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IR study Terms


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Active Measures
A program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which attempted to further Soviet foreign policy goals through clandestine operations conducted by the KGB (Committee for State Security). Methods such as disinformation, propaganda, counterfeitting official documents, and training false defectors were used to confuse and to destabilize foreign governments, especially those potentially hostile to the Soviet regime.
Agent of Influence
A well-placed, trusted contact who actively and consciously serves a foreign interest or foreign intelligence services on some matters while retaining his integrity on others. Agent of influence might also refer to an unwitting contact that is manipulated to take actions that advanced interests on specific issues of common concern.
Formal acceptance by a host country of a diplomat from another
Aide Memoire
A memorandum setting forth the major points of a proposed discussion or agreement, used especially in diplomatic communications. Also called position paper.
A FORMAL agreement establishing such an association, especially an international treaty of friendship.
Absence of any form of political authority. Utopian movement with such advocates as French socialogist Pierre Joseph Prohoun, French anarchist who believed that human moral development would ultimately eliminate the need for laws and government. The international system has been described as anarchic, but although there is no governing body chaos is avoided by a complex system of treaties and norms.
In international law, formal act by which a state asserts its sovereignty over a territory previously outside its jurisdiction. Many kinds of territory have been subject to annexation, chief among them those inhabited by settlers of the annexing power, those which already have had the status of protectorates of the annexing state, and those conquered by the force of arms.
German term designating the incorporation of Austria into Germany in the 1930s. Anschluss was first advocated by Austrian Social Democrats. The 1919 peace treaty of St. Germain prohibited Anschluss, to prevent a resurgence of a strong Germany. After Hitler's rise to power the Nazis took over the idea. In 1938, Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg was forced to agree to Hitler's demands for Anschluss, but reneged, calling for a plebiscite.
The military alliance which binds Australia and the United States, and separately Australia and New Zealand to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area.
System of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92.
Racial segregation and the supremacy of whites had been traditionally accepted in South Africa prior to 1948, but in the general election of that year, Daniel F. Malan officially included the policy of apartheid in the Afrikaner Nationalist party platform, bringing his party to power for the first time. Although most whites acquiesced in the policy, there was bitter and sometimes bloody strife over the degree and stringency of its implementation.
A strategic manoeuvre, based on either pragmatism, fear of war, or moral conviction, that leads to acceptance of imposed conditions in lieu of armed resistance. Since World War II, the term has gained a negative connotation, in politics and in general, of weakness and cowardice.
The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.
In international law, a suspension or temporary cessation of hostilities by agreement between belligerent powers.
Arms Control
A concept that connotes: a. any plan, arrangement, or process, resting upon explicit or implicit international agreement, governing any aspect of the following: the numbers, types, and performance characteristics of weapon systems (including the command and control, logistics support arrangements, and any related intelligence-gathering mechanism); and the numerical strength, organization, equipment, deployment, or employment of the Armed Forces retained by the parties (it encompasses disarmament); and b. on some occasions, those measures taken for the purpose of reducing instability in the military environment.
In modern international law, the granting of asylum to refugees from other lands is the right of a state by virtue of its territorial sovereignty. A fugitive, however, has no right to demand asylum from the state to which he flees; that state makes its own determination in each case.
Asymmetric warfare
A military term describing warfare in which the two belligerents are mismatched in their military capabilities or their accustomed methods of engagement. In such a situation the militarily disadvantaged power must press its special advantages or effectively exploit its enemy's particular weaknesses if the disadvantaged power is to have any hope of prevailing.
an economy that does no trade with the outside world, or an ecosystem not affected by influences from its outside, and relies entirely on its own resources. In the economic meaning, it is also referred to as a closed economy
used to describe an organization or a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against those in its sphere of influence, generally without attempts at gaining their consent and often not allowing feedback on its policies.
Balance of Payments
Balance between all payments out of a country within a given period and all payments into the country, an outgrowth of the mercantilist theory of balance of trade. Balance of payments includes all payments between a country and its trading partners and is made up of the balance of trade, private foreign loans and their interest, loans and grants by governments or international organizations, and movements of gold (capital account).
Balance of power
System of international relations in which nations seek to maintain an approximate equilibrium of power among many rivals, thus preventing the preponderance of any one state. Crucial to the system is a willingness on the part of individual national governments to change alliances as the situation demands in order to maintain the balance. Thucydides' description of Greece in the 5th cent. B.C. and Guicciardini's description of 15th-century Italy are early illustrations. Its modern development began in the mid-17th cent., when it was directed against the France of Louis XIV. Balance of power was the stated British objective for much of the 18th and 19th cent., and it characterized the European international system, for example, from 1815–1914. After World War I the balance of power system was attacked by proponents of cooperation and a community of power.
The environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and the included enemy and friendly forces; facilities; weather; terrain; the electromagnetic spectrum; and the information environment within the operational areas and areas of interest.
The national public service broadcaster of the United Kingdom (see British television). It produces programmes and information services, broadcasting on television, radio, and the Internet. It is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world
Bipolarity in international politics describes a distribution of power in which two states taken together control 50 percent or more of strategic resources, each of the two leading states both control at least 25 percent of strategic resources, and no other state controls 25 percent or more.
The strategy developed by the Bolsheviks between 1903 and 1917 with a view to seizing state power and establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Concerted economic or social ostracism of an individual, group, or nation to express disapproval or coerce change. The practice was named (1880) after Capt. Charles Cunningham Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland whose ruthlessness in evicting tenants led his employees to refuse all cooperation with him and his family.
Bretton Woods system
A system of international monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states. The Bretton Woods system was the first example of a fully negotiated monetary order in world history intended to govern monetary relations among independent nation-states.
Preparing to rebuild the international economic system as World War II was still raging, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in the town of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. The delegates deliberated upon and finally signed the Bretton Woods Agreements during the first three weeks of July 1944.
Buffer zone
A defined area controlled by a peace operations force from which disputing or belligerent forces have been excluded. A buffer zone is formed to create an area of separation between disputing or belligerent forces and reduce the risk of renewed conflict. Also called area of separation in some United Nations operations.
Command and Control, (C2), is the exercise of authority and direction in the military
Command, Control, Communications, & Intelligence
Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence
Rulership of Islam; caliph (kĒl'ĭf'), the spiritual head and temporal ruler of the Islamic state. In principle, Islam is theocratic: when Muhammad the Prophet died, a caliph [Arab.,=successor] was chosen to rule in his place. The caliph had temporal and spiritual authority but was not permitted prophetic power; this was reserved for Muhammad. The caliph could not, therefore, exercise authority in matters of religious doctrine.
Capital Account
The net result of public and private international investment flowing in and out of a country.
national or international organization of manufacturers or traders allied by agreement to fix prices, limit supply, divide markets, or to fix quotas for sales, manufacture, or division of profits among the member firms. In that it often has international scope the cartel is broader than the trust, and in that it carries on manufacture it differs from the speculative corner or ring. (e.g. OPEC)
Casus belli
A Latin expression from the international law theory of Jus ad bellum. Formally, the expression (which can be translated as "risk of war" or "occasion for war") is the grievances section of a formal public declaration of war by a state, which lists: the grievances it has against another state which are, or may become, the cause of war; the intentions it has in prosecuting the war; and the actions the other state could take to avert conflict or restore peace. The declaration thus seeks to meet the Jus Ad Bellum criteria of "Just Cause", "Public Declaration", and Ultima Ratio ("Last Resort").
Type of South American political leader that arose with the 19th-century wars of independence. The first caudillos were often generals who, leading private armies, used their military might to achieve power in the newly independent states.
Chargé d'affaires
Chargés d'affaires (ministres chargés d'affaires), who were placed by the reglement of the Congress of Vienna in the fourth class of diplomatic agents, are heads of permanent missions accredited to countries to which, for some reason, it is not possible or not desirable to send agents of a higher rank. They are distinguished from these latter by the fact that their credentials are addressed by the minister for foreign affairs of the state which they are to represent to the minister for foreign affairs of the receiving state. Though still occasionally accredited, ministers of this class are now rare. They have precedence over the other class of chargés d'affaires.
Chargés d'affaires per interim, or chargés des affaires, are those who are presented as such, either verbally or in writing, by heads of missions of the first, second or third rank to the minister for foreign affairs of the state to which they are accredited, when they leave their post temporarily, or pending the arrival of their successor. It is usual to appoint a counsellor or secretary of legation chargé d'affaires. Some governments are accustomed to give the title of minister to such chargés d'affaires, which ranks them with the other heads of legation. Essentially chargés d'affaires do not differ from ambassadors, envoys or ministers resident. They represent their nation, and enjoy the same privileges and immunities as other diplomatic agents.
Choke point
In geography terms it is a narrowing of an international waterway to a distance of less than 24 miles (38 km), necessitating the drawing of a median line (maritime) boundary. These are almost always strategic locations where, presumably, a blockading naval force could "choke" off the waterway. Examples are the Hormuz Strait between Oman and Iran at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia, the Bab-el-Mandeb passage from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea, the Panama Canal and the Panama Pipeline connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline connecting the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea, and the Turkish Straits/Bosporus linking the Black Sea (and oil coming from the Caspian Sea region) to the Mediterranean Sea.
Coalition warfare
Warfare conducted by an alliance of multiple states (e.g. Iraq)
Cold War
A state of political tension and military rivalry between nations that stops short of full-scale war, especially that which existed between the United States and Soviet Union following World War II.
Collective Security agreement
An agreement to participate in system aspiring to the maintenance of peace, in which participants agree that any "breach of the peace is to be declared to be of concern to all the participating states," 1 and will result in a collective response. This began in 1918 after the international balance of power was perceived by many nations to be no longer working correctly. Notably, unlike an alliance a collective security normally includes advesarial nations.
Any nonself-governing territory subject to the jurisdiction of a usually distant country. The term is also applied to a group of nationals who settle in a foreign country or territory but retain political or cultural connections with their parent state. Colonies in the first sense may be colonies of settlement, such as Australia and North and Latin America before they gained independence.
Acronym for Communist International: name given to the Third International, founded at Moscow in 1919. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin feared a resurgence of the Second, or Socialist, International under non-Communist leadership. The Comintern was established to claim Communist leadership of the world socialist movement.
Common Market
An economic unit, typically formed of nations, intended to eliminate or markedly reduce trade barriers among its members.
Form of administration signifying government by the common consent of the people. To Locke and Hobbes and other 17th-century writers the term meant an organized political community similar to what is meant in the 20th cent. by the word state. Certain states of the United States are known as commonwealths (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky), and the federated states of Australia are known collectively as the Commonwealth of Australia.
An official announcement
An economic and social system envisioned by the nineteenth-century German scholar Karl Marx. In theory, under communism, all means of production are owned in common, rather than by individuals (see Marxism and Marxism-Leninism). In practice, a single authoritarian party controls both the political and economic systems.
Comparative advantage
In economics, the theory of comparative advantage explains why it can be beneficial for two countries to trade, even though one of them may be able to produce every kind of item more cheaply than the other.
What matters is not the absolute cost of production, but rather the ratio between how easily the two countries can produce different kinds of things.
Concert of Europe
Term used in the 19th cent. to designate a loose agreement by the major European powers to act together on European questions of common interest. The concert emerged after the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) and included the Quadruple Alliance powers of Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, and, as of 1818, France as well. It aimed to preserve peace by concerted diplomatic action reinforced by periodic conferences dealing with problems of mutual concern.
A territory within one country that is administered by another country. Usually, it is something conceded by a weaker country to a stronger. For example, China in the 19th century gave concessions to numerous European powers.
Consul General
A consul of the highest rank serving at a principal location and usually responsible for other consular offices within a country.
Diplomatic building that serves as the residence or workplace of a consul
A policy aimed at controlling the spread of communism around the world, developed in the administration of President Harry S. Truman. The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 was an important step in the development of containment.
Continental shelf
The extended perimeter of each continent, which is covered during interglacial periods such as the current epoch by relatively shallow seas (known as shelf seas) and gulfs. The shelf usually ends at a gradual slope (called the shelf break). The sea bottom below the break is the continental slope. The slope merges into the deep ocean floor, the abyssal plain.
Correlation of forces
The relative strength of forces compared to opposition. The USSR used such calculations to advance the cause of communism by advancing at times when they enjoyed a greater strategic advantage.
That aspect of counterintelligence designed to detect, destroy, neutralize, exploit, or prevent espionage activities through identification, penetration, manipulation, deception, and repression of individuals, groups, or organizations conducting or suspected of conducting espionage activities.
Counter-force capability
The ability of one nation to destroy the strategic capability of another by targeting missle launch areas.
Those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. Also called COIN.
Information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted by or on behalf of foreign governments or elements thereof, foreign organizations, or foreign persons, or international terrorist activities. Also called CI.
Counter-value strategy
A component of nuclear strategy centered on a threat to retaliate against civilian populations and cities as opposed to military targets.
Country team
The senior, in-country, US coordinating and supervising body, headed by the chief of the US diplomatic mission, and composed of the senior member of each represented US department or agency, as desired by the chief of the US diplomatic mission.
coup d'état
A quick and decisive seizure of governmental power by a strong military or political group. In contrast to a revolution, a coup d'état, or coup, does not involve a mass uprising. Rather, in the typical coup, a small group of politicians or generals arrests the incumbent leaders, seizes the national radio and television services, and proclaims itself in power. Coup d'état is French for “stroke of the state” or “blow to the government.”
In foreign diplomacy, credentials are documents which ambassadors, diplomatic ministers plenipotentiary, and charges d'affaires hand to the government to which they are accredited, for the purpose, chiefly, of communicating to the latter the envoys diplomatic rank. It also contains a request that full credence be accorded to his official statements. Until his credentials have been presented and found in proper order, an envoy receives no official recognition. The credentials of an ambassador or minister plenipotentiary are signed by the chief of state, those of a charges d'affaires by the foreign minister.
Critical infrastructure
A term used in the USA's National Strategy for Homeland Security, which was issued in July 2002; it is defined as those "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitation impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."
Series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe which preceded the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
international organization established as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1973, during the cold war, to promote East-West cooperation. Headquarters are in Prague, Czech Republic. The CSCE's 1975 meeting in Helsinki, Finland, ratified the acts commonly known as the Helsinki Accords, which were signed by every European nation (except Albania, which did so later) and the United States and Canada. The OSCE is responsible for reviewing the implementation of those accords. Since the end of the cold war, it has also aimed to foster peace, prosperity, and justice in Europe. There are now 55 OSCE members, including all European nations, all former republics of the Soviet Union, and the United States and Canada.
Cultural Diplomacy
A term used to describe the exchange of ideas, information, art, lifestyles, value systems, traditions, beliefs and other aspects of culture among "collectives" to foster mutual understanding.
Currency board
A system by which a currency is convertible at a fixed exchange rate with another currency.
Current Account
The difference between a nation's total exports of goods, services, and transfers, and its total imports of them. Current account balance calculations exclude transactions in financial assets and liabilities.
Customs Union
A free trade zone with a Common External Tariff. Purposes for establishing a customs union normally include increasing economic efficiency and establishing closer political and cultural ties between the member countries.
Hostile attacks and illegal invasions of computer systems and networks
De facto recognition
In international law, de facto recognition of a country is unofficial recognition. It is derived from actions and contacts between two states on a political level. These can include:
1) Diplomatic activities by representatives of the states involved in connection with tasks between states, relationships, etc.;
2) Statements of a state on politically relevant issues and problems of the other state such as statement on mutual delimitation;
3) Recognition and official endorsement with a visa of passports issued by the other state as traveling documents.
De jure recognition
Formal and official recognition of the sovereign rights of a nation state.
Deception & Denial
Tequniques of statecraft which involve deliberately misleading other members of the international community while officially denying true aims.
A diplomatic representation or protest. A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.
The prevention from action by fear of the consequences. Deterrence is a state of mind brought about by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction.
Diplomatic Immunity
A form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments, which ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws (although they can be expelled). It was agreed as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), though there is a much longer history in international law.
In the context of espionage, military intelligence, and propaganda, is the spreading of deliberately false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action. It also includes the distortion of true information in such a way as to render it useless.
Dual-use technology
A term often used in politics and diplomacy to refer to technology which can be used for both peaceful and military aims, usually in regard to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
May 1940 massive evacuation of British troops. This operation was critical to avoid a decisive defeat by the advancing Nazis.
The abbreviation for the European Economic Community. An organization of nations established in 1957 to promote free trade and economic cooperation among the nations of western Europe. Its original members were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and West Germany. Britain, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain joined later. Often known as the Common Market or (more recently) as the EC, its functions have expanded to include the allocation of industrial and agricultural specialties to different member nations. In 1991 the Maastricht Treaty committed members to adopt a single currency and common foreign policy and defense, but the treaty, which calls upon members to surrender considerable chunks of sovereignty, was not ratified by all members until 1993. (See also European Union.)
Prohibition by a country of the departure of ships or certain types of goods from its ports. Instances of confining all domestic ships to port are rare, and the Embargo Act of 1807 is the sole example of this in American history. The detention of foreign vessels has occurred more often, either as an act of reprisal designed to coerce diplomatic redress, or in contemplation of war with the country to which the vessels belonged. Embargoes on goods, however, are far more common. Although an embargo can cripple a nation's economy, the use of an embargo alone has typically failed to achieve the goal its imposition was intended to secure.
An agreement between two or more governments or powers for cooperative action or policy: “the economic entente between the Soviet Union and western Europe”
An economic and political union established in 1993 after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty by members of the European Community, which forms its core. In establishing the European Union, the treaty expanded the political scope of the European Community, especially in the area of foreign and security policy, and provided for the creation of a central European bank and the adoption of a common currency by the end of the 20th century.
Unit of currency used in eleven countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain). The euro became the official currency of these nations in 1999, but nations were not obliged to phase out their existing currencies until 2002. The expectation is that introduction of the euro will stimulate cross-border investment by eliminating fluctuating exchange rates. Notable EU members not to adopt the euro are Britain & Denmark.
Exceptionalism, American
The idea that the United States of America embodies or claims to be an example of non-standard historical progression in relation to economic or military theory. The unique historical development of the United States of America, and its geographic isolation from culturally similar peoples, have contributed to a palpable sense that in some ways "America" is an "exception". The extent to which this is true, and the nature of its divergence from historical norms, is the subject of inquiry in various fields including economics and history. Exceptionalism may conceptually overlap with a sense of identity, where a people believes itself to be exceptional in some way: early immigrants to America from Europe thought America would be a "redeemer nation".
Executive Agreement
One of three mechanisms by which the United States enters into binding international agreements. They are considered treaties as the term is used under international law in that they bind both the United States and a foreign state. However, they are not considered treaties as the term is used under United States Constitutional law, because the United States Constitution's treaty procedure requires the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate, and these agreements are made solely by the President of the United States. An executive agreement can only be negotiated and entered into through the president's authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, or (3) from a prior act of Congress. For instance, it is as commander-in-chief that the President negotiates and enters into status of forces agreements (SOFAs), which govern the treatment and disposition of U.S. forces stationed in other nations. An executive agreement, however, cannot go beyond the President's constitutional powers.
The doctrine of expanding the territorial base (or economic influence) of a country, usually by means of military aggression. Compare empire-building and Lebensraum. Irredentism, revanchism or reunification are sometimes used to justify and legitimize expansionism, but only when the explicit goal is to reconquer territories that have been lost, or even to take over ancestral lands. A simple territorial dispute, such as a border dispute, is not usually referred to as expansionism
The privilege of immunity from local law enforcement enjoyed by certain aliens. Although physically present upon the territory of a foreign nation, those aliens possessing extraterritoriality are considered by customary international law or treaty to be under the legal jurisdiction of their home country. This immunity from law enforcement is reciprocal between countries and is generally provided for visiting heads of state, those in the diplomatic services of foreign nations and their families, and officials of the United Nations. Generally such persons are exempt from both civil and criminal action; they may not be sued or arrested.
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
Fifth Column
A military manoeuvre made infamous during the Spanish Civil War, in which National insurrectionists within sieged Republican Madrid, called 'the fifth column', would aid the four columns (north, south, east and west) outside the perimeters
A statement or document containing an authoritative decision or conclusion. Often used in the context of fact-finding comissions.
Refers to the influence that one neighboring powerful country can have on the policies of a smaller nearby country. It is considered by some to be pejorative, originating in West German political debate of the 1960s and 1970s. As the term was used in Germany and other NATO countries, it expressed the process of turning into a neutral country which, although maintaining national sovereignty, in foreign politics resolves not to challenge a more powerful neighbor. Commonly in reference to Finland's policies vis-à-vis the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but could refer to similar international relations, such as Denmark's attitude toward Germany between 1871 and 1940.
First Strike Capability
A country's ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation. The preferred methodology is to attack the opponent's launch facilities and storage depots first, in an overwhelming surprise attack -- hence the name.
Fixed Exchange Rate System
A country's exchange rate regime under which the government or central bank ties the official exchange rate to another country's currency (or the price of gold). The purpose of a fixed exchange rate system is to maintain a country's currency value within a very narrow band. Also known as pegged exchange rate.
Flexible Response
Nuclear strategy implemented by John F. Kennedy in 1961 to supersede previous policy of Massive Retaliation. Flexible Response was implemented to develop several options, other than the nuclear option, for quickly dealing with enemy aggression. The strategy sought to target an enemy's military force first, not its civilian population. The strategy was conceived by Robert McNamara and many view it as key to France's exiting of NATO's integrated forces.
Floating Exchange rate scheme
A country's exchange rate regime where its currency is set by the foreign-exchange market through supply and demand for that particular currency relative to other currencies. Thus, floating exchange rates change freely and are determined by trading in the forex market. Contrast to "fixed exchange rate" regime.
Force Majeure
A French term literally translated as "greater force", this clause is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations.
Front Organization
Also known as a front group (if it is structured to look like a voluntary association) or a front company or simply a front (if it is structured to look like a company), is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization. A front organization may simply be a proxy that keeps the parent group's name out of the picture or it may look publicly as if it is set up to do one thing, but actually be set up to do something else on behalf of its parent group
G7 & G8
The countries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Representatives from these countries meet to discuss economic concerns. (Note, Russia is #8 and not an official member [1994])
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Former specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established in 1948 as an interim measure pending the creation of the International Trade Organization. However, plans for the latter were abandoned and GATT continued to exist until the end of 1995. Members of GATT were pledged to work together to reduce tariffs and other barriers to international trade and to eliminate discriminatory treatment in international commerce. The most important service of GATT was to negotiate multilateral extensions of tariff reductions through the application of the most-favored-nation clause. GATT also provided for regular meetings to consider other problems of international trade. An important GATT principle was that protection of domestic industries was to be done strictly through tariffs and not measures such as import quotas. The only exceptions permitted to GATT rules were those dealing with balance of payments difficulties, and these exceptions are carefully supervised. GATT provided the framework for most important international tariff negotiations from 1947 until 1994. The eighth, or Uruguay round, of GATT negotiations, which began in 1986 with 15 negotiating groups, was long stalemated by the issue of agricultural subsidies maintained by the European Community. The agreement that resulted (1994) from the Uruguay round led to the creation (1995) of the more powerful World Trade Organization (WTO) as a replacement for GATT. However, the GATT framework remained in place for a 12-month transition period.
Method of political analysis, popular in Central Europe during the first half of the 20th cent., that emphasized the role played by geography in international relations. Geopolitical theorists stress that natural political boundaries and access to important waterways are vital to a nation's survival. The term was first used (1916) by Rudolf Kjeflen, a Swedish political scientist, and was later borrowed by Karl Haushofer, a German geographer and follower of Friedrich Ratzel. Haushofer founded (1922) the Institute of Geopolitics in Munich, from which he proceeded to publicize geopolitical ideas, including Sir Walford J. Mackinder's theory of a European “heartland” central to world domination. Haushofer's writings found favor with the Nazi leadership, and his ideas were used to justify German expansion during the Nazi era. Many expansionist justifications, including the American “manifest destiny” as well as the German Lebensraum, are based on geopolitical considerations. Geopolitics is different from political geography, a branch of geography concerned with the relationship between politics and the environment.
geosynchronous orbit
A geocentric orbit that has the same orbital period as the sidereal rotation period of the Earth
The General Dynamics Ground Launched Cruise Missile, or GLCM, (officially designated BGM-109G Gryphon) was the US Air Force's counter to the mobile medium- and intermediate- range ballistic nuclear missiles deployed by the Soviet Union in Eastern Bloc European countries during the latter years of the Cold War. The GLCM and the US Army's Pershing II were the incentives that fostered Soviet willingness to sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF treaty), and thus reducing both the number and the threat of nuclear warheads in Europe. GLCM is also a generic term for any ground-launched cruise missile. Since the US deployed only one modern cruise missile in the tactical role, the GLCM name stuck.
Guerilla Warfare
Fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws of conventional warfare they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are often executed by their captors. The tactics of guerrilla warfare stress deception and ambush, as opposed to mass confrontation, and succeed best in an irregular, rugged, terrain and with a sympathetic populace, whom guerrillas often seek to win over by propaganda, reform, and terrorism. Guerrilla warfare has played a significant role in modern history, especially when waged by Communist liberation movements in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
Gulag Archipelago
Probably the most powerful and accurate account of the Soviet prison system, is a three volume series written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn based on extensive research, as well as his own experiences as a prisoner in the Gulag. It was published in 1973.
Harmony of Interests
When someone pursues their self-interest and in doing that they serve the interest of society
Head of Government
the leader of the government or cabinet.
In a parliamentary system, the head of government is usually known as a premier or prime minister.
In semi-presidential systems (also known as imperial systems), the head of government may be the same person as the head of state, who is often titled president of the republic or monarch.
Head of State
The generic term for the individual or collective office which serves as the chief public representative of monarchic or republican nation-state, federation, commonwealth or any other political state. His or her role generally includes personifying the continuity and legitimacy of the state and exercising the political powers, functions and duties granted to the head of state in the country's constitution.
A geopolitical term, used to refer to a central area of Eurasia that is remote and inaccessible from the periphery. The term Heartland has a particular importance in the works of Sir Halford Mackinder. He believed that the Heartland was the strategic region of the foremost importance in the World.
Dominance, originally of one Greek city-state over others, the term has been extended to refer to the dominance of one nation over others, and, following Gramsci, of one class over others. Conflict over hegemony fills history from the war between Athens and Sparta to the Napoleonic wars, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War. Gramsci's use of the concept extends it beyond international relations to class structure and even to culture.
High Seas
The open waters of an ocean or a sea beyond the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a country.
The period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Although anti-Semitism in Europe has a long history, persecution of German Jews began with Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Jews were disenfranchised, then terrorized in anti-Jewish riots (such as Kristallnacht), forced into the ghettos, their property seized, and finally were sent to concentration camps. After the outbreak of World War II, Hitler established death camps to secretly implement what he called “the final solution of the Jewish question.” Extermination squads were also sent to the fronts: In one operation alone, over 30,000 Jews were killed at Babi Yar, outside Kiev
Human Rights
Universal rights held to belong to individuals by virtue of their being human, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights and freedoms, and based on the notion of personal human dignity and worth. Conceptually derived from the theory of natural law and originating in Greco-Roman doctrines, the idea of human rights appears in some early Christian writers' works and is reflected in the Magna Carta (1215). The concept winds as a philosophical thread through 17th- and 18th-century European and American thought, including the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789). The United Nation's Commission on Human Rights, with Eleanor Roosevelt as chair, created the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which reasserted the concept of human rights after the horrors of World War II. Human rights have since become a universally espoused yet widely disregarded concept.
An intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, is a very-long-range (greater than 5500 km) ballistic missile typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery, i.e., delivering one or more nuclear warheads. It uses a ballistic trajectory involving a significant ascent and descent, including sub-orbital flight. ICBMs are differentiated by maximum range from other ballistic missiles: intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), short-range ballistic missiles, and the newly named theater ballistic missiles
Usually refers to the school of thought personified in American diplomatic history by Woodrow Wilson. Idealism (also known as Liberalism) in the Wilsonian context holds that a state should make its internal political philosophy the goal of its foreign policy. For example, an idealist might believe that ending poverty at home should be coupled with tackling poverty abroad.usually refers to the school of thought personified in American diplomatic history by Woodrow Wilson.
Ideological Warfare
A set of efforts in which a nation engages in order to conquer or influence another nation, so that the attacked nation takes a particular course of direction
Collection of ideas. The word ideology was coined by Count Destutt de Tracy in the late 18th century to define a "science of ideas." An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare Weltanschauung), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society
IMF (International Monetary Fund)
Specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1945. It was planned at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944), and its headquarters are in Washington, D.C. There is close collaboration between it and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The organization, using a fund subscribed by the member nations, purchases foreign currencies on application from its members so as to discharge international indebtedness and stabilize exchange rates. The IMF currency reserve units are called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); from 1974 to 1980 the value of SDRs was based on the currencies of 16 leading trading nations.
A policy of extending control or authority over foreign entities as a means of acquisition and/or maintenance of empires, either through direct territorial conquest or through indirect methods of exerting control on the politics and/or economy of other countries. The term is often used to describe the policy of a country in maintaining colonies and dominance over distant lands, regardless of whether the country calls itself an empire.
Information Operations
Actions taken to affect adversary information and information systems while defending one's own information and information systems. Also called IO.
Information Policy
A plan or course of action, as of a government, political party, or business, intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters that develops from acquired information analysis.
Information Warfare
Information operations conducted during time of crisis or conflict to achieve or promote specific objectives over a specific adversary or adversaries. Also called IW.
The process of bringing all parts together into a whole. (e.g. European Union)
The extent to which states are dependent upon each other for basic aspects of their existence.
Interests Section
An interim stage to normalization of diplomatic relations is the establishment of an interest section. It acts as a defacto diplomatic presence for a country that has no official diplomatic relations with the host country (e.g. Cuba & Iran)
International Criminal Court (ICC)
established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as defined by several international agreements, most prominently the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
International law
the body of law that "regulates the activities of entities possessing international personality". Traditionally, that meant the conduct and relationships of states. However, it is now well established that international law also concerns the structure and conduct of international organizations, and, to a degree, that of multinational corporations and individuals. sources of International law:
- Treaties
- International Norms
- Judgment of experts
- Equity
Non-defensive activity undertaken by a state to manipulate the economy or society. The most common applications of the term are for economic interventionism (a state's intervention in its own economy) and foreign interventionism (a state's intervention in the affairs of another nation). Other types in politics include: social interventionism, foreign interventionism and military interventionsim. Noted radical Ayn Rand denounced the word as a smear-term and an anti-concept, noting that it was used to stymy debate over controversial policies (she characterized the term "isolationism" similarly.
Originally, the Italian nationalist movement for the annexation to Italy of territories—Italia irredenta [unredeemed Italy]—inhabited by an Italian majority but retained by Austria after 1866. These included the Trentino, Trieste, Istria, Fiume, and parts of Dalmatia. Agitation took place both inside Austria-Hungary and in Italy itself. The liberation of Italia irredenta was perhaps the strongest motive for the entry of Italy into World War I. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) satisfied most of the irredentist claims. The term irredentism has, by extension, been applied to nationalist agitation in other countries, based on historical, ethnic, and geographical reasons, for the incorporation of territories under foreign rule. Irredentism is thus closely connected with nationalism and with minority problems.
Islands of Autonomy
Isolated regions of control for a political authority (e.g. Palestine)
The doctrine that a nation should stay out of the disputes and affairs of other nations. The United States practiced a policy of isolationism between World Wars.
Ius ad bellum
Latin for "Law to War"; A set of criteria that are consulted before engaging in war, in order to determine whether entering into war is justifiable. Jus ad bellum is sometimes considered a part of the laws of war, although the term "laws of war" can also be considered to refer to jus in bello, which concerns whether a war is conducted justly (regardless of whether the initiation of hostilities was just).
Ius in Bello
In international law, rules and principles regulating an armed conflict between nations. These laws are designed to minimize the destruction of life and property, to proscribe cruel treatment of noncombatants and prisoners of war, and to establish conditions under which the belligerents may consult with one another. To mitigate the effects of insurrections and civil wars, established governments often recognize the belligerency of domestic opponents and conduct conflicts with them according to the laws of war.
Political philosophy of or related to extreme radical party during the French Revolution named for the place where its founders first met, a convent of Jacobin friars. It was led by Robespierre.
The word jihad actually means "struggle, strive." The Arabic root of the word is jahada "to strive for." (The Arabic word for war is "harb.") Of the two types of jihad, the lesser type is the struggle against religious or political oppression, the second and greater is the soul's struggle with evil. Moderates think that while "jihad" might refer to an active war against an oppressive regime, such a war may be waged only against that regime, not innocent people. Radical Islamic fundamentalists assume that a jihad is a war without constraints.
Advocacy of a policy of aggressive nationalism. The term was first used in connection with certain British politicians who sought to bring England into the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) on the side of the Turks. It apparently derived from a popular song of the period: “We don't want to fight, but, by jingo, if we do....”
Achieving higher joint combat effectiveness through synergy from blending particular service strengths on a mission basis
A group of military leaders who govern a country after a coup d'état.
Just War Doctrine
The theory of just causes for entry into war and conduct of war thereafter. Critical proponents of this doctrine include catholic thinkers St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Lao Gai
Means "reform through labor," is a slogan of the Chinese criminal justice system and has been used to refer to the use of prison labor in the People's Republic of China. It is often confused with, but completely different from, reeducation through labor, which is a system of administrative detentions.
Launch on Warning
The ability to quickly launch a ballistic missile attack upon the warning of an imminent attack. This doctrine was a key component of Cold War strategic planning.
League of Nations
A world organization established in 1920 to promote international cooperation and peace. It was first proposed in 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson, although the United States never joined the League. Essentially powerless, it was officially dissolved in 1946.
Additional territory deemed necessary to a nation, especially Nazi Germany, for its continued existence or economic well-being.
Term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. The distinction between a legation and embassy was dropped following the Second World War, as all diplomatic representative offices were now designated as embassies, or high commissions.
In political science, is the popular acceptance of a governing regime or law as an authority. Whereas authority refers to a specific position in an established government, the term legitimacy is used when describing a system of government itself —where "government may be generalized to mean the wider "sphere of influence."
Limited War
Armed conflict short of general war, exclusive of incidents, involving the overt engagement of the military forces of two or more nations.
A policy pursued by the United States of America, championed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, during the 1970s period of Cold War Détente which aimed to persuade the Soviet Union and Communist China to co-operate in restraining revolutions in the Third World in return for concessions in nuclear and economic fields. The policy was however fundamentally undermined due to the amount of revolutions occurring during this time wholly independent of Soviet involvement.
The region near the shoreline of a body of fresh or salt water. The term may also be used as an adjective. Depending on context, it may mean the region within a few meters of the water, or everything influenced, possibly extending back many kilometers
Mutual assured destruction (MAD)
The doctrine of military strategy in which a full scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two opposing sides would result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. It is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the very same weapons. It is also cited by gun control opponents as the reason why crime rates tend to be lower in heavily armed populations. See also Switzerland, whose comprehensive military defense strategy has prevented potential enemies from attempting invasions, even during World War II.
A command or an expression of a desire, especially by a group of voters for a political program. Politicians elected in landslide victories often claim that their policies have received a mandate from the voters.
Manifest Destiny
Belief held by many Americans in the 1840s that the United States was destined to expand across the continent, by force, as used against Native Americans, if necessary. The controversy over slavery further fueled expansionism, as the North and South each wanted the nation to admit new states that supported its section's economic, political, and slave policies. By the end of the 19th cent., this belief was used to support expansion in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
A license or extraordinary commission granted by a government to a private person to fit out a privateer or armed ship to cruise at sea and make prize of the enemy's ships and merchandise (the ship so commissioned is sometimes called a letter of marque)
Marshall Plan
Or European Recovery Program, project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall urged (June 5, 1947) that European countries decide on their economic needs so that material and financial aid from the United States could be integrated on a broad scale. In Apr., 1948, President Truman signed the act establishing the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) to administer the program.
The doctrines of Marxism as applied by Lenin, a founder of the Soviet Union, to the building of Marxist nations. With Karl Marx, Lenin called for a classless society in which all means of production would be commonly owned (communism). Unlike some Marxists, however, Lenin stressed bold, revolutionary action and insisted that a strong Communist party would be needed in a Marxist nation to direct the efforts of the workers. Lenin also argued that capitalist nations resort to aggressive imperialist moves as they decline and that Marxist nations must therefore be prepared for war. Eventually, according to Marxism-Leninism, the rigid governmental structures that have characterized the former Soviet Union and other Marxist nations will not be necessary; the “withering away of the state” will occur. A major problem for Marxism-Leninism has been the difficulty of abandoning these governmental structures.
Mass Organization
A front group that can function as auxiliaries for another political organization, such as the communist party; typically included youth, labor, and women's organizations
Massive Retaliation
Term coined by Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. It describes any nuclear attack the U.S. would engage in against the Soviet Union in the event that the USSR provokes the U.S.
A member of the liberal faction of the Social Democratic Party that struggled against the Bolsheviks before and during the Russian Revolution.
The theory and system of political economy prevailing in Europe after the decline of feudalism, based on national policies of accumulating bullion, establishing colonies and a merchant marine, and developing industry and mining to attain a favorable balance of trade.
Belief that a particular cause or movement is destined to triumph or save the world. Applied in IR to nations with an ideological fervor for change.
The doctrinal view of a society as being best served (or more efficient) when it is governed or guided by concepts embodied in the culture, doctrine, system, or people of the military. Militarists hold the view that security is the highest social priority, and claim that the development and maintenance of the military ensures that security. Militarism connotes the drive to expand military culture and ideals to areas outside of the military structure —most notably in areas of private business, government policy, education, and entertainment.
Mirror imaging
A tendancy to view foriegn cultures through the prism of ones own, tending to undervalue real differences. Often applied to American Cold War toward USSR.
multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicle
A warhead on a ballistic missile that contains more than one nuclear weapon, each capable of being aimed at a different target.
Misinformation is information that is incorrect, but not because of a deliberate attempt to mislead. Believers in misinformation are said to be misinformed but not lying. It is commonly confused with disinformation. The spreading of disinformation is a purposeful attempt to spread a known falsehood, whereas misinformation is the result of ignorance.
the abstract unit of account in terms of which the value of goods, services, and obligations can be compared; and anything that is widely established as a means of payment. Frequently the standard of value also serves as a medium of exchange, but that is not always the case.
- Store of value
- Unit of account
- Medium of exchange
- Promise of future value
Most Favored nation status
MFN status is a method of preventing discriminatory treatment among members of an international trading organization. MFN status provides trade equality among partners by ensuring that an importing country will not discriminate against another country's goods in favor of those from a third. Once the importing country grants any type of concession to the third-party country, this concession must be given to all other countries.
Multinational corporation
Business enterprise with manufacturing, sales, or service subsidiaries in one or more foreign countries, also known as a transnational or international corporation. These corporations originated early in the 20th cent. and proliferated after World War II. Typically, a multinational corporation develops new products in its native country and manufactures them abroad, often in Third World nations, thus gaining trade advantages and economies of labor and materials.
A multipolar international system is one where there are several major international great powers. Characterized by shifting alliances, a balance of power should theoretically be able to maintain peace between these major powers. The 'Concert of Europe,' a period from after the Napoleonic Wars to the Crimean War, was a time of peaceful multipolarity where the great powers of Europe assembled regularly to discuss international and domestic issues.
Munich settlement
An agreement between Britain and Germany in 1938, under which Germany was allowed to extend its territory into parts of Czechoslovakia in which German-speaking peoples lived. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain negotiated on behalf of Britain, and Chancellor Adolf Hitler on behalf of Germany. Chamberlain returned to London proclaiming that the Munich Pact had secured “peace in our time.”
A trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which took effect January 1, 1994. Its purpose is to increase the efficiency and fairness of trade between the three nations.

At the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a simple goal: the elimination of tariffs—the taxes each nation imposes on the others' imports—and other bureaucratic and legal barriers to trade. In addition to its central terms, the massive, highly detailed agreement also includes so-called side agreements intended to ensure that each nation enforces its own labor and environmental laws. The bulk of its regulations are to be phased in over the course of fifteen years.
A nation is a 'set of people with a common identity who have formed a nation-state or usually aspire to do so' (Viotti and Kauppi, 2001). In this sense of country, the reference is more likely to be to a group that supposedly shares a common ethnic origin, language, religion, or history (real or imagined).
National interest
The national interest, often referred to by the French term raison d'état, is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural. The notion is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.
National Liberation War
Those conflicts fought by indigenous military groups against an imperial power in an attempt to remove that power's influence. In modern conflicts of this type, a common observation is that without substantial outside help from opposing superpower nations, the conflicts would have failed. The KGB and the CIA are alleged to have fomented many of these conflicts.
National Socialism
Doctrines and policies of the National Socialist German Workers' party, which ruled Germany under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945; came to power through appeals to latent hatred and violence, anti-Semitism, anti-Communist diatribes, and attacks on the Treaty of Versailles.
Political or social philosophy in which the welfare of the nation-state as an entity is considered paramount. Nationalism is basically a collective state of mind or consciousness in which people believe their primary duty and loyalty is to the nation-state. Often nationalism implies national superiority and glorifies various national virtues.
A political unit consisting of an autonomous state inhabited predominantly by a people sharing a common culture, history, and language.
North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationA collective security group that was established by the North Atlantic Treaty (34 U.N.T.S. 243) in 1949 to block the threat of military aggression in Europe by the Soviet Union.
Natural Law
The unwritten body of universal moral principles that underlie the ethical and legal norms by which human conduct is sometimes evaluated and governed. Natural law is often contrasted with positive law, which consists of the written rules and regulations enacted by government. The term natural law is derived from the Roman term jus naturale. Adherents to natural law philosophy are known as naturalists.
Near abroad
Term referring to Russian policies and attitudes towards the other former Soviet republics. Russia has asserted its right to protect the interests of russian speaking peoples particularly in the former USSR.
Societal conflict and crime, short of war, in which the antagonists are organized more as rawling "leaderless" networks than as tight-knit hierarchies. Many terrorists, criminals, fundamentalists, and ethno-nationalists are developing netwar capabilities.
The state of a nation that takes no part in a war between two or more other nations. Since the nineteenth century, international law has recognized the right of a nation to abstain from participation in a war between other states. In an international war, those taking no part are called neutrals. This means that a neutral state cannot provide assistance to the belligerents, the principal hostile powers, or to their allies, who cooperate and assist them.
Transnational organizations of private citizens that maintain a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Nongovernmental organizations may be professional associations, foundations, multinational businesses, or simply groups with a common interest in humanitarian assistance activities (development and relief). "Nongovernmental organizations" is a term normally used by non-United States organizations.
A term used in espionage (particularly by the CIA) for an agent or operative who assumes a covert role in an organization without ties to the government he or she is working for.
The political attitude of a state that does not associate or identify itself with the political ideology or objective espoused by other states, groups of states, or international causes, or with the foreign policies stemming therefrom. It does not preclude involvement, but expresses the attitude of no precommitment to a particular state (or block) or policy before a situation arises.
Nonproliferation Treaty
An agreement made in 1968 to discourage the spread of nuclear weapons. It has been ratified by ninety-two countries, but not by all countries with the potential to develop nuclear weapons. Neither India nor Pakistan, each of which subsequently developed nuclear weapons, ratified it.
Non-proliferation treaty
Restrictions to imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. They are criticized as a means to evade free trade rules such as those of the WTO, the EU or NAFTA that restrict tariffs. Most common examples are antidumping measures and countervailing duties, which, although they are called "non-tariff" barriers, have the effect of tariffs but are only imposed under certain conditions. Their use has risen sharply after the WTO rules led to a very significant reduction in tariff use.
Nuclear Triad
Nuclear launch capabilities from land-, sea- and air-based platforms
Organization of American States, international organization, created Apr. 30, 1948, at Bogotá, Colombia, by agreement of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Another 17 states have subsequently joined. The status of permanent observer is now held by 46 additional states and the European Union. The OAS is a regional agency designed to work with the United Nations to promote peace, justice, and hemispheric solidarity; to foster economic development (especially during the 1960s; see Alliance for Progress); and to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the signatory nations.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
An international organization, founded in 1961, whose member nations are pledged to work together to promote their economies, to extend aid to underdeveloped nations, and to contribute to the expansion of world trade; predecessor organization coordinated the Marshall Plan.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, multinational organization (est. 1960, formally constituted 1961) that coordinates petroleum policies and economic aid among oil-producing nations.
Advocacy of opposition to war through individual or collective action against militarism. Although complete, enduring peace is the goal of all pacifism, the methods of achieving it differ. Some groups oppose international war but advocate revolution for suppressed nationalities; others are willing to support defensive but not offensive war; others oppose all war, but believe in maintaining a police force; still others believe in no coercive or disciplinary force at all.
Absence of hostility, presence of justice. Types include:
- Equilibrium
- Hegemony
- Peace of Empire
Peaceful coexistence
A theory developed during the Cold War among Communist states that they could peacefully coexist with capitalist states. This was in contrast to theories, such as those implied by some interpretations of antagonistic contradiction, that Communism and capitalism could never exist in peace. However it was interpreted differently by the USSR and the People's Republic of China, the two dominant states in the Communist world. The Soviet Union applied it to relations between the industrialized world and in particularly the United States and NATO countries and the nations of the Warsaw Pact. During the 1960s and early 1970s, China applied it to relations between itself and non-socialist countries in the developing world while it argued that a belligerent attitude should be maintained towards imperialist countries. However, in the early 1980s, China extended the peaceful coexistence concept to include all nations.
A stabilization on the price of a commodity or an exchange rate by legislation or market operations
Persana non-grata
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Article 9, a receiving State may "at any time and without having to explain its decision," declare any member of a diplomatic staff as persona non grata — that is not acceptable (while a persona grata is acceptable)— even before they arrive in the State. It is usual for a person so declared to be recalled to their home nation. If they are not recalled, the receiving State "may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission."
Political Action
Mass organization for the express purpose of achieving a desired political outcome.
Political Socialization
The process by which individuals learn the values and norms in their society and by which political culture is passed from one generation to another.
Political Warfare
Aggressive use of political means to achieve national objectives.
An anticipatory use of force by any nation when there is an imminent attack on that nation.
Proletarian Internationalism
The idea that members of the working class should act in solidarity towards world revolution and support working people in other countries, rather than following their respective national governments. Proletarian internationalism is summed up in the slogan, Workers of all countries, unite!, the last line of The Communist Manifesto.
The process by which one nation after another comes into possession of, or into the right to determine the use of, nuclear weapons; each nation becomes potentially able to launch a nuclear attack upon another nation.
Propoganda (gray)
Propaganda that does not specifically identify any source.
Propoganda (white)
Propaganda disseminated and acknowledged by the sponsor or by an accredited agency thereof.
Propoganda (black)
Propaganda that purports to emanate from a source other than the true one.
The advocacy, system, or theory of protecting domestic producers by impeding or limiting, as by tariffs or quotas, the importation of foreign goods and services.
A form of international guardianship that arises under international law when a weaker state surrenders by treaty the management of some or all of its international affairs to a stronger state.
A rule which guides how an activity should be performed, especially in the field of diplomacy. In the diplomatic and government fields of endeavor protocols are often unwritten guidelines. Protocols specify the proper and generally-accepted behavior in matters of state and diplomacy, such as showing appropriate respect to a head of state, ranking diplomats in chronological order of their accreditation at court, and so on.
Proxy Warfare
warfare in which two powers use third parties as a supplement or a substitute for fighting each other directly.
Psychological Warfare
The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives. Also called PSYWAR.
Public Affairs
Those public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the institution in question
Public Diplomacy
Term coined in the 1960s to describe aspects of international diplomacy other than the interactions between national governments. It has been closely associated with the United States Information Agency, which used the term to define its mission. It was originally a euphemism for purportedly truthful propaganda.
Public Relations
Activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most favorable light.
A traitor who serves as the puppet of the enemy occupying his or her country.
After Vidkun Quisling, head of Norway's government during the Nazi occupation (1940–1945).
In the context of international trade, this is a limit put on the amount of a specific good that can be imported.
Raison d'Etat
Reason of state - Similar to concept of national interest.
A reestablishing of cordial relations, as between two countries.
The approval from the legislative branch required to validate government agreements. In the United States, amendments to the Constitution require the ratification of state legislatures, and international treaties require the ratification of the Senate.
The term realism comes from the German compound word "Realpolitik", from the words "real" (meaning "realistic", "practical", or "actual") and "Politik" (meaning "politics"). It focuses on the balance of power among nation-states. Realpolitik is foreign policy based on practical concerns (political expediency) rather than ideals or ethics.
Individuals who leaves his\her native country for social, political, or religious reasons, or who are forced to leave, as a result of any type of disaster, including war, political upheaval, and famine.
"The Peoples currency" currency of the PRC.
In international law, the forcible taking, in time of peace, by one country of the property or territory belonging to another country or to the citizens of the other country, to be held as a pledge or as redress in order to satisfy a claim. A reprisal, technically, is not an act of war, because it is solely in response to conduct that violated international law.
The stated qualification by a nation that describes the part of a standardization agreement that it will not implement or will implement only with limitations.
A term used since the 1870s to describe political campaigns to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country during previous wars and strifes, sometimes quite distant in time. Revanchism draws strength from desires to regain national esteem, local geo-political dominance, or economic advantages by subduing a foe. Extreme revanchist ideologues often represent a pro-war stance, suggesting that the losses can be reclaimed only through a new war. Revanchism is intextricably linked with irredentism, the conception that a part of the cultural and ethnic nation remains "unredeemed" outside the borders of its appropriate nation-state.
Revolutionary Warfare
Warfare that has a political goal or objective and seeks to completely overthrow the social, political, and economic order
Broadcasting organization established in 1950 with the stated mission of promoting democratic values and institutions. Its original purpose was to broadcast news to countries behind the “Iron Curtain” during the cold war. In 1975, it was merged with Radio Liberty (RL), a similar enterprise that broadcast to the nations inside the Soviet Union. RFE receives most of its funding from the U.S. Congress.
A right is the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled or a thing to which one has a just claim. Rights serve as rules of interaction between people, and, as such, they place constraints upon the actions of individuals or groups (for example, if one is granted a right to life, this means that others do not have the liberty to murder him).
The maritime fringe of a country or continent; in particular, the densely populated western, southern, and eastern edges of the Eurasian continent.
Rogue State
Term applied by the U.S. government to states it considers as threatening the world's peace. This means meeting certain criteria such as being ruled by authoritarian regimes severely restricting human rights, accused of sponsoring terrorism, and seeking to proliferate weapons of mass destruction.
Term used by American foreign policy thinkers during the Cold War. It was defined as using military force to "roll back" communism in countries where it had taken root.
A river in northern Italy that Julius Caesar crossed with his army, in violation of the orders of the leaders in Rome, who feared his power. A civil war followed, in which Caesar emerged as ruler of Rome. Caesar is supposed to have said, “The die is cast” (referring to a roll of dice), as he crossed the river. “Crossing the Rubicon” is a general expression for taking a dangerous, decisive, and irreversible step.
Salami Tactics
A gradual process of threats and alliances as a means of overcoming opposition. With it, an aggressor can influence and eventually dominate a (typically political) landscape, slice by slice. In most cases it includes creation of several factions within the opposing political party and then dismantling it from the inside, without causing the sliced side to protest.
Its origin is from the Communist Party in Hungary, led by the ultra-Stalinist Matyas Rakosi, who also coined the term. The tactics was also used in the majority of the Communist-dominated states of the era, including Poland.
Negotiations started in Helsinki, Finland, in 1969 between the United States and the Soviet Union to limit the countries' stock of nuclear weapons. The treaties resulting from these negotiations are called SALT I and SALT II
Russian, literally “self publishing”. The process of disseminating documentation via underground channels. Originally referred to underground duplication and distribution of banned books in the Soviet Union; now refers by obvious extension to any less-than-official promulgation of textual material, esp. rare, obsolete, or never-formally-published computer documentation.
Penalties, specified or in the form of moral pressure, that act to ensure compliance or conformity
A Satellite nation is a country that is dominated politically and economically by another nation. In times of war, satellite nations sometimes serve as a buffer between an enemy country and the nation commanding the satellite.
Governor of a province (satrapy) of the ancient Persian Empire. He was nominated by the king and given extensive powers.
Strategic Defense Initiative, U.S. government program responsible for research and development of a space-based system to defend the nation from attack by strategic ballistic missiles (see guided missile). The program is administered by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (until 1993 the Strategic Defense Initiative Office), a separate agency in the U.S. Dept. of Defense. SDI, popularly referred to as “Star Wars,” was announced by President Ronald Reagan in a speech in Mar., 1983, and was derided by his critics as unrealistic.
Second Strike capabilty
The ability to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack sufficient to inflict intolerable damage after being hit by an adversary's first strike
Security Council
The permanent peacekeeping organ of the United Nations, composed of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and ten elected members.
The political right of the majority to the exercise of power within the boundaries of a generally accepted political unit, area, or territory.
Shadow Government
A "government-in-waiting" that remains in waiting with the intent to take control of the government in response to some event.
In parliamentary governments it is common for the opposition party to have a shadow government in which top leaders of the opposition are prepared to assume certain ministries should the opposition come to power.
Single Integrated Operational Plan (or SIOP) is a blueprint that tells how American nuclear weapons would be used in the event of war. At a NATO level an agreement to use nuclear weapons envisages the United Kingdom participating in the SIOP (see below). The plan integrates the nuclear capabilities of manned bombers, long-range intercontinental missiles and ballistic-missile firing nuclear submarines. The SIOP is implemented in case the United States is under nuclear attack or if a nuclear attack on the United States is imminent.
submarine-launched ballistic missile
Submarine-launched cruise missiles are cruise missiles that deliver conventional (non-nuclear) payloads and are launched from submarines. Current versions are typically standoff weapons which are used to attack predetermined land targets.
Sea lines of communication is a term describing the primary maritime trade routes between ports. It is generally used in reference to naval operations to ensure that SLOCs are open, or in times of war, to close them.
Social Democracy
A political ideology that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism. Initially, social democratic parties included revolutionary socialists, such as Rosa Luxemburg and Vladimir Lenin alongside those who advocated a gradualist, evolutionary approach, such as Eduard Bernstein, Karl Kautsky and Jean Jaures. After World War I and the Russian Revolution, social democracy became exclusively associated with the non-revolutionary approach. Modern social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative reform of the capitalist system in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way.
Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
Soft Power
Term used in international relations theory to describe the ability of a political body, such as a state, to indirectly influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies through cultural or ideological means. The term was first coined by Harvard University professor Joseph Nye, who remains its most prominent proponent, in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.
Solidarity Movement
A labor union in Poland, independent of the government and of the Polish Communist party, that grew to a membership of several million in the early 1980s. Led by Lech Walesa, Solidarity pushed for many reforms and played a major part in the ouster of communism in Poland and its replacement by a multiparty, democratic government. The movement's influence began to decline in the 1990s.
The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference.
Primary unit in the political organization of the former USSR. The term is the Russian word for council. The first soviets were revolutionary committees organized by Russian socialists in the Revolution of 1905 among striking factory workers. When the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, workers', peasants', and soldiers' soviets sprang up all over Russia.

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