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Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

11. Major Issues in IR: Climate Change, Terrorism, Religion, Power and Hegemony  

This chapter examines four of the most important issues in international relations (IR): climate change, international terrorism, religion, 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 how climate change has become a first order challenge of international relations and IR theories, Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis, the influence of religion on politics, and how throughout history different state systems have come to equilibrate on either balance of power or hegemony.