Review the essay by Smithee on Week Two of the Required Readings page.
What is your “type” as an international relations student? Tell us how do you understand this area of academic studies and its practical purpose. You can draw upon your previous education and/or experience.
Format and Style Guidelines
- Length: about 500 words.
- Times New Roman 12-point font.
- Double-spaced with a 1.25-inch left margin and 1-inch top, bottom and right margins.
- The documentation style utilized must be consistent throughout the paper. Students must choose one of the established academic styles: APA, MLA or the Chicago Style
- In the second paragraph of the essay that I provided in the second page says, “Students who tackle international relations come from different backgrounds – some want to make a career in the field, while others are looking to enhance their professional qualifications by adding an international dimension. These are two general types of learners who engage the field, but there is a wide diversity of interests between them.”
- They are both true for me. I am currently a journalist and I would like to enhance my career by adding an international dimension. At the sametime, I don’t think it’s only because of my current career. I would also like this to be my career. I don’t think being a journalist should stop me from having both career.
- Some of the areas I am interested are foreign policy, international security, international terrorism, human rights, international ethics.
- Regions I am most interested in learning about are Middle East, and South East Asia. I am also attaching my statement essay going into the program, where you can find some of the background information about me.
Below is the essay by Smithee
Why Study International Relations?
During the Cold War, it was often said that if the human race were to be wiped out in the next 50 years it will not because of an asteroid hitting out planet or some disease, but because of conflict between international powers armed with massive arsenals of nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War has eliminated the risk of a large scale planetary conflict threatening to end humanity, but it also provided fertile grounds for further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the second decade of the 21st century, more countries are having nuclear weapons or trying to acquire the technology necessary to develop nuclear weapons. It is only a matter of time until technology necessary for developing nuclear weapons becomes accessible to governments of most countries around the world, and eventually, this technology will allow the same to non-states actors, among them large terrorist networks. However, this is only one of many threats that humanity faces today – depletion of natural resources, climate change, demographic pressures and migrations, widespread poverty, financial shocks and economic crises, ongoing regional wars and frozen conflict – all these and other crucial issues develop and transform daily, which makes it necessary to better study and understand international relations.
International relations discipline is a necessary, difficult, and at the same time, an exciting field to study. Students who tackle international relations come from different backgrounds – some want to make a career in the field, while others are looking to enhance their professional qualifications by adding an international dimension. These are two general types of learners who engage the field, but there is a wide diversity of interests between them.
This is an incomplete list of areas the student of international relations study: relations among states, balance of power, diplomacy, cooperation, trade, financial relations, economic development, regionalism, international organizations, international law, foreign policy, international security, political economy, environmental policy, international public policy, international ethics, colonialism and post-colonialism, maritime law and policies, defense policies, policies and laws of outer space, human rights, human security, rights of minorities, international conflict, strategic weapons, arms reduction and disarmament, conflict management, natural resources, international non-governmental organizations, religions and traditions, rights of women and children, issues of war and peace, revolutions, insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, laws and rules of war, international terrorism, international regimes, international society, migration, demographic issues, etc.
Some students like to study specific regions, such as the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, etc. or individual countries, for instance, Russia, the Republic of South Africa, Canada, etc. Further, there are few well developed theories in international relations that accompany almost every single international relations textbook: realism and its variations, liberalism and its variations, Marxism, constructivism, and few critical school theories. In terms of major periods in history international relations scholars frequently discuss: the interwar period (between World Wars I and II), the Cold War (from late 1940s to late 1980s), the post-Cold War period, etc. Large scale events or processes are also important, such as, globalization, the period of the formation of the modern international system (mid-17th century), the age of industrial revolution (the 19th century), etc.
In short, there are endless possibilities of combining research topics with international events or world regions or functional areas in the discipline of international relations. The discipline is not for faint-hearted – it required a flexible and open mind – the tenets that were assumed to be true a year ago may not be taken seriously today, things often change at an alarming pace. However, the rewards for those who persevere are also great: a lifetime of well-informed opinions, decisions, and intellectual exercises
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