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International Relations’ Aspects Essay


Discuss the evolution of diplomacy as a privileged profession with unique exemptions and immunities. It has been argued that modern communications make the contemporary job of a diplomat obsolete. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Diplomacy, which is referred to as the second oldest profession, has played a pivotal role in facilitating interaction between nations since ancient times. It gained its popularity in international communication after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. Candidates who are chosen to represent their nations as diplomats in other countries have over the decades enjoyed special benefits and preferential treatment both from their nation of origin and the host countries. However, diplomats in earlier times were more like hostages whose aim was to ensure peace or compliance with some agreement between sovereign states. This has changed and today, a series of modern protocols have been set up to establish a framework for the practice of diplomacy. Guy states that the job of a diplomat is now a privileged profession with such benefits as protection through diplomatic immunity, establishment of embassies, controlling diplomatic relations (establishing or breaking them) among others (440). However, due to modern communication mediums, I believe that the existence of diplomats is long overdue. This is because the world is rapidly becoming a global community.

The presence of advanced telecommunication and transport networks have made it possible for people from different parts of the world to interact in real time without the need for intermediary parties (diplomats). Advancements such as video and audio conferencing, e-mailing and faxing are among the popular means of communication around the world. This makes diplomats more of a liability that assets.

Comment on what you believe is Canada’s most important foreign policy and why you think it is significant. Identify an interest group that you regard as exerting a powerful influence on Canadian foreign policy and why you think it is so influential.

Present global conditions have called for a restructuring to the manner in which nations interact. In my opinion, what I believe is Canada’s most important foreign policy is the Canada Corps program. The program aims at helping the developing or unstable countries establish good governance and healthy nation building. For peace and stability to prevail, there must be observable elements of cooperation and coordination within the members of the given state in accordance to a pre-prescribed format. As such, key to the establishment of any government is the presence of some common and quantifiable goals which are to be pursued collectively. The program intends to achieve its set goals by promoting global citizenship by helping young Canadians to share their innovativeness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world.

In addition to this, the program also provides Canadians with opportunities to transfer their expertise to other regions of the world where it is needed. In so doing, the program has a great potential to market Canada and enhance its relations with other countries. In all nations, there arise contentious issues which elicit different reactions at some point in time. How such issues are diffused may determine the subsequent success or failure of the nation. The presence of interest/pressure groups which can ensure that the crisis is handled in a diplomatic fashion may be crucial to the success of the nation. The Canadian Global Peace Movement is one such group that has profound influence on Canada’s foreign policies because it ensures carefully use of government power and authority so as to achieve positive outcomes by being unanimous or arriving at a peaceful consensus with other nations.

Discuss the four major contemporary influences on diplomacy. Will multilateral diplomacy eventually displace bilateral diplomacy? Evaluate the opportunities and pitfalls of summit diplomacy.

Diplomacy is built and affected by the political, cultural, geographical and economical influences that exist within a nation. Factors such as dictatorship, impunity, poverty, aridity, scarcity of land, ethnic feuds and ignorance deter diplomatic processes while democracy, equitable distribution of resources and self sustenance build it. Multilateral diplomacy has in the recent past proved to be more valuable than bilateral diplomacy. This can be attributed to the fact that the world is on the verge of a major breakthrough in terms of formulating international relations between countries (globalization). As such, addressing issues such as pollution, war, global peace and preservation of human rights is no longer tasked to any one or two countries. This is because these issues affect everyone in one way or the other and multilateral diplomacy presents concerned nations with a way to resolve them together. In short, multilateral diplomacy is the key to global peace and unity as opposed to bilateral diplomacy which even though effective, seems to address concerns of individual nations and how best they can benefit from each other.

Summit diplomacy refers to the meetings held by various heads of states exclusively to discuss underlying issues affecting their nations for example the G7/G8 summits. The main advantage on this form of diplomacy is that international ties and relations are made stronger upon agreement on unanimous solutions, leaders from smaller countries get to learn more on good governance from their counterparts and it offers the leaders a chance to talk their minds on issues that affect their countries. In addition to this, solutions are implemented faster than in any other form of diplomacy. The disadvantages include manipulation whereby leaders from influential countries may affect the decision of their weaker counterparts, offers no room for discussion for other members of the nation thereby denying them their democratic rights and may lead to further turmoil and disagreement since leaders are proud and have the need to exert power even in disagreements.

Identify and discuss three threats to Canada’s security. Identify three foreign-policy goals that you believe should be pursued by Canadian diplomats and leaders.

Cultural diversity poses a serious threat to Canadian security. With the rate of immigration growing higher each year, there is bound to be intercultural encounters at one point or another. Guy alludes to the truth in this fact by pointing out the frequency with which intercultural encounters occur in modern day society (321). He attributes this to the communication and transport advancements that man has made over time. Communication skills are necessary for the success of interactions and while these are in no way infallible means of guaranteeing no conflicts, they do minimize the occurrence of the same in Canada. The other threat that Canada is faced with is “the threat of global terrorism”. Terrorist activities have been on a high note all through the world. The most shocking thing is that the perpetrators of these hideous acts are no longer foreign but also local. As such, the probability of a terrorist attack is always eminent with no clear indication as to when or where it may happen and by whom. The third threat is information security threats. Both civilian and government owned infrastructure have been targets of cyber related attacks in Canada. Issues such as identity theft, credit card fraud and technological sabotage are on the increase and they pose a serious threat to Canada’s national security.

Canadian diplomats and leaders should emphasize their efforts on promoting peaceful interactions with other nations, encourage democracy by adhering to the international laws and promote international peace by participating in the control of weapons of mass destruction and disarmament proceedings.

In your opinion, has the US war in Iraq since 2003 made the world more dangerous or more stable? Has Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan contributed to international peace? Name one thing you think Canada can do to make the global system less violent.

It was the horrific events of September 11 2001 that triggered a fully fledged war on terror and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and later on Iraq by United States and her allies. While the Afghanistan invasion led to the overthrow of the Taliban government, the effect of the Iraqi invasion was the overthrowing of the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein and its replacement by a democratically elected western backed government. In my opinion, this invasion has actually made the world a more dangerous and unstable place than it was prior to this war. It is interesting to note that before the US led invasion on Iraq, the country was a stable and somewhat affluent country despite the multiple allegations of human rights abuses and atrocities perpetuated by the president.

However, on being invaded, the country became turbulent with numerous incidents of suicide bombers and random attacks on police outposts, government buildings, hospitals and even civilian houses. These insurrections are a direct result of the occupation of Iraqi. Another point to note is that as a result of the war, the USA has resulted to direct interventions as opposed to the previous methods of economic sanctions against offending nations (Croft 270). In a bid to establish military allies, the US has also significantly eased its hard stance on nations that it once deemed as questionable thereby lifting sanctions especially where weapons are concerned. These dealings have dealt a blow to fights against human rights abuses and have lead to the empowerment of dictatorial governments in some cases.

The presence of the Canadian military in Afghanistan has not led to international peace since Canada is part of the US led allied forces who are trying to restore peace and order to Afghanistan. The major reason that the presence of Canada’s forces has failed to make a contribution to international peace is because the allied forces have the major goal of destroying the Taliban militants who are responsible for the destruction and disarray in Afghanistan. In my opinion, Canada can make the global system less violent by engaging its enemies (the Taliban in this case) in dialogue and seeking compromises as opposed to taking up hard lined policies that only utilize military force to achieve results. This positive contribution by Canadian forces can only be achieved by diverting from the traditional Allied Forces policy of none tolerance to perceived terrorists groups such as the Taliban.

Discuss the hypothesis that the best way for nation-states to preserve peace is to prepare for war. Does global interdependence promote peace? What kinds of foreign-policy strategies and tactics would you recommend to meet the challenge of peace? Why is peace such an ideologically charged concept?

Arguably, the best way of preserving peace is by preparing for war. This is true because prevention is better that cure. Citizens in a country that is well prepared for war perceive that nation as secure. This in turn gives them a peace of mind. In addition to this, superpowers like the United States, Russia and China are rarely involved in wars because of the fear that they strike to their potential enemy. No country would dare attack for fear of being obliterated. On the other hand, the statement may be false because there are other factors that may disrupt peace. They include nature, psychological issues and diseases all which cannot be solved by weapons and soldiers.

Global interdependence does promote peace. It facilitates economic growth, promotes unity and sharing of resources. For example, the United States army is often deployed in unstable countries to help fight rebellions and promote peace where the host nations have failed. The challenge of peace can only be tackled by the promoting education through out the world. This is because ignorance is far much worse than we perceive It to be. Lack of education leads to poverty which is the root of all problems therefore if tackled then violence and war would greatly reduce. The best way to facilitate this is by offering grants and other forms of assistance to those who need them but cannot afford or access them. The definition of peace varies from one person to another. As such, peace is ideologically charged because it depends on how society understands it in terms of their beliefs, values and varied opinions.

Some hold that the frequency of international acts of violence has diminished in the twentieth century. Discuss the apparent irony of this fact against the possibility of nuclear annihilation. Do you think the risk of annihilation posed by nuclear weapons has caused a reduction in the frequency of war since the end of the Second World War? Discuss whether negotiated arms-control agreements can achieve the goal of arms reduction and possible disarmament. Is total disarmament possible, or even desirable?

Historians’ record that violence is decreasing over time with murder figures in modern day Europe being a mere fraction of those of the middle ages (Fiske, et. al. 835). This has led to the conclusion that the world is indeed becoming a more peaceful place. However, this is against the backdrop of an increase in weapon technology which has led to the situation whereby one nation can accomplish colossal damage on its enemies in the event of war on a scale that the armies of historic times could not fathom. This is especially made possible by the availability of nuclear weapons which possess the power to wipe out cities, nations and even the entire world. As such, while the frequency of international action of violence has on the surface decreased, the capability for violence has increased exponentially.

In my opinion, the risk of annihilation posed by nuclear weapons has led to a decrease in major wars as countries with nuclear abilities shy away from military confrontations. For example, in the Cold War era, the United States and the Soviet Union avoided direct military confrontations and only engaged in proxy wars since they both acknowledged that if they engaged in a fully fledged war, there was risk of total annihilation owing to the presence of huge nuclear warhead stockpiles by both nations.

While negotiated arms-control agreements do have their success stories, it is unlikely that they will achieve disarmament in any foreseeable future. The Foreign Affairs Committee of Great Britain declares that Arms control and treaties are only useful if negotiated from a position of strength (125). As such, negotiations and treaties can be dangerous when negotiated from a position of weakness as was witnessed at the end of the First World War whereby Germany was forced into arms embargos. This led to a rise in nationalistic sentiments which led to amassing of arms which eventually culminated to the Second World War. With regard to the question as to whether total disarmament is possible, it is my opinion that this is an unachievable goal. The fact is that most governments are investing in better weapons and more efficient methods of achieving victory in war. Total disarmament is therefore not likely to occur since most countries have tied down their piece and security to their military might.

Does the world have a population problem? How do you think the population problem can be tackled without violating fundamental human rights?

The United States Census Bureau records that the world population currently stands at 6.8 billion people. Compared to the population of 3 billion people exhibited in 1960, this new figures represent a doubling of the world population. An increase in world population invariably leads to greater strain on the resources to cater for the population. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) state that as a result of the population increase in the past century, there has been a rise in water scarcity all over the world. The FAO estimates that at the current population growth rate, about 2 billion people will be living in conditions of chronic water scarcity by the year 2025. From these assertions, it is evident that the world does indeed have a population problem and if measures are not undertaken to curb it, a large section of the world would be living in turmoil in the near future.

Due to the realities that the world does have a population problem, there arises a need to undertaken measures to tackle the problem. In the later course of the 20th century, many governments have engaged in programs to educate their population on fertility and the concepts of family planning. It has been hoped that once the people are aware of the options available to them and the advantages of small families, many will prescribe to this means therefore keeping the population manageable.

Another approach undertaken has been the explicit limitation of the number of children that a family can have by strict government policies e.g. China’s one child policy. China’s population growth rate stands at a mere 0.4% and is projected to be at 0.0% by the year 2025 (U.S. Census Bureau). This is as compared to the United State’s growth rate which is 1% and is projected to be at 0.9% by 2025. From these findings, it is clear that policies that respect the fundamental human right of choice are incapable of dealing with the population problem. It is my opinion that it is only by undertaking policies which are a violation of the fundamental human right of choice that the population of the world can be controlled.

What are the major causes of environmental degradation? Explain why no one state can solve the ecology mess we are just discovering.

Environmental degradation is caused by a mixture of socio-economic, environmental and technological factors. In essence, man survives on natural resources however when the population limit in a given area surpasses the support system threshold, it leads to environmental degradation because of the over exploitation of resources. Another factor is urbanization. Due to the fact that most people cannot find gainful employment in their home setting, they opt to go into the urban areas to try their luck. However, such influx of people in the urban areas creates more demand for food, shelter and transport. Provision of these amenities leads to deforestation, air, water and soil pollution among others all of which contribute to environmental degradation. Industrialization is also a key factor which leads to pollution. The reason as to why no one country can solve the ecological mess is because it is a global catastrophe whereby every nation has contributed its own share. We all share the same air, water and other resources and there is no way one can control nature. It would take a combined effort from all states in order to find a viable solution to this problem.

Can we say that a “sustainable environment” is a human right? Why or why not? Can we have a major positive impact on the ecology at the municipal level? How? Should be declared pollution to be an act of terricide (murder of the Earth) and consider it a crime against humanity?

Human rights are defined as “rights inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence… or any other status” (UNHR). As such, human rights are privileges that are afforded to every human being indiscriminately. It has been noted that the constant degradation of the environment is a danger to every human being since it will lead to a lack of vital resources such as water and food. As such, an unsustainable environment will lead to the deprivation of life for the human race. International law makes provisions that obligate governments to act in manners that promote the interests of citizens thus safeguarding human rights. This being the case, a sustainable environment is indeed a human right since every person is entitled to be given an opportunity to live a life devoid of the misery that may come about as a result of an unsustainable environment. For this reason, there have been treaties which have been signed to ensure that governments act responsibly therefore ensuring that the environment is protected for the benefit of all people.

It is possible to have a major positive impact at the municipal level. The municipality can come up with building standards that engender new architectural designs that can help retard pollution. Local laws which stipulate that new industrial, commercial and residential houses be built using materials which cause less pollution can lead to positive ecological changes. In addition to this, initiatives such as tree planting programmes and establishment of parks can have a positive impact on the environment.

In my opinion, pollution should not be considered terricide or a crime against humanity. This is because pollution is mostly as a result of human activities which are aimed at increasing the economic well being of a community and therefore making the living standards of the general population better. For example, the burning of fossil fuels which is deemed as the biggest pollutant also results in the growth of industries and the development of transport and commerce of a country. It would therefore be wrong to declare pollution a crime against humanity since it is but a by-product of the greater good that human beings set out to achieve.

Works Cited

Croft S. Culture, Crisis and America’s War on Terror. USA: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

FAO.2010. Web.

Fiske, Susan. Handbook of Social Psychology, 5th Edition, Volume Two. USA: John Wiley and Sons, 2010.

Great Britain: Foreign Affairs Committee. Global security: non-proliferation, fourth report of session 2008-09, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. Great Britain: The Stationery Office, 2009.

Guy, James J. People, Politics, and Government. Scarborough, Ontario: Pearson Education, 2010.

United Nations Human Rights. 2010. Web.

U.S. Census Bureau. World Population Information. 2010. Web.

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