Jassim the functionality of our richly connected

Jassim AlMazidi

Gregory D Young

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IAFS 1000



Using the lecture, PowerPoint and
readings from this past week, delineate which of the four paradigms introduced
in class (Realism, Neoliberal theory, Marxism or Constructivism) best explain
how the world operates today and why. Give the basic tenets of your paradigm
choice and give several real-world examples to support your thesis.


As our world
becomes more interconnected, the need for individuals to possess a globally
oriented view on the current affairs that transcend national boundaries has
become more important than ever as it is a necessity to sustaining global peace
and security.  The study of international
relations encompasses theoretical approaches or different schools of thought
that are based on plausible evidence. Realism, Idealism, Constructivism and
Marxism are theoretical constructs of international relations that are
essentially aimed at explaining how the international system functions. Of the
four paradigms in the field of international relations, the most prominent and
best explains the functionality of our richly connected world is Neo-Liberalism.
The prominence of this paradigm in our world can be seen as early as the 1890s.
the following commentary will focus on the dispute between Britain, the United
States and Venezuela in 1890, as well as the events that took place during the
Bush administration with the Middle East and Barrack Obama’s foreign affairs


Neo-Liberalist school of thought in international relations recognizes that
states exist in an anarchical world and fundamentally act in their own
self-interest. Unlike Realism, the Neo-Liberalist theory argues that states use
the idea of cooperation to secure their own interests. In turn, the use of
cooperation such as establishment of global institutions in this sense
theoretically leads to more transparency, predictability, trade and
international economic activity in this environment of anarchy. Neo-Liberalists
believe in a hegemon that establishes a structure rules in an anarchical
environment that many countries are willing to accept.  For example, Famous proponents of the
Neo-Liberalist paradigm of international relations theory such as 28th
US President Woodrow Wilson established the League of Nations in 1920 as a
result of the Paris Peace Conference that put WWI to an end. The League of
Nations as well as more current organizations such as the United Nations help
states join together and collaborate to find solutions to protect the stability
and interests of the international community in a world of anarchy. German
philosopher Immanuel Kant, another famous advocate of the Neo-Liberalist
doctrine, contended that democracies such as the United States are less likely
to partake in war then kingdoms and empires in Europe. In brief, based on
Kant’s logic, democracies were less likely to wage war due to the structure of
a democracy having its leaders being able to be held accountable by the average
person. By placing tremendous burdens on the average person in the form of
taxes, Kant supported his claim with the argument that unlike other
constitutions, the only way a democracy would go to war is if the leader is
able to justify how the benefit would outweigh the loss of life and money. In
conclusion, the Neo-Liberalist paradigm of the international relations study is
one that argues that states act in their own self-interest by using
cooperation, dominant countries or hegemons establish rules that weaker nations
follow despite living in an anarchical system (League of Nations and United
Nations). Furthermore, the tenets of Neo-liberalism as argued by Immanuel Kant
also claim that because leaders of democratic institutions are held accountable
by the people of the state, they will avoid conflict at any means and cooperate
instead to ensure global stability and protect their interests, individuals not
state make decisions.


One of the
earliest examples of Neo-Liberalism taking place in our real-world dates back
to 1890 when a territorial dispute between Britain and Venezuela took place. In
response to this dispute, United States president Grover Cleveland gave the
British a choice to submit the matter to arbitration or face war. However the
answer was  then changed to an offer in
which the United States were willing to exclude from arbitration of these
territories for at least two generations in which the British in turn accepted.
Charles Campbell describes this as an “early termination of the controversy”(Campbell,
1974). Campbell’s statement is valid in the sense that the interference of the
US in these affairs and their cooperation with the British did lead to a
compromise and settlement that prevented further conflict from potentially
deteriorating into battle. Thus, the use of cooperation to settle the dispute
and perhaps prevented another Anglo-American war is an example of the
Neo-Liberalist school of thought taking place in the real world as it is one
that argues towards the use of cooperation to settle matters between states.


The Bush
administration highlights the powerful presence of the Neo-Liberalist paradigm
and how it best explains how our current world operates. During its time, the
Bush administration dwelled on the need to promote democracy in regions such as
the Middle East as a means of promoting peace and preventing terrorism. For
example, President George W Bush claimed that the reason behind the
dysfunctions in addition to the prominence of terrorism in the Middle East was
repression and lack of modernization in economic and political terms. Thus, his
solution as stated by Fareed Zakaria was to, “push for reforms in these lands”
(Zakaria 2005). The following action taken by president Bush exemplifies the
presence of Neo-Liberalism in our world in the sense of democracy promotion.
Furthermore, Neo-Liberalism can also have been seen in the sense of the US
using cooperation through the encouragement of economic and political reforms in
the dysfunctional regions of the middle to promote peace secure their own
benefits they obtain from doing this. A hegemonic power like the United States is
able to get massive gains as they are pushing for reforms to set up democratic
constitutions in dysfunctional states as a means of potentially forming alliances,
financial ties and trade relations in the future that would drastically benefit
the US’s interests. Additionally, the Obama administration also demonstrates
the presence of Neo-Liberalism in our world today, especially its foreign
policy. Results of the administration’s foreign policy such as “effectively
managing relations with China” (Indyk 2012) and “resetting the relationship
with Russia and ratifying the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)”
(Indyk 2012). The approaches led by the Obama administration conveys a degree
of openness and advocates for the use of cooperation to promote peace as seen
through the US decisions of improving relations with China and Russia. This is
an act that aligns with Neo-Liberalism as the theory itself strongly argues for
the use of cooperation to promote peace and secure interests in a world of
anarchy. Adding on, the creation of institutions that lead to predictability
and transparency is another tenet of Neo-Liberalism. The reduction of strategic
offensive arms the New START established falls along the use of creating global
institutions to keep peace in an anarchical environment, in this case between
the Russian Federation and the United States. 
In conclusion, the events of political and economic reforms stimulated
by the United States during the Bush Administration that promoted democratic
processes is an example of how Neo-Liberalism best explains how the world
functions as it was an action that would promote democracy as well as act in
favor of the united states gains in the form of more democracies leading
to better alliance. The foreign policy of the Obama administration is an
example of how our world operates in a Neo-Liberalist sense as it ultimately
led to improved relations between rival states and establishment of peace
keeping institutions.


the disagreement between Britain, Venezuela and the United states in addition
to the Bush administration and Obama’s foreign policy are real world examples
that demonstrate how the Neo-Liberalist school of thought of International
relations best explains how our world operates. It is noticeable to mention
that despite the efforts of the United States to push for democratic reforms in
the Middle East, the level of conflict and war in that region didn’t settle
much, especially the  Israeli-Palestinian