According to InternationalRelationsEDU, International Relations is the study of the interaction between nation-states and non-governmental organizations in fields such as politics, economics, and security. The broad area of International Relations analyzes the relationships between countries and the drive for their interactions. This field requires highly skilled experts to tackle the issues that transcend national boundaries, with a deep insight into human rights, global poverty, the environment, globalization, and political policies. Such policies are not driven by sentiment, feelings, or abstract morality. Politics are driven by the interest of countries. Recently, Dr. Scott Neumann, the Chair of the International Relations and Development department at LCC International University, discussed the importance of International Relations, different countries' policies that operate on different levels, and represented the analysis of all levels.
Looking at the interests or policies of a certain country at different levels, it is important to distinguish what shapes those policies. One of the key factors is the personality of an individual leader. It is a well-known fact that the media firstly portrays a country’s leader’s personality and attempts to explain policies based on that portrait. This might be the easier way, but it’s not the most accurate. For example, for the last four years, people saw the narcissism of the leader of the United States, Donald Trump, and shaped their view about the country based on this particular character. Knowing that the policies don’t change at their core, helps understand the true significance of a political leader, who contributes to the image in one way or another.
International policies of the country are often driven by domestic political needs by the need for leaders to gather political support. This type is a common practice in a democracy or a republic that has a system of public voting. In this case, political leaders must look strong, devoted to the voters, depending on the situation, in some cases even find a way to please major lobbying groups. As the country’s economy shrinks, the government turns to international affairs to gain support. But this system can deteriorate the situation, and weak nations become declining powers. Such countries tend to take more risks to regain power, better the situation in their countries, and sometimes end up losing more. This system is also adapted in dictatorial countries. Although dictators are not up for voting, the leaders still need support to keep their position. The main difference is that in the democratic system, the person is out of power, and loses office, while in the dictatorship, the tendency has extended to the prosecution of the leaders. Preserving your leadership status is not only about proving your power, but also making the public satisfied.
During the Cold War, ideology was one of the factors shaping foreign policy. But shortly enough different ideologies became conflicted/ conflict of interest. People and leaders’ worldviews, and ideological outlooks result in differing interpretations of facts, and also their choices. In the United States, one of the most popular ideologies shaping people’s worldviews is liberalism. On the international level, this can be described as a reference to free trade, democracy. If the country can present necessary tools to support the democratic system, it will most likely receive support from the United States.
The Interstate level of International Relations is responsible for the relations between countries, concerns security matters, and is also responsible for international economics. Every country must protect its borders, to ensure public safety. The alliances are built up to protect the borders, to ensure overall safety. Another matter is international economics that operates within the interest of the movement of resources, purchase, sale, and labor. The interest to protect the trade worldwide is as important as the safety of the country's borders. Nations are determined to shape their policies based on the security of trade and borders.
To coexist and thrive, every country must have a global system that accounts for relations of countries, as well as certain formal or informal rules, norms, agreements between nations. Since the end of world war two, a general norm has been passed not allowing one country to annex another country, especially using violent means. This matter was formally enforced in the First Gulf War over Kuwait. This refers to hegemony, which is the political, economic, or military predominance or control of one state over others, and is indirect enforcement of rules.
The final and deepest level of International Relations analysis is based on geography, also known as the Longue durée. To a great degree, geography imposes itself on the foreign policy of countries and shapes it. Natural borders are one of the factors that have shaped it. For example, the United States, Great Britain, and Japan have prospered to a great extent, as they have natural borders and are easily defended. Other countries have to go the extra mile on spending more on safety and defense. Longue durée also refers to agriculture, to elements of weather and soil. It has always been noted that a prosperous, and successful country is considered the one that can feed itself. “The global superpowers of the Cold War - the United States, Soviet Union, and China contained one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the world. But at the same time, looking at the most common places of conflict today, the countries that have the worst agricultural situation dominate,” says Dr. Scott Neumann. This particular problem is not a factor to resolve, but rather a factor that shapes a policy.
The levels of analyzing International Relations are the tools to describe the international conflicts and relations between nations. To understand how international relations operate, it is important to note that in the increasingly interconnected world, it might take new approaches, but the core factors are the same. Successful trade policies between nations, cooperation, solving global issues, ensuring the safety of the country’s borders come all into one entity - international relations. Policies are often shaped but not determined by the leaders, so the satisfaction of the leader to its public is an important outcome. As the global society expands and develops, international relations will evolve accordingly, while we explore more interesting ways to link our complex world.