This book traces discussions about international relations from the middle ages up to the present times. It presents central concepts in historical context and shows how ancient ideas still affect the way we perceive world politics. It discusses medieval theologians like Augustine and Aquinas whose rules of war are still in use. It presents Renaissance humanists like Machiavelli and Bodin who developed our understanding of state sovereignty. It argues that Enlightenment philosophers like Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau laid the basis for the modern analyses of International Relations (IR). Later thinkers followed up with balance-of-power models, perpetual-peace projects and theories of exploitation as well as peaceful interdependence. Classic IR theories have then been steadily refined by later thinkers – from Marx, Mackinder and Morgenthau to Waltz, Wallerstein and Wendt. The book shows that core ideas of IR have been shaped by major events in the past and that they have often reflected the concerns of the great powers. It also shows that the most basic ideas in the field have remained remarkably constant over the centuries.
Where should we look for the origins of an InternationalRelationstheory tradition? 1 On the one hand are authors who claim that we should begin with World War I. This is too late. Long before World War I, a large body of literature existed which discussed issues of war, wealth, peace and power in international relations – as this book seeks to show. On the other hand are authors who argue that we should begin with the dawn of recorded history. But this is too early. No sustained connection exists between the famous discussions of Xenophon
will have to pay their cost in blood and taxes, so they will strive to avoid it (Keane 1996 , pp. 296ff). Godwin agreed that ‘war will be foreign to the character of any people in proportion as their democracy becomes simple and unalloyed’ (Godwin 1985 , p. 507).
French theorists – mechanical equilibrium
The many brilliant theorists of Enlightenment Europe make it difficult to select a single writer to represent the InternationalRelationstheory of the age. Even the shortest list of authors who might be considered ‘the voice of the eighteenth
and Northern Ireland
Máire Braniff and Sophie Whiting
Approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1998 landmark Good Friday
or Belfast Agreement, the age-old issue of security plagues the failed negotiations on dealing with the past and the issues of victimhood, justice, and
historical accountability in Northern Ireland.1 The security dilemma is one
of the most compelling issues in the real world of politics and in International
Relations (IR) scholarship.2 The negotiations about how to deal with Northern
arguments had not been so totally forgotten. No one cites Lorimer today. Yet, his insights are central to InternationalRelationstheory. They are, however, regularly attributed to other scholars who have waxed more recently on concepts like ‘interstate system’, ‘anarchy’, ‘balance of power’, ‘interdependence’ and ‘institutions of order’.
IR, in other words, is not among those academic fields which are distinguished by a steady accumulation of knowledge. James Lorimer has, like many other International Relations authors of the past, relapsed into total darkness
InternationalRelationstheory appeared in the sixteenth century. It emerged alongside the painful twin-birth of the modern state system and the modern world economy. Its growth was part of a process which eroded old institutions and overthrew traditional truths, but which did not replace the old conceptions with new certainties. It was a central part of the intellectual anxiety of that sprawling, tumultuous epoch which marked the transition from the medieval to the modern world. It was an age torn between the beliefs of the medieval mind and the
non-Western countries called for an African–Asian Conference in the Indonesian city of Bandung in 1956, Khrushchev recalled Lenin’s Congress of the People of the East in Baku in 1920 and sent Soviet observers.
On the Third World and radical InternationalRelationstheory
Khrushchev was happy to contribute to the Bandung discussions on the nature of Western imperialism. He was elated to note that the conference condemned the colonial practices of the West. He was, however, deeply disturbed when conference delegates began to discuss whether Soviet
, courage, industriousness, strength and other instances of Renaissance virtù. Other authors invoked a similar argument. Among them was Niccolò Machiavelli, who largely repeats Bruni’s thesis in his Histories of Florence.
Niccolò de Bernardo Machiavelli (1469–1527) contributed greatly to political theory. His contribution to InternationalRelationstheory is also significant, but it is indirect and often overestimated. One of his younger contemporaries, Francesco Guicciardini (1483–1540), may be a more important contributor in this respect. For whereas
’s naval power ... and so on in a beneficial cycle (Heckscher 1935 ).
Anarchy, reason, contract and order
Absolutism and mercantilism both addressed the issues of human co-operation, wealth and order. The theme of ‘order’ was a key concern for the trading nations which had experienced first-hand the destructive effects of the Thirty Years War. InternationalRelationstheory in the mid-seventeenth century was dominated by a quest for a set of regulatory principles which could impose order upon a chaos of competing and self-contained states.
theorists (Lenin as well as Adorno, Horkheimer, Sartre and others). Anglo-American radicals tended to be less orthodox and more inventive. In Britain a new radicalism developed in the early 1960s around the journal New Left Review , under the editorship of Stuart Hall and Perry Anderson. In the USA, radicalism had deep roots in the variegated academic world of urban immigrants. All of them found a decisive inspiration in the writings of Marx (more than Kant).
The Anglo-American elaborations affected InternationalRelationstheory deeply. The elaborations that