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IGNOU (MPS-002) International Relations: Theory And Problems Assignment Answers



Answer five questions in all, selecting at least two questions from each section. Each question is to be answered in about 500 words. Each question carries 20 Marks.


  1. Examine the problems involved in securing self –determination in Europe in the 20th century.
  2. Bring out the essence of the key concepts frequently used in the Realist framework. What purpose do they serve?
  3. What are the different theoretical approaches to Regionalism? Explain.
  4. Discuss the evolution of non –proliferation of nuclear weapons in the post –cold war era.
  5. Briefly explain the motives and the methods adopted by the terrorist to perpetuate violence.


Write a short note on each part of the following questions in about 250 words:

  1. a) Impact of Science and technology on military affairs
    b) Uneven International Economic System
  2. a) Globalisation
    b) Critique of Orientalism
  3. a) Environmental Approaches
    b) Feminist theory in International Relations
  4. a) Marxist approach to International Relations
    b) Inter –state displacement
  5. a) Causes of Identity wars
    b) Nasser’s Three Circles
ignou mps 2 assignment answer 2024

Answer five questions in all, selecting at least two questions from each section. Each question is to be answered in about 500 words. Each question carries 20 Marks.

Note: Students should write Only 5 Questions-Answers in this paper, i.e- If you write any 2 Answers in Section-I then you have to write any 3 Answer in Section-II. In that way If you write any 3 Answers in Section-I then you have to write any 2 Answer in Section-II


Securing self-determination in Europe during the 20th century was a complex and challenging endeavor, marked by geopolitical shifts, conflicting national interests, and the aftermath of two devastating world wars. The concept of self-determination, rooted in the idea that nations have the right to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, gained prominence after World War I. However, the practical implementation of this principle faced numerous problems, leading to conflicts and tensions across the continent.

One of the major challenges was the redrawing of borders and the creation of new nation-states after World War I. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 aimed to establish a new world order by dismantling empires and recognizing the right of self-determination for various ethnic and national groups. However, the application of this principle often led to arbitrary decisions and the imposition of borders that did not align with the ethnic or cultural realities on the ground. This resulted in the creation of unstable and multi-ethnic states, such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, which struggled to accommodate diverse populations with different national identities.

The rise of totalitarian regimes in the interwar period further complicated the pursuit of self-determination. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy pursued aggressive expansionist policies, challenging the sovereignty of smaller nations. The annexation of Austria and the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s highlighted the fragility of the principle of self-determination in the face of aggressive military powers. The appeasement policies of Western democracies, seeking to avoid another war, allowed the erosion of self-determination for many European nations.

World War II, with its widespread destruction and displacement, presented another obstacle to self-determination in Europe. The post-war settlement, marked by the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, aimed to restore stability but often compromised the ideals of self-determination. The division of Germany and the establishment of Soviet-controlled Eastern European states illustrated the geopolitical considerations that took precedence over the aspirations of individual nations.

The Cold War further complicated the pursuit of self-determination in Europe. The division of the continent into Western and Eastern blocs led to the establishment of satellite states under Soviet influence, suppressing the self-determination of nations like Poland, Hungary, and East Germany. The Iron Curtain created a physical and ideological barrier, limiting the ability of Eastern European nations to freely determine their political and economic systems.

The end of the Cold War brought new opportunities for self-determination in Europe. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of Yugoslavia allowed for the emergence of several independent states, such as Ukraine, the Baltic nations, and the former Yugoslav republics. However, the process was marred by ethnic conflicts, nationalist tensions, and struggles for power, reflecting the enduring challenges of implementing self-determination in practice.

In conclusion, securing self-determination in Europe during the 20th century was a formidable task fraught with challenges. The aftermath of both World Wars, the rise of totalitarian regimes, the Cold War division, and the collapse of empires all shaped the trajectory of self-determination in the region. While progress was made in certain periods, the ideal of nations freely determining their destiny often collided with geopolitical realities, ethnic complexities, and power dynamics, highlighting the intricate nature of securing self-determination in a complex and ever-changing European landscape.

The Realist framework, a prominent school of thought in international relations, revolves around key concepts that reflect a pragmatic and power-centric view of the world. Realism emerged as a response to the idealism of the interwar period and has since become a foundational theory in understanding international relations. The key concepts frequently used in the Realist framework include the balance of power, state sovereignty, national interest, and the pursuit of power and security.

Balance of Power: The balance of power is a central concept in Realism, emphasizing the distribution of power among states as a key determinant of international stability. Realists argue that in an anarchic world where there is no overarching authority, states seek to maintain or achieve power to ensure their survival. The balance of power theory suggests that states will align themselves strategically to prevent any single state or coalition from becoming overwhelmingly dominant. This concept serves the purpose of promoting stability and deterring aggression by ensuring that no state can impose its will on others unchecked.

State Sovereignty: Realism places a high value on state sovereignty, emphasizing the autonomy and independence of states in the international system. States are considered the primary actors, and their sovereignty is seen as crucial for maintaining order and stability. The principle of state sovereignty serves the purpose of acknowledging the reality of a world consisting of sovereign entities, each pursuing its own interests. Realists are skeptical about the effectiveness of international institutions in restraining state behavior, as they believe that states prioritize their own interests above all.

National Interest: Realists assert that states act rationally to pursue their national interest, which is broadly defined as the goals and objectives that enhance the well-being and security of the state. National interest encompasses a range of factors, including economic prosperity, military security, and the preservation of political autonomy. This concept serves the purpose of providing a pragmatic lens through which to analyze state behavior. Realists argue that states are driven by a self-interested pursuit of power, and understanding the national interest is crucial to predicting and explaining their actions in the international arena.

Pursuit of Power and Security: Realism views the pursuit of power as a fundamental aspect of state behavior. Power is seen as a means to ensure security and protect national interests in a competitive international environment. The pursuit of power involves military strength, economic resources, and strategic alliances. Realists argue that states are inherently driven to enhance their power and security to survive in a world where conflict and competition are inevitable. This concept serves the purpose of highlighting the centrality of power dynamics in shaping international relations.

In essence, the key concepts in the Realist framework collectively provide a lens through which to understand the dynamics of the international system. Realists contend that the anarchic nature of the international system, combined with the self-interested behavior of states, leads to a perpetual struggle for power and security. The concepts of balance of power, state sovereignty, national interest, and the pursuit of power and security serve the purpose of offering a real-world, pragmatic perspective on the motivations and actions of states in the complex arena of international relations.

Regionalism, as a phenomenon in international relations, refers to the formation of regional groupings or organizations that involve cooperation and interaction among states within a specific geographic area. Various theoretical approaches provide insights into the motivations, dynamics, and implications of regionalism. Three key theoretical approaches to regionalism are neofunctionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, and constructivism.

Neofunctionalism: Neofunctionalism is a theoretical approach that emerged in the 1950s and emphasizes the spillover effects of economic integration. According to neofunctionalists, cooperation in one area can lead to cooperation in other areas, creating a domino effect. The European Union (EU) is often cited as an example of neofunctionalist regionalism. Neofunctionalism suggests that economic integration, such as the formation of a common market, can lead to increased political integration, as states become more interdependent. The theory posits that regional cooperation starts with functional issues and gradually expands to more significant political and social dimensions.Neofunctionalism underscores the importance of supranational institutions that go beyond the control of individual states. The European Commission and the European Parliament, for instance, play significant roles in neofunctionalist regionalism by promoting integration and cooperation. The neofunctionalist approach helps explain the deepening of regional integration over time and how functional cooperation can lead to broader political unity within a region.

Liberal Intergovernmentalism: Liberal intergovernmentalism is a theoretical approach that focuses on state preferences and bargaining between states as the driving forces behind regional integration. Unlike neofunctionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism sees states as the primary actors, and integration is based on their national interests. This approach contends that states cooperate to maximize their benefits and achieve common goals while retaining control over the decision-making process.Liberal intergovernmentalism is evident in trade agreements and regional organizations where states negotiate terms that are mutually beneficial. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and its successor the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), exemplify liberal intergovernmentalism as states work together to enhance economic opportunities while preserving their sovereignty.

Constructivism: Constructivism is a theoretical approach that emphasizes the role of ideas, norms, and identity in shaping regionalism. According to constructivists, regional identities and shared norms play a crucial role in driving cooperation and integration among states. Constructivism suggests that regionalism is not only about material interests but is also influenced by ideational factors.The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often analyzed through a constructivist lens. ASEAN’s emphasis on non-interference, consensus-building, and the “ASEAN way” reflects a constructivist understanding of regional cooperation based on shared values and norms. Constructivism helps explain the importance of ideas and identity in shaping regional institutions and cooperation.

In summary, the neofunctionalist, liberal intergovernmentalist, and constructivist approaches offer distinct perspectives on the theoretical underpinnings of regionalism. Neofunctionalism highlights the role of functional cooperation and supranational institutions, liberal intergovernmentalism emphasizes state interests and bargaining, while constructivism underscores the influence of ideas and identity. These theoretical lenses provide valuable insights into the motivations and dynamics of regionalism, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of regional integration processes in the realm of international relations.

The non-proliferation of nuclear weapons has been a crucial issue in international relations, particularly in the post-Cold War era. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked a significant turning point, altering the geopolitical landscape and presenting new challenges and opportunities for non-proliferation efforts. The evolution of non-proliferation during this period reflects a complex interplay of diplomatic initiatives, regional dynamics, and the emergence of new nuclear threats.

Post-Cold War Optimism: The end of the Cold War brought about a sense of optimism regarding non-proliferation. With the reduction of superpower tensions, there were expectations that the global community could make progress in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Efforts were made to strengthen the existing non-proliferation regime, primarily embodied in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The NPT, which came into force in 1970, aimed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

1990s: Challenges and Setbacks: However, the 1990s witnessed challenges and setbacks to non-proliferation efforts. The breakup of the Soviet Union resulted in the emergence of new independent states with nuclear capabilities, such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The international community faced the task of ensuring the security and control of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, preventing the unauthorized proliferation of nuclear weapons or materials.Additionally, the 1990s saw instances of non-compliance with the NPT. North Korea’s withdrawal from the treaty in 2003 and subsequent nuclear weapons development highlighted the limitations of the non-proliferation regime. The case of Iraq, where suspicions of a clandestine nuclear weapons program led to international inspections and interventions, further underscored the complexities of enforcing non-proliferation commitments.

Renewed Commitments in the 21st Century: In the early 2000s, there was a renewed focus on strengthening the non-proliferation regime. The international community, recognizing the evolving nuclear landscape, adopted measures to reinforce the NPT and address emerging challenges. The Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) between the United States and Russia in 2010 was a significant step toward nuclear disarmament, demonstrating a commitment to reducing arsenals among major nuclear powers.

Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): One of the most notable developments in the post-Cold War era was the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Negotiated in 2015, the JCPOA aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The agreement reflected a diplomatic effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in a volatile region. However, the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA in 2018 and subsequent tensions underscored the fragility of such agreements and the challenges of maintaining multilateral commitments.

North Korea and Evolving Threats: The persistent nuclear ambitions of North Korea have posed a persistent challenge to non-proliferation efforts. Despite international sanctions and diplomatic efforts, North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear capabilities. The situation on the Korean Peninsula highlights the difficulties in curbing nuclear proliferation in the face of regional security concerns and geopolitical tensions.

In conclusion, the evolution of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era has been marked by a mix of optimism, challenges, and diplomatic initiatives. While there have been notable successes, such as arms reduction treaties and the JCPOA, there have also been setbacks, with instances of non-compliance and the emergence of new nuclear threats. The evolving nature of global security dynamics requires ongoing efforts to adapt and strengthen the non-proliferation regime to address emerging challenges and maintain the goal of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

Terrorism is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, often driven by diverse motives and employing a range of methods to perpetuate violence. Understanding the motives and methods adopted by terrorists is essential for developing effective counterterrorism strategies. While it’s important to note that terrorism is not exclusive to any particular ideology or group, certain common motives and methods can be identified across various terrorist organizations.


Political Motives: Many terrorist acts are driven by political objectives, seeking to influence government policies, challenge existing political structures, or establish a new political order. Groups may use violence to draw attention to their political grievances and coerce authorities into meeting their demands. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), for example, sought the unification of Ireland and used terrorism to pressure the British government to withdraw from Northern Ireland.

Religious Extremism: Religious motives are often a significant driver of terrorism. Extremist groups may interpret religious teachings in a way that justifies violence against perceived enemies or those who do not share their beliefs. Al-Qaeda, for instance, justified its attacks as part of a jihad against perceived enemies of Islam.

Ethnic or Nationalistic Motives: Some terrorist groups are motivated by ethnic or nationalistic aspirations, seeking autonomy or independence for a specific ethnic or national group. The Basque separatist group ETA in Spain aimed to establish an independent Basque state, using terrorism as a means to achieve its objectives.

Socioeconomic Factors: Economic disparities and social grievances can also motivate terrorism. Individuals or groups may resort to terrorism as a response to perceived injustice, poverty, or marginalization. Economic and social factors may contribute to recruitment into terrorist organizations, especially in regions with high levels of inequality and limited opportunities.

Psychological Motives: Psychological factors, such as a desire for power, recognition, or a sense of belonging, can play a role in terrorist motivations. Individuals may be drawn to terrorism as a way to address personal grievances or feelings of alienation. The sense of identity and purpose provided by a terrorist group can be attractive to those seeking meaning or significance.


Suicide Bombings: Suicide bombings have become a prominent method employed by terrorists. Individuals willing to sacrifice their lives carry explosive devices to target crowded places, government buildings, or symbolic landmarks. This tactic is often used to maximize casualties and instill fear.

Hijackings and Kidnappings: Hijackings of aircraft or kidnappings of individuals have been historically used by terrorist groups to draw attention to their cause, exert pressure on governments, or secure the release of prisoners. The 1970s and 1980s witnessed numerous instances of hijackings by groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Guerrilla Warfare: Some terrorist groups engage in guerrilla warfare, employing hit-and-run tactics and ambushes against military or civilian targets. The use of small, mobile units allows them to disrupt the security apparatus and undermine the authority of the state. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is an example of a group employing guerrilla tactics.

Cyberterrorism: With the increasing reliance on technology, terrorists have adopted cyber methods to achieve their objectives. Cyberterrorism involves using computer-based attacks to disrupt critical infrastructure, compromise information systems, or spread propaganda. The potential for cyber attacks to cause significant damage has raised concerns among governments and security experts.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism: The possibility of terrorist groups acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction is a growing concern. While such incidents are rare, the potential for catastrophic consequences has led to increased efforts to prevent the proliferation of CBRN materials and enhance global security measures.

In conclusion, the motives and methods adopted by terrorists are diverse and often rooted in political, religious, ethnic, socioeconomic, or psychological factors. Counterterrorism efforts require a comprehensive understanding of these motivations and methods to develop effective strategies aimed at preventing and responding to acts of terrorism. Addressing the root causes, promoting international cooperation, and enhancing security measures are critical components of a holistic approach to counterterrorism.

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