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Syllabus on International Relations

By Parker Thomas Moon; Institute of International Education (New York, N.Y.) | Go to book overview

PREFACE

To say that democracy cannot successfully direct the foreign policies on which our national security and prosperity, our lives and fortunes, depend, unless democracy is intelligent and informed regarding international relations, would be a truism scarce worthy of attention, had it not been so gallantly ignored in this country. What Lord Curzon said of British foreign affairs could be applied with equal truth to our own--"they touch the life, the interest, and the pocket of every member of the community." The Great War proved it; each year of peace adds proof on proof. Fortunately, however, there are many who, realizing this fact, desire to inform either themselves or others on the subject of international relations. For them this book was prepared, to serve as a friendly and not too opinionated guide.

Two ideas have determined the general plan and scope of the outline. First, international relations must be viewed as a whole. There is a purely diplomatic approach to the subject; there is an "economic interpretation"; there is also a legal, and a political, and a psychological, and a sociological, and a geographical, and an historical interpretation. Each contributes its share of truth. None, by itself, is sufficient. The purpose of this syllabus is to bring these diverse aspects of the subject together, so far as may be. The task was not easy; the subject is too big for facile mastery. But if the synthesis here attempted proves to be helpful or illuminating, the author will be rewarded for his pains, and perhaps pardoned for venturing into fields not his own.

The second idea was that conflicting viewpoints, together with the relevant facts, should be presented impartially, in such a way as to lead naturally to discussion of problems. The reader or student or teacher is left free to form independent conclusions. This method of procedure has a very great advantage for those who may use the syllabus. For the author it has a disadvantage. It exposes him to those critics who seek to condemn by quoting a phrase here and there, wrested from its context. Perhaps this is the place to declare that the opinions set forth in different parts of the syllabus run the whole gamut from jingoism to pacificism; many are not the author's opinions, but they are included merely because intelligent students should, and intelligent citizens must, grapple with them. It is difficult to conceive how a fair study of the subject as here outlined could fail to develop an enlightened spirit of patriotism along with an intelligent appreciation of foreign affairs.

The syllabus is designed primarily for a one-year course affording a comprehensive survey of the history as well as the economic, geographic,

-vii-

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