The Melian Dialogue is an excerpt from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesean Wars. The contents of Melian Dialogue shed light on various concepts, including power and justice; however, it clarifies the importance of alliances in international relations. To secure national interests, countries should have alliances with powers in international relations.
Alliances are of critical importance in international relations, as evidenced by Thucydides’ account of Melos’s events in 416–15 B.C. In the famous Melian Dialogue, the author narrates the story of representatives of Melos (a small nation) and of Athens (a superpower of that time). In the dialogue, the envoy of Athens threatened the government of Melos. Athens tried to impress Melos with its power and alliances with other nations. However, Melos decided to resist and not to surrender. The war started, and Melos was conquered. The dialogue and the story prove that the power of alliance plays a critical role in international relations. The famous dialogue from the envoy of Athens is “the weak suffer what they must” (Stavrou, 2018). In this context, alliances increase nations’ power and influence, which might be immensely helpful in certain conditions. Had the Melos enjoyed an alliance with powers of that time, they might not have suffered this defeat. In modern times, in international relations, alliances are of immense value. The U.S. has alliance with other major powers of the world, and it uses it for its benefits, as evident in the Gulf War and Afghan War. The Melian Dialogue proves the importance of the alliance in international relations; Melos’ subsequent defeat is a lesson to all nations to have good ties with other states.
The Melian Dialogue is an important part of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesean Wars. The dialogue intensifies the importance of alliances in international relations to achieve national objectives. In modern times, alliances play an even critical role in global politics and peace.
Stavrou, P. (2018, May 24). The Melian dialogue, power, and justice. Protesilaos Stavrou. https://protesilaos.com/seminars/melian-dialogue-realism/