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In this world with greater emphasis on international relations and international cooperation, one significant contradictory situation is evident in the relations between the strong and the weak.
Aspects of the international relations
To address the actual problems in international affairs, it is important to consider the relationship between the strong powers of the world and the weak nations which are very well explained by the famous statement by the Athenians in Thucydides, i.e., “while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” (Thucydides) International relations are always stressed, but most often it happens between states that are not equal in power as if proving the claim that international politics deals with inequalities. The power inequality between the nations is very much experienced by the weaker nations of the world for whom international relations mean great.
In the power politics of the present international scenario, the logic of equality, as well as the logic of subordination, is present concurrently. “For the strong, power is simultaneously a source of equality with their equals and a source of superiority over their inferiors. But for the weak, power – the power of others – is largely a source of inequality and subordination. The strong do what they can. The weak suffer what they must, including hierarchic subordination.” (p 101, Realism and International Relations, by Jack Donnelly, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000) Thus, it becomes evident that when the emphasis on international affairs, relations, and cooperation happens on the one side, the international system of affairs proves to be, on the other side, contributing to the dissimilarity and inequality between the strong nations and the weak nations.
In an analysis of the international affairs of the day, it is apparent that the system is favoring the will of a super nation at the loss of interest of the weaker nations. The international relations of the day prove that the United States acts as the international police acting as it wishes without the consent, sometimes, or even the international bodies. This superior attitude of the US in international relations has been criticized by various people. “America’s word is not holy writ; it certainly cannot treat the rest of the world in the manner of the Athenians, who famously told the intractable Melians that “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” When the United States goes to war, it usually feels compelled to ask for the approval of the U.N. Security Council. Living in a world of almost 200 countries, Washington must consult, convince, and coax other nations; only rarely can it coerce or ignore them.” A remarkable explanation to the same superiority of the American interests in the international affairs was given by Noam Chomsky who, in an interview, replied to the question ‘Why is Israel given the right to self-defense while Arab countries are denied it?’ as “Thucydides gave an answer to that a long time ago: “The strong do as they can, and the weak suffer as they must.” It is one of the leading principles of international affairs.”
The ultimate conclusion one can draw from all these aspects of the international relations is that the superiority of the stronger nations over the weaker nations in the international affairs and relations is widely approved and what is desirable is a change in the situation.
p 101, Realism and International Relations, by Jack Donnelly, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000
Rethinking the Nation-State: The Many Meanings of Sovereignty, Josef Joffe). Web.
Nermeen Al-Mufti, An Interview with Noam Chomsky “The Strong Do as They Can”). Web.