To study international relations means to study the history of international relations, theory, practical application of those theories and the outcome after the practical application of the theory was applied. Smith spoke about international relations and said that international relations importance of not just theory, but history to understanding
the politics of today (Smith 2006). So when you study international relations you should understand the theory but you need to know the history because a states history contributed the how and why the countries politics are the way they are today. It is impossible to understand a complex problem such as the war between North Korea and South Korea by studying the theories of internal relations. There is a complicated history between the two countries which have been influenced by other states which turned the countries into what they are today. So to study international relations means to study theories and history to be able to practically use your knowledge to understand of influence a situation.
Two main theories in international relations are the theory of Realism and the theory of Liberalism. Both theories have a common goal which is to be able to deal with international situations involving state and non-state actors however both deal with the situation in vastly different ways. The theory of Realism believes that the state is the most important actor, that states and their actions in the international system are motivated by self-survival and self-interest. The theory of Realism states that international organizations such as corporations or non-government organizations and other trans-state actors have little real influence. The theory of realism believes that a higher controlling entity or actor has little influence or completely lacks the ability to dictate or regulate the interactions of states and that states only do anything in the pursuit or more power, more resources and more security. Additionally, realists have a more pessimistic approach to international relations and that the international XXXX is mostly anarchistic. One problem identified with the theory of realism is that it can create instability in regions due to the state becoming too self-reliant and due to the state increasing its military to increase security. It can be seen by other countries as a threat and create a security dilemma which could lead to direct conflict or indirect conflict such as the Cold War.
In contrast, the theory of Liberalism believes that peace can be established through international cooperation led by non-government organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They believe that a state's power can be measured through its economy. Liberalists tend to have a more optimistic view of the world and believe that a fundamental human concern for others welfare makes progress possible and that war and anarchy are not inevitable....