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What is an international system in international relations?


An international system is a network of states, organizations, and individuals that interact on a global scale. It is the framework for international relations which outlines who interacts with whom, how they interact, and what the rules of engagement are. It is also the context in which individual countries set foreign policy and develop international diplomatic relations.

Within the international system, states are the primary actors. They interact either directly or indirectly with other states or with international organizations like the United Nations or the European Union. States also have economic, political, and cultural relationships with other states that contribute to the overall dynamics of the international system. States often form alliances in order to protect their interests and create an even balance of power in global politics.

Intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations or NATO, are also major players in the international system. These organizations serve as forums for interaction between countries and can help provide a more organized structure for international relations. These organizations play a key role in setting standards and policies, mediating conflicts, establishing economic policies, and maintaining global stability.

In addition to countries and intergovernmental organizations, non-state actors such as corporations, NGOs, media outlets, and individuals also play an important role in the international system. These actors can affect international relations by influencing public opinion or through diplomatic negotiations. They can also be powerful instruments of change. For example, non-state actors such as Greenpeace have been instrumental in raising awareness about environmental issues around the world.

The international system is constantly shifting and evolving as states work together to solve problems and develop international agreements and policies. It is this dynamic process that helps define global politics and shape our world today.


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