Law free essay: International Politics: Article on ‘Less Than Zero’
International Politics: Article on ‘Less Than Zero’
Do you agree or disagree with the authors? Why?
Global politics as has been witnessed is driven by different actors and the level of analysis has to be based on these actors that include individuals, state and systems. It’s true that the world needs to eliminate the nuclear threats in order to instill world stability. But states have been known to oppose the Global Zero move that calls for phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide for their own selfish interests (Joffe and Davis, 2011, p 3). According to Realism theory, the resistance to the disarmament can only be interpreted as a selfish move by nations where most want to consolidate power and dominance over others and the security dilemma that comes with disarmament (D’Anieri, 2011, 65). While most states would like to disarm, they are afraid that they will become vulnerable to their enemies who may delay to disarm. This reduces the pace towards zero nuclear power as countries arm themselves to feel secure.
The Global Zero move also makes more sense in that the current situation will just perpetuate the state of anarchy if untamed. States cannot be considered to be rational enough as they will always want to gain more power over their enemies, whether real or perceived. China, North Korea, Iraq, India have all attempted to build strong nuclear power to overcome possible threat or imminent war (Joffe and Davies, 2011, p 7). This fear of subordination or will to gain regional supremacy or hegemony needs to be tame.
In addition, the renewed spread of nuclear weapons in the recent past after countries agreed to halt further development showed the need for action. While the five major nuclear power nations have reduced their nuclear warheads, other smaller states have increased their nuclear weapons and this might result to world security instability (Joffe and Davis, 2011, p 4).
On the other hand, the move by Global zero towards a phased disarmament is challengeable as it seeks to reduce the nuclear weapons among nations including superpowers. This is likely to leave the world with a super power without the mighty and will to attack to bring sanity in the world full of selfish starts and increased regional anarchy (Joffe and Davis, 2011, p 14). According to realists, such a move would destabilize the balance of power which keeps states and regions in some order and sanity. Since more powerful states are perceived to be, the safer they are and disarmament might increase insecurity and the cycle may continue as states seek to secure their territories (D’ Anieri, 2011, 66).
What theory of international relations does the article seem to illustrate? why?
The article has illustrated various theories of international relation including Realism, Liberalism, Economic structuralism and Constructivism. To start with realism theory, the article in paragraph 7 and 9 shows that states act in their selfish interest and always want to gain more power over their rivals as well as regional supremacy as illustrated by Iraq acquisition of nuclear power. This is done even when there is no possibility of eminent attack. Realism is also illustrated by a state of anarchy that characterizes the global politics (Joffe and Davis, 2011, 8). States are in constant struggle to overcome each other and rivalry keeps on rising.
The article also shows Liberalism thinking which puts more emphasis on systems and the need for cooperation among nation states. The Global Zero move requires the cooperation of nations and not necessary use of force so that states can disarm. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970 where five major nuclear powers agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals on condition that nonnuclear states refrain from acquiring them is a good case in point (Joffe and Davis, 2011, 8). The article also illustrates Liberalism in paragraph 12 where powerful nations have acted in cooperation to reduce nuclear warheads in collective interest of the whole world as opposed to Realists who argue that state is unitary.
Economic structuralism has also been illustrated in the article where nations have developed nuclear weapons for economic gain. For example, North Korea learnt that increase in nuclear power comes with enormous profits. Economic offers re made to nations with nuclear power for them to disarm (Joffe and Davis, 2011, 8).
Do other theories apply to this article? Which ones?
There are other theories which apply to this article. For example, capitalism and war where nations try to out power one another for economic reasons. Any warfare is most likely driven by an interest to acquire economic resources or protect markets. Capitalism provides states with the incentives to expand (D’Anieri, 2011, 182). The theory of rationalism and balance of power by Friedrich Gentz also fits under this article. Moral skepticism and law by Gentius also illustrates states behavior in the international arena as documented by the article. The article also shows individual level theories where individuals in the global arena influence relations due to their aggressive nature (Joffe and Davis, 2011, p 20).
Is this something you should worry about or is it a waste of time? Why?
Proliferation of nuclear weapons is something to be worried about as it’s a threat to global peace. If nations were to be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, then the world could be destabilized. Nations need to be kept in check as reduction in nuclear weapons among powerful states and acquisition by nonnuclear states would mean more uncertainty in the world and create a security dilemma (D’ Anieri, 2011, 66). The approach taken to reduce spread of nuclear weapons is also important as absence of nuclear power would mean that countries are more likely to go to war as the consequences are not dare as when states have nuclear weapons which acts as enough deterrent (Joffe and Davis, 2011, p 20). As states disarm, there is need to build mechanisms on how to maintain the new order. A powerful state will still be needed to instill discipline and intervene when need be. Conversely, states need not to worry so much as it has been demonstrated that there can be more peace even with reduction of nuclear weapons as witnessed by 65 years of peace after the second World War (Joffe and Davis, 2011, 19). All that is needed is an open and integrated approach where nations agree to cooperate and reduce the possibility of going into war due to the ‘premium on haste’ brought about by small arsenal which have relatively lesser repercussions (Joffe and Davis, 2011, 20).
Is this something American should become more actively involved or not? Why?
US being the superpower cannot afford to sit and watch as global politics take a different direction. They have a moral obligation to influence the new world order which is going to come with such moves which will alter the way states relates, warfare and tensions are resolved. In addition, to solve global issues powerful states are needed as asserted by realists who believe that international tensions or anarchy requires strong state leadership (D’Anieri, 2011, 74).
US also need to ensure that as nations reduce their nuclear weapons, nonnuclear nations don’t acquire them. It must also maintain its oversight role in global politics which act as deterrent to aggressive states.
List of references
D’Anieri, Paul. International politics: Power and purpose in global affairs, 2nd ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010
Joffe, Josef & Davis, James. Less than zero. Foreign Affairs, 90 (1), 7-13. Retrieved from EBSCOhost, 2011
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