Politics Dissertation Topics and International Relations Dissertation Topics

It is absolutely vital to choose the right topic for your dissertation. The correct choice will give you the best opportunity of achieving a mark representative of your abilities in your chosen discipline, with a view to maximising your potential overall grade. Therefore, you are looking to pick a topic and a question that serves to facilitate an effective critical discussion of the issues at hand, making an original point where possible and also recognising and emphasising the importance of the literature that has already been produced in your chosen area. To help you prepare for your politics dissertation, this article discusses international relations and politics dissertation topics within the areas of 9/11, US foreign policy, British foreign policy, Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Israel, the Middle East, the European Union and international law. The most recent and pertinent geopolitical developments are discussed in the form of questions, to help you formulate your preferred choices.


The world since 9/11 Dissertation Topics

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 on the World Trade Centre served to significantly influence world politics and international relations by bringing many countries closer together, whilst also pushing many others much further apart. The resulting ‘war on terror’ has been ongoing ever since, and has resulted in a number of complicated geopolitical shifts. This is a very influential area that would be ideal to base your politics dissertation topics on. Suggested international relations & politics dissertation topics include:

  • Why, on the basis of international relations prior to the event, could 9/11 have been considered inevitable?
  • Was enough done in the immediate wake of 9/11 to prevent further similar acts of terrorism?
  • Were the actions of countries in the wake of 9/11 legitimate?
  • In what ways could the events of 9/11 be said to have impacted on international relations?
  • How were international relations between the West and the Middle East influenced by 9/11?
  • What are the key lessons that have been learned politically since 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror?
  • How has trade between nations developed within the overshadowing context of the continuing war on terror?
  • Is the use of force in counterterrorism legitimate?
  • Is the use of force, such as targeted killings and drone attacks, a legitimate response to terrorist attacks?
  • How has the domestic legislation of Western countries been impacted by the fear of terrorism since 9/11?
  • How have countries used the war on terror, ongoing since 9/11, to justify their own security measures?
  • Did 9/11 act as a catalyst for the recent political disruption in Middle Eastern countries?
  • To what extent has the ongoing war on terror been used to suppress civil liberties?
  • Does the proliferation of terror attacks in multiple countries in recent years mean that the war on terror has failed?

US Foreign Policy Dissertation Topics

In the latter half of the last century in particular, US foreign policy developed at pace, with the US electing to involve itself in events far across the world as a means of maintaining its position as one of the key ‘superpowers’ in the world today. To discuss US foreign policy in your dissertation, you could research one of the following politics dissertation topics.

  • In its foreign policy, the US has often talked about as ‘policing the rest of the world’: how could such terminology be construed as mere bullying?
  • Are the actions of the US in its international relations with other nations always legitimate under international law?
  • How, through the developing relationships of other countries, could the US be said to have overstepped its powers?
  • The relationship between the United Nations and the US is increasingly ambivalent: to what extent do the actions of the US undermine the role of the United Nations?
  • How does the development of nuclear power in China and other Asian countries serve to reflect the negative aspects of US foreign policy?
  • Why does the growth of China as an economic power serve to threaten the US?
  • Who actually controls US foreign policy?
  • In recent years, why has US foreign policy bordered on bullying?
  • What is the most significant potential threat to US foreign policy? How is this likely to change US foreign policy?
  • US foreign policy has traditionally been one of liberal internationalism. In an unstable world of rapidly shifting alliances, how can liberal internationalism continue to guide US foreign policy?
  • Will the current building of the wall on the border of the US with Mexico have detrimental consequences for the global economy?
  • What does the increasing geopolitical power and influence of Russia mean for the future direction of US foreign policy?
  • How is the US likely to approach Brexit, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union?
  • What does its current lack of strategy in foreign policy mean for the US?

British Foreign Policy Dissertation Topics

How the British government establishes its foreign policy goals and seeks to put them into play is a significant marker for how the UK is perceived in Europe and the rest of the world. The topics below will help you research further into British foreign policy for your politics dissertation.

  • Have the moves that Britain has made to be closer to Europe caused any of its economic and social problems, and in what ways?
  • Is the free movement of people within the EU a significant marker for the success of Britain’s foreign policy?
  • How does Britain’s current foreign policy serve to illustrate its close ties with the US?
  • On the basis of Britain’s foreign policy, is Britain little more than the “pet” of the US?
  • How influential is Britain’s foreign policy on the rest of Europe?
  • How has the formation of a ‘Single European Entity’ served to influence Britain’s foreign policy goals?
  • How can Britain utilise its economic, military, and diplomatic power to improve its position in the global sphere in the wake of Brexit?
  • What would be the implications of a Labour government for British foreign policy in the Middle East?
  • Is Brexit likely to reduce the influence that Britain still wields in global affairs, and in what ways?
  • In the wake of Brexit, could Britain reduce its potential marginalisation by building its relationship with China?
  • Is the previous interventionist approach of Britain to foreign policy politically and economically sustainable?
  • How can Britain’s foreign policy be revitalised through the linking of trade and economic priorities to diplomacy and security?

Problems with Africa Dissertation Topics

Africa’s relations with the rest of the world have often been problematic because of the fact that many in the West consider their policies and politics somewhat contradictory, as governments are rarely considered democratic. Conflicts throughout many countries in Africa will give you many areas to research on for your politics dissertation.

  • Why is Africa such a concern for the Western world?
  • Has Western involvement only served to make matters worse in Africa?
  • To what extent could the political problems in Africa today have been affected by colonial rule?
  • To what extent could ancient tribal traditions and religious beliefs hold some responsibility for the problems between African nations?
  • What are the key causes of problems between African nations and how do they affect their relationships with the West?
  • What efforts have been made by the rest of the world to resolve the tensions between African nations? How successful have they been?
  • How are relations between African nations likely to develop in the future?
  • On the basis of the many problems with relations between African nations, how could these best be resolved?
  • Can Western ideals in relation to politics ever really be utilised in an African setting?
  • In what ways is Africa a destabilising regional force in global politics?
  • How are Islamist terror organisations exploiting local African conflicts?
  • Is there a requirement to rectify the exclusion of Africa from the geopolitical space, and how can this be done?

Russia and Eastern Europe Dissertation Topics

Whilst Russia remains a ‘superpower’ in the modern world, the fall of the Soviet Union has seen some significant changes in Eastern Europe with much closer relationships now being forged between these countries and those of the West. To base your dissertation in this area, you could use one of the following politics dissertation topics.

  • How has the collapse of the Soviet Union served to influence international relations between Eastern Europe and the West?
  • With the formation of a ‘Single Europe’, has the opening up of the EU to Eastern European countries served to hinder or help this ideal?
  • Why were Eastern European countries so susceptible to Soviet rule? What changed?
  • How successfully have Eastern European countries been integrated into the EU?
  • What are the most significant problems for the EU caused by the entry of Eastern European States?
  • Why is Russia still considered to be such a threat to Western ideals?
  • Has the Cold War ever really stopped?
  • How did Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and support for rebel forces in Ukraine cause a break in relations with the West?
  • On the basis of past relations, why does Russia still look to distance itself from the West?
  • On the basis of relations between Russia and the US, why have they never actually declared war?
  • Has the threat posed by Russia to the countries of Eastern Europe been neglected?
  • To what extent does Russian influence impact upon an increasingly fragmented European Union?
  • In the light of China’s growing power, is Russia’s preeminent role in Eurasian politics and security likely to continue?

Chinese Politics Dissertation Topics

In the latter part of the 20th century, whilst the Chinese government still maintained its distinctly communist ideals, the country became increasingly open to Western views on economic growth and technology, blended together with a view to rapid growth. Starting with Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the 1980s, to the current President Xi Jinping, Chinese economic and political approaches are the subject of much speculation. There is a lot to be discussed here, and below are some suggested topics for your politics dissertation.

  • To what extent have Western politics and ideals influenced China?
  • Why did China elect to ‘open’ what had previously been a distinctly closed economy?
  • In what way can Deng Xiaoping’s reforms be seen to have moved the Chinese economy towards Western capitalism?
  • Is China is considered a threat to Western ideals? Discuss.
  • How could China’s rapid economic growth be considered a good thing for the West?
  • Why have greater efforts not been made by the West to forge closer relations with the Chinese?
  • How could Chinese political ideals be said to have influenced Western politics? Has this been for the better?
  • Why, when the power of the Soviet Union was considered such a threat, were greater efforts not made to overthrow China’s communist rule?
  • How can China be viewed with such suspicion, when the West is largely responsible for its growth? Discuss.
  • Does the West have a ‘special relationship’ with China?
  • To what extent does China’s human rights record make relations with the West complex?
  • In what ways can President Xi Jinping be seen as continuing the reforms of Deng Xiaoping?
  • What impact does Xi Jinping’s appointment to rule ‘indefinitely’ have on the potential for democracy in China?
  • Does the Chinese model of capitalism undermine the western view that capitalism and democracy ‘go hand in hand’?

Israel and The Middle East Politics Dissertation Topics

There have long been significant difficulties in the relationship between the Arabs and the Israelis, mainly centred upon the recognition of a Palestinian State, which has led to many armed conflicts and complications in relationships with other countries. If you are stuck for ideas for your politics dissertation, the following topics may be useful for you to research.

  • What have been the main difficulties blocking recognition of a Palestinian State?
  • How have relations between the Arabs and the Israelis served to influence their relationships with Western States?
  • Why has the Arab-Israeli conflict gone on for so long?
  • What is the most significant event that most effectively symbolises the breakdown of relations between the Arabs and the Israelis?
  • How successful have Western attempts proved to be in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict?
  • To what extent can a two state solution be implemented in Israel and Palestine while settlements are still being built on Palestinian territory?
  • Can a Palestinian State ever be recognised?
  • Compare and contrast the recognition sought for a Palestinian State with that of Tibet – which is more likely?
  • Why events were not resolved when the Arab-Israeli conflict descended into war.
  • What role should the United Nations play in resolving the Arab/Israeli conflict?
  • To what extent has Trump’s announcement to move the US Israeli embassy to Jerusalem impacted on Israeli/Palestinian relations?
  • What impact has the Arab Spring had on Arab/Israeli relations?
  • To what extent can the Palestinian Authority be seen as an autonomous state government?

European Union Dissertation Topics

The EU served to cement relations between the countries that were party to the Union with a view to establishing closer ties between the nations on all social, political and economic matters, for the good of the EU and its many member states. Recent political dissatisfaction with the European Union has caused members to think again about the role and the purpose of the institution, not least with the UK referendum vote to leave. There are many subjects to be discussed and researched for your politics dissertation regarding the European Union. Just some of these are suggested below.

  • How successful have the ideals of the EU proved to be in providing balance in international relations?
  • What is the most significant achievement of the EU?
  • How could the EU be considered flawed in forming closer political relations between member states?
  • Why could the EU be considered discriminatory to the formation of relations with nations beyond it? How could it be considered little more than a ‘boys club’?
  • How has rapidly increasing the number of member countries in the EU impacted on previous ideals and relationships between existing EU members?
  • To what extent has the EU’s formation been influenced by the understanding of the formation of the US?
  • What aspect of the EU could be considered most detrimental to international relations? Why? What does this mean for the political standing of the Union?
  • How can the EU’s move towards ‘shared security’ be seen as a threat to the existence of NATO?
  • To what extent has a ‘Single European Entity’ been achieved? In the context of international relations, is this a good thing?
  • Why was a ‘Single European Entity’ not possible sooner? Why were international relations not previously conductive to it?
  • To what extent could the EU be said to be similar to the Soviet Union? Does this mean the Soviet Union was a good thing?
  • What impact has the UK vote to leave the EU had on how other member states view the union?
  • How have far right movements across Europe impacted on the stability of the European Union?
  • What role has large scale migration from the Middle East played on satisfaction with EU membership across Europe?

International relations after the Second World War Dissertation Topics

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, in Europe in particular, many countries faced a great deal of problems as they sought to rebuild. Social unrest and economic instability were particularly prominent, as people struggled to justify their identity and actions, whilst many in authority took advantage of this instability. This was an important time in politics and a topic relating to international relations after the Second World War would make for an interesting politics dissertation.

  • How could the role played by the US in the immediate aftermath of the War be said to be illustrative of the position they took on in international relations and politics for all time?
  • To what extent did the US ‘take advantage’ of Europe’s decreased position after the war to increase its own power?
  • Was the Marshall Plan ultimately beneficial or detrimental to Europe’s economic recovery?
  • To what extent was Germany’s division illustrative of the state of international relations at this time? Would a ‘united’ Germany have led to closer international relations?
  • How did the state of Europe in the wake of war make many countries susceptible to the Soviet Union and their communist ideals?
  • What was the aim of the Allied Power’s in WWII? Did they achieve them?
  • How were European relations effectively structured for the next fifty years by the immediate aftermath of the war? Is this still the case?
  • How did the ‘Cold War’ start? What were its most significant influences on international relations?
  • How did the effects of the ‘Cold War’ spread so quickly? How was it resolved?
  • What was the biggest achievement in international relations in the aftermath of War?
  • How successful were the reparations provided by the US in securing countries against the threat provided by the Soviet Union?
  • Why were nuclear weapons developed? How did they affect international relations?
  • To what extent did World War II directly lead to the creation of the EU?

International law Dissertation Topics

The development of international law both regionally and throughout the globe has served to influence international relations and political views. But at the same time there is a feeling that such law is only useful where it serves a prescribed purpose that the majority chooses to recognise. For further inspiration on international law, here are some suggestions for your politics dissertation.

  • In what ways has the law of the EU served to influence relations between the member states? Has this always been a good thing?
  • Why does the law punish some countries when they break it, whilst others are left to their own devices? Discuss.
  • How successful has the United Nations proved to be as a law enforcement agency?
  • Is the US above the law? Discuss with examples.
  • Why are countries like China and Russia allowed to get away with breaches of the law as it stands internationally, whilst Iraq and Afghanistan are punished?
  • Were the actions of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan legitimate?
  • Is the use of force ever justified by international law?
  • What reforms are needed by international law to improve international relations? Are such reforms likely?
  • In the face of complex politics, can international law ever be universally applicable?
  • To what extent are all countries ‘equal in the eyes of the law’?
  • What role does international law have to play in the use of drone strikes?
  • Can international law be effective in a digital age?
  • Why has international law proven unable to find a resolution to the Syrian conflict?

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