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Final

Comprehensive exam review


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL208Y5
Professor
Professor Bernstein
Study Guide
Final

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Pol208 – Exam Review
2. What are the role/ place of NGOs in the International System?
-Nongovernmental organizations are private associations of individuals or groups that engage in political, economic, or
social activities usually across national borders usually to achieve a common purpose.
-In nongovernmental organizations, the members arent states unlike intergovernmental organizations where the
members are states.
-NGOs have increased in numbers in the international system and are able to mobilize the mass public and influence
international relations.
-A number of factors have sparked the resurgence of NGO activity and their increased power as an actor in international
politics
oFirst, the issues seized by NGOs have been increasingly viewed as interdependent or globalizing issues
issues states cannot solve alone and whose solutions require transnational and intergovernmental cooperation.
o Second, global conferences became a venue for international activity each designed to tackle a specific issue,
a pattern emerged that NGOs organize separate but parallel conferences on the same issues, this allowed them
to network with other NGOs on the same issues, and also it allowed them to form coalitions on specific issues
to lobby governments and international bureaucrats
oThird, the ending of the Cold War and the expansion of democracy in both the former communist world and
developing countries have provided political openings for NGOs into parts of the world untouched by NGO
activity
-NGOs act as advocates for specific policies and offer alternative channels of political participation
-NGOs mobilize mass publics, ex. Greenpeace saving whales through international laws limiting whaling
-NGOs distribute critical assistance in disaster relief and to refugees, they are the principal monitors of human rights
norms and environmental regulations and provide warnings of violations
-They are the primary actors at the grassroots level in mobilizing individuals to act
-By publicizing inadequacies by governments and other actors NGOs force discussion both within states and between
states in international forums
-NGOs play a unique role at the national level, as they sometimes take the place of states, either by performing services
that an inept or corrupt government is not doing or stepping in for a failed state
-NGOs have assumed responsibility in education, health, agriculture, and microcredit, which were originally all
government functions
oEx. The failed state of Somalia has witnessed an explosion of NGO activity, performing vital economic
functions that the government is ill equipped to handle, commentators suggest that Somalia has governance
without a government
-NGOs seldom work alone as the communications revolution has allowed them to network and mobilize easier together,
and are developing regional and global networks through linkages with other NGOs
-We usually associate NGOs with humanitarian and environmental groups working for a greater, social, economic, or
political good, but NGOs may also be formed for malevolent purposes, such as Al Qaeda
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-The power of NGOs rely on soft power, meaning credible information, expertise, and moral authority that attracts
attention and admiration of governments and the public which means that they have the resources such as flexibility to
move staff rapidly depending on the need, independent donor bases, and links with grassroots groups that enable them
to operate in different areas of the world
-NGOs have distinct advantages over individuals, states, and intergovernmental organizations, because they are usually
politically independent from any sovereign state, so they can make and execute international policy more rapidly and
directly, and with less risk to national sensitivities, than IGOs can
-They can participate at all levels, from policy formation and decision making to implementation in they choose
-They can influence state behavior by initiating formal, legally binding action; pressuring authorities to impose
sanctions; carrying out independent investigations; and linking issues together in ways that force some measure of
compliance
-NGOs lack traditional forms of power, which means that they do not have military or police forces as governments do
and thus they cannot command obedience through physical means
-NGOs have very limited economic resources, thus the competition for funding is fierce, for example human rights
organizations often compete for the same donors
-If NGOs accept state funding then their neutrality and legitimacy is compromised, they may be forced to report their
successes in order to renew finances, thus there is a competitive scramble among NGOs for resources
4 & 6. How do IR theorists see IGOs, NGOs, and International Law?
Realist views of International Organizations and Law
-Realists are skeptical about international law, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations,
though they dont completely discount their place
-Realists contend that compliance to international law norms not because the norms are good and just in themselves but
because it is in the states self interest to comply
-States benefit from living in an ordered world, where there are some expectations about other statesbehavior because it
is in the best interest of the state to have the ability to navigate international waters, and enjoy secure procedures of
diplomatic relations and international trade
-Realists are skeptical and IGOs and NGOs as independent actors because IGOs are controlled by states, and states often
prefer weak organizations
oEx. Realists do not have much faith in the UN, as they can legitimately point to the Cold War era, when the
Security Council proved impotent in addressing the conflict between the US and Soviet Union
-In the state centric world of realists, NGOs are generally not on the radar screen at all because most NGOs exist at the
call of states; it is the states that grant them legal authority, and it is states that can take away that authority, and to
realists NGOs are not an independent actor
-States are reluctant to use international law and international organizations because they are unsure if they will function
as planned, they are skeptical if long term gains can be achieved, and essentially believe states will refuse to rely on the
collectivity for the protection of individual national rights
Radical view of International Organizations and Law
-Radicals are also skeptical about IGOs, NGOs, and international law as they see contemporary international law and
organizations as the product of a specific time and historical process emerging from eighteenth century liberalism
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-International law primarily comes from western capitalist sates and is designed to serve the interests of that
constituency, and international law is biased against the interests of socialist states, the weak, and the unrepresented
-IGOs most notably the League of Nations, the UN, were designed to support the interests of the powerful, and have
succeeded in sustaining the powerful elite against the powerless mass of weaker states
oEx. The UN imposed sanctions and the US invasion of Iraq following their invasion of Kuwait was to serve
the policies of the west and the USs capitalist friends in the international petroleum industry
-Radicals see the world of NGOs based in the North as dominated by members of the same elite who run the state and
international organizations, they see NGOs as falling under the power of the capitalist economic system and as captive
to the dominant interests of that system
Constructivist view of international organizations and law
-Constructivists place critical importance on institutions and norms
-Both IGOs and NGOs can be norm entrepreneurs that socialize and teach states new norms, which can change state
preferences, which in turn may influence state behavior
-Acknowledge that new international institutions have been developing at a rapid rate and are taking on more tasks but
warn that with such international authority, they might become dysfunctional, serving the interests of international
bureaucrats
-Laws play a key role for constructivists because it reflects changing norms
-A number of key norms are of particular interests to constructivists
oMultilateralism; the practice of joining with others in making decisions. Occurring outside and within formal
organizations, participants learn other norms, including the emerging prohibition against the use of nuclear
weapons, and the increasing norms and attention to human rights
Contending Perspectives on International Organizations and Law
Liberalism/Neoliberal
Institutionalism
Realism/ Neorealism Radicalism/Dependency
Theory
International organizations Important independent actors
for collective action
Skeptical of their ability to
engage in collective action
Serve interest of powerful
states; biased against weak
states and the unrepresented
Nongovernmental
organizations
Increasingly key actors that
represent different interests
and facilitate collective action
Not independent actors;
power belongs to states; and
NGO power is derived from
states
Represent dominant
economic interests; unlikely
to affect major political or
economic change
International Law Key source of order in the
international system; states
comply because law assures
order
Acknowledges that
international law creates
some order, but stresses that
states comply only when it is
in their self interest; states
prefer self help
Skeptical because origins of
law are in western capitalist
tradition; international law
only reaffirms claims of the
powerful
8. What is the Just War Tradition/Doctrine?
a.Think about just war doctrine, humanitarian intervention and Responsibility to Protect
b.Is the just war doctrine still applicable today? Given the changing nature of warfare in the 21st century, is it
still a viable doctrine by which to determine whether wars are just? Think about the various criteria under jus
ad bellum and jus in bello which are still applicable/which are not? Why/why not? Do we need a
reformulation of the just war doctrine to account for the changing nature of warfare in the 21st century?
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