System Modeling of International Relations

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2015-59-11-17-30

D. Degterev, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, 10/2, Miklukho-Maklay Str., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation; Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MGIMO-University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation (
I. Istomin, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MGIMO-University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article provides an overview of international and Russian literature on the genesis and development of System Research in IR studies, demonstrates the emergence of System Research in Russia and in the world, the development of the general theory of systems. It is shown that at the first stage, the representatives of natural sciences tried to identify the isomorphism between the international relations system and other systems (biological, physical). In this context, the attempts to form a general theory of international conflict could be viewed. It is noted that at the beginning of the 1970s, these attempts ended unsuccessfully in general. The second area of international relations system modeling is related to the work of structural realists, primarily K. Waltz and M. Kaplan. Despite the fact that in their papers the verbal analysis dominates over the formal international relations system model, they have made a significant contribution to the political science in perception of the systems theory. The paper also describes the system modeling in the context of the Neo-Marxist theory of international relations, first and foremost, in the meaning of the I. Wallerstein's world-system theory. Special attention is paid to the systemic research crisis in the IR science at the turn of 1980–1990s, also due to a sharp change in the international situation, and the transition from a predominantly deterministic world of the Cold War to the post-bipolar non-equilibrium international system. The authors clearly reveal the evolution of the international relations perception in terms of the systems theory. They also illustrate the intensification of the international system modeling in the XXIst century on the basis of a new methodology – via the use of the more sophisticated complexity theory (the theory of complex systems), as well as by adapting the sociological theory of structuration by A. Giddens in political sciences. Showing the most promising areas of the complexity theory practical application in the modeling of international relations – agent-based modeling and simulation of system dynamics, – the authors enumerate the most promising spheres for the system modeling in international studies.

Keywords: theory of international relations, modeling, system analysis, system approach, complexity theory, the theory of complex systems, non-linear processes, dynamic chaos, self-organization, Lorenz attractor

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For citation:
Degterev D., Istomin I. System Modeling of International Relations. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2015, vol. 59, no. 11, pp. 17-30.

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