Dynamics of International Relations

Excerpt

Students in American colleges and universities have a new set of textbooks written for their guidance after every major foreign war. At the turn of the century hostilities with Spain produced treatises and texts on world politics and colonial government and gave new impetus to the history of diplomacy and international law. World War I brought in its wake a number of textbooks devoted to) international relations, organization, and law. Today the student has at his disposal a choice of new guidebooks to the field of international politics. The quantity of these manuals is impressive. More important is the redistribution of emphasis, such as appears in the present volume.

Although it is too early to describe these variations with complete confidence, some tentative characterizations may be made. The texts reflect in part the emergence of a generation of specialists more numerous and often more experienced at the policy level than their predecessors. The gigantic scope of war and continuing crisis brought into existence a new army of experts on various geographical areas and provided exceptional opportunities for the experts -- young and old -- to play advisory or deciding roles.

There was a time when courses in international politics were largely devoted to contemporary history. It was possible to rewrite the New York Times or the London Times and to put between book covers a running account of The Foreign Policy of Altruria, 1870-1914; During World War I; Since. The manual of current events has been losing ground since the 1930s at least; and the trend appears to be continuing if not accelerating. It would, I suggest, be a mistake to abandon this emphasis entirely, since an elementary task of an introduction to world politics is to provide a concise view of world developments and to familiarize the student with names, dates, and places. To an increasing extent this chore is being taken over by historians who overcome parochial dispositions to confound the history of the United States and Western Europe with world history. The specialists in both political history and the political process share responsibility for making clear to the student the principal trends in the structures and ideologies of the world arena. The authors of the present text characterize these trends; and an important exercise for a serious student is to evaluate the nature and balance maintained among these trends.

Among text writers one tradition has been to indoctrinate the reader with . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1956

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