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Cooperation Importance in International Relations Essay

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Updated: May 25th, 2020

Nowadays, it became a commonplace practice among many Western (specifically American) politicians to suggest that the realities of post-modernity presuppose the eventual transformation of the very paradigm of international relations (I.R.) from having been concerned with the ongoing competition between the world’s countries, into the instrument of prompting these countries to choose in favour of cooperating with each other instead. For example, in 1992 the future U.S. President Clinton stated, “In a world where freedom, not tyranny, is on the march, the cynical calculus of pure power politics simply does not compute. It is ill-suited to a new era” (Kegley, 2008, p. 39).

In the aftermath of Russia’s recent reclaim of Crimea, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry again pointed out that the 21st century’s politics are somehow different from those of the 19th century: “The U.S. and our allies must not hesitate to use 21st-century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th-century behaviour” (Crittenden 2014, par 7). While coming up with this kind of statements, the mentioned politicians revealed the fact that, willingly or unwillingly, they can be well deemed the proponents of the Constructivist paradigm of I.R. In its turn, political Constructivism derives out of the assumption that, as time goes on, the principle of competition affects the geopolitical positioning of the world’s states to a progressively lesser degree – not the least, due to these states’ formal willingness to observe the provisions of the so-called ‘international law’, supposedly enforced by the U.N. Hence, the Constructionist belief that, “The external environment does not determine a state’s behaviour… regulative and constitutive norms, shared understandings, and common practice (do)” (Jervis, 1998, p. 976).

Therefore, it is indeed fully appropriate to refer to political Constructivism as being conceptually incompatible with political Realism – the theory, which promotes the idea that historical progress has no effect, whatsoever, on the actual nature of international politics. The line of political realists’ argumentation, in this respect, can be outlined as follows: Given the fact that the realities of today’s living grow ever more technologically advanced, there can be only a few doubts that humanity indeed remains on the linear path of progress. Because humanity consists of human societies (the most powerful/advanced of which enjoy the benefits of statehood), we can well assume that the earlier mentioned progress is being reflective of the fact that these societies continue to develop, in the qualitative sense of this word. And, as biologists are well aware of – completion is the actual ‘fuel’ of development. Any possible objections to this idea, political realists reject by the mean of pointing out to the sheer universality of the Darwinian laws of evolution.

After all, the representatives of the Homo Sapiens species, out of which human societies consist, are thoroughly ‘biological’, which means that Darwinian laws apply to them (and consequently to human societies/countries), as much as they apply to plants and animals. This, of course, suggests that, regardless of what happened to be the officially adopted political/social ideology in a particular country, this country can never cease being completely preoccupied with ensuring its ‘place under the Sun’ – even if the latter can be accomplished at the expense of denying the same opportunity to other competing countries. Hence, the main principle of Realism’s methodological approach to dealing the IR-related subject matters: “The international environment severely penalizes states if they fail to protect their vital interests… (states) behave as unitary – rational agents… states in anarchy are preoccupied with power and security, are predisposed towards conflict and competition, and often fail to cooperate” (Grieco 1988, p. 488).

According to the theory of political Realism, the actual agenda of just about every country on this planet is being solely concerned with:

  1. political/economic expansion,
  2. maintenance of political stability within,
  3. destabilization of competing states.

What it means is that the very idea of cooperation between the states, embodied in the continual existence of a number of international organizations (such as the U.N.), is essentially misleading, because it is utterly arrogant of the true nature of IR. It appears that the very emergence of Constructivism, as a political theory, was meant to serve as the tool for the most powerful Western countries, to continue enjoying their undisputed dominance.

The fact that it is specifically the theory of political Realism, which adequately describes the mechanics of how the geopolitical interrelationship between the world’s countries, can be easily illustrated, in regards to the outbreak of the so-called ‘orange revolutions’ in Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Syria and the most recently – Ukraine. The most peculiar aspect of these ‘revolutions’ is that they were wholeheartedly supported by only the world’s country, which along with promoting the idea of international cooperation, claims to possess the unilateral right to interpret the meaning of the notion of democracy – the U.S. (Byman 2012).

The official (Constructivist) reason for America to adopt the earlier mentioned stance, has to do with this country’s formal commitment to the ideals of democratic living. It is needless to mention, of course, this America’s stance can be best described as being rather irrational, as it correlates with the Constructivist assumption that a particular country’s role, in the arena of international politics, should be discussed within the context of ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ –something that only irrationally minded people may find plausible.

Nevertheless, in light of the Realist idea that just about any world country never ceases to act as a ‘rational agent’, the nature of America’s affiliation with the mentioned ‘orange revolutions’, appears to have very little to do with the country’s commitment to the ideals of democracy. Rather, it reflects the American policy-makers’ strive to prevent the collapse of the U.S. economy, due to the staggering budget deficit of $12 trillion. What can be considered the most effective strategy, in this respect? It would be contributing to the escalation of international tensions – preferably to the point when they are being transformed into the armed conflict (Talbot 2000).

Apparently, ever since 2010, these policy-makers realized that it represents the matter of crucial importance for the U.S. to restore the investment-appeal of its currency – something that could be done by the mean of setting the ‘spots of instability’ all over the world. The logic behind this is simple – in times of instability, corporate investors are naturally driven to acquire the currency of what happened to be the most military potent country. What it means is that, by having turned Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Ukraine into the battlegrounds of a civil war, America was able to increase the appeal of its ‘treasury bonds significantly’, the selling of which abroad represents the actual key to the country’s continual prosperity. The reason for this is that, for as long as the world’s countries are willing to acquire the ‘U.S. treasuries’, the FRS is being in the position to continue increasing its production of tons and tons of the valueless ‘green paper’ (the U.S. currency), so that it could be traded in exchange for the world’s de facto valuable natural resources (Chen 2010).

Given the fact that, as it was illustrated earlier, the promotion of a particular country’s agenda can be only ensured at the expense of suppressing that of the competing states, it is fully explainable why the functioning of the world’s major international organizations (the U.N., the U.N. Security Council, the OSCE, etc.), cannot be discussed outside of what accounts for the balance of geopolitical powers on Earth. As of today, the subtleties of this balance are being concerned with the ongoing economic, political and potentially military confrontation between the U.S. and its allies, on the one hand, and the countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), on the other.

In its turn, this presupposes that the concept of ‘international law’, in the classical sense of this word, is nothing but a myth. After all, as the Realist theory and the current international developments imply, in the arena of international politics, there can be only one law – the ‘law of jungles’. What it means is that the very nature of IR naturally implies that, contrary to what many people believe it to be the case, the functioning of the mentioned international organizations has very little to do with the country-members’ willingness to cooperate. Rather, these organizations are there to serve the purpose of providing an official ‘cover’ for the West to pursue with the policy of exploiting the rest of the world economically, under the excuse of promoting the ideals of democracy – pure and simple.

The validity of this statement can be well illustrated, in regards to the fact that even though, in the discursive sense of this word, there is no difference there between the 2008 declaration of independence by Kosovo and the 2014 declaration of independence by the Crimea, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) addressed both events in the diametrically opposite manners. Whereas the ICJ thoroughly supported Kosovars as ‘fighters for freedom’, who well deserved to have a country of their own, it denied the same right to the Russian-speaking Crimeans, who in the aftermath of the 2014 CIA-sponsored ‘orange’ coup in Kyiv, refused to continue living in the country, ruled by the essentially Nazi-government. In the eyes of the ICJ, the latter is nothing but ‘lowly separatists’ and the recently held Crimean referendum, during the course of which 96.7% of the peninsula’s residents voted in favour of joining Russia, has no legal power, whatsoever (Yonah 2014).

Another example. During the 2012 Presidential elections in Russia, the OSCE’s high-ranking officials never ceased screaming ‘bloody murder’ on account of what they considered these elections’ lack of commitment to the democratic standards of political voting, adopted in the West. In regards to the Presidential in Ukraine (scheduled to take place on May 25, 2014), the same officials are now singing an altogether different ‘song’. According to the OSCE, these elections will be thoroughly legitimate and ‘democratic’. This is despite the fact that, as of today, Ukraine remains in the state of a civil war, and the fact that one of the Presidential candidates (Dmytro Yarosh) is the head of the neo-Nazi paramilitary organization ‘Right Sector’, which in turn is being placed in charge of guarding the polling stations, where citizens are expected to cast their ballots (McLaughlinn 2014).

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to refer to the above-mentioned, as the indication that the continued functioning of a number of different international organizations, such as the ICJ and OSCE, reflects these organizations’ tendency to apply ‘double standards’ when it comes to addressing geopolitical dynamics in the world. Because it is specifically Western countries, which control the organizations in question, there is nothing incidental about the concerned phenomena. While acting on behalf of the West, these organizations remain fully observant of the only de facto principle of ‘international cooperation’ – favouring just about anything that can weaken Russia/China (the West’s main rivalries) and condemning those international developments that may potentially benefit the mentioned countries.

Therefore, contrary to what many naïve people believe, the qualitative essence of today’s IR is the same, as what it has always been, throughout the course of history. Apparently, there can be only two modes for just about any country’s existence – growing progressively more powerful, by the mean of sucking ‘life juices’ out of its less fortunate competitors or becoming ever more weakened, as the ultimate consequence of having proved evolutionary unfit (a ‘failed state’). What it means is that, in full accordance with the provisions of political Realism, there is simply no way for the world’s countries to refer to the notion of cooperation, as such that has a value of a ‘thing in itself’. If they do, it is solely for the purpose of concealing whatever happened to their ‘realist’ agenda. America’s struggle to ensure that the ideals of ‘democracy’ prevail in specifically the world’s resource-rich countries, illustrates the validity of this suggestion more than anything else does.

Works Cited

Byman, D 2012, ‘Regime change in the Middle East: problems and prospects’, Political Science Quarterly, vol. 127, no. 1, pp. 25-46. Web.

Chen, S 2010, ‘Super imperialism: the origin of fundamentals of U.S. world dominance’, World Review of Political Economy, vol.1, no. 2, pp. 336-345. Web.

Crittenden, M 2004, . Web.

Grieco, J 1998, ‘Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest Liberal institutionalism’, International Organization, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 485-507. Web.

Jervis, R 1998, ‘Realism in the study of world politics’, International Organization, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 971-991. Web.

Kegley, C 2008, World politics: trend and transformation, Cengage Learning, Boston. Web.

McLaughlin, D 2014, ‘Right Sector trades violent protest for ballot box: As he bids for presidency, leader denies fascism and Russophobia’, Irish Times, 10 March, p. 8. Web.

Talbot, K 2000, ‘The real reasons for war in Yugoslavia: backing up globalization with military might’, Social Justice, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 94-116. Web.

Todes, D 2009, ‘Global Darwin: contempt for competition’, Nature, vol. 462, no. 7269, pp. 36-37. Web.

Yonah, J 2014, ‘Comparing Crimea and Kosovo’, Jerusalem Post, p. 14. Web.

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