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Much of written history displays the conquests of the most powerful nations over less powerful ones. This has led to ever-changing territories as nations have been conquered or have conquered others and the most powerful nations or alliances of nations hold the ultimate authority. Especially in the past century, however, there has not been one major world power but many powerful nation-states capable of dominating the smaller nation-states around them. Before World War One, a balance of power (in Europe at least) system kept nations from unleashing their power and dominance on less powerful nations. As this system collapsed after the war, the League of Nations was set up as a forum to end disputes peacefully. This system too collapsed upon the start of World War Two and after the war was resolved great debates began to try and establish a better form of resolving conflicts via peaceful means. What emerged is the United Nations, a modern forum that has attempted to keep the world at peace for over fifty years now. Yet there has been numerous devastating wars during the last fifty years which the UN has not been able to resolve. What I'm trying make clear here is that we cannot allow states to rule with ultimate state authority for it seems that it is part of our human nature, when we are more powerful than others, to impose our authority on them for self-beneficial reasons. Thus I disagree with the statement that "in international politics, no authority should supercede the authority of the state" and that establishments like the UN are necessary to protect powerful nation-states from themselves.
Once analyzed, my views regarding this statement take some aspects from both the idealist and realist schools of thought. These two major theories emerged during the twentieth century; the idealist theory emerging after the First World War and the Realist theory after the Second World War. Both are still debated when discussing issues regarding the involvement of foreign nations in another Nations affairs. With regard to this statement each school of thought has distinctly different opinions.
The idealist school has several basic assumptions that shape its general views on international relations. Idealists assume that human nature is basically good and man has natural tendencies to assist, cooperate, and care about his fellow beings. Thus men are not created evil, rather it is their environment which influences them to act in evil ways and that social progress is possible and inevitable and these values reflect their "ideal" vision of international relations. Their vision is that the international community must make their aim to prevent future wars and this can be accomplished by eliminating the environment that makes people evil, namely their institutions, government and basic structures. In another, less militaristic view, they conceive international relations behaving in a harmonious, "invisible hand" like fashion. Thus they see a need for an international community and international laws to promote peace and discourage war.
The realist school of thought takes a much different point of view based on its assumption that human nature is essentially evil. With this outlook, realists view the acquisition of power as the main goal of individuals, and in parallel the state as well, and that power relations govern individual and state policies and directly influence their behavior. International relations between states is seen as an anarchic environment where a nation's primary concerns are of self-preservation which can only be ensured through military power. Thus international alliances are rigid and cannot be trusted and that a balance of power is the only way to ensure international stability, agreeing with the statement in question. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a prominent 'natural' philosopher who influenced realist theory, proposed a description of
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
the industrialized nations, UN Commission on Human Rights,
Locations mentioned in this term paper
Europe, New York,
Keywords included in this term paper
United Nations, the united nations, international, international community, international relations, World War, humanitarian, human nature, foreign affairs, United Nations Charter, World War One, foreign intervention, World War Two, humanitarianism, humanitarian intervention, no authority, Second World War, Foreign Policy Analysis, First World War, central government, foreign policies, world power, foreign country, idealists, international peace, international laws, New York, nation states, humanitarian crisis, cold war, international organization, Just War, Gulf War, world peace, Syracuse University Press, dangers, world government, moral, evil, the authority, evil ways, Human Rights, Jean Jacques Rousseau, moral questions, school, coercive force, best way, human beings, Trilateral Commission, Sierra Leone,