International Governmental Organizations and Institutions

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Identify the principal actors in the contemporary international system and discuss their roles in determining the stability and the instability of that system.

To a great extent, the contemporary international system is considered over-simplified. This is mainly because even as the nation-state is considered a creation of modernity, most states have not considered incorporating the international system in their day-to-day running. These states are therefore deemed pre-modern. A number of states have however transformed past the nation state and may be regarded as postmodern. The best way to analyze players of the contemporary international system is to include a well detailed consideration at the individual state level as well as the global and intergovernmental levels. The main players of the contemporary international system are the nation-states, international organizations and international governmental organizations (Guy 335-336).


The nation-state by virtue of the fact that it bears impact on worldwide politics makes it naturally present in the new-nationalism aspect (Guy 335). Nationalism and its underlying push factors has come to be recognized as the main regulators of the authority exercised by the superpowers in the period after the second world war. For instance, the United States and the Soviet have been forced by the emergence of global nations-states to give allowance to nationalism both within and outside their territories. The weaknesses that have emerged in the North Atlantic treaty organization in the past two decades can be directly attributed to secondary alliance associates to adjust their policies to be line with the pointers established by the superpowers. This resistance mainly tends to arise from the discrepancies in political and socio-economic abilities.

International organizations

An international organization is an institution made up of members from the international community (Guy 336). These organizations also establish an influential presence in the region of its influence. There are two subclasses of international organizations. These are the International Governmental organizations and the international non-governmental organizations.

International Governmental Organizations/Intergovernmental institutions

Intergovernmental organizations are international institutions whose membership is mainly sovereign states (Guy 336). These organizations form a very critical part of the contemporary international system because most of the relations at the system level are controlled by these organizations. These institutions also have the authority to outlaw some traditional practices in the field of international relations. The formation of international organizations is based on three features. First is the aspect of irreducibility in the sense that certain issues can be addressed at the global level. Second is the concept of subsidiarity which basically means that only issues affecting the world are given attention at the global level while those that bear impact on a smaller region are regulated at an equally lower level. Finally is the aspect of heterogeneity which is an aspect that principally allows the establishment of institutions as long as they are able to stick to their global duties. The most prominent of the international governmental organizations is the United Nations which is a global amalgamation of states and its mandate is to foster meaningful relations between the member states by provision of security and social equity. Other major international institutions include the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Criminal Court (Guy 347-353).

International governmental organizations

These are institutions whose membership entirely excludes any representation of government (Guy 336). This is the case even for those International organizations that receive funding from particular governments. Institutions in this class of international organizations have a specific mandate and they come round to offer their expertise whenever the need arises. The most notable international organizations include the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. These organizations mainly get their operational funds from donor systems as well as from personal contributions by citizens all over the world and they mainly come round to offer aid in terms of crisis or to the underprivileged members of the international community.

Discuss how terrorism has changed the meaning of homeland security to governments and international organizations. If governments remain preoccupied looking inward with issues of Homeland Security, will the threat of terrorism rollback or speed up the advance of globalization? Can state armies be agents of terrorism?

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, officials tasked with the role of ensuring state security have had to come up with new goals and objectives as well as ways of assessing the homeland security strengths.

Homeland security can be described based on three of its strategic objectives. First, it can be said to be a national effort applied with the sole aim of curtailing terrorist activities. Secondly, it can be defined as the utilization of all state machinery in the reduction of a state’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks. Finally homeland security can be described as all the conscious effort by a nation to try and reduce all the destruction occasioned by terrorist attacks and recover from such incidents. The performance of homeland security is mainly assessed in the view of the national strategy. The latter is in turn founded on law, technology, information and international unity. The law aspect of the national strategy comes in to ensure the utilization of federal laws in a bid to fight terrorism while securing the public welfare (Guy 353-356).

By governments remaining pre-occupied with issues of homeland security, the threat of terrorism is bound to speed up in the advance of globalization. This is because the collaborative effort between nations that has helped keep terrorist activities in check is gradually declining and states are becoming more and more self-centered. Country borders are becoming more and more porous as nations try to ignore the welfare of their neighbors and are therefore not particularly keen to establish who is crossing over into the said neighboring countries. If global security against terrorist attacks is to be attained, homeland security has to extend its influence beyond national borders. In this way, events taking place in other nations will serve to guide states on what measures to take against impending security threats. Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism has an impending effect on globalization in the sense that the more people become suspicious of foreigners, the more they will make efforts to lock them out of their country. This in a way creates a vicious circle in which each country tries to prevent the entry of members of other nations. This will to a great extent slow down the process of attaining global unity and nations will tend to stick to their traditional ways of doing things even when new and better ways have been devised elsewhere due to the perennial fear of foreigners.

State armies can definitely be agents of terrorism. For instance the London bombing by Germany and the destruction of the Hiroshima by the United States were both terrorist acts committed with the aid of state armies. States by virtue of their ability to access more resources in the form of artillery are more likely to exercise terrorism within the realm of international diplomacy as compared to insurgents. With changes taking place after the Second World War terrorism strategies became entrenched with institutions and usage of violence as a diplomacy tool came to be seen as an acceptable form of state conduct. State armies can also be used as agents of terrorism against a government’s own people with the sole intention of creating a fear of the state. This has been particularly evident in developing nations and more-so those in the Middle East where individuals are subjected to extrajudicial murders.

100 years from now, will nation-states still dominate international affairs? If not, what organizations will? In what way will multinational corporations challenge the power of nation states?

Towards the end of the twentieth century, the authority that the nation-states commanded went through a rapid decline as other organizations started amassing power. These upcoming institutions included the multinational corporations and international organizations. With the growth of the concept of supranationalism, notably in the European Union nation-state’s dominance within a given territory is bound to be even less important (Guy 357-360). 100 years from now, countries all over the world will be more united especially in the wake of international migrations. This will make the nationality of individuals as insignificant as their blood groups in the face of world affairs and in this way the world’s nations will have synchronized their administrative strategies in a way killing the impact of nation-states in controlling regional affairs. Multinational corporations have overtime come to acquire extreme powers both in the political and the economic aspects of society. In modern days, the corporations have been able to influence some of the key public policies especially be laying the decision-makers hostage using the threat of moving jobs overseas. With the modern multinational corporation shifting base to the poorer countries and gradually taking over authority from the political bourgeoisie, these organizations are bound to see the downfall of the nation-states.

With the ushering in of the 21st Century, the roles and capabilities of the nation-state have been subjected to intense scrutiny particularly in regards to their importance in global affairs. Various scholars have to appreciate the probability of the death of the nation-state and instead take into consideration the concept of financial de-liberalization. It has been clearly realized that the state is under intense pressure from the rising corporate presence to give way to the surging multinational institutions. The multinational organizations have been generally well received because they come with added values even for small democracies, in terms of job security and general economic growth.

Multinational corporations are constantly challenging the power of the nation states in a number of ways. First, the growth spurt experienced by the former has come to make them more pervasive. The multinational institutions are adjusting their positions to find favor in the eyes of international actors and in this way they are able to further grow in size and in the level of influence. In a way states are becoming servants of the multinational corporations as revealed by the recent competition by nations to offer the best working environments for the latter. The commercial flexibility of the multinational organizations is one of the key factors that are seen to pose the greatest threat to the influence of the nation-state. Multinational corporations are able to circumvent regulations imposed on them in particular countries. The efficacy of policies such as the monetary and the taxation policies tend to undergo transformations if certain parts of the economy are under foreign ownership.

Multinational corporations are also able to adjust to corporate agendas and still maintain flexibility in their choice of location. This clearly shows a power struggle between the nation-state. The capacity for choice puts the nation-state at the mercy of the multinational corporations which then decide whether or not to operate within a particular country depending on how favorable the circumstances are. The multinational corporations in a way appear to dangle capital, skills and technologies which nation-states cannot afford and in this sense end up attracting the latter to conform to their every whim.

Unequal in size and unequal in power, Canada and the United States conduct a unique relationship in world politics. Why is it unique and how stable is it? List three issues that will unite our interests and three that will divide our interests in the next 10 years.

The relationship between Canada and the United States in the view of world politics presents in terms of the unique Free Trade Agreement of 1988 (Guy 362). This is mainly because while United States is a superpower, while Canada’s financial and military abilities are limited in comparison. It is an elephant and mouse relationship. The Free Trade Agreement had a number of purposes. First, it served to get rid of all cross-border restrictions to further enhance the traffic of commercial activities between the two countries. Second, the agreement came about to bring about fairness in competition in the region of influence of the agreement as well as making conditions for investment even more liberal within the are free trade area. The Free Trade Agreement was also intended at establishing applicable procedures for a collaborative effort in administration of the agreement as well as conflict resolution (Guy 362). Finally, the agreement also brought about further bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the aim of enhancing its benefits. The signing of the free trade agreement was welcomed with mixed emotions. Those who supported it believed that it brought about more gains in terms of trade while those who were against it saw it as the beginning of job losses and capital flight.

The agreement was particularly unique because the Canadian and U.S dollars had a significant difference in value and a rise in one had a substantial effect on the other. For instance, in the period between 1990 and 1991, the Canadian dollar went in value as compared to the U.S dollar. Consequently, goods made in Canada became much more expensive for Americans to purchase while the Canadians could easily afford American-manufactured products. The benefits on the side of the Canadians were further emphasized by the fact that there were no cross-border duties. Following the affordability of American products, Canadians ignored their own products and this led to many citizens particularly those in the manufacturing sector to face job cuts. In the mid 1990s however, things turned in favor of the Americans as the Canadian dollar dropped to unprecedented levels. The Americans responded in the same way Canadians had done earlier with people importing timber while Hollywood sent its crews to make films in Canada due to the weakened Canadian dollar. Even though, the agreement was forecast to undermine Canada’s sovereignty the two countries self adjusted to accommodate it without the fears on the side of the Canadians materializing.

A number of issues will serve to unite Canada and the United States. These include the war on terror, regional economic supremacy occasioned by growth in trade and world peace. Three issues that could see the interests of the two nations divide in the next ten years include the disagreement over which nation maintains sovereignty over the Arctic (Guy 384). This has been a subject of contention in the past because though Canada is widely accepted as the rightful owner of the land in the Arctic, United States has time and again tried to use its superior might to win over the region. The disagreement of lumber and softwood trade has and is still a divisive factor between the two states and this comes into play especially when the Canadian dollar decreases in value. This is because the decrease makes softwood which widely grown in Canada more affordable to the U.S citizens ending up with Americans shying away from their own products and instead choosing to import. The disagreements over the Western hemisphere travel initiative are also predicted to act as a major divider of the interests of the two nations.

Should Canada, the United States, and Mexico renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States? List three areas that are negotiable and three that are not negotiable.

Canada, the United States and Mexico should renegotiate the NAFTA. This is because since the establishment of the agreement, the North Americans have had to pay hefty social and economic costs so that multinational corporations can make substantial profits (Guy 365). The agreements to guarantee environmental and labor market protection have so far been fruitless and this has led to the level of economic inequality soaring. Multinational corporations have utilized the weaknesses in the agreement to exploit workers by offering low wages and threatening to export the jobs should the governments interfere. The jobs created as a result of NAFTA particularly in Mexico were extremely lowly and in recent times those jobs have been exported to the Middle East. Mexican farmers could not afford a deserved livelihood in their country after the agreement was penned and most of them were forced to cross the borders to look for work.

Areas that are negotiable include the Agricultural sector where the domestic policy should be reconstituted to protect the welfare of farmers and their families. The revision should ensure that the agricultural interests of the stakeholders, namely the farmers are well protected by providing ways to ensure that food sovereignty is respected. The renegotiated treaty should ensure that the price of produce is attractive in such a way that farmers are not subjected to sell at prices that are well below the production costs. Provisions that block the right of states to follow their own agricultural policies should be torn down as well as those that try to disallow governments to create stable markets for their farmers.

Another region that should be renegotiated is the energy sector where regulations should be established to protect the national sovereignty over natural resources. After renegotiation, the NAFTA should be in a position to recognize that access to energy is regarded as a basic human right and countries that have the potential to generate various forms of energy manage their resources in ways that are seen to be democratic.

The issue of employment should also be renegotiated such that native individuals are given primary consideration when recruiting as well allowing national suppliers the first priority when issuing tenders. Local businesses should be well promoted which has the long-run effect of further job creation. Government expenditure should not be limited by the trade agreement and states should be allowed to utilize revenue acquired from direct tax to promote the growth of the jobs market.

The NAFTA should get rid of all the intellectual property aspects that try to stop the transfer of technology. This also covers the manufacture of generic medicines with the aim of promoting the right to health care. Measures should also be taken to minimize the levels of exploitation of alternative medicines particularly by communities which still believe in tradition.

The dispute resolution methods agreed upon in the original agreement need to be renegotiated such that a more transparent and fair system of dispute settlement is agreed upon. Members from various professional fields should be included in the team of arbitration. This is because in the past it has been realized that the decisions arrived at when the panel only comprises law professionals have overlooked some critical issues that could substantially contribute to the final decision. It is now recommended that engineers, accountants, doctors and individuals from a wide array of professionalism join the panel.

Finally, foreign investment should be renegotiated to make it have provisions that allow each country to chart its own path to development program. Governments should be accorded the right to place performance benchmarks on investors in such a way that social requirements are met.

On the other hand, areas of the NAFTA that are not negotiable include the bill of lading, the air waybill and the exclusion of cultural industries.

In the absence of a world legislature, where laws would be introduced, debated and proclaimed, can it be said that international law is real law? How has globalization influenced the creation of international law?

Judging from how it is created and implemented, international law cannot be said to be real law. This is because it does not have an established government to enforce it and more often than not, this law ends up being a source of conflict when it clashes with domestic law (Guy 371-372). International law, though it appeals to most nations, is seldom accepted universally. International law attains strength only when it is translated into domestic law so that governments can enforce them. Even with all these shortcomings, international law often receives extensive following. General observation reveals that laws are not followed out of fear of the government or enforcing authority but because the rules established are perceived to be right in the eyes of the citizens. This therefore disregards the concept that for a law to be perceived as real law it must go through a legislative assembly. In this way it can be safely concluded that the application of force does not in any way confirm the creation of law and with or without the presence of an enforcing body certain laws will receive adequate support from the public.

Some scholars have argued that international laws are not real laws because some states time and again disobey rules of the law. This is however seen as vastly rudimentary because even in domestic laws there are some individuals who consciously choose to break the law from time to time. On the other hand it cannot be acceptable to conclude that international laws are real laws just because a majority of nations accept and follow them to the letter. The weakness of this argument presents in the fact that some nations can get away with disobeying some of the laws. It is also safe to conclude that though not absolutely necessary, governments come in handy in ensuring that international laws are followed. Unfortunately when a state disregards the international law, it becomes very easy for the offending nation to get away with the crime. Recommendations have however been made to give international organizations the power to effectively punish States that do not abide to the established rules. For instance, Zimbabwe in Southern Africa has been under legal duress in recent times occasioned by the current president, Robert Mugabe ignoring all the established codes of international relations. In such a case, if the international organizations that command an influence in the region had substantial authority, they could effectively take him down. Unfortunately, it is still very difficult to get a sitting president to face a tribunal.

Globalization has heavily influenced the creation of international law (Guy 388). This is because as nations all over the world begin to have a shared agenda, it becomes easy to establish a single legal framework to guide the relationship between the states. The lack of a world legislature to introduce, debate and proclaim law has to some extent complicated the creation international law but thanks to globalization and the new avenues it creates, it has become much easier for nations to either accept or deny an established legal framework with one voice. Traditionally the rule of law has been a reserve of the nation-state under whose mandate is the enforcement of regulations. International law on the other hand, has been very limited in terms of implementation capacity. Globalization has however come to create a suitable environment for the enforcement of international law. This has presented in the form of creation of the International Criminal Court which helps bring to book offenders of the global legal sanctions.

Why do most states voluntarily observe international law most of the time? Why do some states violate international law? Give examples.

International laws generally explain obligations which nations are supposed to respect. Once states agree to become members of the international community, they become parties to all legal requirements already laid down (Guy 373-374). They assume all the duties and responsibilities outlined by the membership and they have to respect all the established international laws. Once a state subscribes to international law they have to enforce it in their particular countries. This is because it is only governments that have been assigned the direct mandate to oversee the observation of laws. Most states generally observe international law because it is basically crafted with the consideration of the role of individual states in the global community. States also follow international law most of the time because the bodies responsible for the creation of this law generally accept that the nation-state is the main unit of international affairs and that nations are not forced to sign into commitments. The various nation-states and their citizens are allowed to seek the opinions of their legal professionals when it comes to interpreting certain commitments.

The specifications brought out by international law are very sensible and many a times they go in tandem with domestic law. The observance of international law also puts states in a very good position to foster harmonious relations with other nations.

Some states choose to violate international law with impunity mainly because there is no international government to oversee the enforcement of the laws. Some nations such as the People’s Republic of China are heavily against most aspects of this law only agreeing that the only true international law is sovereignty. States which do not want to subscribe to the law can easily pull out of the international community and insist that they want to maintain sovereignty in terms of the laws that have to be observed. For instance in May Israel attacked an aid convoy in an exchange that saw the death of ten individuals.

Though the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out to defend the attack on the Ships the act was well admonished by the rest of the world as it was regarded a crime against humanity. Another example of the violation of international law was the attack of Yugoslavia by NATO in 1999. This received an even bigger outcry from many human rights organizations because the attack did not focus on military strongholds. Instead, it happened randomly such that average citizens including children lost their lives. The United States invasion of Afghanistan has also been regarded as one of the major violations of international law in history. By usage of bombing techniques in Iraq seven years ago with the aim of fishing out weapons of mass destruction, the United States was seen to violate the first protocol of the Geneva Conventions. Even though the U.S had initially planned on taking down the military and rebel fighters, it ended up blowing up settlements; an action which resulted in many deaths. In the end the weapons that the U.S was after were not unearthed and the only substantial thing that they achieved was arresting Saddam Hussein.

Discuss how the International Criminal Tribunals have influenced the development of international law. Describe the role of the International Law Commission on the codification of international law.

International Criminal Tribunals have influenced the development of international law by providing measures for punishing individuals who violate the law. This is particularly so in cases involving influential figures such as heads of state. A good example of such tribunals is the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda which came into being in 1994 in order to address the Rwanda Genocide. The tribunal was also in charge of investigating violations of the international law in Rwanda as well as by Rwanda natives to neighbouring nations. The Common Article III and the Additional protocol of the Geneva Conventions gave the tribunal power to act on cases of genocide and war crimes. The tribunal also had jurisdiction over crimes against humanity and works hand in hand with the national jurisdiction. The tribunal has tried a number of individuals and convicted over 29 individuals. The tribunal is at the moment following up on a case against Rwanda’s current president in which he is suspected of contributing to the assassination of his predecessor.

Another international criminal tribunal that has gained prominence in the past years is the Tribunal for Yugoslavia (Guy 381). This tribunal was created to look into crimes against humanity that were committed during the Bosnian Wars of the 1990s. This tribunal was mainly established to try the individuals directly responsible for the atrocities committed during the war including genocide and ethnic cleansing. This tribunal, like many others, seeks to bring justice to the victims and to ensure that the crimes did not recur in future. The tribunal also went ahead to investigate the Kosovo crisis of the same period. Because this was the first ever tribunal, it had to carry out its mission to completion as it was under a lot of scrutiny. Lengthy discussions have come to characterize the procedures of this tribunal and those that come after it to ensure that whenever new international laws are needed to handle emerging issues, they are created following proper channels.

The International Law Commission is a creation of the UN general assembly and it plays a role in the growth of international law. It is also responsible for the codification of international law which basically entails the formulation and entrenchment of customary law into the system. The law commission fulfills this responsibility through two basic ways. First, it can simply publish its report or it can resolve its work to the national assembly. Below is a summary of how the commission carries out its responsibilities ending up with codification. First a special rapporteur is selected for each issue raised before a scheme of work is laid out. If necessary, involved governments can be asked to provide texts of applicable treaties and laws. The rapporteur is required to hand in reports. Once the commission has gone through and approved the report, a provisional draft is presented to the General Assembly. The draft is also sent to governments to get their opinions. Once the governments have submitted written reports regarding their analysis of the draft and in the view of comments from the General Assembly, the rapporteur presents another report suggesting the changes that need to be made. A final draft is sent to the General Assembly and it gives room for more changes.

When the International Law commission first assembled in 1949, 25 topics had been identified for review of which 14 were isolated for codification. The list was only temporary and it was recommended that room be allowed for changes after more analysis by the commission or after recommendation by the General Assembly. The commission is still working on the listed items and it has so far presented final drafts to the General assembly on a number of topics including the responsibilities of the state, availability of customary law evidence the Nurnberg objectives and diplomatic immunities. The commission has also made progress in defining nationality and aggression aside from carrying out debates on the law of the sea. In the various acts described above, it can be seen that the International Law Commission plays a big role in the development of international law especially by analysing and codifying various legal items.

What is the role of the United Nations in the creation of world law? How do regional international organizations like the OAS promote principles of international law and order?

The United Nations is very instrumental in the creation of international law. This is because it is the most renown of international organizations by virtue of its varied membership. Unlike other international institutions, the United Nations has a General assembly and an international law commission which are both responsible for the creation of laws. The General Assembly ensures a free and fair voting system by according every state a single vote over issues raised and more-so in the creation of laws. The International Law Commission is responsible for the drafting of laws that affect both the citizens and the state. Some of these items of legislation include the basic human rights which were created under the recommendation of United Nations Commission on Human rights. Once a state has met the qualifications and signed up to the United Nations, it basically agrees to abide to all laws established by the organization. Membership also basically accords the governing body of the United Nations the power to intervene should it find the actions of a certain government inappropriate according to the standards spelled out by its statutes. This basically gives the United Nations even more powers to confirm that the laws developed are well implemented as opposed to other international institutions which just formulated the legislation and then leave it for governments to decide on how to enforce the laws they create.

Regional international organizations such as the OAS promote principles of international law and order by acting as watchdogs representing other superior international organizations. In this way, such organizations help promote the security and the maintenance of peace within the region. To this end, the regional institutions act as promoters of democracy by providing guiding frameworks without necessarily interfering with the sovereignty of offending countries. The regional international institutions also make provisions to reduce challenges that may be encountered during the settlement of disputes arising among member nations.

In the achievement of these criteria, these organizations also ensure fairness and equal treatment when handling disagreements between two or more nations by seeking the intervention of judicial systems or other bodies that can effectively handle the issues at hand. By the promotion of collaborative efforts in the socio-cultural development, institutions such as the Organization of American States ensure that member states can effectively stick to the observance of common rules and regulations while at the same time reducing the poverty levels. This is because it has been realized that poverty is directly proportional to the democratic development of a nation and it has also been confirmed that developed nations can easily conform to regional and global international laws. Finally, these organizations play a crucial role in the achievement of proper limitation of conventional artillery which will make it easy to allocate a substantial quantity of resources to the development of the member nations.

Work Cited

Guy, James J. People, Politics, and Government. 7th. ed. Scarborough, Ontario: Pearson Education, 2010. Print.

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