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“World War Z” a Book by Max Brooks Term Paper

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Updated: Feb 14th, 2021

International Relations Theory

Max Brooks authored an inspiring novel in 2006 titled World War Z. Post-apocalyptic writing evaluates his previous works on ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’. The book is mainly a collection of personal accounts having posed as a UN agent (11). Brooks gives various viewpoints of citizens of various states as regards to Zombie war. He notes that the war changed the religious, political, and environmental views of many people in the world.

The narrator was inspired by the findings of Studs Terkel on the Good War. In his analysis, the author criticizes various governmental structures. He notes that the government is incompetent in handling social issues related to environmental conservation. He also observes that American isolationism puts it in a tricky situation because other states accuse it of negligence and highhandedness. The author examines the theme of human survival where he notes that each state is interested in its affairs. From his analysis, it is noted that realism theory comes out clearly like the idea behind American success.

The US government manufactured a virus referred to as Solanum, which does not have intelligence and is always inspired by the wish to consume human flesh. Max Brooks argues that the virus could only be eliminated by destroying its brain. This shows that the government wanted to dominate other states in the world by coming up with an uncontrollable virus (Max 14). No state could match American technology since Zombies could fight tirelessly.

Although the use of zombies is fictitious, everything used in the novel is real. The author shows that the American government is ahead in terms of technology, high politics (security), culture, and military strategies. Max Brooks’ analysis demonstrates that in the current international system, realism can be utilized in understanding associations between actors in the system (21). This is because the system seems to be anarchic and brutal.

States make calculated moves meaning that the benefits of associations are carefully measured before they are endorsed. In this case, it can be observed that life is short-lived because the more powerful states use their power to subjugate and oppress the less powerful. It can be summarized that states exist according to Hobbestian state of nature where the man was selfish and antisocial. It is unrealistic to argue that idealism guides state in the international system. Idealists argue that institutions are formed to prevent aggression and future wars. This could not hold because the League of Nations failed to prevent the most tragic war in the world that is, the Second World War.

Max Brooks’ analysis is in line with Cynthia Weber’s observation of international relations theory. Despite the strong arguments by liberalists and neo-liberalists, the power of non-state actors such as international regimes, MNCs, and international organizations, is limited in terms of the ability to enforce decisions. To this extent, the most they can do is to recommend policies. Their effectiveness depends on the state’s willingness to make and comply with commitments.

This explains why realists have insisted that the position of the state is unchallenged in the international system. According to a realist scholar by the name of Hans Morgenthau, these non-state entities are a tool of states to be used when desired (57). They can increase or decrease the power of states but they do not affect the basic characteristics of the international system. These entities only reflect on the basic distribution of power among states and are therefore no more than the sum of their member states. They do not have an independent effect on state behavior and sometimes are manipulated by the states.

According to structural realists, the most powerful states in the international system form and shape institutions so that they can maintain their share of world power or even increase it. For instance, the US and the EU have been quick to respond to the inconsistencies in the Arab world but have been reluctant to intervene in the Somalia case. The Somalia-based Al-Qaida group in the name of Alshaabal has been destabilizing the Horn of Africa but the US has done nothing to avert the situation. They only promise to offer technical support, which is usually not well defined.


Max Brooks observes that the origin of Zombie is unknown because it was first noticed when it bit a Chinese boy. The government of China tried to contain the pandemic but in vain. Furthermore, the Zombie virus spread over to other parts of the world through various agents. The scholar notes that the problem was very uncontrollable leading to various complications in the world. It is argued that black trade enhanced the spread of the Zombie virus to various parts of the world.

The author asserts that only Israel was the first state to institute quarantine to solve the pandemic. The findings of Max Brooks on the spread of zombies could be borrowed to explain how the environment is infected with various pollutants that are dangerous to human survival. Max Brooks noted that the Palestinian boy was unwilling to believe that dead human beings could get up and continue fighting. This was completely impossible, making the boy believe that it was an Israeli trick.

This means that some states in the world are yet to accept the fact that environmental degradation is a global problem. In South Africa, the government came up with some policies that would solve issues related to Zombies. Likewise, states have resorted to designing policies aimed at safeguarding their environments.

Due to human activities, most of the world’s water bodies are overfished, the soil is degraded and eroded, the deserts are expanding and the natural habitats are being destroyed. Animal and plant species are equally becoming extinct and pollution is in the air, waters, and on the land. Max Brooks noted that many civilians in Canada flee their homes in fear of Zombies, which led to deaths due to starvation and exposure to unfavorable weather conditions.

Due to industrialization, dangerous chemicals and radioactive materials have been dumped at sea either directly or indirectly into the flowing water. This can be likened to a Zombie pandemic, which later on haunts people in their lives. Human activities have combined over the years to cause a major threat to what is known as the global commons. Global commons are resources that are shared by all members of the international community, their location notwithstanding. These resources included the Oceans and other water means, deep seas, deep-sea bed, the atmosphere, the outer space and plant, and animal species.

Because of the problems caused by human actions, there is a need for humanity to take care of the environment. Max Brooks argues that the Zombie virus affected humanity because it was not taken care of in the most cost effective way. Environmental issues may affect policies and relationships between states if not taken care of. In the international system, there are competing schools of thought. Just as states blamed each other during the Zombie catastrophe according to Max Brooks, modern policies in the international system are not clear. Each state has its policies that attempt to deal with the issue of environmental degradation.

Pessimists argue that human activity is causing serious irreversible damage to the environment. According to this view, the damage will eventually cause human suffering in the form of devastating storms, floods, global warming, skin cancer, and warfare over scarce natural resources. According to this perspective, environmental degradation would affect humanity economically and politically. The remedy would therefore be conservation as opposed to optimists’ perspectives, who believe that technological adjustments would solve the issue of environmental degradation.


Max Brooks notes that the use of zombies in wars is a new form of intimidation to the human race. The virus creates tension and fear among human beings, which is equated to terrorism. The scholar believes that Zombies permit people to contend with their anxieties about the end of the world. According to Max Brooks, the modern world is completely irrational because states and world leaders come up with ideas that would scare other people.

This, according to him, is a form of terrorism. Max Brooks insists on the theme of survival, which breeds disaster in the world. American society is usually given training on how to cope with Zombies meaning that the problem is allowed in society. Americans prepare their citizens to be ready for any terrorist attack but they do not care about the welfare of other states. An American Plumber is valued that a CEO of a big company from a different country. This means that Americans are not serious about the issue of terrorism. They only care about their welfare in the international system.

Bruce Hoffman explains that terrorism is a noble issue that keeps on changing in form and shape (13). In this regard, there are various schools of thought about the understanding of terrorism. Terrorist groups have various methods that they apply in executing attacks on innocent people. Through analysis, Hoffman notes that previous terrorist groups were not sophisticated. The modern terrorist groups are dynamic and extremely dangerous to the existence of the state.

The scholar predicts a more serious future as regards to terrorism. Terrorism originated from the reign of terror that came after the French Revolution, Communist movements in Russia, and the enduring nationalist organizations such as the PLO. It first occurred in 1972 when Israeli sportsmen were executed in Munich during the Olympic Games. Terrorist groups go to extreme ends of even murdering their members to accomplish their missions. Hoffman argues that PLO killed several Israelis and its members to be known by other state actors.

Several factors including the need for open societies, suspicion, and radicalism cause terrorism. It is further caused by easy access to technology and ideological conflicts. The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East region have created a sense of belonging among some extremist groups, which encourages the activities of terrorists. Analysis of the Middle East conflict system reveals that Israel is the cause of all problems in the Arab world.

Many Arabs believe that Israel was implanted on them without their consent. America and the EU are blamed for endorsing the new state of Israel. Extreme groups feel that the existence of Israel destabilizes political and economic activities in Palestine. Sadam Husein claimed that Palestine belongs to Arabs before he died. This is a clear indication that Arabs are inspired by the existence of the state of Israel to execute terrorist attacks all over the world. Terrorism is therefore a genuine threat to the existence of states in the international system.


Diplomacy is a technique applied in the international system to solve conflicts and maintain peace. In the international system, only two issues are of concern to policymakers. The first one is maintaining peace while the other is solving conflicts (Barston Diplomacy is the ability and practice of carrying out negotiations between associates of groups or states in the international system. In other words, diplomacy refers to the behaviors and actions of actors in the international system.

It uses professionals to solve conflicts relating to peacemaking, commerce, warfare, traditions, environment, and civil liberties. Diplomacy is a critical issue in the international system because it is out of it that global treaties are made (Calvocoressi 45). Politicians come in as second parties after diplomats are through with everything about paperwork.

Diplomacy has been termed as a board game because leaders aim at subjugating others in conferences. In most cases, developed countries mistreat the less developed ones to gain national interests. Environmentally, the less developed countries are urged to reduce carbon emission and stop cutting trees while the west engages in massive production of harmful gases. In other words, states play a zero-sum-game meaning that one’s loss is another’s gain.

States are never genuine in their negotiations. Diplomatic relationships determine the associations of states in the international system. It is therefore true that diplomacy is a technique of solving conflicts and maintaining peace (Kissinger 67).

Works Cited

Barston, Ronald. Modern diplomacy. New York, NY: Pearson Education, 2006. Print.

Calvocoressi, Ambrose. World Politics since 1945. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2008. Print.

Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1999. Web.

Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Print.

Max, Brooks. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007. Web.

Morgenthau, Hans. Politics among Nations. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Weber, Cynthia. International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Rutledge, 2009. Print.

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