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SBI.REF.001 Readings material

'International Relations and World Politics' is an important area of studies for students who wish to follow the International Relations and International Business pathway. The course book on this topic attempts to give answer to the following questions, organised in different chapters:

Chapter One is about 'Trends, Actors and Concepts': 1) What is globalisation? 2) How are crises of authority manifested? 3) Who are the main actors in international relations and world politics?

Chapter Two is about 'An Emerging Global Civil Society' : 1) What is a global civil society? 2) What factors have contributed to globalisation over the past five hundred years? 3) How have norms contributed to a global civil society and 4) What are sources of international law? 

Chapter Three is about the 'International Relations in Historical Perspective': 1) What is an international system? 2) What are the four types of international systems? 3) Why should we be aware of the development of historical international systems? 

Chapter Four is about the theoretical approach by 'thinking theoretically': 1) What is theory and why should you care? 2) How to realists or pluralists, ans economic structuralists differ on their perspective of the world? 3) What are interpretive Understandings of the World?

Chapter Five is about "Power: Interests, Objectives, and Capabilities of States': 1) What are the elements of the Understanding State Behaviour framework? 2) Why is the framework closed associated with the realist perspective? 3) Way is it difficult to measure power?

Chapter Six is about 'Diplomacy, i.e. Managing Relations among States': 1) How can diplomacy help achieve a state's policy objectives? 2) What is the range of diplomatic options or alternatives? 3) How did diplomacy develop over the centuries? 4) How has the role of diplomacy been affected by changes in international relations over the pas 50 years?

Chapter Seven is about 'Force, i.e. War, Just Wars, and Armed Intervention': 1) How can the levels of analysis framework help to explain the outbreak of war? 2) How did Clausewitz contribute to the study and practice of the use of force? 3) What are the key components of just-war theory? 4) Under what conditions does the UN justify the use of force?

Chapter Eight is about 'International Cooperation, i.e. International Organizsations, Alliances, and Coalitions'. 1) How does international cooperation relate to international harmony and discord? 2) What is an alliance and how are its basic attributes expressed in NATO? 3) How is the concept of collective security reflected in the Concert of Europe, League of Nations, and the UN? 4) what is the role of UN peacekeeping missions? 

Chapter Nine is about 'Controlling Global Armaments': 1) What is the difference between disarmament and arms control? 2 What are the objectives of international security regimes? 3) What are the differences among deterrence, defence, and war fighting doctrines? 4) Why is it questionable to apply Cold War deterrence doctrines to new nuclear weapons states such as Pakistan and North Korea? 

Chapter Ten is about 'International Terrorism and Transnational Crime': 1) What are basic explanations of the causes of terrorism? 2) How can we explain the changing nature of terrorism? 3) What responses to terrorism have been suggested and what are their limitations? 4) What are the similarities and differences between terrorists and transnational criminals?

Chapter 11 is about the 'Global Economy, i.e. Politics and Capitalism': 1) When did capitalism as a form of political economy first emerge? 2) What are the key attributes of a capitalist political economy? 3) How did Adam Smith and David Ricardo contribute to thought on classical political economy? 4) What is the North-South divide and what are examples of this gap?

Chapter 12 is about 'The Political Economy of International Trade, Finance, and Regional Integration': 1) How is comparative advantage supposed to work according to classical trade theory? 2) How has the issue of unequal terms of trade been used to criticise classical trade theory? 3) What are the logic and dangers of competitive devaluations in terms of international trade? 4) What are the respective roles of the IMF and WTO and key challenges? 5) What are the key steps in regional integration as reflected in the experience of the European Union? 6) Is Europe unique?

Chapter 13 is about 'The Political Economy of Investment and Sustainable Development': 1) What countries have been most generous in supplying development assistance to the developing world, based upon dollars spent per person in the donor countries? 2) How do loans differ from direct foreign investment? 3) How do population, environmental, and health challenges make economic development difficult in many Third World countries? 4) How do dependency theory and capitalist world-system theory differ from classical political economy explanations of Third World underdevelopment? 

Chapter 14 is about 'The Global Environment': 1) How can the environment be viewed as a collective good? 2) What are the essential environmental challenges associated with the atmosphere, land usage, forests, biodiversity, freshwater, and coastal and marine areas? 3) How can the environment be linked to international security? 4) What are the key components of sustainable development? 5) What roles have nongovernmental organisations played in the environment debate?

Chapter 15 is about 'Religion, Nationalism, and conflicting Identities' : 1) What is the difference between nations, national-states, and multinational states? 2) What are the positives and negatives of religious identification in terms of peace? 3) What characteristics does Islam share with Christianity and Judaism? 4) What are possible approaches to deal with nationalism and ethnicity? 

Chapter 16 is about 'Humanitarianism, i.e. Huan Rights and Refugees': 1) How can human rights be viewed as universal values and not restricted to a particular culture? 2) What is the relation between HR and the liberal tradition? 3) How have HR been expressed in international law and declarations? 4) What are key challenges to an effective international refugee regime?

Chapter 17 is about 'Questions in Lieu of Conclusions':  very interesting questions on 1) Is the world becoming a more peaceful or a more violent place? 2) Will the state wither away? 3) Are interdependence and globalisation inevitable? 4) Is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction inevitable? 4) Will terrorism become the preeminent international security issue and create crises of authority for governments? 5) Will the global environment continue to deteriorate? 6) Is the human security a useful analytical concept? 7) Will HR improve around the world? 8) Do we have any responsibility to a broader humanity? 

In conclusion, we must mention the very good layout and organisation of the text that is very pleasantly navigable for students and teachers alike. 

The historical documents in the Appendix part of the book are a rich primary source that sheds light on the evolution of International relations between countries: 1) The text on 'Freedom of the Seas' by Hugo Grotius, 2) 'The Peloponnesian war: the Melian Dialogue' by Thucycides, 3) Max Weber paper on 'Interpretive Understanding', or more recently 4) 'The Downing Street Memo' on the case of taking military action on Iraq, 5) George Kennan's 'Long Telegram towards Containment' on Russia, or 6) Thomas Hobbes paper on 'The natural condition of mankind' . More impactful was 1) The 'UN Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty' which include the UN Charter of 1945, The North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 and the series of UN documents  on functional international organisations as specialised agencies and other UN organs, the non-proliferation Treaty Tutorial, The Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide (1948), the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, The Geneva Convention (relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of war (1949), The Magna Carta (1215), the Declaration of the rights of Man and of citizens (1789), the US Bill of rights (1791), The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolutions 217A (III) of 10 December 1948.

Finaléy, the Glossary (p. 535-556) on terms relating to IR is a read treasure to students who want to master the specialised terms in this field.

Student: Anita Hoang