International relations

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International relations (IR) is the study of relationships among countries, the roles of sovereign states, inter-governmental organizations (IGO), international non-governmental organizations (INGO), non-governmental organizations (NGO), and multinational corporations (MNC). International relations is an academic and a public policy field, and so can be positive and normative, because it analyzes and formulates the foreign policy of a given State. As political activity, international relations dates from the time of the Greek historian Thucydides (ca. 460–395 BC), and, in the early 20th century, became a discrete academic field (No. 5901 in the 4-digit UNESCO Nomenclature) within political science. However, international relations is an interdisciplinary field of study.[1]

Quotes Pertaining to Theories[edit]

Quotes by Realism Advocates[edit]

Quotes by Classical Realism Theorists[edit]

  • The struggle for power is universal in time and space and is an undeniable fact of experience. It cannot be denied that throughout historic time, regardless of social, economic and political conditions, states have met each other in contests for power. Even though anthropologists have shown that certain primitive peoples seem to be free from the desire for power, nobody has yet shown how their state of mind can be re-created on a worldwide scale so as to eliminate the struggle for power from the international scene. … International politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power. Whatever the ultimate aims of international politics, power is always the immediate aim.
  • Political realism believes that politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature.In order to improve society it is first necessary to understand the laws by which society lives. The operation of these laws being impervious to our preferences, men will challenge them only at the risk of failure. V`Realism, believing as it does in the objectivity of the laws of politics, must also believe in the possibility of developing a rational theory that reflects, however imperfectly and one-sidedly, these objective laws. It believes also, then, in the possibility of distinguishing in politics between truth and opinion — between what is true objectively and rationally, supported by evidence and illuminated by reason, and what is only a subjective judgment, divorced from the facts as they are and informed by prejudice and wishful thinking.
  • Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the ineluctable tension between the moral command and the requirements of successful political action. And it is unwilling to gloss over and obliterate that tension and thus to obfuscate both the moral and the political issue by making it appear as though the stark facts of politics were morally more satisfying than they actually are, and the moral law less exacting than it actually is.
  • We must distinguish between military and political power. Political power is a psychological relation between those who exercise it and those over whom it is exercised. It gives the former control over certain actions of the latter through the influence which the former exert over the latter's minds. That influence may be exerted through orders, threats, persuasion, or a combination of any of these.

Quotes by Neoclassical-Realism Theorists[edit]

^ Open for Add-ons ^

Quotes by Neo-Realism Theorists[edit]

  • States have two kinds of power: latent power and military power.
  • According to the first image of international relations, the locus of the important causes of war is found in the nature and behavior of man. Wars result from selfishness, from misdirected aggressive impulses, from stupidity.
  • Simply put, the most powerful state is the one that prevails in a dispute.
  • To build a theory of international relations on accidents of geography and history is dangerous.
  • The most dangerous states in the international system are continental powers with large armies.
  • Offensive realism predicts that the United States will send its army across the Atlantic when there is a potential hegemon in Europe that the local great powers cannot contain by themselves.
  • A potential hegemon, as emphasized throughout this book, must be wealthier than any of its regional rivals and must possess the most powerful army in the area.

Quotes by Liberal Realism Theorists[edit]

^ Open for Add-ons ^

Quotes by Liberalism Advocates[edit]

  • The bipolar world is over, but it not going to be replaced by a unipolar world empire that the United States controls alone. The world is already economically multipolar, and there will be a diffusion of power as the information revolution progresses, interdependence increases, and transnational actors become more important. The new world will not be neat, and you will have to live with that.
    • Joseph Samuel Nye, Jr.,Understanding International Conflicts - An Introduction to Theory and History (Sixth Edition).
  • Chamberlain's sins were not his intentions, but rather his ignorance and arrogance in failing to appraise the situation properly. And in that failure he was not alone.
    • Joseph Samuel Nye, Jr.,Understanding International Conflicts - An Introduction to Theory and History (Sixth Edition).

Quotes about IR from other Theoretical Perspectives[edit]


  • In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geostrategy involves the purposeful management of geostrategically dynamic states and the careful handling of geopolitically catalytic states, in keeping with the twin interests of America in the short-term: preservation of its unique global power and in the long-run transformation of it into increasingly institutionalized global cooperation. To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski,The Grand Chessboard (1997).
  • It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski,The Grand Chessboard (1997).

Quotes About Theorists[edit]

^ Open for Add-ons ^

See also[edit]