POLI/INTL 105, International Relations

Bill Newmann, School of Government and Public Affairs


General Information:

Governments in the world have web sites

Parliaments (legislatures, national assemblies) also have sites

Embassies of other nations to the US have web sites that provide information on their nations in English

Military resources of many nations are available as well

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has a home page with links to all types of information on the military assets of many nations in the world.

Global Security.Org (excellent resources for international diplomatic, military, and political issues)

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) -- a government funded think tank that examines international issues has a library that contains numerous web resources.

Country Watch is a non-profit organization that provides information and intelligence on all nations.  (You may have to pay to use this site on an extended basis, but you should know that it is there.)

Think Tanks (Here is a compilation of links to many of the organizations (from the left, center, and right) that perform analysis and policy evaluation on international issues)

Angus Reid Global Election Tracker



For general information on foreign nations you can use:

•        The US State Department Country Background Notes;

•        US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook;

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is one of the best sources for information on military and political trends in the world.

Of course, following international events has been made easier with many newspapers now on line.

There are also on-line services that report from all around the world. One of the best is the BBC World Service (British Broadcasting Corporation).

World News Network is an excellent site with links to newspaper articles from all over the world, indexed by region and subject

The International Crisis Group is a non-profit organization that analyzes and publishes reports on social, political, and economic issues all over the globe



Specific issues are covered by many web sites. For example,

•        Human Rights

        Human Rights Watch

        Amnesty International

        US Department of State Country Human Rights Reports

        United Nations Human Rights site

        Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs

•        International Humanitarian Crises

        Relief Web (A UN-sponsored site that keeps track of major humanitarian and natural disasters around the globe;

        International Committee of the Red Cross

        United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs

        Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres)

        European Country of Origin Network (Deals with immigrant legal rights, refugees, and asylum issues)

•        The War Crimes Tribunals for both Yugoslavia and Rwanda are online.

•        International Criminal Court -- ICC (The actual court itself has not yet been established. The treaty creating the ICC has been signed, but implementation of the treaty awaits ratification by the signatory nations. No treaty goes into effect until the governments involved approve of the treaty through their individual constitutional processes. This site is an NGO site that explains the court and tracks the ratification processes in the signatory nations.)

•        International Crisis Group (This is a private NGO site that tracks the political, military, and humanitarian aspects of various international crises; also linked above.)

Information on global environmental problems is available.

Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is an important issue. Sites that deal with these issues include:

•        The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

•        The Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies 

•        The Federation of American Scientists


International Peacekeeping

· The United Nations Department on Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) is the official UN site for monitoring UN peacekeeping operations

· United States Institute of Peace page on Peacekeeping

· UN-affiliated International Peace Academy (a multinational think tank)

· Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict


International Law

· The United Nations sponsors a site that provides general information on international law.

· Washburn School of Law has a site with links to lots of international law sites.


When most people think of international affairs they think of national governments; however, international organizations, as we will discuss, have become an important way for governments to organize for collective action. Most of those organizations have web sites. There are:

•        United Nations system

•        Secretary General’s home page (with reports, press releases on UN actions)

•        Secretary General’s Report  on UN goals and reform for the 21st century: “In Larger Freedom”

•        Report of the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on UN Reform

•        UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

•        Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

•        International Court of Justice (ICJ)

•        International Labor Organization (ILO)

•        UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

•        World Health Organization (WHO)

•        World International Property Organization WIPO (that protects copyrights for patents, books, films, and software)

•        World Food Program (WFP)

•        UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO);


International organizations not part of the United Nations system (though they often work with the UN) also have web sites:

•        International Monetary Fund (IMF)

•        The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)

•        World Trade Organization (WTO)

•        Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, the wealthy countries' club)

•        Group of Eight: University of Toronto Group of 8 Information Page, the richest nations' economic leadership forum)

•        Group of 77 (G-77, a meeting group of developing nations that contains more than 77 nations)

•        World Economic Forum (governmental leaders, business leaders, and other national and international leaders from numerous professions gather together yearly to discuss the global economy from around the world. This is less an international organization and more of a meeting of elites from around the world.)

•        G-20 (Group of 20 – Finance Ministers and Central Banks of the richest nations in the world meet to discuss world financial issues)

•        Non-Aligned Movement (formed initially by nations who refused to take sides in the Cold War)


Regional organizations also provide information on their activities:

•        African Union (AU)

•        Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC)

•        Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

•        The Commonwealth (Britain and nations that were former colonies, but remain close to Britain economically and politically)

•        Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Organization of Central Asian states, from Turkey to Kygyzstan

•        Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

•        European Union (EU)

•        North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

•        Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

•        Organization of American States (OAS)

•        Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

•        Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- a cartel of oil producing nations that spans several regions. 

•        Pacific Community (Pacific Island nations and territories)