Principles & Problems of International Politics: Selected Readings

Principles & Problems of International Politics: Selected Readings

Principles & Problems of International Politics: Selected Readings

Principles & Problems of International Politics: Selected Readings

Excerpt

In compiling this volume of readings in international politics, we have been guided by three basic considerations. We have tried to include only selections relevant to the subject matter. We have tried to select only writings not easily accessible to the average student. We have made it a point to give selections in full, cutting as little as possible.

The proper content of international relations as an academic discipline, since its emergence as an independent field of study after the First World War, has been the object of controversy between two opposing schools of thought. The one which held sway in the interwar period was the eclectic school which combined topics from all kinds of disparate fields, from agriculture almost to zoology, seeing in the qualifier "international" the common denominator which would transform this mass of unconnected material into one field of international relations. The other school, which is today dominant in our institutions of higher learning, applies a systematic principle of selection to the great mass of phenomena which transcend the frontiers of a particular nation and therefore fall in the general category of "international." While not always consistent in its application, it finds that systematic principle in the power relations of sovereign nations. In determining what is relevant to our subject matter we have indeed started with the assumption of this school of thought that the core of international relations is international politics and that the subject matter of international politics is the struggle for power among sovereign nations. In consequence, we have made it a point to touch but lightly on certain topics which are treated in most of the older textbooks dating from before the Second World War, but which are no more than marginal to the subject matter thus conceived.

In thus concentrating upon the problems which are at the core of the subject matter we have had two primary purposes in mind. We have tried to illuminate the nature of a problem by giving selections from authors representing opposing points of view. This we have done, for instance, in dealing with the science of international politics, the nature of international politics, the essence of imperialism, the question of how to deal with a revolutionary imperialism, the problem of world government. Our other purpose has been to show in the continuity of international problems and of the policies dealing with them the objectivity of what might well be called the laws of international politics. In our day the tendency is strong to reduce inter-

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