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False promise of international institutions

False promise of international institutions. Kant is inclined to the idea that states should not just strive for peace but perpetual peace that brings to end all hostilities. In line with this, he views a Republican Constitution as likely to prevent war due to its foundation on the essence of freedom for all men, dependence by all subjects on one legislation, and the promotion of legal equality for everyone (Kant, n.d). Essentially, Kant views the origin of the Republican Constitution as being from the pure concept of right while also offering the prospect for the achievement of perpetual peace. The prevention of war comes about from the fact that the citizens’ consent is needed in the declaration of war and thus negates any likely selfish decisions by leaders who may seek to benefit from war.

The economy relates to the concept of perpetual peace from the perspective that perpetual peace facilitates the flourishing of enterprises, credit systems, and hospitable relations between people. Kant is of the opinion that trade and enterprise drives economic growth and this cannot take place without the existence of perpetual peace. With trade being essential in the growth of economies, Kant projects the notion that perpetual peace promotes universal hospitality. Such implies that hospitality coming about from the existence of perpetual peace will allow not only the interaction between foreigners and local inhabitants but also the promotion of trade that builds the economy. Favorable relations between states as a result of perpetual peace also aids in the establishment of credit systems that also spur economic progression.

The false promise of international institutions

  1. In his article, Mearsheimer (2004) identifies that there lacks a widely agreed upon definition of institution. Mearsheimer continues to note that institutions can be defined as recognized behavioral patterns around the convergence of expectations. The best definition that can be adopted for institutions is that they are a conglomerate of rules that define how states need to compete and cooperate with each other while also establishing acceptable and non-acceptable behavioral patterns. To extend on this definition, states have discretion to be part of the institution and must choose whether to obey the rules that they have taken part in creating. An institution is therefore a form of cooperative interaction between states, where the interaction is defined by rules crafted by sovereign states and participation implies acceptance to obey the set rules.
  2. Liberal institutionalists are of the view that states cooperate with each other depending on their mutual interests. The focus of liberal institutionalists is on how cooperation is fostered where states have interests that are not opposed to each other. One of the benefits of institutions that make cooperation possible is the availability of incentives that incline towards cooperation. The availability of the incentives imply that both sides/states can benefit from cooperative interactions such as through mutual policy adjustments where two states end up being better off than they would be as unilateral entities. Another benefit of institutions is that they help counter the cheating or sucker problem where one state cheats and hopes the other will remain true to the rules of the agreement. The essence of institutions thus becomes the creation of rules that bring states together in a mutual cooperation where there is greater interdependence between states that form part of the institutions. As such, cooperation is made easier by the availability of incentives that make cooperation beneficial to individual states as well as the existence of rules that foster greater interdependence over cheating.

False promise of international institutions

  1.  The critique offered by Mearsheimer on international institutions is that there is no sound basis for understanding international relations and the promotion of stability. Mearsheimer opines that liberal institutions stay away from peace and war issues and rather focus on explaining economic cooperation which is a less ambitious task. The critique offered by the author is true and this comes from the fact that policies arising from cooperation informed by liberal institutions focus on economic cooperation and the promotion of trade. Such comes about despite the ever looming threat of war especially between nations that are in constant conflict. The author points to the example of the failure by the League of Nations to address the Japanese and German aggression in the 1930s or the ability to stop the Bosnia war (Mearsheimer, 2004). Essentially, states place false hopes on these institutions that focus on economic cooperation and disregard war and peace between nations in the institutional system.

Liberal world

  1. The authors believe that it may be too soon to write the obituary of liberal ideals in international relations, democracy, and as an overarching framework for global politics mainly because the vision on cooperation in the achievement of prosperity and security still remains vital. Further, Deudney and Ikenberry (2018) note that the international system built on liberal ideals will endure despite the waning relative power of the US and the rise of illiberal leaders. The postulation is that nations and leaders will still come together to deal with world problems or risk suffering significant harms. The reasoning by the authors is convincing to an extent since despite the rise of illiberal leaders in the world, there is still ascription to the notion that international institutions are still relevant. Such is visible from the fact that despite the hostilities that these illiberal leaders have towards international institutions, they still work and ascribe to the values of such institutions. Even with this continued interaction, continued opposition to these institutions may lead to their demise since cooperation and support from relative powerful nations such as the US, China, Russia, and the UK is essential for the thriving of these liberal institutions and frameworks.
  2. From the authors’ view, the resilience of the liberal order is dependent upon the interdependence that exists between nations even when all states may not be liberal or democratic. Interdependence in environmental, security, and economic systems means that the promotion of another state’s wellbeing may be directly related to the promotion of one’s wellbeing. Importantly, cooperation in dealing with threats to the environment, economy, and security will be the means through which the liberal order will be sustained.
  3. The authors think that ideological rivalry will strengthen the liberal order since liberal democracies will seek to outperform other forms of regime. The view by the authors is myopic since it negates the fact that some of these other regimes such as communism in China have strengthened over the years despite the threat posed by liberalism. Even as China faces rivalry from democratic entities, it has proven that its political system is strong as evidenced by its continued challenge of the dominance of superpowers such as the US. In essence, the ideological rivalry may weaken the liberal system since some non-liberal ideologies have survived centuries of opposition and are emerging as stronger than some liberal systems.

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