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International relations (IR) (occasionally referred to as international studies, (IS) although the two terms are not perfectly synonymous) is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and multinational corporations (MNCs). It is both an academic and public policy field, and can be either positive or normative as it both seeks to analyze as well as formulate the foreign policy of particular states. It is often considered a branch of political science (especially after 1988 UNESCO nomenclature), but an important sector of academia prefer to treat it as an interdisciplinary field of study. Aspects of international relations have been studied for thousands of years, since the time of Thucydides, but IR became a separate and definable discipline in the early 20th century
National Defense University