Response to discussion
Each response 250 words
I noticed two important themes in this weeks’ readings. First, the lack of consensus for defining international organizations (IOs) (Duffield 2007, Iriye 2004). This falls in line with my undergraduate Homeland Security studies and the lack of consencus for defining domestic terrorism. How can we really talk about something if we don’t agree on the basics? Reprocussions are readily visible thorughout “society”. Second, though not a recurring theme in our literature but to our current state of national politics is, “the international relations literature remains unnecessarily balkanized as adherents of different conceptions talk past one another, when they attempt to communicate at all” (Duffield 2007). So, scholars do not agree on definitions nor, as is suggested, will they listen to various points of view (ibid). I’m not sure which is more disconcerting.
I do like Iriye’s (2004) differentiation of the two types of IOs, one formed by states, such and the UN, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I see them both as gap-fillers (much like the third theme running through our reading…gaps in literature). NGO’s such as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) (BRAC 2020, CHAI 2019) play such a large, global humanitarian role in health care, sexual violence, access to medical care, ect. The World Bank (1995) clearly stated their importance when defining NGOs stating, “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development”. Mondal, Chowdhury and Basu concluded NGOs have faster reponse times due to less bureaucracy (2015). US disaster response is built on an escalting scale beginning with local response then escalating upward when resources are depleted or overwhelmed (FEMA 2011). Sometimes communication between agencies is disrupted, procedures unclear or not clearly communicated (Cole and Fellows 2008). The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), synonymous in the western world with relief through pop culture reference in movies (care packages provided to POWs), as well as disaster relief drives, is not an NGO (ICRC n.d). It functions independently from government based on its mandate and legal status.
I believe NGOs such as the ones previously listed are most crucial international politics for one reason; suffering should have nothing to do with politics. Whether it is a earthquake in Iran, a Hurricane in Puerto Rico, a cyclone in Bangledash, or famine in multiple African countries (Oxfam 2020), governments have limitations in funding, organization, and training. Chandra and Acosta note the importance of NGOs in disaster recovery but also note limitations such as lack of coordination with governemnt agencies (2009). As previously stated, NGOs are gap fillers mean to augment response or fill a critical need not filled by government.
For starters, regarding the article on enhancing professional performance, I am particularly partial to the section titled “From Classroom to Workplace.” This section refers to the broad spectrum of knowledge that government, private, and military organizations find desirable in top candidates. This concept is exactly what inspired me to pursue my MA. I have gained significant first and secondhand experience between my undergraduate education, civilian work and military service. However, to maximize my effectiveness and value to the intelligence and diplomatic communities, further formal education in the field is necessary.
Moving on, if one considers states from a Realist perspective, then every action can be interpreted to be in the pursuit of state security and preservation. With this bias toward self-interest in mind, the purpose of IOs is to further that end. The existence of regional intergovernmental organizations like the European Union (EU), African Union (AU), Gulf Council Cooperation (GCC), or Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), represents security for their members. Many regional IOs have non-aggression treaties offering protection for member states from other member states and potential external threats. In addition to increased physical security, IOs represent potential economic security for members by creating trade opportunities that may not exist for individual states.
NGOs, on the other hand, do not seem to reflect the Realist state security motivation. This is understandable considering NGOs are, by definition, unaffiliated with state actors. NGOs, therefore, are better understood through a liberal or constructivist lens. The predominant motive of NGOs around the world revolves around the protection of human rights. They do this by providing relief during humanitarian crises and by pressuring IGOs and nation-states to act. NGOs reflect a movement toward globalization and the responsibility of a world community.
For their efforts toward globalization and humanitarian relief, NGOs are most effective and important to international politics when they interact with large Intergovernmental Organizations like the United Nations (Steffek, 2013). Humanitarian NGOs like the International Committee for the Red Cross or the Carter Center are extremely effective when they can convince powerful nations to act in times of crisis or conflict (Cartercenter.org, 2020). These types of organizations tend to lack the necessary resources to act solely on their own. However, being non-state actors allows them access to conflict without threatening anyone’s sovereignty. Once involved, these NGOs typically are able to influence larger state-sponsored organizations like the United Nations to commit resources to humanitarian relief efforts. This relative freedom of movement, globalist/humanitarian motivation, and international influence make relief NGOs the most effective type of IO.
Initially, after reading the blog post, I consider the point more important in my experience as a student is described as “At the graduate level, conversations need to be professional as well as have a high degree of scholarly rigor” (Brannum and Drumhiller, 2016), the greater level of critics of the readings, and the lessons, the better the learning improvement of the class. I will follow to discuss this week’s forum.
There are reasons to comment on the functioning and usefulness of international organizations and their future, for the similarities detected, and for the criticisms of the different authors, and the criteria of the deficiencies and poor results obtained by these organizations. It is enough to analyze the economic policy during the last fifty years, and the recipes coming from these organisms to find true power relations that opened the doors to crises, and processes of unequal development, increasing more and more the differences between rich and emerging countries.
Much has been written about the purposes that motivated the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), originally GATT (Iriye, 2002). It is very clear that behind the stability of the international financial system and the solution of the structural problems of developing countries, there were objectives linked to economic interests of the United States and other central economies, articulated to internal political and economic interests of the developing countries, also under the policy of containment of Soviet expansionism. The United Nations Organization (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) are no exception to these hegemonic objectives of the great powers, in the same way as international financing, and trading organizations. “Little was qualitatively different about their activities from what they had been in the preceding decade, but their cumulative and combined importance in the world increased because of the dramatic turn of events at the level of interstate affairs” (Iriye 2002, 157).
The iOS original agenda seeks:
*Peaceful dispute resolution: mediating on the occasion of conflicts to avoid war.
*Joint regulation of scientific-technological development: Set standards for the protection of humanity or to preserve a certain ethical talent for a timely discovery.
*Fight against poverty: Economic cooperation and humanitarian aid carried out jointly to achieve greater results.
*Limit the power of states: Through a unite security program where the member states commit themselves to follow humanitarian codes.
*Promote economic agreements: To boost regional joint development, through a free market between regions or economic agreements of various kinds.
But in some cases, it shows:
*Pyramidization and concentration of decisions.
*Control of organizations by the central economies and industrial powers.
*Prevalence of the interests of rich countries to the detriment of poor countries.
*Anti-democratic decision-making processes. *Displacement of formal objectives by the objectives of the most powerful countries.
*Lack of foresight and control over the management of international organizations.
All of which constitute characteristics of a bureaucratic organization model surpassed away from original purposes that were the raison d’être of these organizations.
In the same way and after two terrible wars, the United Nations Organization is created under the sponsorship of the victorious powers to guarantee world peace, and avoid conflicts of any nature that may disturb the peaceful coexistence of the International community (Duffield 2007, 12). The UN becomes the most influential organization in international politics, and the United States and the industrialized countries are the great “managers” of the international economy and politics. However, global trade interaction grew, and the same expansion of production and trade demanded another type of cooperative regulation, the new WTO, according to the Washington consensus and the shift towards a neoliberal economic system worldwide.