Free «International Relations» Essay Sample

International Relations

Historical Overview

There are several similarities between what Michael Klare calls “Thirty Years War” and the earlier conflict between 1618 and 1648. The first similarity is that the 30-year war for energy supremacy between nations will last for 30 years, just as the conflict in Europe that occurred between 1618 and 1648. This is because 30 years is approximately the time it will take experimental energy to move from laboratory to full-scale production. In addition to this, in both conflicts the struggle is between the imperial systems of governance of the big nations and the emerging nations. In both wars, countries and companies fight for their future profitability and survival. In both wars, after the war ends, there will be new foundations for countries to organize themselves. In the earlier conflict, after the signing of the treaty, counties organized themselves and supported each other in economic development. After the 30-year war ends, countries will find an alternative way to generate energy. Furthermore, in both wars, the fates of the conflicting nations are at stake. There is a difference between the 30-year energy war and the earlier conflict between 1618 and 1648. The earlier conflict caused a lot of bloodshed due to the high death toll among the troops, while the 30 years war will not cause so many casualties. In the earlier conflict, the war ended with the countries signing the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, while the 30-year war will probably end when nations find a new way of supplementing the energy shortage. In the earlier conflict, nations were fighting probably because of land, and also to determine which country has the most superior army. However, in the 30-year war, countries will most likely fight to determine which nation will dominate the supply of energy and come up with new energy sources to supplement the energy shortage.

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I agree with the maxim in international politics that the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept. Thucydides stated this maxim in his interpretation of negotiations between Athens and the people of the island of Melos. I agree with this statement, since for a nation to defend its citizens, it must have ways of surviving. Furthermore, in order for a state to preserve the state, the defenders of the state must have more power compared to their neighboring states. This leads to states developing a primary interest of accumulating power, and thus they view any action that helped in achieving this objective as morally justifiable. A state becomes strong and accumulates power by having a strong military, a quality government system, large industrial base, good geographical location, and optimal population. If a country has a strong military, then weaker countries will fear conflicting with it, and thus they will rarely question the actions of this country. If a country has good industries, then it will have the option of charging the market prices it sees fit, and weaker countries will have to accept these prices, since they do not have any alternative sources to obtain their materials from. If a country has a good political system, it will have the power of implementing good policies that favor its development. Weaker nations do not have good government, and they sometimes rely on policies from other countries that do not favor them. The citizens from strong countries have good morals and character, and thus they refrain from any form of corruption practices. This makes the economy of these nations grow, thus improving their currency. This will improve the foreign exchange gains of these countries.

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Nye described several costs and benefits of interdependence. He defined interdependence as a situation in which actors or events in different parts of a system affect each other. He divided it into four dimensions that include sources, benefits, costs and symmetry. A country benefits from interdependence, since it brings it closer to many countries, and as a result it acts in a cooperative manner with these countries. Furthermore, independence causes globalization, thus allowing technology to expand to all the countries and enabling them to improve their technology levels. It helps in eliminating unhealthy competition between states. Nye argued that through interdependence, countries form international organizations that help them improve their economies after depression. Furthermore, organizations such as the UN help ensure there is peace, food security, health and justice in the whole world. These countries also create laws that govern them, and this provides a basis for suing the countries that breach these laws. Nye argued that interdependence creates costs, involving short-term sensitivity and long-term vulnerability.  He defined sensitivity as the amount and rapidity of effects of interdependence. Vulnerability refers to the cost of changing design or structure of dependent relationship. Due to sensitivity, a country may rely on imports from other countries that may be expensive to acquire. In addition to this, some countries export low quality goods to the countries that they are in interdependence with, which results in harmful effects for the environment. Vulnerability costs mean that a country may be forced to adopt a common currency, thus becoming interdependent. This currency may not favor the economic growth of this country. The interdependence may also create large income distribution gaps between these countries.

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Class System

Capitalist world economy cannot survive and as a historical social system, it is in the process of being superseded. I agree with this statement, because this system brings about inequality in the distribution of wealth. The rich people in the society enjoy most of the wealth. In addition to being innovative and talented, some people work harder, and thus they are able to set up profitable organizations. Income inequality causes slums to develop due to poor housing conditions, since the poor do not have enough money to construct good houses. Since people cannot make money in the countryside, they will move to the urban areas in search of employment opportunities to sustain their lives. This increases population pressure in the urban areas and leads to spread of diseases due to poor health conditions in these areas. This system adopts the doctrine of individual rights. It recognizes that each and every person is the owner of his/her own life and has a right to live his life the way he chooses to, as long as he/she does not violate the rights of others. This means that the government in this system does not take care of the poor or disadvantaged people in the society. Furthermore, this system leads to the rise of monopoly firms. These firms produce low-quality products that they later sell to the consumers. Since these firms are the only ones in the market, they produce goods from cheaper materials in order to reduce their total costs. This leads to production of substandard goods. Furthermore, these firms offer poor services to the consumers, since they are the only ones in the market. This system is also undemocratic. This is because the wealthy people in the society influence the activities of the government. Governments of these countries are influenced by the wealthy people, since they fund their campaigns.

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According to Tickner, feminist perspective on international relations continues to remain outside the mainstream of traditional approaches to IR theory due to several reasons. The first reason is that feminism implies women’s superiority over men. According to feminists, women are more peaceful than men, and if women ran the world, it would be less violent and more morally upright. Tickner also claimed that since women associate themselves with peace, they end up characterizing men as active, while they remain passive. Furthermore, men become agents while women victims. This makes women be poorly represented among the world’s policy-makers. Feminists argue that if people rid of the idealistic relationship between women and peace, then women will become more empowered. Instead of talking about human issues, such as rape in war, military prostitution, plight of the refugees and civil causalities, they continue to claim that men are aggressive and women peaceful. This proves that feminists’ perspective on international relations continue to remain outside the mainstream of traditional approaches to IR theory. A feminist’s analysis on global terrorism would be different from that of a realist. This is because if women are more involved in peace-making efforts to stop a certain war, they will raise their concerns, and therefore people will address their issues. Women from Afghanistan have been making this argument to human rights leaders in Washington D.C. and policy makers in the White House. If they become more involved, they will contribute their perspective on human needs, peace-building and reconciliation. This is due to the fact some of them experienced the impact of wars due to being raped or losing their family members and homes.

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Political Culture

I agree with the statement of Fukuyama that the west has won, and that radical Islam does not constitute a serious alternative to western liberal democracy. In radical Islam, people professing this religion are resistant to modernity. However, due to the influence from the west, most of them are beginning to consider western liberal democracy.  Most of the Muslims did not support the September 11 attacks launched against the United Sates. Most Muslims believe that radical Islam has proved to have no appeal in the contemporary world. Furthermore, most Islamic worshippers believe that political Islam is only appealing in abstract terms, and not in reality. Surprisingly, the young Iranians would prefer living in a liberal society after having been ruled by fundamentalist clerics. Most researchers believe that liberal democracy will work best in Muslim countries. Muslims are now speaking their hearts out, with some of them saying that they do not support the way the leaders of Iraq and Iran run their countries. Hirsi Ali is a Muslim who sought political asylum in the Netherlands after escaping a forced marriage. She wrote a book in which she criticizes the treatment of women in Muslim nations. She is a professor, and her Muslim students support most of her views. Furthermore, some of them argue that their minds are more open after they have looked outside Islam and tried to retain only what is beneficial to their lives. Recently, there have been protests in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia over bad governance, forcing the governments of Egypt and Tunisia to step down. The President of Libya has finally been overthrown after causing death and suffering to the citizens of his country. This shows that Muslims are considering western liberal democracy, since they now have the power to oppose poor leadership.

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Human Nature

Freud explained that man’s innate destructiveness causes war. He argued that the mind of all human beings always finds a way to be aggressive. Man is naturally predisposed to hatred and destruction of property and lives. People assume that human beings have two basic instincts, such as the self-preservation instinct and the instinct to kill and destroy. This causes nations to go to war and kill their neighbors without any compunction. He suggested that in order for wars to end, human beings must unite to form one large and well-integrated social organization. In addition to this, this body would be providing solutions for disputes between nations. The judgment from this judicial body would be impartial, and thus all the nations could rely upon it. He further added that nations must adopt a technique for settling conflict of interests. By setting up a legislative and judicial body, the nations would abide by the rules and policies put in place by this organization. They would achieve this by creating one supreme court of judicature. He suggested that the absence of a force of army at the disposal of the League of Nations was a reason for its failure to prevent an outbreak of war. This necessitated the need to get forces from constituent nations. Some of the nations were not willing to send their soldiers to the League Nations for peace-making missions in countries that were at war. This is because they feared that their soldiers would die during the peace-making missions, and this would reduce the strength of their security force. Furthermore, some of the soldiers from these nations did not have good battle experience due to inadequate training methods. If the League of Nations had its own army, then it would have been able to carry out peace missions more effectively.

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Peace Studies

There are several criticisms of the peace studies theory. According to Katherine Kersten of the Centre of the American Experiment, peace studies are dominated by people who have biased perceptions of the subject, thus it is hard to take their ideas seriously. Some people also argue that peace studies programs employ professors without proper academic qualifications, and thus they do not offer the right literature and information to the students on peace studies. Some researchers criticize the work of Johan Galtung who most people consider the leader of modern peace studies. Galtlung stated that the United Stated should be called a killer country that is guilty for neo-fascist terrorism. Researchers claim that his arguments does not promote peace but only incite people to engage in war. Other critics of peace studies argue that the curriculum of peace studies is intellectually incoherent, and that it contains bias, and thus it should not be taught in schools. Furthermore, critics claim that peace studies do not provide practical solutions for solving conflicts, but instead give ideas of what happened in the past. I do not believe that today’s world makes the theory of peace studies unrealistic. People support peace studies theory by introducing it in the curriculum of several university courses. In addition to this, several scholars have dedicated their lives to educating the public on the benefits of living in peace and harmony. Furthermore, governments support peace studies by offering financial assistance to these programs, thus helping the schools buy literature material on peace studies. Peace studies have helped people become aware of the existence of terrorism in the world, and they help in educating citizens on the danger of terrorism.

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