.4. What do you understand by ‘security dilemmas’ in the realist paradigm?
    • 7.5. What is the main difference between defensive and offensive realism?
    • 7.6. Discuss the liberal and Marxist critique of realist theory.
    • 7.7. What is the neo-neo debate in IR theory?
    • 7.8. Give the central arguments of rational choice realists.
    • 7.9. What are the ‘timeless truths’ in realist theory?
    • 7.10. Evaluate the key concepts of realist thinking in IR theory.
    Chapter 8 Marxism
    • 8.1. What is capitalism?
    • 8.2. How does Marxism link capitalism and imperialism?
    • 8.3. What are Gramsci's ideas on international relations?
    • 8.4. How does Cox employ Gramsci's ideas to understand international relations in our times?
    • 8.5. Who are the main members of the critical school? Elucidate.
    • 8.6. Elaborate on Marxist's critique of realism in international relations theory.
    • 8.7. Discuss the different thinkers and scholars who have contributed to critical theory within IR Theory.
    • 8.8. How does Karl Marx's work get reflected in critical theory?
    • 8.9. Explain the concept of hegemony and how Antonio Gramsci and neo-Gramscians like Robert Cox apply it in the context of international relations.
    • 8.10. How have post-Marxists influenced the IR school of thought?
    Chapter 9 Feminism
    • 9.1. Why did feminism come so late in international relations?
    • 9.2. What do you understand by gender?
    • 9.3. What difference does it make to ask the question ‘Where are the women?’ in IR theorizing?
    • 9.4. How do feminist ethics go about furthering the interests and addressing the subordination of women in global politics?
    • 9.5. Discuss the role of feminist IR theorists in putting women's rights on the global agenda?
    • 9.6. What are feminist criticisms of the realist paradigm of IR School?
    • 9.7. What is the feminist notion of ‘state’?
    • 9.8. What is the link between ‘gender’, ‘violence’ and ‘state’ in the arena of IR?
    • 9.9. Discuss the feminist critique of citizenship.
    • 9.10. Elaborate on the feminist interpretation of the role played by the concept of security in IR.
    Chapter 10 Postmodernism and Constructivism in International Relations
    • 10.1. What is modernity?
    • 10.2. Elucidate the criticism of Modernity by those who are labelled as postmodernists.
    • 10.3. Explain the relationship between ‘anarchy’ and ‘sovereignty’ in the realist construction of international relations. What is the postmodernist criticism of it?
    • 10.4. What is deconstruction? How is it employed by academics to study international relations?
    • 10.5. Explain how Gille Deluze's concept of ‘de-territorialisation’ helps us understand the idea of ‘boundary’ and its interrelated idea of ‘security’ in international politics.
    • 10.6. What is constructivism? Who is its main proponent?
    • 10.7. What is the constructivist critique of realism? How it is different from the postmodernist's criticism of realism?
    • 10.8. What does the term ‘bio-politics’ mean? Who is associated with it? How does it help understand international politics today?
    • 10.9. What is the postmodernist critique of identity politics? Explain its important role in understanding international relations today?
    • 10.10. What is the relationship between violence and the state? What is statecraft and how is the postmodernists’ understanding of it different from the traditional understanding of statecraft?
    Chapter 11 Globalization: Meaning and Dimensions
    • 11.1. What is globalization?
    • 11.2. Trace the historical trajectory of globalization.
    • 11.3. Elucidate various dimensions of globalization.
    • 11.4. Discuss climate change in the context of globalization.
    • 11.5. Discuss the drawbacks of globalization.
    • 11.6. Explain the economic dimensions of globalization.
    • 11.7. Critically evaluate globalization in the present era.
    • 11.8. Comment on the increasing salience of globalization as a process in our social world.
    • 11.9. Write a note on political aspects of globalization.
    • 11.10. Discuss the hyperglobalist and sceptical perspectives of globalization.
    Chapter 12 The United Nations: Changing Role
    • 12.1. Discuss the major functions of the General Assembly. What are its binding decisions?
    • 12.2. What are the powers of the Security Council under Chapter VI and VII of the UN Charter?
    • 12.3. Discuss the composition and jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
    • 12.4. What is peacekeeping? Differentiate between its older and newer forms.
    • 12.5. Why is humanitarian intervention in the internal affairs of states a problematic issue? Cite examples of such interventions by the UN in the post-globalized era.
    • 12.6. Write an essay on the major UN achievements in the last 50 years.
    • 12.7. What is the significance of the Millennium Declaration of 2000 with regard to UN goals for the future?
    • 12.8. What are the major proposals for reform of the UN?
    • 12.9. Account for some substantive failures of the UN in selected areas?
    • 12.10. Write short notes on:
      • New International Economic Order
      • United Nations Peacekeeping and Peace building
    Chapter 13 Human Rights and International Politics
    • 13.1. Define human rights and discuss their significance in the contemporary era.
    • 13.2. Examine the three generations of human rights. How are these co-related?
    • 13.3. Do you agree that the Western liberal concept of rights emphasizes too much on an isolated individual?
    • 13.4. How do you characterize UNDHR? Elaborate your answer.
    • 13.5. The accountability of sovereign states against any violation of rights, within their jurisdiction, is a significant achievement. Discuss with arguments.
    • 13.6. Human rights issues have emerged as an important part of international relations. Elaborate.
    • 13.7. Discuss the Asian perspective on human rights. Why do the dominant Western nations not accept this perspective?
    • 13.8. Identify some rights from the third generation and discuss their value in the contemporary interdependent globalize world.
    • 13.9. The Vienna Declaration is a landmark in the history of human rights. Elaborate.
    • 13.10. The increasing violation of human rights poses challenges to the full realization of these rights. Discuss.
    Chapter 14 The Global Environment: Issues and Debates
    • 14.1. What are the major problems of the global environment?
    • 14.2. Discuss the significance of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on international politics and the global environment?
    • 14.3. What is ‘global warming’ and how does it affect the global environment?
    • 14.4. What are the main issues in the global environment debate between the developed and the developing countries?
    • 14.5. What were the outcomes of the Rio Summit of 1992?
    • 14.6. What are the major problems that have emerged in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol? Discuss its significance.
    • 14.7. How do domestic environmental issues spill over to the international arena? Give examples.
    • 14.8. What is China and India's stand on the climate change issues in Copenhagen Summit of December 2009?
    • 14.9. What is meant by sustainable development?
    • 14.10. How have North-South issues shaped global environmental politics?
    Chapter 15 Terrorism
    • 15.1. What is terrorism?
    • 15.2. What causes terrorism?
    • 15.3. Outline the historical trajectory of terrorism.
    • 15.4. Elucidate the difference between insurgency and terrorism
    • 15.5. Analyse the relationship between religion and terrorism.
    • 15.6. Write a note on terrorism since the Second World War.
    • 15.7. Discuss international politics with special reference to terrorism
    • 15.8. Explain the relationship between terrorism and democracy.
    • 15.9. Write a note on the events of 11 September 2001 and the war on terror.
    • 15.10. Write a note on international causes of terrorism.
    Chapter 16 Development and Security: Changing Paradigms
    • 16.1. What were the basic determinants of the North-South dialogue in the pre-1991 period?
    • 16.2. What do you mean by Development Decades? What are their overall achievements?
    • 16.3. What do you understand by the New International Economic Order?
    • 16.4. Assess the role of UNCTAD from the perspective of developing countries.
    • 16.5. Highlight some of the major achievements of the UNDP.
    • 16.6. Define the traditional meaning of development. What necessitated the critical alternative approach?
    • 16.7. What is the perceived benefit of globalization and what are its likely consequences in terms of development and security?
    • 16.8. What are the major reasons for poverty and inequality of developing countries in the post-globalized era?
    • 16.9. Write a critical note on the right to development.
    • 16.10. Write a note on the Millennium Goals and their critical importance in the context of achieving a new international economic order.
    Chapter 17 Basic Determinants of India's Foreign Policy and Bilateral Relations
    • 17.1. Discuss Indo-US Relations from 2000 to the present.
    • 17.2. What are the basic parameters of Indo-Russian relations?
    • 17.3. Discuss the areas of convergence and divergence in Sino-Indian relations?
    • 17.4. Outline India's emerging relations with the European Union.
    • 17.5. Evaluate the general contours of India's relations with West Asia, with special reference to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
    • 17.6. Discuss India's policy of engagement with Africa.
    • 17.7. Describe various confidence-building measures, military as well as non-military, between India and Pakistan.
    • 17.8. Discuss India's contribution to the UN.
    • 17.9. What are the important issues affecting the relationship between India and Bangladesh.
    • 17.10. Discuss the various phases of the Non-aligned Movement.

    About the Editor and Contributors


    Rumki Basu is currently a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She has published 8 books and 30 articles on issues of public policy and governance, international organization, and the political economy of development in India. She has presented papers in the World Congress of Political Science in Berlin (1994), Seoul (1997), Santiago (2009) and Madrid (2012) besides participating in international workshops in the Asia-Pacific Region. She has received the Indian Council of Social Science Research Teacher Fellowship Award.


    Furqan Ahmad is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia. He has written a book titled Bureaucracy and Development Administration, and has co-authored a book Political Economy of Banking Reforms in India.

    Mohammed Badrul Alam is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia. Dr Alam is the recipient of many prestigious awards and fellowships and has published on themes and issues in American government and politics, South Asia, foreign policy processes and the Asian Indian diaspora.

    Krishna Swamy Dara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Milia Islamia. He has a published book to his credit; his other areas of interest include political theory and Indian political ideas.

    Adnan Farooqui is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. He teaches and writes on themes and issues related to Indian government and politics.

    M. Muslim Khan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. His publications include Regional Cooperationin Southern Africa: Pattern, Politics and Prospects and Fifty Years of India's Foreign Policy towards Southern Africa.

    Mehtab Manzar is a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. She writes on Indian foreign policy, women and the girl child in Islam and human rights issues. She has translated books on Western political thought and other courses in political science.

    Farah Naaz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. She has written extensively on West Asia and published a book, West Asia and India: Changing Perspectives.

    S. R. T. P. Sugunakara Raju is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia. He has authored India Pakistan Relations and the US Factor, besides other publications. His areas of teaching and specialization include international politics, political theory and human rights.

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