Much of our history has seen weaker nations having little protection and existing at the mercy of stronger nations who could conquer them or place crippling sanctions on them at will. Some may argue that little has changed, however to most it is evident that the state of international relations and the international order is constantly evolving. The primary reason for this evolution has perhaps been economics. The act of conquest and subjugation was brought about by a desire to garner the occupied nation’s economic resources. In the days of the Roman Empire territories would be conquered in order to pay the wages of soldiers. This cycle continued, until modernization and developments in technology allowed production to become efficient to a point where forced occupation was no longer a necessity to increase economic resources. The costs of war became too expensive and the disruption and instability borne by war became a hindrance to economic well being. This necessitated a change in the conduct of nations.The last century was a turning point and witnessed the political map of the world transform into a vastly different entity that resulted in wholesale changes in the interaction of states and in the role of the nation-state in international relations. As explained earlier this was largely for economic reasons, however, there were several others, such as weariness of conflict that devastated societies in the early part of the previous century as well as an increase in political awareness and an infusion of ideologies that are inherently opposed to war. Several events have influenced these changes beginning with the First World War closely followed by the second and the subsequent Cold War and its conclusion. However, it is the events and technological developments following the end of the Cold War that added a different dimension to the international order.The shape of the International Order today is unprecedented in terms of its various dimensions and actors that had once been regarded as inconsequential now play an important role.
Changes in the International Order