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Evolution of World Politics

International Relations
World Politics
Regarding the International System:

The notion that the world is more than just the sum of its
parts (countries)


World politics is more than just the sum of the individual

interactions among those parts

What does this mean?

Distribution of Power

Patterns of action among actors in World Politics

System: a group of independent but interrelated elements
comprising a unified whole

Mid to late 15th century began:

integration and disintegration

Treaty of Westphalia,1648
18th century -- early 20th century:

Popular sovereignty


Culmination of multipolarity
The times they are a changin’

Each dot
represents Uranium or
1 million mine?

Across the
pond in a
speedy 10
Deterrence Theory argues that fear of retaliation would serve as a
deterrent to conflict

World Peace
The United Nations
Fall of Soviet Union

A new polar system?

Weakening Western orientation of the system?

Challenge to authority of the state?

A new polar system?

Hegemon: Dominant regional/world power(s)

Hegemony: Exercise of said power



Modified Multi-polar
Weakening Western orientation of the system?
Challenge to authority of the state?

Forces splintering states into fragments (jihad)

Others merging states into an integrated McWorld

If Jihad prevails: “grim prospect of a retribalization of large swaths

of humankind by war and bloodshed: a threatened balkanization
of nation-states in which culture is pitted against culture, people
against people, tribe against tribe.”
On the other hand: melding of “nations into one homogenous
global theme park, one McWorld tied together by communications,
information, entertainment and commerce.”

We are “caught between Babel and Disneyland….the planet is

falling precipitously apart and coming reluctantly together at the
very same moment.”

11 million people killed in wars of 20th century

New and greater forms of international security
Multilateral Arms Regulation and Disarmament Agreements

1925 Geneva Protocol

Antarctic Treaty
APM Convention (Mine-Ban Convention)
Bangkok Treaty
Celestial Bodies
Cluster Munitions
Inter-American Convention
Inter-American Convention on Transparency
Open Skies
Outer Space
Partial Test Ban
Pelindaba Treaty
Sea-Bed Treaty
Treaty of Rarotonga
Treaty of Tlatelolco
Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia
International Security Forces

UN Peacekeepers
“NATO has helped to end bloody conflicts in Bosnia, Kosove and
head off a civil war in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Today, NATO-led forces are helping to bring about stability to
Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur.”
--NATO Website
Human Rights
Evolving concept?

Global Environmental Sustainability

An issue of national security?