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The Increasing Importance of Complexity in International Relations - Essay Example

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International relations as a field is assuming greater importance as the world continues to globalize and the economic, political and security interests of the states become increasingly interdependent. …
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The Increasing Importance of Complexity in International Relations
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Download file to see previous pages Thus, the environment for each state is no longer limited to its internal and neighboring environment. The increasing number of factors makes it quite challenging to analyze the international environment for any country. Traditional analytical models that are based on linear relationships are no longer sufficient to explain the complex phenomena of international relations. The twentieth century approaches focused on managing order are giving way to fresher approaches (Rengger, 212) . Hence, complexity has become an increasingly important aspect of research on international relations. It offers an opportunity to apply a general systems theory to the analysis of international events. The international environment today is more complex and open than a decade ago. Factors such as globalization, climate change and terrorism have contributed much to integrate the world along several dimensions. This paper explains the increasing importance of complexity in international relations by identifying the components of complexity theory and explaining their relevance to contemporary international events as well as past events that have significantly impacted on the present state of affairs. Concepts such as interdependence, fitness, and coevolution are discussed along with other essential concepts. The paper concludes with an overall assessment of the value can understanding of complexity can provide to the study of international relations....
Complexity theory offers an explanation for identifying and acknowledging such relationships. Its concepts and principles can be applied to analyze relationships between individual actors and the areas where mutual benefits and risks lie. The rapid pace of globalization is one of the major stimuli that have made complexity theory increasingly relevant to the study of international relations. Under the WTO agreements, the economies of individual countries have become increasingly dependent on one another. In addition, regional alliances such as ASEAN and the EU have made the economic and political systems of nation states dependent on one another. The most recent examples of such interdependence can be observed in the 2008 global financial crisis and the more recent Euro debt crisis. Events such as a sub-prime crisis in the US have affected economies around the world, mainly because the US is today the centre of the global economic system. Similarly, a debt crisis originating in Greece has raised issues for the well-being of the German economy. Complexity theory can increase our understanding of such contemporary issues by supporting existing theories and concepts. Fitness and International Relations Complexity theory aims to explain the fitness between an actor and its environment. The concept of fitness is an integral component of complexity theory and treats an actor as a member that can affect and is also affected by changes taking place in the environment (Clemens, 13). Thus, in complexity theory individual actors are assumed to act in a complex environment. A complex environment is characterized by a large number of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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