Analysis of Stephen Harpers Speech to the UN General Assembly
International relations refer to the relationships between different countries. It includes the study of the roles of the state, inter-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and multinationals. The theories seek to analyze and formulate foreign policies of different states. International relations theories were developed to aid in the formulation of foreign policies. The theories attempt to offer a conceptual framework for analyzing and formulating policies on international relations. The recent changes in the global politics have rendered various nation-based policies obsolete. Additionally, there is an increasing interaction of international politics. Thus, there is a need to develop a deeper understanding on the relevance and applicability of international relations theories. Realism, liberalism, and constructivism are the most popular international relations theories. Analyzing the application of these theories is vital in developing a deeper understanding of the relations between various countries. An analysis of Stephen Harper’s speech to the UN General Assembly would be critical in developing an understanding of liberalism and realism theories.
Neoliberalism is the most prevalent international relations theory in Stephen Harper’s speech; there are various reasons for drawing this conclusion. Neoliberalism is an international relations theory, which was developed to seek ways in which international organizations and other non-state players would promote international cooperation. Harper is a neoliberalist; his speech concentrates on the various functions of the UN in the promotion of international cooperation. He argues that Canada contributed significantly to the formation of the United Nations. Additionally, he argues that resolving disputes in a peaceful manner would make the world a better place.
Neoliberalism aim at promoting progress, prosperity, and peace by employing such measures as international prohibition and community consensus on colonialism, slavery, piracy, dueling, the slaughter of certain animals, and restraining uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources (Kegley, 2007). Harper is a neoliberalist since he is opposed to colonization and advocates for the equality of all nations. In his speech, Harper promotes his belief on the sovereign equality of all nations, the obligation to settle disputes in a peaceful manner, and demand to seek justice and promote human rights. The advocacy for the equality of all nations, human rights, and justice rather than the oppression of the poor, portrays Harper’s neoliberalism ideologies. Furthermore, Harper tackles various measures, which have been implemented to help the world’s poor people who are struggling with oppression, disaster, and poverty.
Democratic governance, mass education, public opinion, free trade, international law and organization, liberal and commercial enterprise, arms control and disarmament, ethically inspired statecraft, and collective security and multilateral democracy characterize neoliberalism (Kegley, 2007). Harper’s neoliberalism ideologies are depicted through his calls on various measures for the restoration of democracy in various countries. He is concerned with the condition in Afghanistan and the efforts, which the United Nations is undertaking in the restoration of democracy in Afghanistan. Harper is also a believer in international law and organizations; he strongly advocates and supports the UN efforts on the global arena. The deteriorating conditions in the Middle East are worrying; Harper advocates for the resumption of the direct talks between Israel and Palestine rather than for war.
There are various international theories, which are not present in Harper’s speech; realism ideologies evidently lack from the speech. Realism as an international relations theory perceives the state, which has the highest authority as the most significant player in the international platform (Kegley, 2007). The Prime Minister concedes that Canada has limited opportunities in capturing one of the two available non-permanent seats in the United Nation’s Security Council. Realists seek the survival of the state and advocate for any measures to achieve this end; thus, Harper is not a realist since he advocated for withdrawal. In addition, Harper appreciates the key roles played by governments in the international platform. However, he advocates for the critical role played by international organizations in the international platform.
Realists assume that conflicts of interest between different states are inevitable. It emphasizes on the anarchical nature of international politics in dictating the choices of foreign policy makers; as rational problem solvers, foreign policy makers evaluate their interest in terms of power (Kegley, 2007). Therefore, Harper is not a realist since he supports the efforts, which are being undertaken to restore peace and harmony in the Middle East. He advocates and supports efforts, which are aimed at restoring peace in the area. Harper does not advocate for the survival of the state and the adoption of any measures to this end; he is concerned with the restoration of direct talks in the Middle East in a bid to restore peace in the area.
Harper is not a realist; he supports various measures that have been instituted for the development of various poor nations; realists primarily seek the state’s self interest and survival. In his speech, Harper addresses the various ongoing efforts, which are targeted at improving the poor conditions in these countries. He advocates for the development efforts, which have been made in such countries as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan. Furthermore, Harper talks of Canada’s cancellation of billions of dollars in debt owed to the country by various developing countries. Harper supports the development projects, which are targeted towards poor countries rather that efforts, which target the self interests of a state.
In conclusion, the analysis of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speech depicts various aspects of international relations theories. However, neoliberalism is the most prevalent theory in the speech. Harper raised various arguments and supported various issues, which led us to conclude that he is a neoliberalism. However, various aspects of the speech have led to the conclusion that Harper is not a realist. His advocacy of various issues was inclined towards liberalism ideologies rather than realism.
Kegley, C. W. (2007). World Politics: Trend and Transformation, 2007-2008 Update. (11th ed.).
New York: Wadsworth Publishing.