The Beginning and the Westphalian World

What is International Relations? 

There are actually 2 definition about International Relations (IR) base on how we see it. If we see it as a phenomenon, then IR is an interaction between specific actors which has passed the boundary of a nation-state. But if we see IR as a discipline of science, then IR is a study which trying to understand the phenomenon that is mentioned before. Today, I want to share some of my knowledge about the IR phenomenon.

The phenomenon of International Relations had already happened ages ago since human lives collectively in a form of states (consists of people, territory, and government). At the beginning, the anarchy between states is something really horrible since there is no international law or convention or even clear norms between every states that could bind them. You could imagine a world where every single states stand on its own principle and ignoring the others. At that world, an acknowledgement is something that is given only from the weak states to strong states in order for the weak states stay alive. Between strong states, there is barely any acknowledgement, so a clash between them is very inevitable. An annexation is something that happened like everyday, so people who live in the border could never really live peacefully. I believe that is an anarchic world which none of us want to live in.

Then, a turning point happened in IR phenomenon at the year of 1648. For those who didn’t know, 1648 is a very remarkable year in the history of IR since a treaty that shaped the IR world is established at that time. Westphalian Treaty is the treaty which I mean here. The treaty is actually a call for truce between nations in Europe who has fought in a war thirty years long, but there are  articles in that treaty that said:

“...all the Rights, Regales and Appurtenances, without any reserve, shall belong to the most Christian King, and shall be for ever incorporated with the Kingdom France, with all manner of Jurisdiction and Sovereignty, without any contradiction from the Emperor, the Empire, House of Austria, or any other: so that no Emperor, or any Prince of the House of Austria, shall, or ever ought to usurp, nor so much as pretend any Right and power over the said countrys, as well on this as the other side of the rhine. (Article 76)”

“That the most Christian King shall be bound to leave not only the Bishops of Strasburg and Basle, with the City of Strasburg, but also the other States or Orders, Abbots of Murbach and Luederen, who are in the one and the other Alsatia, immediately depending upon the Roman Empire; the Abess of Andlavien, the Monastery of St. Bennet in the Valley of St. George, the Palatines of Luzelstain, the Counts and Barons of Hanaw, Fleckenstein, Oberstein, and all the nobility of Lower Alsatia; Item, the said ten Imperial Citys, which depend on the Mayory of Haganoc, in the Liberty and Possession they have enjoy’d hitherto, to arise as immediately dependent upon the Roman Empire; so that he cannot pretend any Royal Superiority over them, but shall rest contented with the Rights which appertain’d to the House of Austria, and which by this present Treaty of Pacification, are yielded to the Crown of France. In such a manner, nevertheless, that by the present Declaration, nothing is intended that shall derogate from the Sovereign Dominion already here above agreed to. (article 92)
 What this article want to say is that actually every states has a sovereignty to manage and control its own states without any intervention or superiority from any kind of power. And that actually every sovereign states must acknowledge the sovereignty of the other states. Believe it or not, this treaty has leaded this world into a world where a clear international system of states exists. No wonder IR scholars often divided the world between Pre-Westphalian World and the Westphalian World where anarchy in the world become something not so horrible as before.

The Treaty of Westphalia then become something very popular in the study of IR.That is because many IR phenomenon that happened today is mainly caused by the international system created by the Treaty of Westphalia. But that doesn’t mean that IR scholars should not study the Pre-Westphalian World because I believe that there are still many phenomenon that hasn’t been noticed by IR scholars that could explain or solve IR phenomenon today. In this blog, I will share some of the phenomenon that I mean before because that is actually my main study.

Next time, I will share about the IR phenomenon more specifically and its development since the Westphalian World been established, so stay tune to Peaceful Anarchy Journal :)

Jakarta, June 2nd 2012


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