International Relations Over the Last Several Decades  Essay

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  • Subject: Drama - World
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International Relations

Over the last several decades, the role of the UN has been constantly evolving. Part of the reason for this is because a host of events would underscore the need for an international institution that could address: the various global, economic and political issues facing the world community. The reason why, is because the 19th century would usher in a new era of technological innovation. This would have a dramatic impact upon, the way various nations would interact with one another. As each country would often engage in actions that would support their own self-interest at the expense of everyone else. This would create rivalries among the major world powers, as every country wanted to be respected. Yet, they felt that they were strong enough militarily and economically to deal with any kind of situation. Over the course of time, these views and the different innovations (from the 19th century) would set the stage for World War I. Where, all of the major world powers would become involved in the conflict out of: economic, military or territorial conquests. After several years of a stalemate, the Western powers would emerge victorious from the war. In response to addressing these different issues, they would form the League of Nations. This was intended to serve as a forum for various countries to discuss their differences (in an effort to avoid similar conflicts to World War I). As the idea of liberalism would slowly emerge as the dominate school of thought in dealing with a host of different issues. Simply put, this is a social / political philosophy that promotes: individual rights and the establishment of institutions that will ensure the continued progress of civilization in a non-violent manner.

As a result, various institutions would evolve to support these different objectives. The League of Nations was the first attempt to address these ideas, by having some kind of body that can serve as mechanism for preventing future conflicts. However, the League of Nations was considered to be very weak. As there was no major consensus about: the overall scope of their authority and power. At which point, many countries would begin to engage in actions that would support their own self-interest as well as territorial ambitions (Germany, Japan and Italy). This would lead to the disintegration of the League of Nations, as World War II would underscore the various weaknesses. After, the defeat of Germany, Japan and Italy; it became obvious that some kind of change needed to take place in the international community (to avoid major conflicts such as World War II). This would lead the development of the United Nations in 1945. As there were greater calls for an international institution that could work towards the ambitious goals of: peace, developing friendly relations between nations, promoting human dignity and the well being of all people around the globe.

This is significant, because it would mark a major turning point, as liberalism and the ideas of having international institutions, would become part of the new world order that was evolving. To fully understand the role of the UN requires: examining liberalism in comparison with other theories (as it relates to the UN), looking at examples of different actions taken by the UN / their impact on events and how the UN is achieving these goals from the liberal perspective. Together, these different elements will provide the greatest insights, as to how the UN is embracing the ideas of liberalism, to address the underlying challenges facing the world community.

Chapter 2: Liberalism in Comparison with other Theories (as it relates to the UN)

Under the theory of liberalism, there is a common belief that all nations should work together for the common good. Like what was discussed earlier, this evolved out of the brutal conflicts that occurred during the 20th century (World War I and World War II). As there was a clear need for establishing some kind of international framework for nations to address their differences. As a result, the theory of liberalism would provide a foundation for addressing these challenges by: promoting cooperation and interdependence. This is important, because it shows how the liberal ideology would have a profound impact upon the development of the UN. As the idea of making nations interdependent upon one another, would reduce the chances for conflict. At the same time, it created a situation that would hold states accountable to international standards.

This is different from the theory of realism. As this ideology, is concerned about the underlying struggle that the different nation states will have. At the heart of this theory, is the belief that international relations are a zero sum game. Where, every nation state will act in their own self-interest no matter what. To maintain some kind of order, the various countries will seek to counter balance the effects of the other (creating a zero sum effect). As a result, realists have no faith in the various international institutions or the idea of everyone collectively working together. This is because, they believe that all nations will work in their own self-interest, effectively reduce the need for such institutions. When you compare this idea with liberalism, it is clear that this theory is a complete opposite. As realism has no faith in international institutions or their ability to maintain order. This is because the different nation states are acting in their own self-interest, which is causing zero sum game. Therefore, under this theory, the UN would serve no purpose other than to intervene in the relationship that different nations will have with each other.

Feminism is a form of thinking that is concerned about various historical / economic issues have had an impact upon women. Where, it is focused on the social status of women around the world and how this is having an effect upon their lives. This would include issues surrounding: economics, social roles and politics as they relate to women.

This is important, because it shows how feminism is taking the ideas of liberalism and is expanding upon the issue of equality, by applying it to women. When you compare this theory to way liberalism would apply it to the UN, this ideology works in line with many of their objectives. As it is seeking to address injustices (such as sexism / violence) and ensure that women have the same opportunities as men. To make certain that the rights of women are being respected around the world, the UN has established a number of different agencies to include: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI) and International Research & Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). This is significant, because it shows how feminism has similar goals and objectives as liberalism.

As a result, the UN has embraced this theory as a part of their overall objectives.

Chapter 3: Examples of the Different Actions taken by the UN and their Impact on Events

Over the years, the UN has engaged in a number of different policy decisions that would have ripple effects on international events. In some cases, these effects would help to achieve the goals of organization. While at other times, the UN would increase the overall amounts of instability in the region. As they are attempting to address the challenges, yet do not have: the respect, funding or resources to effectively tackle the problem. This is the biggest challenge facing the UN, as the overall scope of the problems will vary requiring unique solutions.

The Positive Impact of the UN

A good example of how the UN can have a positive impact on international events can be seen by looking no further than efforts to address issues of inequality around the world. Where, various minorities, ethnic groups and women are constantly subject to systematic discrimination. As they are often viewed, as people who are of less significance (in many developing nations around the world). This problematic, because not acknowledging or supporting the achievements of these different groups can often lead to underdevelopment. Where, the various resources are siphoned off by the most dominant groups in society. This creates a system of inequality, by giving select groups of people the opportunities for economic advancement, while others are left to fend for themselves. Over the course of time, this causes the economy in many of these different nations to remain unbalanced, by not helping to support everyone. As the productivity of the oppressed groups will often become less, due to the underlying amounts of systematic discrimination.

In this particular case, the UN has had an impact at addressing these issues, by helping the different developing nations to understand the contribution that minorities make. At the same time, they encourage various governments to reach out and support these groups, so that the country can begin to experience above average economic growth (helping to improve the standard…

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