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BPSC-107: Perspectives on International Relations and World History

BPSC-107: Perspectives on International Relations and World History

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BPSC-107/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BPSC-107

Assignment Name: Perspectives on International Relations and World History

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Answer all questions in each Section.


Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks


1. Briefly describe the main trends in the evolution of the study of International Relations since the end of the Second World War.

Ans) The period between the two world wars witnessed a strong trend regarding the growth of international legal organisations. It emphasized the institutionalization of international relations through the development of a legal organizational setup. It was assumed that with the growth of such an institutional arrangement, problems of the international system will automatically get resolved. Therefore, the emphasis was to identify goals and values which would facilitate the growth of peaceful world order. This kind of thinking was based on idealism, optimism, and hope that with the growth of some legal and institutional setup, issues of conflict, violence and war could be overcome. This type of approach was thus based on an emotional and visionary outlook of its supporter.

As a result, the idea of League of Nations was conceived as part of the treaty of peaceful resolution of conflict after the First World War. It was thought that issue of war and conflict in past were linked to the thinking of power enhancement, the balance of power and demonstration of power which was not appropriate; rather only through law and organisation states can attain the goal of peace. This belief was based on the strength of individual and collective morality found in men and state. The increased emphasis on law and organisation had the following implications for international relations:

Main Trends in Evolution of International Relations Study:

  1. Though the emphasis on institutional setup based on law and organization was based more on idealism, morality, and vision for peace; yet it was beyond the prevailing relations of the time and non-comprehension of interests of the state. Therefore, it was far from the existing realities of international relations.

  2. The establishment of global peace is dependent on multiple and complex variables than the wishful thinking and narrow outlook of legal and organizational structure. Hence, the thrust on institutionalization did not factor in the dynamism of international relations. This became apparent when the League of Nations failed to establish international peace.

  3. Despite their best effort to evolve some framework and establishment of League of Nations, no general theorization of international politics was developed during the period.

  4. There is a clear difference between suggestions for reforms at the international level by the states and the pursuit of their national interests. Most powers agreed on the Charter of the League of Nations for the observation of peace, but when issues were confronted by them against their perceived national interest, they left the League, rather than observe the mandate of the Charter.

Thus, this era also failed to understand and analyse the complex phenomenon, called International Relations. Nor the creation of an international legal and institutional setup facilitated the establishment of peace. There were no efforts to evolve a general theory to understand this phenomenon. Therefore, the need for a sound framework of peace was still required. Thus, due to parochial vision which remained restricted to law and organization, the study of IR during this era prevented the real understanding of dynamic and complex forces of International Relations.

In other ways World War II was a divide for academic international relations. The war itself brought about a drastic change in the agenda of world politics, and the post-war intellectual climate was characterized by a marked shift away from many earlier interests, emphases, and problems. In the early post-war years there was a quest for analyses that would cut through the details of studies of myriad international topics to produce a general understanding of common elements and a clear view of the fundamental nature of international politics. There was also a growing interest in developing theories that could help to explain the major issues of the changing international scene.


2. Non-Western contributions in IRT do not meeting the criteria of hard theory. Comment.

Ans) Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan write about how non-Western contributions in IRT are seen to be not meeting the criteria of hard theory. They have been placed in the softer conceptions, focusing on the ideas and beliefs from classical and contemporary periods. According to them, these can be divided into four major types of work. The first is like the Western international theory’s focus on key figures such as Thucydides, Thomas Hobbes, Machiavelli, Kant etc., whereby there are Asian classical traditions and the thinking of classical religious, political, and military figures such as Sun Tzu, Confucius and Kautilya, on all of which some secondary ‘political theory’ type literature exists. They state, how some attempts to derive an understanding from these thinkers are present but have been rare.

An example of this can be the Confucian thought and ideas of communitarianism that were frequently cited as an example of an ‘Asian Perspective’, which was termed as an alternative to Western individualised liberal values. It was also presented as the alternative conceptualization of an East Asian international order, which could challenge the hegemonic ambition of the Global North. Also, Acharya and Buzan write about how in India, the Vedic ideas about strategy and politics have been raised as the justification of India’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Even Kautilya work, Arthashastra, can be a good example of understanding the presence of strong IRT from the Global South. He has elaborated on the ways through which a kingdom can preserve its sovereignty. Termed as the Raja mandala, it describes the different ways through which a state can interact with neighbouring states with an aim of increasing its power and authority. The Arthashastra is a text that can be termed as India’s contribution to strategic thinking. Hence, Kautilya Arthashastra is an important example of the presence of non-Western IR thinking that falls under the category of classical realism.

The second category of work as according to Acharya and Buzan relates to the thinking and foreign policy approaches of Asian and non-Western leaders such as Nehru, Mao, Aung San of Myanmar, Jose Rizal of the Philippines, and Sukarno of Indonesia. However, it needs to be stressed that their thinking may be sourced to training in the West or training in Western texts at home. Still, they came up with ideas and approaches independent of Western intellectual traditions. An example of this is the idea of non-alignment, developed by Nehru and fellow Asian and African leaders in the 1950s, which was partially adopted from concepts of neutralism in the West but was in many respects an independent concept. Nehru also promoted the idea of non-exclusionary regionalism, as opposed to military blocs based on the classic European balance of power model. Aung Sang’s ideas offered something that can be regarded as a liberal internationalist vision of international relations, stressing independence and multilateralism rather than isolationism that came to characterize Myanmar’s foreign policy under military rule. He rejected regional blocs that practised discrimination, such as economic blocs and preferences. In the 1960s, Sukarno, developed and propagated some ideas about the international order, such as ‘old established forces’ and ‘new emerging forces’, which drew upon his nationalist background as well as his quest for international leadership.

Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks.


1. Trace the developments leading to the dissolution of the Ottoman empire

Ans) The spectre of its dissolution loomed large before the outbreak of the war. There were secret agreements and mutually agreed plans involving Britain, France, Germany, and Russia to divide up the empire into areas of their economic and geopolitical interests. In a defensive move to thwart the European designs, Ottoman empire joined the First World War on the side of Germany. On 29 October 1914, Ottoman navy bombed the Russian Black Sea port of Odessa; declaration of war by the Entente against the Ottoman empire followed suit. In 1915, Turkish resisted and reversed the British and Allies attack in the battle of Gallipoli. The Ottomans made a substantial contribution to the Central Powers’ war effort. Their forces fought in eastern Asia Minor (Anatolia), Azerbaijan, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, and the Dardanelles, as well as on European fronts. However, after 1916, the Ottoman empire found it difficult to sustain the war.

In 1918 the Ottoman government surrendered to the Allies and Britain occupied Constantinople. At the Versailles peace settlement, the Ottoman empire lost most of its territory, with swathes of Asia Minor ceded to Greece. Strict European control of Ottoman finances was established. A tripartite agreement between Britain, France, and Italy defined extensive spheres of influence for the latter two powers. There was internal political turmoil, and the force of Turkish nationalism prevented more divisions. Turkish nationalists led by Kemal Ataturk successfully resisted the partition of the Turkish heartlands and established a secular republic on the ruins of the Ottoman empire. As part of his programme, Ataturk abolished the office of Khalifa in 1924. Many of the problems generating political instability and conflict in the Middle East and the southeast Europe, importantly Balkans, reverberate back to what had happened to the Ottoman empire during and after the First World War.

2. Analyse the impact of the Bolshevik revolution on anti-colonial struggles.

Ans) The motivation supplied by the founding of the first SOW state, which was until then considered as a faraway dream by many, proved more lasting. The triumph of revolutionary ideas affected the beliefs and deeds of generations of colonized country independence fighters. It also fuelled the emergence of radical movements among toiling peoples in the developing globe. Many in the percent colonies were convinced by the success of Russian workers over feudal and capitalist forces that European imperialists and their local proxies were no match for the oppressed combined strength. The new socialist state's Appeal to the Toilers of Russia and the East issued a direct call to "Persians, Turks, Arabs, and Hindus" to waste no time in removing their oppressors' yoke and becoming lords of their own territories. The appeal made a direct allusion to Mia's rising nationalist trend. Such assertions by the new revolutionary state persuaded the colonised peoples that they now had a powerful friend in Russia's revolutionary government, which they could rely on in their fight against imperialism.

The impact of the Bolshevik revolution on anti-colonial struggles are:

Spread of Socialist Ideas in the East

Socialist views grew in popularity as a result of the October revolution. Many leaders of national liberation movements were influenced by these ideals. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was particularly affected by Bolshevik scientific socialism in India and remarked in his book Discovery of India that Marx's general theory of social development appears to have been extraordinarily true.

Unity of Nationalist and Socialist Forces in the East

Under the influence of the October Revolution, socialist ideas spread, resulting in the formation of revolutionary groups and communist parties whose actions elevated working-class consciousness and organised them against oppression, whether it came from imperialists or local oppressors. These organisations were also active in awakening the masses to political action and laying the groundwork for uniting worker and peasant struggles with national liberation and anti-imperialism struggles.

3. What is the feminist critique of Realism?

Ans) The feminist critiques of Realism are:

The science of international relations has faced serious challenges to its core theoretical framework since the conclusion of the Cold War and the growing interconnectedness coming from the globalisation trend. International relations has widened to encompass historically liberal themes such as the international political economy, socioeconomic development, human rights, non-state actors, and civil society, rather than focusing only on realist issues like war and security. Aside from the two fundamental theories of realism and liberalism, the feminist theory adds additional viewpoints to the table when it comes to international relations. Rather than challenging the ‘norm' and questioning if the ‘standard' is objective enough, the processes of building and learning theory are built around automatically accepted ideas of what is standard and usual. Because it is not sought objectively at the outset of forming concepts, ‘theory' lacks female viewpoint in this case. Tickner contends that IR is gendered in order to "marginalise women's voices," and that "women have information, views, and experiences that should be brought to light on the study of international relations." Tickner, for example, would argue that security, a major topic in IR, should encompass not only "defending the state against assault," but also "security for women," because "women are more likely to be attacked by males they know, rather than strangers from other nations."

Assignment – III


Write a short note on the following in about 100 words each. Each short note carries 6 marks.


1. Core features of Critical theory

Ans) Critical theory is an approach to social philosophy that focuses on reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures. With roots in sociology and literary criticism, it argues that social problems stem more from social structures and cultural assumptions than from individuals. Maintaining that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation, critical theory was established as a school of thought primarily by the Frankfurt School theoreticians Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, and Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.” Although a product of modernism, and although many of the progenitors of critical theory were sceptical of postmodernism, critical theory is one of the major components of both modern and postmodern thought and is widely applied in the humanities and social sciences today.

2. Transnationalism

Ans) According to Merriam-Webster, The term "transnational" was first used in print in 1921, a year after Boerne’s death. As an economic process, transnationalism entails a global restructuring of the manufacturing process, in which various stages of the manufacture of any product might take place in different nations, usually with the goal of lowering costs. The emergence of the internet and wireless communication, as well as the reduction in worldwide transportation costs induced by containerization, fuelled economic transnationalism, also known as globalisation, in the latter half of the twentieth century. Multinational firms can be considered a sort of transnationalism because they strive to reduce costs and hence maximise profits by structuring their activities in the most efficient way possible, regardless of political boundaries.


3. India’s contribution in the Second World War

Ans) Indian participation in the Allied campaign remained strong. The financial, industrial, and military assistance of India formed a crucial component of the British campaign against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. India's strategic location at the tip of the Indian Ocean, its large production of armaments, and its huge armed forces played a decisive role in halting the progress of Imperial Japan in the South-East Asian theatre. The Indian Army during World War II was one of the largest Allied forces contingents which took part in the North and East African Campaign, Western Desert Campaign. At the height of the second World War, more than 2.5 million Indian troops were fighting Axis forces around the globe. After the end of the war, India emerged as the world's fourth largest industrial power and its increased political, economic, and military influence paved the way for its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.


4. Defensive and offensive Realism.

Ans) For offensive realists security is scarce. The anarchic nature of the international system compels states to maximize their share of world power and to seek superiority, rather than equality, in order to make themselves more secure and thereby increase their odds of survival. Uncertainty about intentions of other states combined with the anarchical nature of the international system compels great powers to adopt competitive, offensive, and expansionist policies whenever the benefits exceed the costs. Moreover, for offensive realists, offensive actions often succeed, and conquest often pays.

For defensive or positional, security is plentiful. Major powers seek to maximize their security by preserving the existing balance of power through mostly defensive strategies. Defensive realists maintain that the international system encourages states to pursue moderate and restrained behavior to ensure their survival and safety and provides incentives for expansion in only a few select instances. The rationale is that aggression, competition, and expansion to maximize power through primacy and preponderance are unproductive because they will provoke the security dilemma and counterbalancing behavior, and thereby thwart the state’s effort to increase its security.


5. Communist International.

Ans) The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, controlled by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state". The Comintern was preceded by the 1916 dissolution of the Second International. The Comintern held seven World Congresses in Moscow between 1919 and 1935. During that period, it also conducted thirteen Enlarged Plenums of its governing Executive Committee, which had much the same function as the somewhat larger and more grandiose Congresses. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, dissolved the Comintern in 1943 to avoid antagonizing his allies in the later years of World War II, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It was succeeded by the 1947 Cominform.

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