Introduction: the Idea of International Society: [Essay Example], 901 words GradesFixer
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Introduction: the Idea of International Society

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  • An international society is any association of distinct political communities that interact together following common rules and practices.
  • Europe created the “family of nations” also known as the international society.
  • The international society was formed with the objective of guarding each states’ sovereignty and “standard civilization” that make people outstand from others.
  • Hedley Bull stated that because each state didn’t accept any higher power other than themselves, they lived as an internal anarchy.
  • World politics derives from the existence of an international society.
  • “Standard civilization” was used to justify the imperialism of the 19th century and the way nations like China and empires like the Ottoman were treated unequally.
  • The term “international community” is better describes today as being dominated by the great powers.

Ancient Worlds

  • A contemporary international society is a group of communities that occupy a defined territory and practice juridical independence. Their common interests are reflected with their non-intervention and legal equality policies. They protect their sovereignty and exclude contenders.
  • Sometimes a powerful state had to deal with others knowing that it was superior. Other states like Islam and medieval Europe coexisted in a supranational religious authority and secular (monarchial) parts.
  • Characteristics of the international society started to be noticeable when the early communities settled in territorial areas and developed complex hierarchical social orders.
  • Possession of territory needed to be defended, defined and accepted (if possible) by outside groups. Economic growth and diversity made trade relations with other communities increase which developed the need for mutual understanding of rules and issues of foreigner rights.
  • In the Middle East, matters such as borders, trade, extradition, defense and rights and duties of citizens were written in treaties between the great kings.
  • A characteristic of the modern international society for treaty-breakers is that citizens could be punished, held hostage and killed.
  • A post war treaty between Egypt and the Hittites stated permanent alliance, the right to do commerce freely and extradition of criminals.
  • Communities stopped being powerless to nomadic tribes as the economic circumstance improved in settled communities.
  • China, India, and Greece were divided into separate polities, but despite competition and conflict they maintained their sense of cultural unity.
  • In Greece city-states they had a common language and religion and institutions like the Olympic games and the Delphic Oracle.
  • A well-established international society was an authentic element in their affairs.
  • Amphictyony council à a religious institution whose main trouble was to provide protection from the Delphic Oracle and impulse Greeks to participate in religious rituals even in time of war. Arbitration helped to resolve dispute between inner-cities especially those involving territory
  • Greek international society was built by sharing moral understandings like diplomacy, holiness of treaties, war entry and enemy dead treatment.
  • India had religious rules that applied to international relations.
  • Treaties in India had sacred quality but there were numerous securities against treaty-breakers like hostages.
  • China’s “Spring and Autumn” was a period were frequent wars occurred. The characteristics of these wars were constant struggle for hegemony; they were fought in a formalistic matter
  • During “warring states” there were improvements in warfare techniques producing a fierce struggle for dominance that the Chin state eventually won.
  • China adopted the position that their civilization was superior from other relationship with foreigners.
  • China saw themselves as the top cultural hierarchy.
  • Rome was obligated to deal with opposed power like Carthage.
  • Rome turned to settle their disputes with other states with legal means; they were also obligated to perform religious rituals before war.

The Christian and Islamic orders

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  • The byzantine empire survived for thousands of years despite pressure from the rising power of Islam.
  • The papacy was a supranational authority over Europe. The Catholic church had moral and ethical regulations that handled international relations in several aspects.
  • The church constructed the canon law which was a system of sanctions, formal hearing and specific rules. Their main sanction was excommunication, but there were less serious sanctions like fines or public penance.
  • Just war à systematic doctrine that states that there are norms to be observed when war starts and ends.
  • Islam had intense insinuations for international politics. First there was the rapidly-growing expansion of Arabs after the death of Muhammad Ali which created a new force that was at odds with the Roman and Byzantine empires. Second, Islam was at first created as a unifying social identity for Muslims.
  • The Turks created the Ottoman Empire which dominated south Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • There was an Islamic theory that stated that the world was divided into the abode war and the bode of Islam. There was a war between both abodes, although their truces lasted for about 10 years. Muslims were required to wear jihad. The exception to this rule was the people of the book who had permission to continue their religion as long as they paid a poll tax and accepted fewer rights than Muslims.
  • Peaceful coexistence had to be accepted by the Islamic world. Commercial links between the two abodes were developed and Christians were permitted to make settlements with extraterritorial privileges in Muslim countries.

The emergence of Modern International Society

  • The modern international society is based on the idea of a state as an independent actor that enjoys supremacy over non-state actors. Logical analogies of this include the equality of all states and non-intervention principle by outsiders in domestic affairs of states.
  • Three central institutions are derived from attributes. First, states communicated through diplomats; second, rules about the status of an international law couldn’t be granted by states without their consent; third, international affairs couldn’t be continued by a higher authority.
  • Power struggled with the establishment of efficient and central military power

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