Main Challenges in International Relations

Lesson 1

International relations is a delicate blend of policy and delegation. Many challenges face modern policymakers in the face of post-Cold War politics. Before any of these challenges can be discussed, we must first look at the pre-Cold War interactions between countries in order to understand how and why they’ve shaped the current situations around the world. When comparing the two side by side, we begin to see the transition that political systems make when major historical events take place.

Several questions should be answered in regards to international relations first. Are states obsolete? For almost four hundred years, the territorial state has been the primary player in world politics. To achieve state sovereignty has been the main goal of most nationalistic separatist movements. In some points of view, the territorial state is in very good health. It is still needed to provide military security, give people identity, raise taxes, and provide for the needy. Although, as global trends put pressure on nations for the transformation of politics, states become vulnerable because they may not be able to cope with the needs that the global trends demand. There is much debate on whether globalization is a cure or a curse to the world. On one hand, globalization has brought the world closer as a whole and countries have united economically and socially. On the other hand, globalization will ultimately lead to competition and empowers advantaged states but constrains weak states as well. This creates a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. America is a superpower, and there is no question about it, but will there be consequences for America’s superpower status? The United States has become a hegemon, which is a state so powerful that it has the capacity to control world politics and create rules for others to follow. So the United States has a choice to make: global domination or global leadership guided by principle. Can the United States wisely...