The sort of interaction that exist between and among sovereign states can be termed as international politics. The concept considers the political, economic, social, cultural, historical and other interactions between sovereign entities or states. International politics focuses on investigating the policies of one government in relation to the other in the intentional system. Considering the importance of intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and many others, International Politics studies their activities in relation to the state. Similarly, the activities of nongovernmental organizations such as business organizations and nonprofit entities and their operations in various states forms a crucial part of the study. The field of international relations is becoming more and more relevant in our contemporary world, human survival and progress, avoiding wars, understanding the defects of nationalism, to study the basic motivations of the nation – states in the world politics, achieving international co-operation, to know the significance of internationalism, understand the significance of collective security and disarmament, to understand world public opinion, peace and harmonious living, economic benefits, promoting world culture, immigration control, the goal of obtaining a better world and many more could count the significance of international relations.
One of the most important aim and therefore significance of international relations is to achieve international co-operation. In this modern world, the idea of states isolating themselves from other states has become obsolete. By this we mean that, no state is independent as far its source of income generation such as trade, foreign exchange, and tourism is concerned. International relation has helped many states to engage themselves by way of interconnecting and interrelating with other states, this is commonly termed as co-operation. International co-operation in this sense can be explained as the process of states working together with other states or non-state actors (International Organizations) such as the United Nations, Commonwealth etc. for a common, mutual or same benefit, as oppose to working in competition for selfish gains. Without international co-operation, problems of the international society such as global financial crisis, lack of economic opportunity and empowerment, government accountability and transparency as well as safety among nations and global poverty cannot not be solved. International co-operation is therefore necessary to promote internationalism and world government as well world peace, as a benefit of international relation this leads as to our next point.
Creates the realization on the significance of Internationalism. The study and practice of international relations helps identify the importance of internationalism, in the sense that a political principle which transcends nationalism and advocates a greater economic cooperation among nations and people is achieved. This principle (Internationalism) generally believes that various states of the world and its citizens or subjects should unite across national, political, cultural, racial, or class boundaries to advance their common interest or that of the government of the world. By this we get to understand that, international coexistence is more important than national sovereignty, so as to achieve the welfare of all nations and the international society. Hence, internationalism brings to an end, the exploitation of one individual by another as well as the antagonism between states and other states. Thereby, creating a sense of unity among states and the world at large.
Moreover, understanding the defects of nationalism serves another significance of the study. Extreme nationalism is known to have caused a number or wars of which both world war I and II cannot be exempted. Nationalism in Europe forced the break-up of the multinational Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, the separation of Norway from Sweden and of Ireland from Britain. Nationalism again has had a negative impact on the stability of nations. For instance, the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq’s government experienced fierce sectarianism and conflict between members of various ethnic groups. An increase in nationalism leads to increased nativism, a stand that devastates global trade networks and hinders the economic development of all nations. All these defects of nationalism are realized in the study if international relations and subsequently prevented.
Collective security and disarmament is also a major significant of international relation. Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, political, regional, or global where each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, therefore commits a collective response to threats of all kinds. However, we should not misconstrue collective security to alliance, collective security is more ambitious and it seeks to encompass the totality of states within a region or indeed global and address a wide rang range of possible threats. Disarmament is a term referring to any international control or limitations on weapons to reduce possibility of destructiveness or war. It is a formal arrangement to regulate weapons, chiefly nuclear weapon acquisitions between two countries. International efforts for nuclear arms control were seen in the establishment of international Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A), the autonomous agency formed to promote peaceful use of nuclear technology and prevent its military use.
Furthermore, understanding world public opinion has been a benefit of international relations among states. The fact is, no statesman or leader can ignore world public opinion in their dealings with other states.
International relations among states is crucial to preventing wars among and between states or a subsequent world war III and therefore ensuring global peace or harmony and coexistence. It is said that, mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. Wars are highly destructive, they intend cause problems that are likely to have no solutions at all if not difficult solving. Through non-state and international organizations such as The United Nations (UN), a possible world war III has been prevented, as well as interstates and intra-states wars regulated. Historically, one of the oldest expressions of international relations was the establishment of treaties and agreements between nations. Maintenance of these treaties ensures that ordinary people could go about their everyday tasks of earning a living and raising their families rather than dedicating themselves to armed conflict with neighbors. This function of international relations remains just as relevant today. Though there are still countries out there that have a long way to go before peace treaties can be met, others like North Korea and South Korea, are making strides for peace that have left the world shocked, yet hopeful.
Nonetheless, positive international relations also promote effective trade policies between and among nations, both in terms of importing natural resources and finished products not available in one country, and in terms of gaining access to the larger market afforded by exports to foreign countries. International relations define the requirements and limitations of cross-border trade in terms of taxes, transportation routes, trade sanctions, materials that cannot be traded etc. International relations also demonstrate to the rest of the world in which countries are powerhouse in certain industries, which other countries really need to rely on. For instance, Korea and Japan export the most cars, while China exports many different kinds of electronics, Colombia cannot be left as a major exporter of coffee. This shows how economic wise, significant international relations is.
International relations are not only about regulating and controlling the flow of goods and information or war prevention, they are also advantageous for promoting the advancement of human culture in a general way. The diversity of world cultures can be promoted and shared through enlightened international relation policies, allowing programs such as student exchange and cultural exhibitions to enhance our understanding of the variety of human expression worldwide. Also, major events like the Olympics or the World Cup allow people from all over the world to come together and appreciate our similarities and differences.
Not to forget, besides the transport of goods over international borders, people also frequently migrate between countries, looking for opportunities to enhance their lives. This travel may be temporary or permanent, but in either case it must be regulated to ensure the rule of law-criminals must be kept out of the country while legitimate business, tourist and immigrant travel is preserved. International relations therefore play a key role in determining border control policies and thus, regulate immigration.
Finally, one significant of international relation and aim of most international organizations is attaining a goal of a better world. This is an intellectual discipline which will make the people more intelligent, more vigilant, more co-operative and tolerant. The study of international relation will make everyone of us a better citizen and pave the way for a better world and a peaceful one. “The better world is understood by the better people in it, better for the world will it be”- UNESCO Report. Therefore, human civilization on earth can be saved by its study alone.
In concluding, the study of international relations therefore has both theoretical and practical value or importance. As our world becomes smaller and smaller through communication, technology, rapid air transportation and a complex international economy, the value of peaceful and cooperative relationships between and among nations are increasingly important. “Political Science is the science by which alone civilization can be saved”- a quote by George Bernard Shaw in this sense holds good to the study of international relations.