Studying international relations is an important aspect as the same not only requires an understanding of state of affairs in between nations at present, but in the future the very same understanding capabilities may translate into formulation of foreign policies. Studying about international relations is a challenging task as the same requires knowledge of political science, law and economics, yet the subject area is different from these individual aspects. The reason being international relations is a combination of political science, economics and law as the underlying factors in each of the above domains result in the formulation of policies. At the same time, understanding existent international relations also call for knowledge about the history among nations. Successful study of international relations is a major requirement for a better future where the knowledge is essential for sustaining cordial and peaceful diplomatic relations.
Realism and Idealism are important concepts in the study of international relations. Realism has found prominent place in the international forum after the Second World War and assumes that no international actor (state) can regulate the affairs in between two or more states. Believers of realism stress on the fact that no single authoritative state can regulate the affairs among nations in the world. Anarchy or the absence of a central authority is strongly stressed. On the other hand, Liberalism is associated with the consideration of collective action among states. Where Realism suggests states are unitarily responsible for actions, Idealism suggests that plurality in state actions is a possibility and is often held responsible for giving rise to state preferences.
Defining a State in international relations implies presenting four important points in absolute clarity. A state is characterized as having a territorial base defined by borders, a stable population that resides within these borders, characterized by the presence of a government to which the population owes allegiance and finally and importantly, politically recognized by other states in an international environment. It needs to be highlighted that states are of varying sizes and at the same time are also characterized by expansions and contractions due to military fortunes.
The identification of state leads to need for understanding polarity in states, which is essentially the distribution of power within the state. Accordingly, they are characterized as unipolar, bipolar, tripolar and multipolar. Unipolar states in the world have only one body of great control with little or almost no opposition. An example of the same would be US, which enjoys complete supremacy over rest of the countries of the world. Bipolarity is a state whereby two states have major influence over economic and cultural aspects. Example would be division of the world in two camps post the Cold War era – supporters of USA and supporters of Russia (USSR). Subsequently, tripolarity refers influence of three states and multipolarity indicates influence of more than three states over military, economic and cultural aspects.
The current relationship between US and Pakistan has been influenced by a number of factors since the state’s establishment in 1947. Though initially till 1970’s US had supported the state with economic, military and technical resources, the relations had taken a major toll during 1990s-2000s when Pakistan People’s Party established dominance in the nation. Even though the relations showed signs of improvement from 2000-2010, the operations on Osama bin Laden in Abottabad once again deteriorated relations. Being one of US’ greatest rivals, China has continuously supported Pakistan with military and economic aid in an attempt to negate the influence of India as one of the most emerging and important nations in Asia. It is believed, US continues to provide aid and support to Pakistan despite the negative impressions in order to negate the growing influence of China on Pakistan and in Asia.
Daniel Heater. World Citizenship: Cosmopolitan Ideas in the History of Western Political Thought. New York: St Martin’s Press, 2013.
Michael Frost. Ethics in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Ryan Christophe Macridis. Foreign Policy in World Politics. London: Prentice Hall, 2012.