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Simon Choat and Manjeet Ramgotra

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the study of political thought. It examines political thought as a specific way of understanding and analysing politics, highlighting some recent debates and developments, including the development of comparative political thought. In doing so, it also reflects on the meaning of ‘politics’ itself. The chapter then looks at why and how one might study the history of political thought, exploring different approaches and discussing a range of methodological and interpretative issues. It considers who should be studied and, in particular, explores calls to decolonize political thought. Ultimately, the chapter demonstrates that political thought can be understood and studied in a variety of ways and shows why it is important to include voices that have been excluded or silenced.


This chapter focuses on the importance of defence planning in the development and execution of strategy. It first provides an overview of the interrelationships between strategy, politics, and defence planning, noting that war and its warfare should always be subject to the discipline of politics. It then examines the challenges faced by defence planners, and more specifically how they must acknowledge the uncertainties arising in all possible military behaviour in the future. It also considers a range of approaches to defence planning, along with principles that should guide every defence plan. Three principles are highlighted: the ‘good enough’ rule; it is legitimate and sensible to accommodate change in continuity and continuity in change; and all defence planning is about politics. Finally, the chapter explains how history can be helpful or not helpful to defence planners.


Yoshie Kawade

This chapter examines Montesquieu's political theory. Montesquieu's political theory, and his Spirit of the Laws in particular, has been considered a complex mosaic of varied and sometimes disparate intellectual traditions. Despite the forbidding structure of his works, important and impressive discussions of issues such as the justification of universal justice, a scientific approach to the law, a new typology of governments, a materialistic theory of climate, and the idea of a free state based on separate and balanced powers can be found there. After providing a short biography of Montesquieu, the chapter analyses his critique of despotism as well as the key themes of his mature political theory: the separation of powers, the three forms of government, the lessons of history, and the conditions of political liberty.


John W. Young and John Kent

International Relations Since 1945 provides a comprehensive introduction to global political history since World War II. The text has been comprehensively updated to cover the period between 2001 and 2012. Discussing the World Trade Center bombing and concluding with the run-up to the 2012 US presidential elections, a new final section outlines broad developments including the changing world order and the global financial crisis. Three new chapters look at terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of major new powers, including China. Student learning is supported by a range of helpful learning features, including biographies of key figures and chronologies of events.


Bernhard Blumenau and Tim Wilson

This chapter discusses the history of terrorism. Terrorism, as it is understood in this chapter, is the deliberate use or threat of violence by non-state actors in order to achieve power and implement political goals. Historical studies help us to better understand the sheer complexity of terrorism from the past. The chapter looks into the gunpowder revolution in Europe. It cites David Rapoport's ‘Four Waves’ model and relates it to accounts of the historical evolution of modern anti-state terrorism since 1880. Rapoport's work has become the dominant explanation of the evolution of modern terrorism.


This chapter examines four of the most important contemporary issues in international relations (IR): international terrorism, religion, the environment, and balance and hegemony in world history. It also considers the different ways in which these issues are analysed by the various theories presented in this book. The chapter begins with a discussion of what the issue is about in empirical terms, the problems raised and why they are claimed to be important, and the relative significance of the issue on the agenda of IR. It then explores the nature of the theoretical challenge that the issues present to IR and how classical and contemporary theories handle the analysis of these issues. The chapter addresses Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis, the influence of religion on politics, opposing views on the environment issue, and how throughout history different state systems have come to equilibrate on either balance of power or hegemony.


This chapter explores the theoretical and political history of human rights that emerges out of the struggles that have been waged by feminists and other non-elites. It first considers the bases for the moral legitimacy of human rights and challenges to those arguments before discussing three aspects of feminist approaches to human rights: their criticism of some aspects of the theory and practice of human rights, their rights claims, and their conceptual contributions to a theory of human rights. It then examines the ways in which feminists and other activists for marginalized groups have used human rights in their struggles and how such struggles have in turn shaped human rights theory. It also analyses theoretical and historical objections to the universality of human rights based on cultural relativism. Finally, it shows that women’s rights advocates want rights enjoyment and not merely entitlements.