By: Aisha Saeed
It has been more than a month since the attack on a mosque in New Zealand took place. The news was quick to travel around the world for a number of reasons but primarily due to the internationalization of the world. Such news that make an impact on billions of people of a similar faith and countries, the outpour of reactions was a given. One wonders how or why countries voiced their concerns over a problem that soon may become global in its context. States function on different policies and laws. Some of these laws are for internal functioning of the state; others are of the external dealings that the states have to maintain in order to become an effective member of the international community.
Be it the attack in New Zealand, President Trump’s tweets, or the recent Pakistan –India stand off – we are being pointed at one particular subject that offers extensive understanding of these matters in a time where we might be confused as to what is going on in the world. Globalization has blurred the lines of isolation between the states. State interactions have become common and no state can seem to exist by isolating itself from the rest of the world. The interaction of nations or states and their dealings with the rest of the states around the world have become a discipline in its own right. The phenomena of globalization was so rapid that it influenced everything and everyone; from culture to people to states.
Any action taken by a certain actor in the international community will make some “cause and effect” impact on the other states, linked to it by any means. So, with changing milieus of the international community of the states, Political Science as subject has expanded into many roots, making subjects like International Law, Foreign Policy and most importantly International Relations. It definitely sounds intriguing but only few take up this subject to graduate in but back in the days, International Relations was preferred subject of the elites and those who aspired to join the civil or foreign services.
Like any other field that makes a wave among students and universities, International Relation has had its time as well. Post- Cold war, the subject was thought have had faded away in its scope but since states are active agents that mingle other states; International Relations remained as relevant as it is today. Some study it as a single introductory course other pursue a degree in it. As we are fed news 24/7, a major portion of which is dominated by political news from around the world, knowledge in the discipline of International Relations matters more than what many assume. Affairs of the world are perhaps more fluid than ever before. The theory of International Relations is a reflection of how states and the overreaching international system operates. Hence, those equipped with a degree in the subject are better able to apprehend and analyze policies and their impact at the individual, state or the systematic level.
International Relations is not a myopic subject and pairs well with cousin subjects. Pakistan is a country that is in actuality a scholar’s delight as it has regained its position in the international stage and many universities now offer degrees in International Relations. Events taking place in this part of the world impinge upon theory. Given the current situation in the country and around the world, it is an exciting time to study international affairs.
Francis J. Gavin in his essay for Foreign Policy “ It’s never been a better time to study IR “ writes ,that International -Relations programs are better situated than other disciplines and professional programs to help us understand and develop solutions to the complex, vexing, and ever-changing array of global challenges and opportunities. IR and diplomacy are the hallmarks of a country’s functioning and will continue to be so even in the digitalized modern age (internet). Like doctors, teachers or engineers for that matter – people who study International Relations or subjects similar to these are responsible for the future government of a country. They are the architects of their countries and its standing in the world.
Our love affair with the International Relations is far from over and the reason many are studying it again is due to the growing change in world’s dynamics. Now, it is not only needed to become a diplomat or to clear the civil services examinations but to become an academician, political analyst, journalist, policy officer or even an intelligence officer. Different organizations require different skill sets but if its outreach is international and involves governmental matters; having a degree in IR is considered essential; including NGOs that require aid/ developmental workers or even communication officers.
If you are considering to study IR, you must ensure that you are an avid reader and follower of international news, secondly brace yourself for critical thinking and detailed analysis on international news and complex government and bureaucratic norms. IR can be as interesting as any other discipline. So before anyone opts to study International Relations, having a firsthand know how about the subject will help decide their future education options.
The political landscape around us is changing and to help a country cope with those changes, individuals with a sound understanding of International Relations can be of tremendous value to any country, after all – countries and communities can only co-exist if peace prevails in the world and IR is perhaps the best way to go about it.