Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
World Politics, sometimes called the world political economy, refers to the field of study that studies the interaction of world political systems with the rest of the world. The subject will examine world politics in its broad sense and in its more narrow focus as the analysis of specific nations or states. In the broad sense, the scope of world politics is far-reaching; indeed, it can be called a world problem for which there can be no solutions. Consequently, the study of world politics has become a highly technical and rigorous undertaking. The history and development of the discipline have, however, shown profound changes over time; today, world politics has grown as an area of research and specialization that has attracted hundreds of eminent scholars over the years.
The major components that characterize world politics are money, power, international organizations, politics, security, and values. These components interact in complex and often intricate ways to shape the course of world politics and its outcome. They form the intellectual basis of global economics, global political economy, international relations, and global security. More specifically, they include such areas as national economies, international institutions, globalization, microeconomics, international marketing, international trade, international finance, international technology, international health, international science, and political economy.
In recent years, the increasing globalization of markets has highlighted the need for a new body of research to address the complex issues of globalization and world politics. The growth of interdependence among countries has also played a crucial role in the development of global politics and the relation between the United States and the European Union (EU). This process has prompted many researchers to reexamine the traditional debate on what globalization means and how it affects the global South. Many have looked at globalization and its effects on national economies, while others have looked at its effect on the EU.
Comparative political science has also contributed substantially to the development of global politics. It compares and contrasts the policies of different nations to understand the underlying dynamics of international politics and the design of international institutions. Some comparative studies of world politics point to the United States’ exceptionalism, the ability of a nation to lead on the global stage, as one of the main reasons for its leadership in the world scene. Other scholars point out that human insecurity, lack of trust in major powers, poor performance of international institutions, and other issues contribute to the low confidence in world politics. Other comparative studies, such as those focusing on European history, also point to some of the unique characteristics of European political economy.
The increasing interdependence of states has increased the pressure for them to cooperate in order to promote trade and investment and to reduce their reliance on outside sources of energy and other raw materials. This has led many nations to reconsider the future of political diplomacy, with some developing bilateral free trade deals and moving the negotiating ball forward on multilateral issues. Comparative political science has also provided important insights on the structure and functions of international organizations, and the way in which they have succeeded in ensuring the stability and prosperity of the world economy. International political science departments are increasingly contributing to the development of political science programs at various colleges and universities all over the world.
Political scientists spend much time exploring and interpreting past world history and studying the interaction of nations across international borders. They also track and analyze emerging nations, and how they manage political systems, economics, and cultures, in order to give assistance to other nations during transition periods. Comparative political science also analyzes emerging economies around the world, helping students understand how growth works, and how nations can maintain their level of economic development while incorporating more globalization, technology, and communication into their polities. These courses help students develop and refine their skills in international relations, diplomacy, while preparing them for successful careers in international politics and diplomacy.