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Member states of the United Nations (UN), as defined by the UN.
The field of international relations dates from the time of the Greek historian Thucydides.
De facto map of control of the world, May 2019
The official portraits of King Władysław IV dressed according to French, Spanish and Polish fashion reflects the complex politics of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Thirty Years' War.
Empires of the world in 1910
NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
The United Nations Secretariat Building at the United Nations headquarters in New York City
The World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.
NATO E-3A flying with USAF F-16s in a NATO exercise

International relations (IR), international studies or international affairs (IA) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states.

- International relations

International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory (see territorial disputes), one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.

- Sovereign state
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2 related topics

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United Nations

Intergovernmental organization whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Intergovernmental organization whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Members of the United Nations
1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states
The UN in 1945: founding members in light blue, protectorates and territories of the founding members in dark blue
Dag Hammarskjöld was a particularly active secretary-general from 1953 until his death in 1961.
Kofi Annan, secretary-general from 1997 to 2006
Flags of member nations at the United Nations Headquarters, seen in 2007
Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet general secretary, addressing the UN General Assembly in December 1988
Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, demonstrates a vial with alleged Iraq chemical weapon probes to the UN Security Council on Iraq war hearings, 5 February 2003
Current secretary-general, António Guterres
The ICJ ruled that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law.
Under Sukarno, Indonesia became the first and only country to leave the United Nations.
A Nepalese soldier on a peacekeeping deployment providing security at a rice distribution site in Haiti during 2010
The UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1949
Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme reading the news that smallpox has been globally eradicated in 1980
In Jordan, UNHCR remains responsible for the Syrian refugees and the Zaatari refugee camp.
The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN—diploma in the lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City
Marking of the UN's 70th anniversary – Budapest, 2015

At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; with the addition of South Sudan in 2011, membership is now 193, representing almost all of the world's sovereign states.

The United States has preferred a feeble United Nations in major projects undertaken by the UN so as to forestall UN interference with, or resistance to, United States policies, according to international relations scholar Edward Luck, former director of the Center on International Organization of the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

International law

Set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nations.

Set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nations.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.
Hugo Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis, is considered one of the foundational texts of international law. (Pictured is the title page from the second edition of 1631).
A portrait of the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (alias Hugo de Groot)
Sir Alberico Gentili is regarded as the Father of international law.
The First Geneva Convention (1864) is one of the earliest formulations of international law

During the 20th century, it was recognized by legal positivists that a sovereign state could limit its authority to act by consenting to an agreement according to the contract principle pacta sunt servanda.

As D. W. Greig notes, "international law cannot exist in isolation from the political factors operating in the sphere of international relations".