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International Relations from the balance of powers to the end of the European concert

Relaţiile internaţionale de la echilibru la sfârşitul concertului european

Brie, Mircea; Horga, Ioan

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Abstract In the 17th and 18th centuries, relations between the European states had a relatively predictable evolution. They were the result of the fight between the great European powers for supremacy. Spain, then France and finally England imposed their policy and had continental domination for a long time. If at the beginning of the period, the role of diplomacy was almost insignificant, throughout the 17th century, first in France then in other states, the European monarchs built an ever more specialised diplomatic system. The tools for the new external policy of the European states became more diverse. If at the beginning of the period, diplomatic attempts were still shy and based on other practices rather than modern diplomacy, we can notice a specialisation and diversification of negotiation practices and preservation of good relations with the partners. We could say that modern diplomacy was tightly related to the economic development and the bourgeois revolution. When economic interests came to the foreground, politicians began to be more cautious with the “others”. The state was often “compelled” from within to revise its attitude towards its European partners. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, national spirit of affirmation was stronger and stronger. Once the affirmation of nations, the European wars acquired new connotations. Diplomacy, including the secret one, earned its role in the given geopolitical context. The state increased its diplomatic activity as it first aimed at setting its power on much firmer bases. It was the main goal of external policy and of the whole activity making it possible to reach the objectives of the state. The promulgation of efficient laws, the homogenisation of jurisprudence, the establishment of an efficient administrative framework, the enforcement of new viable financial methods together with military force and political stability were measures of compulsory national security to face the pressure of neighbouring powers. At times of peace or war, the great powers used their diplomacy to get “great advantages” needed by modern economic societies. They were defined by the following elements: market and monopoles, strategic harbours and vital borders, furs, fish, raw materials for naval constructions, wheat, tropical products, or other sources of wealth. To briefly characterise the relation system between the great European powers, we can point out that great monarchies connected through an interesting matrimonial, economic and geostrategic system feared “each other”. Consequently, most European states tried to build a system of alliances meant to guarantee the implementation of the pursued policy. In general, the international relations system on the continent was characterised by the rivalry between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. England played an important role in the system. After gaining maritime supremacy, England sought to impose its own policy on the continent. The image conferred by rivalries between the great European states changed in both form and content.
Keywords international relations; balance of power; diplomacy; Europe; political negotiation; national state; political domination; historical development; state formation
Classification General History; Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language Other language
Publication Year 2009
Edition 2. Aufl.
Publisher Univ. of Oradea Press
City Oradea
Page/Pages 389 p.
ISBN 978-973-759-925-4
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution