I. INTERG OVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
• The Creation of International Organizations (IOs)
o Why have states chosen to organize themselves collectively? The response is found in
Within the framework of institutions, cooperation is possible
o Simple problems, often with technical (not political) solutions are common starting
points for IOs
o David Mitrany argues that states “bind together those interests which are common, where
they are common, and to the extent to which they are common.”
o They promote building on and expanding the habits of cooperation nurtured by groups of
technical experts. Eventually, those habits will spill over into cooperation in political and
• Collective Goods
o Collective goods are available to all members of the group regardless of individual
o The use of collective goods involves activities and choices that are interdependent.
Decisions by one states have effects for other states; that is, states can suffer
unanticipated negative consequences as a result of actions by others.
o Garrett Hardin, in The Tragedy of the Commons, proposed several possible pollutions to
the tragedy of the commons:
Use coercion: force nations and peoples to control the collective goods.
Restructure the preferences of states through rewards and punishments.
Alter the size of the group.
• The Roles of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
o IGOs contribute to habits of cooperation; through IGOs, states become socialized to
regular interactions. Such regular interactions occur between states in the United Nations.
Some establish regularized processes of information gathering, analysis, and
Some IGOs, such as the World Trade Organization, develop procedures to make
rules, settle disputes, and punish those who fail to follow the rules.
Other IGOs conduct operational activities that help to resolve major substantive
IGOs also play key roles in bargaining, serving as arenas for negotiating and
o IGOs often spearhead the creation and maintenance of international rules and principles.
They establish expectations about their behavior of other states. These are known as
o Charters if IGOs incorporate the norms, rules, and decisionmaking processes of regimes.
IGOs help to reduce the incentive to cheat and enhance the value of a good reputation.
For states, IGOs enlarge the possibilities for foreign policy making and add to the constraints under which states operate and especially implement foreign policy.
States join IGOs to use them as instruments of foreign policy.
IGOs also constrain states. They set agendas and force governments to make
decisions; encourage states to develop processes to facilitate IGO participation,
and create norms of behavior with which states must align their policies if they
wish to benefit from their membership.
IGOs affect individuals by providing opportunities for leadership. As individuals
work with or in IGOs, they, like states, may become socialized to cooperate
• The United Nations
o The UN was founded on three fundamental principles:
o The UN is based on the notion of the sovereign equality of member states. Each state is
legally equivalent of every other state.
o Only international problems are within the jurisdiction of the UN. Such problems include
human rights, global telecommunications, and environmental regulation.
o The UN is designed primarily to maintain international peace and security. States should
refrain from the threat or use of force and settle disputes through peaceful means.
o Security has broadened from the classical protection of national territory to human
security—providing humanitarian relief for refugees or the starving.
Security Council: responsible for ensuring peace and security and deciding
enforcement measures. Decisions must be unanimous and each of the five
permanent members has a veto.
General Assembly: with 192 member states, permits debate on any topic under
its purview. Since the end of the Cold War, the GA’s work has been marginalized,
and power has shifted back to the Security Council, much to the dismay of the
Group of 77, a coalition of developing states, regional groups, and the Group of
Secretariat: gathers information, coordinates and conducts activities. The
secretarygeneral is the chief spokesperson and administrative officer.
Economic and Social Counsel (ECOSOC): coordinates economic and social
welfare programs and coordinates action of specialized agencies.
Trusteeship Council: supervision has ended; proposals have been floated to
change its function to a forum for NGOs.
International Court of Justice: noncompulsory jurisdiction on cases brought by
states and international organizations.
• Key Political Issues
o The United Nations played a key role in the decolonization of Africa and Asia. The UN
Charter endorsed the principle of selfdetermination for colonial peoples.
o The emergence of new states transformed the United Nations because of the formation of
the Group of 77, pitting the North against the South. This conflict continues to be a
central feature of the United Nations.
o In traditional peacekeeping, multilateral institutions such as the United Nations seek to
contain conflicts between two states through thirdparty military forces. These military
units are drawn from small, neutral member states, invited by the disputants, and
primarily address interstate conflict.
o Complex peacekeeping activities respond also to civil war and ethnonationalist conflicts in states that have not requested UN assistance.
o UN peacekeepers have tried to maintain law and order in failing societies by aiding in
civil administration, policing, and rehabilitating infrastructure. This is referred to as
o Complex peacekeeping has had successes and failures. Namibia’s transition from war to
ceasefire and then to independence is seen as a success; Rwanda’s genocide and need for
humanitarian protection is seen as a failure.
• Reform: Success and failures
o Management: the size of the Secretariat has been reduced by 4,000. In the wake of the
Oil for Food scandal, new financial accountability mechanisms have been put in place
and internal oversight has been established.
o Reorganization: The High Commissioner for Human Rights, CounterTerrorism
Committee, and Department of Peacekeeping Operations have been restructured for
greater efficiency. In 2006 a Peacebuilding Commission was formed to address post
o Security Council: Most states agree that the council membership should be increased, but
many disagree over how it should be done, Europe is overrepresented, and Germany and
Japan contribute the most financially. China is the only developing country. Contending
proposals have been discussed but no agreement reached.
• A Complex Network of Intergovernmental Organizations
o There are nineteen specialized agencies formally affiliated with the United Nations.
These organizations have separate charters, budgets, memberships, and secretariats. They
also focus on different issues. Examples include the World Bank and Food and
o There are IGOs not affiliated with the United Nations, including the World Trade
Organization and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as regional
organizations like the African Union.
• The European Union—Organizing Regionally
o Historical Evolution
After World War II, an economically strong Europe (made possible by a
reduction of trade barriers and help from the United States) knew it would be
better equipped to counter the threat of the Soviet Union if it integrated.
The European Coal and Steel Community represented the first step toward
realizing the idea. This became so successful that states agreed to expand
Under the European Economic Community, six states agreed to create a common
market—removing restrictions on internal trade, reducing barriers to movement
of people, services, and capital, and establishing a common agricultural policy.
New areas were gradually brought under the umbrella of the community,
including health, safety, and consumer standards.
In 1986, the most important step was taken in deepening the integration process
—the signing of the Single European Act (SEA), which established the goal of
completing a single market by 1992.
The Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, and the European Community became
the European Union (EU). Members committed themselves to a political union,
including the establishment of common foreign policies, a single currency, and
regional central bank.
The 1997 Amsterdam Treaty put more emphasis on the rights of individuals, citizenship, and justice.
The increased power of the EU has not been without its opponents. The United
Kingdom opted out of the monetary union, and some Europeans fear a
diminution of national sovereignty and are reluctant to surrender their democratic
rights to nonelected bureaucrats.
In 2004, the proposed European Constitution was signed by members of the
heads of state, but both the French and Dutch electorate rejected the document.
Power initially resided in the Commission, which is designed to represent the
interests of the community as a whole. Increasingly, the Council of Ministers,
with a weighted voting system, has assumed more power.
The increasing power of the European Parliament is one area of change. Since
the 1980s it has gained a greater legislative role.
The growing power of the European Court of Justice is another change. The court
has the responsibility for interpreting and enforcing EU law.
o Policies and Problems
Among the many controversial issues has been the failed effort to develop a
common European foreign and security policy. The split between who supported
the 2003 Iraq war and those who opposed it is suggestive.
Issues surrounding widening are equally as problematic. Should the EU continue
to expand its membership by reaching out to Eastern European states and the
former Soviet Union? Can Turkey eventually meet the criteria for membership?
• Other regions have sought to follow the EU model, while still others have sought a different role
• The Organization of American States (OAS) has followed a different path from that of the EU.
o In 1948 the OAS adopted wide ranging goals: political, economic, social, and military.
o The OAS not has rules for the protection of democratic government in the form of rules
prohibiting members from supporting coups in member states.
• The African Union (AU) replaced the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002.
o The OAU had been a weak organization as its members were