SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENTS
THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENTS
The Notion of a System of Governments
The international political system of government may be viewed as a set of semiautonomous-in laws and in fact-political units organized on a territorial basis called nations or states, these political units that now encompass the earth act independently and collectively toward each other in a large number of issues areas. The state is a specific kind of political organization that entitlements control over a specific piece of the region and interacts with other states in several ways -one of which is to maintain its Own territorial integrity or control. The international political system is a system of states each of which claims control within its boundaries and acts to maintain that control. Whether a particular state seeks to expand its control over the territory of another state is not relevant to the definition of the system, although it appears that for many years a significant number of states have endeavored to do just that. While the definition does not assume that states necessarily compete with other states, it also does not assume that the states will respect the territorial integrity of others-only that they will claim the right to control and protect their own territory.
For realists and radicals, the concept of an international system is vital to their analyses whereas for liberals, the international system is fewer detailed as a descriptive mechanism and less significant, and for constructivists, the concept of an international system is extraneous. To understand the international system, the notion of a system itself must be clarified. Broadly defined, a system is an assemblage of units, objects, or parts united by some form of regular interaction. The Perception of systems is vital to the physical and biological sciences, systems are composed of different interrelating units, whether at the micro (cell, plant, animal) or the macro (natural ecosystem or global climate) level. Because these units interrelate, an alteration in one unit origin changes in all the others. Systems, with their interacting parts, tend to respond in regularized ways, there are patterns to their actions. Boundaries remote one system from another, but there can be interactions across these boundaries. A system can break down, the sense that changes within the system become so substantial that in effect a new system emerges.
In the 1950s, the behavioral uprising in the social sciences and the mounting acceptance of political realism in international relations led scholars to intellectualize international politics as a structure. Beginning with the supposition that people act in regularized ways and that their patterns of interaction with each other are mainly habitual, both realists and behavioralists made the theoretical leap those international politics is a system whose foremost actors are individual states. This notion of a system is embedded in the thoughts of the three dominant theoretical schools of international relations.
Liberal’s International System of Governments
The international system is not fundamental to the sight of liberals. It is therefore not surprising to find at least three different conceptions of the international system in liberal thinking. The first conception sees the international system not as a structure but as a process, in which various connections occur among different parties and where various actors learn from the collaboration. Actors in this process include not only states but also international governmental organizations (such as the United Nations), nongovernmental organizations (such as Human Rights Watch) and multinational corporations, and sub-state actors (such as parliaments and bureaucracies). Each different type or actor has interactions with all of the other ones. with so many diverse kinds of actors, a plethora of national welfares define the liberal international system. While security interests, so dominant for realists, are still important to liberals, other interests such as economic and social matters are also measured, depending on the period and situation. In their book Power and Interdependence, political scientists Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye describe the international system “as an interdependent system in which the different actors are both sensitive to (affected by) and vulnerable to (suffering costly effects from) the actions of others”. In interdependent structures, there are several channels connecting states; these channels occur between governmental elites and among nongovernmental elites and multinational organizations, as well. Multiple issues and agendas arise in the international system, but the issues have no hierarchy. The use of military force Is generally avoided. Implicit in the notion of interdependence is a system.
A 2nd liberal commencement of the international system comes from the English institution of international society. According to two of the principal architects of this tradition, Scholars Hedley Bull and Adam Watson, while the international system comprises a group of independent political communities, international society is more than that. In international society, the various actors Communicate; they consent to common rules and institutions and recognize common interests. Actors in international society share a mutual uniqueness, a sense of “we-ness”; deprived of such an identity, a society cannot exist. This conception of the international system has normative implications: liberals view the international system as an arena and process for positive interactions. A third liberal view of the international system is that of neoliberal institutionalism, a view that derives nearer to realist intellect. Neoliberal institutionalists see the international structure as a rebellious one in which each individual state acts in its own self-interest. But unlike many realists, they see the product of the interaction among actors as a potentially positive one, where institutions created out of self-interest serve to moderate state behavior, as states realize they will have future interactions with the other actors involved.
All liberals recognize and comfy change in the international system of governments. Liberals see changes coming from several sources. The first change in the international system occurs as the result of exogenous technological developments-that is, progress Occurring independently, or outside the control of actors in the system. For example, fluctuations in communication and transportation are accountable for the growing level of mutuality among states within the international system.
Second, change may occur because of changes in the relative importance of different issue areas. While realists give primacy to issues of national security, liberals identify the relative importance of other issue areas. Specifically, in the last decades of the 20th
Third, change may new actors, including multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, or other participants in global civil society may augment or replace state actors. The various new actors may enter into new kinds of relationships and are apt to alter both the international system and state behaviors.
These types of variations are well-matched with liberal thinking and are debated by liberal writers. Yet, like their realist counterparts, liberal thinkers also acknowledge that change may occur in the overall power structure among the states. This is the view of change most in line with realist thinking.
Realist’s International System of Governments
Political realists have clear notions of the international system and its essential characteristics. All realists reveal the international structure as anarchic. No authority occurs above the state; the state is autonomous. This anarchic structure obliges the movements of decision-makers and affects the distribution of proficiencies among the various actors. Realists diverge among themselves, however, about the notch of a state’s autonomy in the international structure. Traditional realists admit that states act and form the system, whereas neorealists have confidence that states are controlled by the structure of the system. Yet for both, anarchy is the basic ordering principle and each state in the system must, therefore, look out for its own interests above ail Realists differentiate the international system along the dimensions of polarity and stratification.
Radical’s International System of Governments
Whereas realists define the international system in terms of its structure and the political power of interacting states, radicals seek to describe and explain the structure itself. The system that they see is totally different from that described by liberals and realists. In contrast to realists, who value system stability, radicals desire changes and want to discover why change is so difficult to achieve.
Radicals are anxious principally with stratification in the international structure. Are encouragement and admittance to resources consistently circulated? Their answer is simply nope. Is there the Soviet Union? However, since the advent of nuclear weapons occurred simultaneously with the emergence of the bipolar system, it is impossible to disentangle one explanation from the other A third clarification for the long peace is the solidity executed by the hegemonic economic power of the United States. Being in a greater economic position for much of the Cold War, the United States willingly paid the price of upholding solidity. It provided military security for Japan and much of northern Europe, and its currency was the foundation of the international monetary system. Yet while this argument explains why the United States acted to enhance postwar economic stability, it does not explain Soviet actions. A fourth explanation gives credit for maintaining the peace not to either of the superpowers but to economic liberalism. During the Cold war, the liberal economic order solidified and became a dominant factor in international relations. Politics became multinational under liberalism based on interests and alliances across traditional state boundaries-and thus great powers became increasingly archaic. Cold War peace is therefore attributed to the dominance of economic liberalism. Finally, Gaddis explores the possibility that the long peace of the Cold War was
predetermined, as just one phase in a long historical cycle of peace and war. He claims that every 100 to 150 years, war befalls on a global scale; these series are fanatical by bumpy economic growth. This explanation suggests that the Cold war is but a blip in one long cycle, and specific events or conditions occurring during the Cold War offer no explanatory power. Whatever the “right” combination of explanations, international relations theorist Kenneth Waltz has noted the irony in the long peace: that both the United States and the Soviet Union, “two states, isolationist by tradition, untutored in the ways of international politics, and famed for imprudent behavior, soon showed themselves-not always and everywhere, but always in critical cases-to be wary, alert, cautious, flexible, and forbearing.” The United States and the Soviet Union, wary of each other, also became predictable and familiar to each other. Common interests in economic growth and system stability overcame the long adversarial relationship.
Stratification of System of Governments
The structure of the universal system imitates stratification as well as polarity. Stratification refers to the uneven division of resources among different groups of states; the international structure is stratified according to which states have vibrant resources, such as oil, or armed strength, or fiscal power. While stratification is the key to understanding the radical notion of the international system (discussed later), it is also important to some realists.
Different international systems have had varying degrees of stratification. Indeed, in 2000, System stratification was strong. According to one set of measures, several of the world’s powers (the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China) accounted for about one-half of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP), while the other 180-plus states shared the other half. From the stratification of sovereignty and resources comes the segmentation between the haves, loosely characterized as the North, and the have-nots’ states largely positioned in the South. This distinction is vital to the discussion of the international political economy.
Stratification of impact and resources has implications for the capability of a system to legalize Itself, as well as for system permanency. When the dominant powers are confronted by those states just beneath them in terms of entree to resources, the system may become highly unbalanced. For example, Germany’s and Japan’s attempts to obtain and reclaim resources during the 1930s led to World War II. Such a group of second-tier powers has the potential to win a confrontation, whereas the real underdogs in a severely stratified system do not (although they can cause major distractions). The rising powers, especially those who are acquiring resources, seek the first-tier status and are willing to fight wars to get it. If the challengers do not commence a war, the top powers may do so to suppress the threat of a powerful movement.