International Studies and World Politics
Global politics, also called world politics, refers to the field which studies the economic and political patterns of the world together with the processes of socio-political organization that arise out of these patterns. At the heart of this discipline are the various processes of socio-political globalization as a result of questions of social class. The various socio-political organizations that emerge are: the global political arena, the global economic governance, the global environmental governance, and the international political negotiation. Each of these organizations work towards creating some form of political order and consensus as well as economic prosperity for the human society and its inhabitants.
In a nutshell, the study of world politics attempts to answer the question: what is the relationship between politics and international economics? In addition, it tries to provide answers to the question: what is the nature of political economy? This is also referred to as comparative political economy, since the subject matter of this curriculum is closely related to the subject of comparative political science. Comparative political economy tries to describe how different nations and political systems are structured around the forces of globalization, interdependence, and national identities.
One can trace the evolution of world politics through the American struggle for freedom and democracy. The nineteenth century saw major developments in American foreign policy, especially when it came to fighting European colonial powers. The United States was one of the founding members of the League of Nations, and it was also one of its earliest advocates of total war. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the United States repeatedly tried to lead the way in diplomacy and foreign policy, trying to convince other nations to live peacefully alongside it. At the same time, the United States repeatedly suffered from coups and revolutionary governments.
During the Cold War era, the term “world politics” became increasingly vague, even as American international organizations took on a greater role in global affairs. In parallel with the development of international organizations, the development of world politics was marked by the increasing globalization of technological sectors. For example, while many countries during the Cold War attempted to keep themselves relatively isolated from the more advanced economies of Europe and Asia, the United States sought to maintain a large amount of economic influence over the less developed parts of the world. Consequently, the language of world politics became increasingly complex, and it has only become more difficult for the international community to coordinate policies despite the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) attempts to create a common set of rules for international organizations to follow.
Today, world politics is characterized by growing complexities within the system. Unlike the period prior to the advent of globalization, when there were a few globally organized political systems, there are now a wide variety of international relations theories and philosophies that have been developed. These theories attempt to explain how political systems become less cohesive and some fail to predict future development. Moreover, there is increasing confusion about which forces govern globalization, including political globalization, global institutional globalization, inter-regional competition, and regional rivalry, which in turn helps to explain why international relations are experiencing so much volatility. Some of these theories also attempt to explain the emergence of new international institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Despite the numerous difficulties that experts in international studies and political science have faced, political theory continues to be an important part of understanding world politics. The existence and theories of political realism, international association, and Comparative political Economy all rely on the fundamental elements of world politics. Additionally, they provide a valuable lens through which political scientists, global business leaders, and policy makers can examine how international cooperation and diplomacy affect the structure of the international political order. In the end, it is these scholars’ analyses that help to determine the successful outcome of political interventions, whether it is intended to promote peace and security, create a democratic environment or promote economic growth and prosperity, among other goals.