First, it should be emphasized that the original gap between legislative regulation and the real necessity of regulation is immense. This notion is covered in the fact, that law is the reaction to the existing precedent. One commonly proposed theory is that the presence of international organizations and the establishments of law in conflict-driven regions is to help speed up the peace-building process. In this case, one must understand how do the various theorists compare and/or contrast with each other. This paper aims to analyze the approaches of realists and pluralists (liberalists) on the issues of law, as well as international legislative regulations.
As it is generally observed in the works by realists, such as Hans Morgenthau, the legislative system is the mechanism, which is aimed at regulating internal and international state relations. Henkin in his research emphasizes the following statement:
Law includes the structure of that society, its institutions, forms, and procedures for daily activity, the assumptions on which the society is founded and the concepts which permeate it, the status, rights, responsibilities, obligations of the nations which compromise that society, the various relations between them and the effects of those.” (Henkin, 1993, p. 17)
In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that any legislative system of any state forms the basis of diplomatic relations with other states. On the other hand, there are researches by neo-liberalist Joseph Nye and other pluralists. Originally, these are the concepts, the main considerations of which are covered in the notion of human nature, and the concept of the balance of power. The liberalistic approaches by Joseph Nye and other pluralists make emphasize the predominance of the legislative system and claim that laws, both state and international should be the basis of interstate relations. Taking a closer look at these cases in comparison to the Middle East shows that these arguments are far from reality. The conflict between Palestine and Israel could work as an example. For many decades the relationship between these states has been aggravated by numerous factors. The main reason for tensions is the difference and territory. Originally, this concept is discovered in “the Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington. He emphasized that the main conflicts of the 21st century will take place in the regions, where two religions have to coexist. Independently on the legislative bases of these states, the conflicts over territories outrage with periodic stability.
Taking these notions into consideration, it should be emphasized that relations between countries have been poor due to the lack of recognition and diplomatic settlements. As Henkin and Nadin have explained in the readings the initial problem is covered in improper regulation of the territorial dispute. In this Middle Eastern case, you can observe that conflict between Palestine is related to territorial issues, which has shown the disobedience of laws, international regulations, and treaties. The fact is that the treaties were violated by both sides, and only interference of the third parties as the arbitraries helped to resolve the conflicts. Again, the realistic nature of international relations appeared.
Another reason for the conflict in the Middle East has been the struggle over control of natural resources. Geographically speaking, due to its natural resources, the Middle East region holds a very important position, due to oil resources. Oil today has become an integral part of the economic basis, and some Arab states have based their wealth on oil trade. Therefore, the stronger nations with high economic achievement and military power are fighting over the resources by trying to gain control of the land. Although they are many countries like Iraq, which have democratic governments no one including international organizations has been able to take control over the conflict.
By realistic considerations by Morgenthau, it should b emphasized that the issues of interference appear to be the common thing for stabilizing the situation in an unstable region. The fact is that it is the modified concept of the balance of power, when a powerful state, performing the role of World Policeman, provides its military resources for stabilizing the situation. The following statement should be emphasized:
The main signpost of political realism is the concept of interest defined in terms of power which infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics, and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. Political realism stresses the rational, objective, and unemotional. (Morgenthau, 1978, p. 281)
From this perspective, it should be emphasized that the legislative regulation of the relations between states appears to be the secondary regulation factor, as power is the main authority for most countries.
The other issue that exists from the study of the theory related to law and regulation between nations brings up the question of idealism, realism, neo-realism, and pluralism. Each of these has a descriptive and a prescriptive element.
By liberalistic views and neo-liberalism by Joseph Nye, the political system may be based on morality and the basic human desires and in which needs are instincts are dominated by the higher desire to build something in national or international interest (Kauppi and Viotti 1999). War according to the idealists was for the greater good.
According to the realists and neorealists, the need to expand the typical example of the power of human beings comes out of the desire of humans to maximize power (Kauppi and Viotti 1999). Therefore, this argument is ideological and has at the same time has some sort of social foundations.
Pluralism is a theory in international relations, which argues that politics, as well as policy-making, are the product of the self-interests of the involved parties and which many cases end up depriving the state of any independent status. This poses an anti-realist vision where the state assumes central power. Meaning that the participation of non-state actors is I world politics is identified. According to the pluralists, the state is not considered a unified entity, instead different types of groups such as international organizations, etc. are considered separate entities. The pluralists consider that the realist assumption is based on the rationality of the state and that all conflicts are means to achieve rational decision-making. The pluralists also believe that the international agenda is not limited to national security rather to economical, social, and environmental issues.
Originally, it is clear that in the case of the Middle Eastern region, a pluralist’s perspective is most appropriate. The reason being the conflict in the region is not only based on idealistic views or human rationality. Instead, it is a conflict, which has its roots in the socio-economic setup of people. The conflict is caused through the self-interest of nations who are driving to capture the region either for its rich resources or for religious unity or land competition has that existed throughout history.
Henkin, Louis, and Terry Nardin. Ethics & International Affairs. New York: Hoffman, 1993.
Kauppi, Mark, and paul Viotti. International Relations Theory: realism, Pluralism, Globalism, and Beyond. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1999.
Keohane, Robert O., and Joseph S. Nye. Power and Interdependence. New York: Longman, 2001.
Morengenthan, Hans. Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978.
Terry, Mardin. Law, morality, and the Relations of States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983.