International organizations play avital role in the global politics. They provide hope for international peace and security the cooperation within the globe and economic development which is mutual.
Examples of international organizations include the United Nations (UN), the World Bank (International Bank forReconstruction and Development), the International Committee of the Red Cross, andGreenpeace. Most international organizations operate as part of one or more internationalregimes. An international regime is a set of rules, standards, and procedures that governnational behaviour in a particular area. Examples of international regimes include armscontrol, foreign trade, and Antarctic exploration. International organizations are oftencentral to the functioning of an international regime, giving structure and procedures tothe “rules of the game” by which nations must play. For example, the World TradeOrganization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and theEuropean Union (EU) are key organizations that define the international trade regime
While there are not more than 200 governments in the global system, the world has approximately 300 intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), such as the NATO UN, NATO, the European Union, or the International Coffee Organisation; and 5800 international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), such as Amnesty International, the Baptist World Alliance, the International Chamber of Shipping, or the International Red Cross, plus a similar number of less-well-established international caucuses and networks of NGOs. All these IGOs and INGOs play a regular part in global politics and transnational socio-economic activities. However, the importance of international organisations has increased in the present inter-connected and inter-dependent world. The increasing interdependence forced the modern state to search the areas of mutual advantage such as trade, communications, economic development, and world peace. Since the states must, in so many areas, cooperate, adjust, accommodate, and compromise to promote their common welfare, to solve problems notlimited to national boundaries, and to lessen conflict, it is entirely logical for them tocreate elaborate agencies of international organisations for these ends. It is also logical toassume that they will continue to be used by states as indispensable though limited toolsfor a wide variety of purposes. Since the trend of world events is toward increasedcontacts and a growing diversity of problems, we may reasonably expect internationalorganisations to also become increasingly diverse in number and purposes rather than todiminish in significance.One sign of the important role of international organizations is how they have endured asinternational power relations shift. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold Warbetween the Soviet Union and the United States ended. At this time, one might haveexpected the NATO military alliance to Russia and other formerly Communist countriesin Eastern Europe ceased to pose a threat to the capitalist democracies of WesternEurope. One might have expected NATO, which defended Western European nations, togo out of business, but it did not. Similarly, the creation of the WTO did not causesmaller free-trade associations such as NAFTA to end. Instead, the mosaic of International Organisations continues to expand, particularly as new communications and information-processing technologies make international groups more practical andeffective.The interdependence of nations in the modern world means that no single nation candictate the outcome of international conflicts. Nor can private groups and individuals relyon national governments to solve major world problems. Therefore, both governmentsand individuals will continue to turn to International Organisations as an important wayto address these problems and to protect their own interests.As the world shrinks, the line between domestic and international problems becomesincreasingly blurred. International events have their international implications. In thissituation, the international organisations may serve as useful tools of the states for theirmutual cooperation.
Neo-liberal institutionalism prides itself on the Kantian version of the international system. While the UN attempts to coordinate the actions of States and harmonize the world community, it becomes increasingly geared towards this ‘utopian’ model, even though it faces innumerous challenges when rallying Member States to follow its general principles and vision. It is also argued that the United Nations has been vital in furthering decolonization, human rights, environmental protection and international law. Neo-liberal institutionalism stresses the importance of the UN’s work with regional organizations, as they become indispensable in the international diplomatic process predicting, “the international community will increasingly direct itself towards combined action of the universal Organization with regional bodies.” (Cassese: 2005: 338) This can be observed in the recent links between the UN and regional organizations such as the Organisation of American States (OAS), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Arab League, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is widely regarded by theorists in this field that the failure of neo-realism resides in its ontology of institutions, as they believe it has the capacity to redefine the behaviour of States. This is further discussed in their reasoning to how institutions influence State conduct by both creating strong incentives for cooperation whilst at the same time implementing disincentives, like trade sanctions. Scholars of this theory believe that once cooperation amongst States is institutionalised, States would be reluctant to leave it, in fear of what could happen. (Navari: 2009: 39) This is particularly true for members of the European Union, as once States enter into the formal membership they almost never abandon it. By bridging the gap between States and giving them this forum for debate, institutions help trigger important coalitions, and with its congenial approach to weaker States, aids in their pursuit of linkage strategies. Hence, States feel welcome in what was previously a hostile international environment. (Nye and Keohane: 1989: 36) Reflecting on this, one could easily make a case in favour of institutions, but it seems prudent not to jump into generalisations of the relative successes of the UN system, as a careful empirical analysis of its record is necessary before making sweeping statements. It is also important to determine what constitutes success and failure as we can approach the United Nations system in different ways, either as an international forum or as a ‘global policing force’ and regardless of what approach one may take, they both have their virtues and drawbacks. This is why the neo-liberal institutionalist approach is misleading as it accounts for some of the weaknesses of institutions, but does not include enough critical analysis of its premises and actions, or lack thereof. Thereby, the role of institutions becomes a more ideological and normative one, where they infuse Member States’ policies with their liberal values and principles.
One of the largest institutions involved in global governance is the United Nations. It is a veritable global bureaucracy composed of numerous ‘nested arrangements’ (Archibugi in Held, 2002:60) which in theory regulate and represent the social, economic, and security interests of all the human race. Its main body, the Security Council with its five permanent members, the USA, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France, is the living proof of ‘Realpolitik’ hidden purposely behind the institutional structure of the UN, a type of politics functioning according to the pragmatic terminology of ‘nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and ballistic missiles’ (Schmidt in d’Orville, 1993:18). Having set as its main goal the achievement of world peace, the United Nations so far has repeatedly proved itself unable to handle the securitization and pacification of many geographical areas. A good example is the 1994 Rwandan genocide when Hutu government officials launched a nationwide extermination campaign of all Tootsie tribe inhabitants, an outrageous event which the United Nations has not managed to prevent or stop, although a considerable amount of its armed forces were deployed in the region at the time (crimesofwar.org). Another example is the crisis in Sudan which so far has remained unsolved, although suffering has affected millions of people (crimesofwar.org). A more recent case of the United Nation’s inability to manage a security crisis is the 1990 massacre of Srebenica of 8000 Muslims by the Serbian army, then under the command of Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (crimesofwar.org). The above examples prove that so far the United Nations has failed to deliver on its promise for world peace and security, mainly because of the encroachments the P5 members have so far practiced in delivering appropriate policy outputs on matters of extreme delicacy. The inflammatory situation in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas has exposed the policy driving power the US, as a world hegemon, possesses when protecting Israel from the sometimes unfriendly resolutions passing through the Security Council (Klausner, 2007). Another interesting case is the war in Iraq launched by the US and its allies against the will of the UN, a case which proves all institutionalists wrong (Gordon and Shapiro, 2004). Therefore, it is now clear that when talking about international institutions one is correct to define them as ‘arenas for acting out power relationships’ (Mearsheimer, 1994:13), arenas which are dominated by the main economic and implicitly military powers.
It is also the case with the International Monetary Fund, which being a creation of the Breton Woods agreement, which can be thought of as actually serving the interests of the US, as it is deductable from the higher voting quota the USA holds within this financial institution and the background of the elites governing it. With the rise of China as both an economic and military power there is already availability from US bureaucrats to accommodate China within the IMF, WTO, and WB and therefore prevent the creation, under the influence of the government in Beijing, of other international financial institutions which might not serve the West’s economic interests to the extent the Breton Woods ones do. Another interesting fact about the IMF is that although it is allegedly designed to bring about global development, countries like those in Latin-America have suffered great economic setbacks as a result of the implementation of neoliberal policies and loan policy conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Back in 2001, due to a historic debt towards the IMF, Argentina had become an unstable country, creating security and economic concerns throughout the whole of South America. The examples do not end with Argentina, as Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have also suffered from the financial regime the IMF has embarked them upon. These are all very good examples of how an international institution not only does not make peace more likely, but it actually deems it impossible. Another good example of how the IMF’s policies are conflict conducive is the general divide it has created between ‘core economies and peripheral ones’ (Wallerstein in Baylis, 2008:147), a divide which polarizes the international arena and creates the premises for a significant number of economically driven political conflicts. The power structure persistent within the IMF and the WTO proves right the assertion that international institutions only ‘mirror the distribution of power in the system’ (Mearsheimer, 1994:13-14) as their existence is owed to the explicit strategic will of powerful states in the international system to ‘maintain their share of world power and increase it’ (ibid).