• International Relations are relationship or interaction between the States or
ethnicity , which is inherently complex in practice and as academic discipline.
• Since the publication of Kenneth Waltz’s “Man , the State and War’-1959 , it
provided base for level of analysis and scholars identified three fundamental
levels i.e. Individual , State and International System level , to understand ,
explain and predict the behaviour of Nation- States , actions , events , foreign
policy and diplomacy .
• Reasons why countries go for war ? Why few of them are co-operating among
each other , why they form alliance , or sign treaties .
• Apart, from Kenneth Waltz, some of other thinkers have also contributed in the
development of the concept of ‘level of analysis’ .
• Barry Buzan , J. David Singer:- American professor of political science written
seminal articles on “The level of analysis problem in International relations”-
• M. Kaplan “ Written book “System and process in International Politics”-1957 .
• According to him , the analysis should be done from macro to micro level. i.e.
1. International System level
2. State level .
3. Individual level .
International system level: It is supported by the theory of neo realism. It argues
that the foreign policies of States can be understood without looking into the
internal nature of the State or individual . It says that foreign policies , actions and
behaviour of a State can easily understood by just looking at the conditions or
characteristics of International System . According to it we mainly analyse the
power configuration in the world .
It provide comprehensive macro view as it is said whole is better than the parts .
However it is not inspirable to ignore States and Individuals .
e.g. – Cold War ---- NAM , India Boycotted Iran .
II). State Level :- It is supported by the theory of Realism , the supporters of state
Level analysis tells that International System level provide the part of the story. But
the characteristics of the States i.e features of state for e.g. nature of State
(Theocratic or Secular) , Type of government (Parliamentary Democracy or
Presidential Democracy ) , Economic Performance , Geographical Location ,
history and cultural values provide a broader details of foreign policies , actions ,
behaviour may have been taken by State .
e.g. --- Cold War .
III). Individual Level :-
Leaders ----they just do not respond to the environment , rather play vital role in
deciding foreign policies , actions of the States and International Events .
Nature of leader , Psychology , behaviour , Ideology , culture , history .
• example – World War 2 , ----Hitler
• End of cold war --- Reagan and Gorbachev .
• Trade War – Trump , Xi Jinping .
• All three are important --- simultaneously studied for clear understanding of an
• Notes in description box . And a model answer written for this question by a
student in Mid - Sem
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