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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.

Open Access (free)
Negotiated Exceptions at Risk of Manipulation
Maelle L’Homme

, belligerents have agreed to them for no other purpose than to keep up appearances on the international stage, soften their image and increase their credibility – for example when Russia announced the opening of humanitarian corridors in Grozny in 1999 a few days after opening fire on civilians fleeing the city. By establishing mechanisms for the exchange and transfer of populations which upset the balance of power, evacuation corridors are particularly prone to being used for war strategies. Parties may use them to force a population to move from a rebel zone to a

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
Juliano Fiori

approached human rights – to do with our good relations with Iran, for example. There was a tension, but I don’t think there was an ontological contradiction. I think it is possible to work for a more democratic order – diffusing power, creating a more stable balance of power – while strengthening and democratising certain value systems. Doing so in a cooperative way, too. People might say it was just Brazil trying to extend its power and join the [UN] Security Council. But, in projecting soft power, I believe we were also promoting positive things: South

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The classic balance of power, 1648–1814
Matthias Maass

3 The classic balance of power, 1648–1814 Power politics and small state survival: the classic balance of power, 1648–1814 Elle [la politique] maintient l’Europe indépendante et libre. [Frederic the Great]1 How safe was the largely unbridled balance of power of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for the small state? This chapter will show that the balance-of-power system was in fact rather accommodating and allowed small states to survive in historically large numbers. Moreover, small state death was measured and gradual only. In short, the loose and

in Small states in world politics
Past, present, and future
Matthias Maass

small state survival and proliferation are detectable in the accumulated numbers of small state death, survival, and proliferation over more than three-and-a-half centuries. Small state survival, understood as the larger trend of the annual total numbers of small states, correlates with different levels of support and protection generated by large historical eras and their unique states system. The changes from the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century laissez-faire balance of power to the nineteenth-century concert system and to the twentieth-century hybrid system of

in Small states in world politics
Matthias Maass

international states system. This study finds that different variations of the Westphalian states system had very different effects on small state survival. The most hostile environment for the small state was the late nineteenth-century concert system; the most supportive was the bipolar world of the later twentieth century. Surprisingly, the crude balance-of-power system of the eighteenth century proved fairly accommodating of small state survival. Looking to the future, a modest rise in the number of small states can be predicted. Why study the small state’s struggle to

in Small states in world politics
Raymond Hinnebusch

This book and the study of the Middle East This study takes the Middle East to be constituted around an Arab core, with a shared identity but fragmented into multiple territorial states; the core is flanked by a periphery of non-Arab states – Turkey, Iran and Israel – which are an intimate part of the region’s conflicts and an integral part of its balance of power (Cantori and Spiegel 1970; Ismael 1986: 5–13). Because the Middle East’s unique features defy analyses based on any one conceptual approach to international

in The international politics of the Middle East
Torbjørn L. Knutsen

off the curse of foreign intervention which is threatening to grind the country to pieces. Some commentators see a modern reasoning in this argument. They argue that, when Machiavelli proposed to unify the city-states of Italy against strong enemies, he invoked a balance-of-power theory. Machiavelli, however, never used the term ‘balance of power’. 8 The chapter is significant, but for other reasons than this. First, it amounts to a plea, not to a benevolent God, but to a prince who possesses the secular virtues that Machiavelli has introduced in previous

in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
The revolutionary rise of popular sovereignty
Torbjørn L. Knutsen

(Friedrich II and Kant). During the course of the century, they increasingly portrayed social relations in terms of reason and natural harmony. One of its manifestations was the notion of a self-equilibrating market economy. Another was the idea of a self-adjusting balance among sovereign states. Modern balance-of-power theories emerged in France and Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century. At first, these theories were simple and mechanical. But soon thinkers like Hume and Robertson developed more complex theories of the balance of power, which they saw

in A history of International Relations theory (third edition)
America and Trump in the Asia Pacific
Ketan Patel
Christian Hansmeyer

Introduction The United States under Donald Trump has been charting a radically new course in Asia, a region that has long relied on America for stability and maintaining the balance of power. In the first half of his presidential term of 2017–21, the forty-fifth president reversed or sought to reverse many of the long-standing policies and initiatives pursued by Barack Obama and his predecessors, with potential long-term implications. A multilateral and multifaceted engagement strategy in the region is being replaced by a transactional approach to security

in The United States in the Indo-Pacific