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International Relations Definition
One can better define International Relations if one clarifies in which aspect it is required to be defined. International Relations is beyond a comprehensive definition because of its multidimensional approaches. Scholars however devised their own kinds of definitions depicting the sense in which they take IR. As Palmer and Perkins used these words to define IR;

"International Relations is the objective and systematic study of international life in all its aspects."
This is a relatively general definition yet beyond the width of International Relations as a discipline.
Central Point of all Efforts made to define International Relations
In nearly all definitions proposed for International Relations, scholars share one point in common that works as the central idea behind this discipline. That idea is of 'nation states' and the relationships between them.
IR in its very first sense name of the relationships between the nation states of the world. The internationality is subject matter of the discipline. Modern nation state system evolved from the Peace of Westphalia Treaty signed in 1648. Today, in the complex structure of world states working on varying ideologies, International Relations helps to study them in a unanimity of thought.
Scope of International Relations
Another merit as well as demerit of this discipline is that it has no boundaries of its scope. It is merit in the sense of provision of absolute opportunity to man to make research on the daily changing international relations. It is demerit as the discipline fails to give itself a concrete shape and outline. But still keeping in view the aspects studied in the International Relations till now, we will try to elaborate its scope. Following points will prove helpful in this regard;
 IR studies relations between states in their political and economic prospects primarily.
 IR covers the realm of 'foreign affairs' in all its dimensions.
 IR deals with the recording and studying of International History with the aim to find out the basis of states' relations in the past.
 IR studies International Law in the context of how international rules define and govern the relations between states.
 IR embodies its scope with the inclusion of not only states but also the non-state actors in international relations.
 IR deals with the international events of;
 War
 Peace
 Nuclear world
 International political economy
 Globalization
 International institutions
 Conflicts among states
 Foreign policy and decision making
 National powers and interests
International Relations has a wider scope. The points elaborated above as its scope are not final. This discipline broadens its scope with the changing events of the world and new dynamics of international relations. It is a subject along with being a practical course adopted by nations of the world and the international institutions.

The Nation State System
Modern world is the world hosting nation state system. This system in its very basic sense ensures the origin of states on the world map. And the relationships among these states are to be regulated by internationally agreed set of rules. This nation state system is child of political and social evolution of the world that commenced with the birth of social animal on this planet.
What is Nation State System?
Palmer defines nation state system in these words; "Nation State System is a pattern of political life which organizes people separately into sovereign states".
Elements of a Nation State
Every nation state of the world is to possess four essential elements in order to prove its recognition. These elements are;
 Population as a nation
 Definite territory for that population to live in
 A government to govern that population with the defined territory
 Sovereignty of that nation state
Origin of Nation State System
Origin of the modern nation state system can be traced back into 1648 when the Peace Treaty of Westphalia was signed. This treaty was actually an agreement to end the 'Thirty Years of War' from 1618 to 1648 between various religio - political factions of the landmass Europe.
Prior to signing of this treaty various religious sects of Christian Europe were at daggers drawn at one hand and there was dreadful clash between the Church and the Throne on the other hand.
With the Peace of Westphalia drawn in 1648, for the first time in human history, independent sovereign territories were defined to be ruled by the nations living in them. This was a way to end the long war and it proved quite effective.
Modern Nation State System
Europe became the birthplace of the contemporary nation state system. Though it was not in this position at that time but with the time passing it evolved. Today, the nation state system shapes an international community to discuss and deal with the affairs between them.
Today, the nation state system is complex than ever. Not only the states are the prominent actors as in the past but also the non-state actors occupy their place. Nation state system of present day is however more concrete but still victim of various international problems.
Future of Nation State System
There can never be one state of the whole world as nations hesitate to lose their distinct identities. Nation state system will continue in the future of this world with any rare chance of being replaced. It is system that if not perfect then at least better than its previous versions.
Further, nations have learned to govern themselves and their states. They have established international community, international peace making institution and international law as well. Thus, it is a relatively better system.
Nation state system is the framework in which modern political world acts. It has more evolved and developed mechanisms of conduct with each other. Nation states become the basis of studying International Relations as well both in terms of a discipline as well as in terms of a mechanism.

Evolution of International Society
Nation state system provided the fundamental unity for giving this world an international society. This society of states faced various phases of peace and war to evolve into its contemporary shape. Today, international society is more powerful and strong under the shadow of international law than it was ever before in the past. Conflicts and frictions in the relations among states however undermine the concreteness of international society at different levels of interaction.
What is International Society?
International society can be defined as 'community of world states gathered under an agenda that may be in the shape of international law at a universal organization in order to sort out the ways for achieving common goals and averting common threats thus primarily fulfilling the aim of a peaceful world'.
Elements shaping International Society
The definition carries following elements that establish an international society;
 Nation states
 International organization
 International law
 Common Agenda
 Aim for world peace
Origin of International Society
Evolution of international community can be studied after knowing its origin. It was the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 that actually laid the formal structure of nation states. Establishment of an international community was possible not before that. Thus, nation states became the first element of international community.
Nation states of the world plunged into the First World War in 1914. At the end of this war, the first ever time came in history when the idea of an international community was materialized. Following the proposition of the then American President Wilson, the League of Nations was established as an apparent body of international society.
Evolution of International Society
Evolution of international society began with the birth of the League of Nations after the First World War. The league became the first platform where the member states could debate over the international problems. But soon after the Great Depression of 1930s, the League became the victim of nationalism and state - centrism. This undermined the evolution of international society. World put itself into another Great War from 1939 to 1945. This was a period which might or might not be taken as evolutionary phase of international community. But in a compact view, World War Two ended bringing the nation states closer again in order to revive this interrupted evolution of international society. At that moment another international organization with the name of the 'United Nations' (UN) was established.
UN survives even today after having passed through the bumpy decades of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. The organization represents an international society with the gathering of 192 states as its members.

UN & the Evolution of International Society
In the contemporary state of affairs, the evolution of international society can be seen and assessed in terms of the evolution of the UN.
The UN as universal body of nation states pledges for the world peace and to avoid any possibilities that might lead the world into another major conflict.
International society today has evolved to discuss and deal with the modern day problems of global climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and so on. It is dealing with the issues of regional and civil conflicts as well to prevent them from escalation. As has been the case with Libya and Syria today where UN interfered to stop the wars.
From the origin of nation state system to the establishment of the League of Nations and then its successor the United Nations, International Society is endeavoring in one way or the other to infuse more rational ways to deal with the global problems and global crisis. The community faces dilemmas and debacles in their efforts but overall prevent the world system from disintegrating.

International Relations Theoretical Approaches
Theories are the academic basis of any discipline of social science. International Relations being a discipline is studied in different theoretical approaches. It has varying approaches because of different perspectives in which its subject matter is studied by the scholars. All interpret the postulates of International Relations mostly not in a common way. Among the theoretical approaches of the IR:
Liberalism or Idealism
Liberalism or Idealism comes first in terms of its formal origin.
Realism comes first in terms of its strong realistic postulates.
Neo-Realism comes as a refined form of the aboriginal Realism.
Neo - Liberalism
Neo - Liberalism takes re-birth years after the failure of idealism.
World System Theory
World System Theory advances itself from the traditional theories of International Relations, and
Feminist Theory
Feminist Theory brings forth the new and utopian ideas related to suppressed role of women in International Relations.

Liberalism and Idealism
What is Liberalism?
Liberalism as its name denotes, is a theory that defies the traditional and conservative style of observing International Relations. It is a theory that basically emphasizes upon the need of liberal thought and openness while maintaining international relations.
What is Idealism?
Idealism is nothing different from liberalism. It is part of the Liberal Approach which denotes a specific period of time in the world history following the First World War when the Liberal
made an abortive effort to give this world an ideal system regulating the international relations. Idealism is also called 'Utopianism'.
Proponents of Liberalism & Idealism
Among the classic and modern proponents of Idealism and liberalism come the following names;
 Immanuel Kant
 Thomas Jefferson
 James Madison
 John Locke
These above mentioned names were of classic scholars. The modern scholars included;
 Alferd Zimmern
 Norman Angell
 Woodrow Wilson
Fundamental Points of Liberal Approach in IR
The fundamental principles devised by the Liberal Approach in International Relations can be studied in following points;
 It is instinct of human being to cooperate for mutual welfare.
 Evil is an exceptional case in the Human nature.
 States in a similar context tend to cooperate in international affairs as they are governed by rational men.
 War cannot be eradicated however with mutual cooperation it can be reduced to the minimum possible level.
 There shall be promoted international harmony with the help of a global institute working to maintain the world peace.
Origin of Liberalism
Liberalism was actually founded after the chaotic World War One. It was the wish of the nation states to cooperate in order to eliminate war of this destructive level. Former American President Woodrow Wilson gave his historic 14 points to bring peace into the post - war world. He in the last of his points gave the idea of establishing an international organization that was materialized in the form of the 'League of Nations'.
Criticism on Liberal & Ideal Approach
Liberalism and its more ambitious faction Idealism are criticized for utterly rejecting the realist basis of international relations. They are criticized for forwarding the utopian and impracticable schemes of regulating the relations between the states.
Failure of Liberalism?
Liberalism if not utterly failed then at least received a blow when the League met failure and world plunged into World War Two. The utopian scheme could not prevent the nationalistic tendencies of the League's former members from disrupting the world order.
Liberalism is among the classic theoretical approaches of the International Relations. The theory carries massive support for its liberal and peaceful modes of regulating the international relations. However, it is criticized for its failure to prevent the world from another great war with its utopian schemes.

Realism is the approach of International Relations that works as anti - thesis to Liberalism. Realism focuses on the more realistic, power oriented and state centric principles that play important role in international relations. Realism lays emphasis upon gaining national power to pursue national interests at all costs.
Proponents of Realism Approach
Among the classic proponents of Realism, also regarded as its founders, following names fall;
 Nicolo Machiavelli
 Thomas Hobbes
 Clausewitz
Modern scholars that favor Realism as a better approach in International Relations are;
 Hans Morgenthau
 George F. Kenan
 E. H. Carr
Origin of Realism as Approach of International Relations
Formal origin and incorporation of Realism as an approach in the International Relations was seen at the end of the Second World War. Liberalism failed in all its utopian schemes to bring peace to the world. States fought another Total War. Following that the approach of Realism sought grounds. If seen in the distant past, Realism finds its origin in writings of Machiavelli as well as Thomas Hobbes.
Fundamental Postulates of Realism
Following were the fundamental postulates drafted by various scholars under the umbrella of Realism;
 There exists international anarchy.
 States are the principal actors in international relations.
 States pursue national interests.
 States tend to accumulate national power.
 States strengthen the means of their survivals.
 National power and national interests determine the relations between states.
 States need to compete each other for seeking relative gains in the international realm.
 War is an option in the international relations.
Realism and Six Principles of Hans Morgenthau
Hans Morgenthau's Six principles of Realism are taken as eminent work in this field of International Relations. His six principles give the ideas of;
 National power
 State centrism
 National interests
 Autonomy
 Survival
 Beyond morality approach of state
Criticism on Realism as Theoretical Approach of International Relations
Realism is criticized for its extreme emphasis on state centrism, power grabbing and national interests at the costs of world peace. The theory is realistic but leads the world states into an anarchic position where everyone is at war against the other. It does not eliminate war as an option in the international relations.

International Relations seeks Realism as among the influential classical approaches. Realism talks about the aboriginal and realistic basis of international relations. It is criticized for its extreme version but the theory completely rejects the utopian postulates of idealism. Realism does not take cooperation as an option because according to its proponents, world is anarchic where intense competition is inevitable to maintain national power.

'Neo' means new or the latest. Neo-Realism is more refined and advanced strand of Realism. Neo-Realism unlike the original Realism is more moderate form in International Relations.
Origin of Neo-Realism
Neo-Realism originated in latter part of 1970s. It was the reactionary product of Neo-Liberalism which once again posed serious threat to the Realist idea of state centrism. It was the work of Kenneth Waltz with the title of 'Theory of International Politics' which gave birth to neo-realism.
Exponent of Neo-Realism
Among the modern exponents of neo-realism the name of Kenneth Waltz echoes. He is regarded as founder of this theoretical approach in the International Relations. Waltz sticking to the traditional ideas of Realism, infuses a new spirit in this approach by not utterly rejecting the possibilities of cooperation among the states of the world.
Postulates of Neo-Realism
Postulates of new-realism are the same as that of realism. They differ in a few points which are explained as following;
 There exists international anarchy which serves as basis of international relations rather than the Human nature of violence.
 World states follow the idea of self - help to empower themselves and act in international relations.
 There exists Security Dilemma in international relations. States accumulate power for their security and survival which leads most of them into a race of armament and militarization.
 Possibilities of cooperation between the states need not to be overlooked when they are serving the interests of a state.
 It is not the cooperation however but the 'Balance of Power' that actually prevent the states from large scale war.
Criticism on Neo-Realism Theory of International Relations
Neo-Realism is criticized on the account of following points;
 Still the theory is extreme and regards state as the sole actors of international relations.
 It admits cooperation now but it has not yet rejected war as an option.
 Focuses on national power and national interests of a state which actually undermine the possibilities for cooperation.
 The theory of Neo-Realism gives a mixed vision not a clear cut one. It is not inclined on a single side.
Neo-Realism is actually the reaction to the action posed by Neo-Liberalism. The theory has not given up the basic postulates of Realism but it is still moderate as compared to its original version. Neo-Realism is brainchild of Kenneth Waltz who believed neither in extreme liberalism not in extreme realism. As a consequence, he devised a middle way to meet the ideals in international relations.

Neo-liberalism emerged to be the modern strand of liberalism in the realm of theoretical International Relations. This approach just like its previous aboriginal strand believes in rationality of human nature and international cooperation. But unlike its aboriginal form, neo-liberalism is moderate and less extreme.
Origin of Neo-Liberalism as Theoretical Approach in IR
Origin of neo-liberalism in International Relations was both the result of changing world circumstances and need of the evolving discipline of International Relations. Even more than these two points, neo-liberalism originated to revive the dead approach of liberalism.
It was 1960s which is seen as the decade when neo-liberalism took birth. Its origin was catalyzed by the declining oomph of realism.
Since after the collapse of liberalism as first hand approach of international relations, realism was holding firm grip on the world order. Neo-Liberalism defied the system of state centrism and intense competition bringing forth cooperation as the best option in economic and political terms.
Various Aspects of Neo - Liberalism
Neo-Liberalism can be understood in various aspects it brought. These are explained below;
A. Neo Liberal Internationalism
The core assumption of this aspect of neo-liberalism is that the liberal democratic states of the world don't war against each other. This ensures peace and prosperity at global level.
B. Neo-Liberal Institutionalism
This strand of neo-liberal institutionalism though believes in cooperation but in one aspect it shares commonality with the Realism. It concurs to the point of realism that states are the principal actors and institutions in the international relations.
But instead of seeing this thing in terms of competition in anarchic world, neo-liberal institutionalism focuses on ensuring prospects of cooperation.
Neo-Liberalism and Idealism
Neo-Liberalism gives a different scheme to regulate the international affairs as compared to idealism. The theory of idealism that took birth after the First World War was taken as utopian way to deal with international relations. It was impracticable.
Neo-Liberalism does not represent utopian and impracticable schemes. It accepts the primary role of states in world affairs but suggests them to work with cooperation.
Criticism on Neo-Liberalism
Realists attack neo-liberalism again with the traditional mantra of not being a realistic approach in understanding the global affairs. For the proponents of Feminism this is again among the theories that carry nothing remarkable to ensure women empowerment. Marxists consider it as a tool of the Western powers being exploited to deal both the developing and the developed states under the same but unfair mechanisms.

World System Theory
World System Theory, unlike the classic theories of Realism and Liberalism, is one dimensional approach to study the situation of dependency of a part of the world upon the other. The central point of the theory emphasizes on the point that the unhealthy economic condition of the developing countries is due to continuous dependence on and unending exploitation by the developed states of the world.
Origin of World System Theory
World System Theory is believed to have its root in the works of Lenin - the revolutionary founder of the communist USSR. Lenin wrote 'Imperialism - The Highest Stage of Capitalism'. In this book he blamed capitalistic developed states responsible for exploitation and backwardness of the developing states.
Explanation of World System Theory
World system theory explains the imperialistic styles of the world hegemons. It simply divides the world into two tiers. One of the 'Core' which is based on economically and politically advance countries i.e. European nations, USA. The other is 'Periphery' which consists of the developing countries of Asia, Africa and South America.
The theory propounds that the Periphery world is dependent upon the Core world. This dependence can be interpreted in terms of economy, politics and technological advancement. The reasons behind the dependence are not only backwardness and depravity of the Periphery but also continuous exploitation of these states by the Core states. This exploitation is carried out by various tools that can be laws, institutions or any other form.
Historical Dependence of the Periphery
The theory goes deep in the history of the world order. It states that it was Periphery that provided the Core with cheap labor, natural resources and raw material. Most of the Periphery states were colonized and exploited to bring advancement and development in the Core states. This led to historical dependence of the Periphery states on the Core states.
The situation worsened when the Core states reached high levels of industrialization and technology but they did not share this advancement with the periphery states.
The approach of World System is criticized for being not a theory in real sense. It is single dimensional perspective that explains how developing states are dependent upon the developed states. The theory did not carry enough weightage in the theoretical realm of International Relations.

Feminist Theory
Feminism is a non-traditional and modern theory of International Relations. The theory highlighted the aspects of international relations from the point of view of women of the world. The theory propounds how this gender has been sidelined in deciding international relations despite being its direct victim every time. Feminism is the broadest example of an effort for women empowerment.
Origin of Feminism as Theory of International Relations
Origin of Feminism is actually the consequence of several world conferences convened to empower women across the globe. Some of the prominent conferences that played role in this regard are;
 Mexico Women's Conference 1975
 Copenhagen Women's Conference 1980
 Nairobi Women's Conference 1985
 Convention on Elimination of All Kinds of Discriminations against Women 1979
These conferences highlighted the rights of women along with the need to empower them and give them a share in deciding international affairs.
International Endorsement of Women's Rights
Following the conferences mentioned above, international community endorsed the rightful demands of women. The United Nations declared the years from 1976 to 1985 as 'Decade for Women'. Similarly, the year 1975 was marked as the 'International Women's Year'.
Core Points of Feminism as a Theory
Feminism laid down following reservations upon the contemporary world order;
 World order is in fact male dominated.
 National interest is always multi-dimensional but is defined by masculinity.
 Women have always remained hidden in international relations.
 Women are direct victims of male dominated decision making in international relations.
 War is decided by men but women suffer.
Efficacy of Feminism
Feminism is right in its reservations but it is utopian scheme. It is not practicable to secure the share for women in international relations in a way as demanded. Feminism just like World System Theory explains one dimensional aspect of international relations. Though there is a vast change observable today in the status of women in world. They have been empowered greatly. But there are cultural, social and historical barriers to enhance their role in international relations that are difficult to overcome.
Another point which proves that women are now more active in international relations more than they were in the past is that they can be seen as heads of the states, chief diplomats, ambassadors, head of delegations at UN.
Feminist theory is more a reservation than an explanation how international relations are regulated. It rarely gives any clear cut mechanism to regulate international relations. It has however helped in empowering women.

Power & Elements of National Power
National Power is fundamentally a mantra given by and believed in by the Realist school of thought in International Relations. Having assumed this world as anarchic, the realists emphasize upon accumulation of power by a state as inevitable. As far as the parameters of measuring the national power is concerned, realists do measure it in relative terms. The criterion set to determine national power is a collection of different elements that collectively assess it.
What is Power?
In simplest terms of understanding, power is the capacity to get a thing done from someone who would not have done this otherwise.
What is National Power?
National power refers to the capacity of a state to use its influence, force or authority upon another state.
Realists' View of National Power
Realist school of thought view national power as ultimate as well as the immediate goal of a state. According to them a state must never give up accumulating national power after all it is in competition with friends as well as foes.
Elements of National Power
Elements of national power are the factor which determine the power of a state. Status of these elements is basically the parameter that may enhance or decline the national power of a state. Some of the major elements have been elaborated below;
A. Geography
Geography does not only include the size and location of a state which determine national power but also strategic position, climate, topography etc. Role of geography can be seen in terms that the USSR and the USA had been super powers of the world and both carried vast territories. But that is not always the case. Britain has small territory of its own but its control on seas empowered it to rule over the world.
B. Economy
In the contemporary world order, the thing which matters the most is the powerful and stable economy of a state. China is a clear example which due to its economy emerges out to be the next world super power. Even the USA which is super power now has a vibrant economy.
C. Military
With economy, military might be also essential to enhance national power. China might be an economic giant but it has limited military capacity as compared to the US. Thus the USA surpasses it in national power.
D. Technology
Technological advancement emerges out to be another modern element of national power. Technology is something that is shared in every field whether it is military, science, agriculture or another department of state. A state technologically advance shares superiority over the other. For instance, during the Cold War, the USA shared technological superiority over the USSR.
E. Natural Resources
Natural resources are another element of national power. What matters in real is not the presence of natural resources but it is their exploitation. If exploited to the maximum benefit, natural resources can be helpful in enhancing national power.
F. National Unity and Population
Population type and its skills determine national power. And if the population of a nation is united, it empowers the nation better.
G. Ideology
Ideology is traditional element of national power. It matters less but still matters to determine national power. This is because of the reason that ideology plays role in determining structure of state.

National Interest
National interest is a tricky topic of modern International Relations. It is something taken as an impetus behind every state action relative to another state. National Interest serves as the determinant of state's foreign policy along with depicting the nature and policies of political government ruling the state.
Defining National Interest
It is a common perception that national interest has no concrete and definite words that can define it absolutely. It is a fluid aspect of International Relations. The definition of national interest lacks universality because the national interest is not shared common by all states. Secondly, there are the factors which determine national interest of a state for a specific period of time. These factors also vary from state to state.
But in a very safe and simplest attempt to define national interest following words can be used; "National Interest is the name of those goals and objectives of a state which are pursued to seek the maximum benefit in a given set of circumstances".
Fluidity of National Interest
National interest lacks definite outlook. The variables which prevent national interest from seeking a concrete shape are following;
 Varying circumstances
 Different state ideologies
 Major changes in the World Order
These variables make states to review their national interests from time to time and alter their course of action then.
Link Between National Interest and Foreign Policy
National interest is closely linked to the foreign policy of a state. As foreign policy is determined and drafted keeping in view the national interest. Relations of one state with another state are nothing more than their interests attached to each other's. In Foreign policy a state pursues its national interest.
Determinants of National Interest
Along with the variables mentioned above, national interest is determined by following elements;
 State's geo - strategic position
 Political traditions
 Goals and manifestoes of political parties
 History of the state
Survival - The Chief Aim of National Interest
Among the several aims and goals of the national interest of a state, survival stands to be the first one. All other interests come after a state has ensured survival. Other aims of national interest can be economic, political and diplomatic oriented.
Ways to Pursue National Interest
National interest is pursued through different ways. In the modern world of the nation - state system, national interest is pursued chiefly by 'Diplomacy'. It is the legitimate art of forwarding state's foreign policy towards other states. In this way actually national interest is pursued.

Ways to pursue other than diplomacy can be use of influence, making alliances, concluding agreements and treaties. Illegitimate ways might include the use of force against the other state or interfering in its internal matters with the help of non - state actors.
National interest is understood in wider sense. It is mostly long term policy. The reason behind the presence of complexity in understanding national interest is also that we take it in shorter term as something imminently achievable and based on unchangeable principles. But in fact it is contrary to that.

Sovereignty is a modern day aspect of the International Relations. It is actually linked with the aboriginal concept of the nation - state system. Before the origin of the nation state system, the idea of sovereignty was vague. Later it evolved gradually to assume the contemporary manifestation.
Defining Sovereignty
Sovereignty is defined in terms of 'unrestricted and unlimited authority of a state within its territory and on its population'. In another meaning of sovereignty, it is taken as the supremacy of state. This supremacy is meant to control and command everything inferior to it.
Sovereignty as Element of State
Modern nation state has four essential elements as defined in the 'Montevideo Convention on Duties and Rights of States';
 Population
 Territory
 Government
 Sovereignty
Sovereignty as an element of state is the most important one in abstract sense. Without sovereignty the idea of population and territory can be perceived but the idea of government control on both these things remains impossible. So, sovereignty is actually the name of that control as well which government being the working agency of state exercise over its people.
Various Dimensions of Sovereignty
Sovereignty is understood in different dimensions or types. Some are explained below;
A. Domestic Sovereignty
Domestic sovereignty means that the state is sovereign to rule over and decide for all the internal matters within its territory or related to its population.
B. Interdependence Sovereignty
Interdependence sovereignty means that state shall have control the international boundaries it shares with the neighboring states. No one is permitted to cross the borders of the state without due permission.
C. International Legal Sovereignty
This sovereignty is linked to the recognition of other sovereign states which have fulfilled the criteria of being the nation states.
Exclusivity and Absoluteness in Sovereignty
Exclusiveness and Absoluteness are two important features of sovereignty. Exclusivity means that the state is sovereign excluding all other agents that may tend to exercise control. In simple terms it excludes these agents from sharing state's sovereignty.
Absoluteness of sovereignty of state means that the supremacy and authority of state is absolute and final. It will govern not only all the geographical parts of the country but also decide for the people. This feature makes the modern nation state as central institute of power.
Internal & External Sovereignty
Internal sovereignty deals with the internal affairs of a state. This idea is most of the time also linked with the concept of legitimacy of government. The way in which a government is elected to exercise internal sovereignty is an important aspect.
External sovereignty is the name of maintaining relations of a sovereign power with the other states of the world. It is not the supremacy of one state over another but the way in which relations between states are to be maintained on equal footing.

Sovereignty is an abstract element of state which is also the most important one. Sovereignty is the actual thing which works as the soul of modern nation state.

Balance of Power
Balance of power is the classical realist concept that preserved peace of the pre - world wars world. It is concept that marks its practical implementation in 18th century. In the contemporary world, balance of power theory has little role to play but it cannot be ignored utterly due to its historic role. Even during the Cold War, a balance of power was present between the two Super Powers which prevented from escalation of any conflict to the total war.
Defining Balance of Power
It has been noted that unlike most of the topics of international relations which lack concrete definitions, 'Balance of Power' is actually the one which has multiple interpretations. In simple terms, Balance of Power refers to 'the mechanism which the states adopt in order to maintain a certain level of equilibrium in their relative powers'.
Balance of Power as a General Social Principle
International Relations' Realist Morgenthau see the 'Balance of Power' as a general social principle. According to this perspective, 'Balance of Power' exists among states just as it exists among individuals in society to maintain the social peace and equilibrium.
Pre - Requisites of 'Balance of Power'
Balance of power requires following essentials;
 Multiple nation states
 International anarchy
 Varying degrees of powers distributed among the states
 Requirement for bringing an equilibrium
Tools of 'Balance of Power'
Balance of power is not naturally present in the world order. It has to be achieved by the world states utilizing one or the other method. Some major tools or techniques of achieving balance of power are elaborated as following;
A. Alliances & Counter Alliances
This is the chief way to maintain or bring balance of power. In the 18th century world and also during the Cold War, balance of power was kept by establishing Alliances. A common example is 'NATO' & 'Warsaw' during the Cold War. Both the alliances, each led by rival superpower, maintained a level of balance between them.
B. Buffer States
These are the states which geographically work as barrier between two or more rivals. For instance, Afghanistan has been a buffer state between British held Indian colony and the Soviet Union. Similarly, Tibet served as buffer states between India and China.
C. Armament and Militarization
Armament and militarization by one nation leads the rival states to do the same. This maintains balance of power between them. India and Pakistan present this type of case. Both the states maintain a level of deterrence through militarization and nuclear armament.
D. Disarmament
During Cold War, particularly in its later part, rapid disarmament agreements were concluded between the US and the USSR. These agreements were like SALT, NPT at global level, etc. These helped to restore balance of power by reducing dreadful arms.
E. Intervention
Intervention is also an option to bring balance of power. The US & USSR' interventions in Korean war, Vietnam war are its examples. Both the powers maintained balance of power between them by fighting proxy wars at foreign lands.
Conceptualization of Security in 21st Century
Balance of Power is anachronism in the 21st century which is dominated by the nation states that see their national interests and national powers as chief aims. Thus, intense competition exists in anarchic world. Balance of power was not appropriate to bring peace to the 21st century world. Due to its inadequacy and uncertainty it was needed to be replaced by something more reliable.
Perceiving the Idea of Security in 21st Century
21st century is witnessing the nation states in their evolved shapes. International community is stronger than ever before in the chaotic world history. But the risks of conflicts among states are never eliminated absolutely. It is part of realistic world. In 21st century these risks might be less but dangerous than ever. This is because international community is strong but several states have weaponized themselves with weapons of mass destruction. Thus, maintaining peace in this scenario is critical and needs proper mechanisms.
'Collective Security' as Core Concept of World Peace in 21st Century
The idea of 'Collective Security' replaced 'Balance of Power' in 21st century. This core concept of security is different from its preceding formula.
A. What is Collective Security?
Collective Security can be defined as the 'the collective or joint mechanisms adopted and pursued by the international community to fight aggression and the aggressor in order to maintain international peace'.
B. Principle behind the Concept of Collective Security
The principle behind the concept of Collective Security is that 'all the states must be joining hands to fight against the aggression. Attack against one states shall be taken as an attack against all states'.
C. How to Achieve Collective Security?
Collective security can be achieved by pursuing the ways mentioned below;
 Aggressor state is needed to be identified in a combat
 All other states shall work jointly to contain or defeat the aggressor
 Aggressor shall be either made to surrender or defeated
 Arrangements shall be made in future to bring the aggressor state into mainstream
Effectiveness of Collective Security
Effectiveness of 'Collective Security' depends completely upon the eagerness of states to play their respective roles in this regard. More the willing states would be the more effective Collective Security can be perceived.
Collective Security & The League of Nations
League of Nations established on the principle of collective security failed in its mission due to inappropriate and nationalistic approach of certain states like Germany, Italy, France. It carried the principles to preserve the world peace which collapsed after the Great Depression and finally led world to Second Great War of the century.

Collective Security & the UN
UN succeeded the League. In its very first Article, the UN Charter pledges to maintain international peace. Chapter 7 of the charter further clarifies the course of action that states need to adopt in cases of Breach of Peace.
Collective Security is the idea that works as the concept of security in 21stcentury. This concept is working contemporarily along with several flaws it carries.

UN Climate Change Conference Paris, 2015
Non-Traditional Challenge
The international community is facing a non-traditional challenge which is 'Climate Change' caused by some factors under the umbrella of 'Global Warming'.
A New Subject on the International Priority List
Civil wars, terrorism, inter-state wars, and peacemaking have always been the overwhelming issues of International Laws and Conventions. But since the later years of 20th century, the apparent effects of climate change have if not changed then at least added a new concern for their priorities.
Conference at Paris
UN Climate Change Conference was held at the beginning of December previous year. Delegations from all the 196 member states of the UN attended the meeting and resultantly drew 'Paris Agreement.'
The agreement once signed and ratified by at least 55 states, will regulate several environmental concerns including the emission of greenhouse gasses to which China, USA, and India are notoriously contributing.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
Before the meeting, each of the participants drafted and submitted 'Intended Nationally Determined Contributions' to clarify their positions and roles over the climate change.
Position of Pakistan
Pakistan also submitted the said document and participated in the conference. The country has more concerns over climate change particularly after the periodical floods in the recent years. But the bitter reality is that it possesses the little capability to do anything to evade this problem.
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
This conference was 21st annual meeting over the UN initiative for climate change. The 1st one took place in 1992 when 'UN Framework Convention on Climate Change' was signed.
Both the agreements pledge for nearly similar aims but rarely have any mechanism for enforcing the climate policy rules. Secondly, the conference and its agreements are also criticized for the non-seriousness behavior of major countries who see no political benefit in it.
In compact, climate change will prove to be a friend of none; it is a problem to be solved with mutual efforts even if they are slow.

Syrian Civil War
A series of demonstrations conducted in the wake of Arab Spring of 2011 against the Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad gradually turned into violent armed confrontations between the Syrian Government and the Opposition Groups.
Multidimensional Conflicts
The fight was political and sectarian which became more complicated with the rise of self-styled terrorist outfit 'ISIL' and the plunge of International Powers into Syria to combat it along with securing their peculiar regional interests.
Russian Intervention
In the chain of events, the latest significant intervention was made by Russia in September of the previous year when the Syrian government requested the former for airstrikes against the rebels and terrorists. Russian move is backed by Iran and Iraq as well. Syria has been an important ally of Russia in the Middle East and it doesn't want to compromise its strategic value. Russian presence is, however, troublesome for both the US and its Middle Eastern allies.
Violation of Human Rights
Breaches of human rights is another shameful chapter of Syrian strife. Children and non-combatant citizens have been severally made a victim of air strikes.
Refuges tragedy
An estimated 9 million Syrians are displaced, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or displaced within Syria itself. As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimation, over 3 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbours Turkey (22,00,000), Lebanon (11,96,560), Jordan (1,400,000), KSA (420,000), and Iraq (247,861). The majority of the Syrian which is about 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have assured to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots - 28,500 or 85% - are announced by Germany.
Peace Talks at Geneva
Currently, global powers including US, UK, Germany, Russia and regional powers like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are mutually engaged in talks at Geneva to sort out the acceptable ways of bringing peace to Syria and crush ISIL.

Rising China
Effective yet Peaceful Rise
Keeping itself abreast with the commandments of Mao Zedong and the necessities of the transforming world, China is rising effectively yet peacefully.
Unipolar World
End of Cold War cemented a unipolar world with the USA as its sole hegemon who had technological, economic and military powers not better than anyone else but everyone else. Being the superpower of the world, the USA practiced influence in Europe, Middle East and to some extent South East Asia.
Superpower in-Waiting
In the wake of rapid economic development and enhanced trade, the realists of international arena began to call China as the 'superpower-in-waiting'. But this was not the belief shared by all of them.
Former American Secretary of the State 'Henry Kissinger' calls the Chinese rise as nothing more than a 'psychological impact'.
US-China Comparison
Militarily China has the world's largest number of soldiers but this in no way surpasses the US military might. The tactics, weapons and aircraft technology and the experience of unilaterally directing the world order make US superior even now. Regarding the economy, US still has the GDP of over 17 trillion as compared to the Chinese GDP of 11 trillion according to the statics taken a previous year.
Transforming World and Chinese
The world is facing a change in alliances and interests. China though not overtake the USA very soon but it's not far away as well. According to various predictions, China will be the superpower within next 50 years or even a bit longer. The country has begun to show its presence in South China Sea, South Asia and Africa either through trade or other hegemonic designs.
Afghan War
9/11 & Invasion of Afghanistan
Following the September 11 Al-Qaeda led attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the then American President G. W. Bush launched the 'Operation Enduring Freedom' along with its allies to root out the said militant organization which was then being hosted by 'Taliban Government' in Afghanistan.
Allies of Afghan War on Terror
Primarily the militarily powerful member states of NATO and then UN Security Council sanctioned 'International Security Assistance Force' led all the war operations in Afghanistan. The 'Northern Alliance' of Tajiks of Afghanistan backed the US operations. A new government was also installed.

Consequences of the Invasion
The invasion of Afghanistan was the easiest part and so was dismantling the Taliban Government but not its aftermaths.
A guerrilla warfare began which claimed the lives of thousands of foreign soldiers, Taliban combatants, and Afghan civilians. The war led to massive migration of Afghan nationals into neighboring countries.
With all the ups and downs of the Afghan situation, the war continued until December 2014 when NATO announced official end of all combats. But this was in no way the end of Afghan crisis nor were all the foreign troops to leave the invaded land.
Withdrawal of American Troops from Afghanistan
The complete withdrawal was expected in 2015 but keeping in view the current Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, Obama Administration has announced to retain nearly 10,000 American soldiers there for an indefinite period.
Quadrilateral Peace Talks
Currently, a Quadrilateral effort, by Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, and the US, to initiate dialogue between the combatants and the Afghan Government is being made after the Pakistan-brokered talks broke last year.
Revival of Putin's Russia
Putin's Dissatisfaction with the Legacy of his Predecessors
Not conceding to the legacy of Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, Russian President 'Vladimir Putin' has been ruling the country since 1999 from one office or the other; with the implicit ambition to open that phase of history when the Great Soviet Union was disintegrated.
Manifestations of Russian Revival in International Political Arena
The latest manifestation of Putin's this rhetoric is explicit when he readily accepted the invitation of Al-Assad government in 2015 to launch the airstrikes apparently against the ISIL but secretly to curb the rebels and support its Syrian ally. This drastic action of Russia was followed by another incident in 2014 which could be seen as the focal point of changing world order. The incident shook the world when Russia annexed Crimea - a part of Ukraine.
Sanctions on Russia curbing its Ambitions
Hit by the severe sanctions soon after Crimean chapter, Putin pledged to uphold Russian vigor by commanding the people 'to produce and eat their own' with a clear challenge to the West as in words of Fidel Castro; "We don't want them (West), we don't need them."
Russian Economy
The economy is the lifeline of a rising state. Putin's years of rule from 2000 to 2008 as President marked distinct economic growth. Along with several other reasons, this was because of high oil prices amid the massive production of crude oil by Russia. Since after he assumed office in 2012, the growth record has not been narrating the same success story. Ranking among the top five economies of the world, Russia now stands not even in the first ten according to its Nominal GDP Rank. It is the aspect which reflects that Russia might be losing oomph.
Alliances Maintained by Russia
But economy alone never determines state's power. Other factors, mostly political ones also account for in this regard. One of these important factors is 'alliance'. Russia and China have never been on the same ideological page despite the fact that both are communist states. It is because of their self-defined postulates of communism. However, at the forum of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), they are one when it comes to challenging the hegemony of the US. Secondly, the alliance of Russia with oil-rich Iran in the Middle East is changing the game in the Middle East particularly after when Iran has made re-entry into the world market after the end of sanctions.
Unsafe Prediction
In a compact analysis, it cannot be safely predicted that Russia will seek its lost glory, but it will also not be wise to close eyes to the awakening of 'Russian Bear' from the dormancy which began with the collapse of Soviet Union. The evolving world order will be affected by it.
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commendable effort! kindly keep on sharing rest of the topics
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But I am expecting efforts from all aspirants.
It is humble request to all IR opting candidates to share your own notes here

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Default strange.....please stop selfishness

no one is sharing his/her notes or hand outs because of being a selfish of high level..........oh my God

here is the links to some good books on IR

World Politics: Trend and Transformation by Charles W. Kegley JR. and
Eugene R Wittkopf

Understanding International Relations by Chris Brown

Politics Among Nations by Hans j. Morgenthau

The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations by John Baylis and StevSmith,eds

Essentials readnigs in World Politics by Karen Mingst

Theory of International Politics by Kenneth N. Waltz

The Twenty Year’s Crisis ; 1919-1939:An Introduction to the Study of International Relation by E.H. Carr

Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons by Joseph Cirincione

Arms Control: The New Guide to Negotiations and Agreements by JozefGoldblat

Books which are not suggested but good to read.

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John Mearsheimer

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
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Old Friday, November 18, 2016
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Default World War I

In late June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. An escalation of threats and mobilization orders followed the incident, leading by mid-August to the outbreak of World War I, which pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (the so-called Central Powers) against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan (the Allied Powers). The Allies were joined after 1917 by the United States. The four years of the Great War–as it was then known–saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction, thanks to grueling trench warfare and the introduction of modern weaponry such as machine guns, tanks and chemical weapons. By the time World War I ended in the defeat of the Central Powers in November 1918, more than 9 million soldiers had been killed and 21 million more wounded.

Though tensions had been brewing in Europe–and especially in the troubled Balkan region–for years before conflict actually broke out, the spark that ignited World War I was struck in Sarajevo, Bosnia, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death along with his wife by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many in countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slavic nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, Austria-Hungary waited to declare war until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention, which would likely involve Russia’s ally, France, and possibly Great Britain as well.
Did You Know?
The young Winston Churchill, then first lord of the British Admiralty, resigned his command after the failed Gallipoli campaign in 1916, accepting a commission with an infantry battalion in France.
On July 5, Kaiser Wilhelm secretly pledged his support, giving Austria-Hungary a so-called carte blanche or “blank check” assurance of Germany’s backing in the case of war. The Dual Monarchy then sent an ultimatum to Serbia, with such harsh terms as to make it almost impossible to accept. Convinced that Vienna was readying for war, the Serbian government ordered the Serbian army to mobilize, and appealed to Russia for assistance. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.

According to an aggressive military strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan (named for its mastermind, German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen), Germany began fighting World War I on two fronts, invading France through neutral Belgium in the west and confronting mighty Russia in the east. On August 4, 1914, German troops under Erich Ludendorff crossed the border into Belgium, in violation of that country’s neutrality. In the first battle of World War I, the Germans assaulted the heavily fortified city of Liege, using the most powerful weapons in their arsenal–enormous siege cannons–to capture the city by August 15. Leaving death and destruction in their wake, including the shooting of civilians and the deliberate execution of Belgian priest, whom they accused of inciting civilian resistance, the Germans advanced through Belgium towards France.

In the First Battle of the Marne, fought from September 6-9, 1914, French and British forces confronted the invading Germany army, which had by then penetrated deep into northeastern France, within 30 miles of Paris. Under the French commander Joseph Joffre, the Allied troops checked the German advance and mounted a successful counterattack, driving the Germans back to north of the Aisne River. The defeat meant the end of German plans for a quick victory in France. Both sides dug into trenches, and began the bloody war of attrition that would characterize the next three years on World War I’s Western Front. Particularly long and costly battles in this campaign were fought at Verdun (February-December 1916) and the Somme (July-November 1916); German and French troops suffered close to a million casualties in the Battle of Verdun alone.

On the Eastern Front of World War I, Russian forces invaded East Prussia and German Poland, but were stopped short by German and Austrian forces at the Battle of Tannenberg in late August 1914. Despite that victory, the Red Army assault had forced Germany to move two corps from the Western Front to the Eastern, contributing to the German loss in the Battle of the Marne. Combined with the fierce Allied resistance in France, the ability of Russia’s huge war machine to mobilize relatively quickly in the east ensured a longer, more grueling conflict instead of the quick victory Germany had hoped to win with the Schlieffen Plan.

Over the next two years, the Russian army mounted several offensives on the Eastern Front but were unable to break through German lines. Defeat on the battlefield fed the growing discontent among the bulk of Russia’s population, especially the poverty-stricken workers and peasants, and its hostility towards the imperial regime. This discontent culminated in the Russian Revolution of 1917, spearheaded by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. One of Lenin’s first actions as leader was to call a halt to Russian participation in World War I. Russia reached an armistice with the Central Powers in early December 1917, freeing German troops to face the other Allies on the Western Front.

With World War I having effectively settled into a stalemate in Europe, the Allies attempted to score a victory against the Ottoman Empire, which had entered the conflict on the side of the Central Powers in late 1914. After a failed attack on the Dardanelles (the strait linking the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea), Allied forces led by Britain launched a large-scale land invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula in April 1915. The invasion also proved a dismal failure, and in January 1916 Allied forces were forced to stage a full retreat from the shores of the peninsula, after suffering 250,000 casualties.

British-led forces also combated the Turks in Egypt and Mesopotamia, while in northern Italy Austrian and Italian troops faced off in a series of 12 battles along the Isonzo River, located at the border between the two nations. The First Battle of the Isonzo took place in the late spring of 1915, soon after Italy’s entrance into the war on the Allied side; in the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, or the Battle of Caporetto (October 1917), German reinforcements helped Austria-Hungary win a decisive victory. After Caporetto, Italy’s allies jumped in to offer increased assistance. British and French–and later American–troops arrived in the region, and the Allies began to take back the initiative on the Italian Front.

WORLD WAR I AT SEA (1914-17)
After the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915, the German navy chose not to confront Britain’s mighty Royal Navy in a major battle for more than a year, preferring to rest the bulk of its strategy at sea on its lethal U-boat submarines. The biggest naval engagement of World War I, the Battle of Jutland (May 1916) left British naval superiority on the North Sea intact, and Germany would make no further attempts to break the Allied naval blockade for the remainder of the war.

It was Germany’s policy of unchecked submarine aggression against shipping interests headed to Great Britain that helped bring the United States into World War I in 1917. Widespread protest over the sinking by U-boat of the British ocean liner Lusitania in May 1915 helped turn the tide of American public opinion steadfastly against Germany, and in February 1917 Congress passed a $250 million arms appropriations bill intended to make the United States ready for war. Germany sunk four more U.S. merchant ships the following month and on April 2 President Woodrow Wilson appeared before Congress and called for a declaration of war against Germany.

With Germany able to build up its strength on the Western Front after the armistice with Russia, Allied troops struggled to hold off another German offensive until promised reinforcements from the United States were able to arrive. On July 15, 1918, German troops under Erich von Ludendorff launched what would become the last German offensive of the war, attacking French forces (joined by 85,000 American troops as well as some of the British Expeditionary Force) in the Second Battle of the Marne. Thanks in part to the strategic leadership of the French commander-in-chief, Philippe Petain, the Allies put back the German offensive, and launched their own counteroffensive just three days later. After suffering massive casualties, Ludendorff was forced to call off a planned German offensive further north, in the Flanders region stretching between France and Belgium, which he had envisioned as Germany’s best hope of victory.

The Second Battle of the Marne turned the tide of war decisively towards the Allies, who were able to regain much of France and Belgium in the months that followed. By the fall of 1918, the Central Powers were unraveling on all fronts. Despite the Turkish victory at Gallipoli, later defeats by invading forces and an Arab revolt had combined to destroy the Ottoman economy and devastate its land, and the Turks signed a treaty with the Allies in late October 1918. Austria-Hungary, dissolving from within due to growing nationalist movements among its diverse population, reached an armistice on November 4. Facing dwindling resources on the battlefield, discontent on the home front and the surrender of its allies, Germany was finally forced to seek an armistice on November 11, 1918, ending World War I.

World War I took the life of more than 9 million soldiers; 21 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties caused indirectly by the war numbered close to 10 million. The two nations most affected were Germany and France, each of which sent some 80 percent of their male populations between the ages of 15 and 49 into battle. The war also marked the fall of four imperial dynasties–Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey.

At the peace conference in Paris in 1919, Allied leaders would state their desire to build a post-war world that would safeguard itself against future conflicts of such devastating scale. The Versailles Treaty, signed on June 28, 1919, would not achieve this objective. Saddled with war guilt and heavy reparations and denied entrance into the League of Nations, Germany felt tricked into signing the treaty, having believed any peace would be a “peace without victory” as put forward by Wilson in his famous Fourteen Points speech of January 1918. As the years passed, hatred of the Versailles treaty and its authors settled into a smoldering resentment in Germany that would, two decades later, be counted among the causes of World War II.
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" -Will Rogers
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It is really helpful.....
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plz can anyone guide me a single authentic book for IR ... its difficult to read alot of books.

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Originally Posted by DrHinamalik View Post
plz can anyone guide me a single authentic book for IR ... its difficult to read alot of books.

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Do consult carvan's book. It will serve the purpose. Inshaa Allah.

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Q: Define Internationals relations. Identify and explain its continuously changing and expanding nature and subject matter?

Discuss the development of the study of International relations and define its core influential factors and define its role in the post cold war era?

kindly make an outline for above question..
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hi im new here and really confused about the preparation of IR as i have no idea about it so plzzz guide me how to start my prep.i have read some books but its too confusing ,should i go through the whole boojk or just relative topics
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