Realist and Liberal-Institution Theories of International Institutions
Following the effect of the Second World War, countries across the globe had decided to shun away from the war to prevent a recurrence of mass destruction that took place. Cuban missiles and nuclear bombing in Japan were some of the notable events that led to creation of an effective solution to the crisis.
These settlements as results led to creation of global organizations that would address the issues affecting the world as a way of preventing repeat of world wards. The ICC, NATO, United Nations, WTO and EU are some of the organizations that were created with a purpose of enhancing global relations and ensuring justice to those who go against any international law.
The thesis of this study focuses on the argument that global institutions have employed a realist and not a liberal theory approach in their activities because of the practical and convenient benefits of the former in enhancing global peace and satisfying international standards.
Realist and Liberal Institution Theories
Realist otherwise known as the realist theory is a study approach on the role of the nation in assuming that it is inspired by state interests as well as power retention. It also stipulates that a nation gets into international relations to safeguard and preserve its interests and for morality reasons.
Jackson and Sorensen define realism based on focus on person al welfare in competitive interpersonal relations (60). Liberal theory on the other is a philosophy that offers ultimate freedom to the public and stands for social and political equity protection. Liberal theorists also believe that the reasons of humans can surpass their fear and besides the challenges, cooperation will ensue (Jackson and Sorensen 99).
Since the creation of global organs, international wars has not succeeded but there is a war ideology war between members states of the institutions. This study therefore outlines major effects by the bodies whether they have been successful and whether they have adhered to the agreements made during their formation.
Realists on the other hand argue that powerful countries for example European and United States are playing crucial role in international organizations to ensure they remain relevant and powerful (Mearsheimer6). According to Sikkink, they are ‘’justice cascades’’ that are bringing about change in the legalization of individual criminal responsibility norms and prevent true justice (7).
The international institutions have itemized dismissal performance since their inception. After the Second World War for example, the bodies were to prevent any other form of hostility or hatred but still cold war occurred. Countries created fake relationships for winning favors from others.
The United States and the Soviet Union became allies just to find out later on the two nations were financing and supporting each other’s enemies. The event was an ideology war between supreme nations and did not engage in hot war but instead involved other small countries in their wrangles.
Keohane and Nye state that realists created an ideal forecast because global cooperation remained as a puzzle (9). This is why realism defines global relations in terms of quest for power leaving lower level nations highly vulnerable. Even after the cold war, the organizations did not prevent increase in crimes against humanity. Even though the UN signed an agreement persecuting suspects, there are still few cases being reported so far.
Ensuring peaceful correlations was one of the treaties signed and to warrant that perpetrators of crime against humanity are brought to book. The ICC was the body created with a responsibility to prosecute crime against humanity suspects at an international level.
The court currently has indicted four sitting heads of states with three of them being from Africa and the other being Yugoslavian president. The court, a symbol of the United Nations however generates controversy as to whether the global bodies are only targeting lower level state officials only (Sikkink 6).
Glaser defines cooperation as coordinated policies that were designed to prevent arms races while competition is quite unilateral military buildups that can easily generate arms races, formation of alliances and interference of global peace (51). After US severe outbreaks on the Middle East countries, many rebel alliances including Al Qaeda were created. The US under Clinton’s leadership engaged in military war with Iraq killing many innocent civilians. However, since US is a powerful country, the killings was not considered crime against humanity.
The liberal theory also defines global relations as human driven force that enhances sanity and peaceful correlations but this cannot take place no matter how a person is willing to ensure peace yet his or her sovereign country is not willing. Jackson and Sorensen conclude that liberal thinking is a process that involves growth in many aspects of life in majority of individuals (99).
They also define the theory as citizen’s ability to stay happy without any form of interference (Jackson and Sorensen 99). As a matter of fact, this is a positive move if only global organizations would change their target and focus on a healthy cooperation across the globe.
Even so, it is still very clear that these international bodies are following the realist theory of ensuring that powerful countries remain on top while others suffer and deteriorate in poverty. China is presently taking advantage of developing countries by flooding them with counterfeited products. It is impossible for china to sell many of its products to countries like the UK based on the fact that global organizations are cautious on consumer protection.
On the other hand when such happens to a developing country, global institutions do not call for consumer protection or interfere in any way. As indicated by Jackson and Sorensen, sociological liberalism focuses mainly on organizations and people as opposed to government relations (100). Therefore, the purpose to think there is need for good co-relations between the two nations but in the real sense, there is a lot of hostility.
Liberal theory is also based on the assumption that cooperation and human reasoning ensures progress that can be measured via development and modernization. It also argues that global and local society product policies create inducement for social, economic and cultural dealings across borders. There have also been amazing positive effect on transnational relations but not all nations are willing to focus on whole round advantageous interests.
The international scheme according to Mearsheimer is seen as brutal field with states looking for exploitation opportunities against each thus, mistrusting each other (9). Competition has also taken over global relations and shifted the main agenda which was liberalism. Many lower level countries have remained pessimistic on their trust accorded to the organizations in the past.
Lack of balance of power and power dominance are the major causes for this kind of competition. World Trade Organization ruled in Brazil’s favor in a case filed against the U.S over prices of cotton where the US wanted Brazil to review their cotton prices downwards. Even so, the US did not comply with the ruling and in response to this, the WTO panel designed measures that favored North Americans.
Brazil had not thought of trade retaliation threats with their northern counterparts. The UK in another incident also threated to impose sanctions on Kenya following their ICC pending case, a statement that the EU echoed. It clearly indicates that powerful countries are manipulating international organizations yet they are supposed to be protecting developing countries.
Advancement in technology and economic growth are also determined by how good a country relates with the other in the government. No country should feel inferior to the other and international organizations should change from realism to liberalism where cooperation is an individual’s driving force. This can be achieved by striking a balance of power between all countries where each state accords respect to the other.
International organizations should also include stakeholder’s interests and ensure each member feels equal to the other. Culture, norms and morality should also be protected and preserved at all times (Sikkink 22). It also took a major movement to create global organs and they should offer fair trial for everyone, as noted by Sikkink (22).
Different political patterns should additionally be synchronized as way of implementing problem comprehension and solving system (Keohane and Nye 31). Even so, it is not right to state that global organizations have completely failed. This would be very wrong based on the fact that they have made a lot of contributions in ensuring international unity and they should meet and enhance the standards. The study therefore has revealed that international organizations have employed a realist as opposed to a liberal theory.
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Glaser, Charles. Realist as Optimists: Cooperation as Self-Help. International Security. 19, 3 (1995): 50-55
Jackson, Robert H, and Georg Sørensen. Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2007. Print.
Keohane, Robert and Nye, Joseph. Power and Interdependence. Webfiles. 2001. Web. 7 Dec 2013.
Mearsheimer, John. The False Promise of International Institutions. International Security. 19, 3 (1995): 5-49. Print.
Sikkink, Kathryn. The Justice Cascade: Human Rights Prosecutions and Change in World Politics. 4 Aug 2010 Web. 7 Dec 2013.