Currently one can observe profound changes in the entire system of international relations. Globalization, their most significant new feature, makes scientists ask questions about all countries peaceful cohabitation. Deriving the concept of globalization from Wendy Larner and William Walter’s definition (Larner & Walters, 2004, p. 496), it can be said that no action (economic, social, legal, political, military, etc.), no process in society, in our lives, no matter how ambitious or, on the contrary, private it may be, cannot be considered limited only by itself. Interconnection and interdependence of individual processes and phenomena are enhanced, which requires the recognition and measurement of reverse effects of all the consequences for both closer and more distant spheres. Certain situations in policy can be caused not only and not so much by political factors as economic, social, ethnic, and in the economy, they may be due not only and not so much to economic factors. Globalization in a broad sense means a significant increase of emergence, implementation, and impacts of individual affairs in the various areas of life. With respect to the issues addressed the whole world community and system of international relations become the field of human activities. In this case the norms, adopted by states, should bear universal meaning and character and function as an effective tool for achieving people’s goals. The essay will argue that the increasing role of sub-national actors (IOs) as well as necessity to comply with universal human rights make states respect norms. Only the shared understanding and implementation of norms can guarantee stable development for all members of the globalized community.
The increasing role of international organizations and the emergence of new actors require total revision of the existing norms, which need to act in accordance to the interests of the world community. Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore argue that international organizations are not mere structural units in the system of international relations and global governance (Barnett & Finnemore, 2005, p. 161). States rely on IOs and delegate some of the important functions, such as establishing credible commitments, monitoring agreements, ensuring individual and collective welfare etc. However, these functions omit the essence of IOs, which do not act in accordance to state’s will, but perform their unique social functions by constructing the new social world on a basis of cooperation and negotiation. Therefore it can be said that IOs possess certain autonomy enhanced by their authority. Being extremely rational and technocratic IOs get legitimation by acting in the universal liberal sphere. Liberalism gives IOs freedom to act independently and get involved into inter-state cooperation. Although inter-state organizations have a much greater impact on the international political development to the extent that the principal actors in the international arena remain the states, the impact of IOs’ rationality is much deeper. The constantly growing numbers of IOs with the increasing globalization of the world system increase the number of various cross-border interactions. Such a development can be seen as a precondition for a radical transformation of the system of international relations and the formation of a global world community in which self-organization and regulation of social processes will be carried out not by the interaction between the states, but directly through the mechanisms of IOs’ cooperation. International NGOs in this case can be considered as elements of the emerging global civil society. The impact of non-governmental organizations on international affairs cannot be overestimated due to the fact that they can raise issues that are not affected by the activities of governments, collect, process and disseminate information about international issues that require public attention; initiate specific approaches to the problems and to encourage the states to conclude appropriate agreements; monitor the activities of the states in various spheres of international life and national implementation of their commitments; mobilize public opinion and influence political decisions. The liberal doctrine finds its best implementation in the activities of such IOs. However, not all modern IOs bear such positive connotations. Barnett and Finnemore mention the destructive impact of the IMF, WB, and the WTO in terms of putting economic growth above internal social affairs (Barnett & Finnemore, 2005, p. 168) Therefore, the emergence of a growing number of non-state actors, which operate in the international arena in parallel with the states and in a certain manner challenge their monopoly position, requires the states to establish such norms that will find a compromise between the state and the IOs.
The dispersion of decision-making on a global level requires the states in cooperation with IOs to develop the model of governance that will combine all actors’ interests. According to Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks, centralized authority cannot be justified in this case (Hooghe & Marks, 2003, p. 233). The authors propose two different models of coordination between local and global actors based on the notions of flexible governance and multi-level governance. The first model of such governance is based on theoretical works of the federalists, which is based on relatively few levels on which different governments function. The main inter-governmental relations are between the central government and subnational governments. The main feature of such model is that jurisdictions of different levels of governance do not intersect (Hooghe & Marks, 2003, p. 237). The best example of such model is the European Union, where EU main bodies develop the main principles of EU members’ cooperation and each state implements these norms with regard to national specificities. If we are to implement this model with regard to IOs’ role in the international relation it will be providing the main IOs with a certain jurisdiction equal or similar to the states’. This measure will create certain norm or models of interaction between the states and IOs. In this case IOs will not only use their authority, but also will held responsibility before people. The second model, proposed by Hooghe and Marks, stresses on task-specificity of each jurisdiction. According to this model, the citizens are served not by the government, but by public service industries (Hooghe & Marks, 2003, p. 237). This model is quite common at a local level, where social problems are solved by a set of organizations and public services. In this case each service is provided by the jurisdiction, which handles the issue most effectively. Although this model is used in the international relations theories (Rosenau’s “fragmentation”) there is no evidence that such practices can be implemented on a global level. It is more realistic that this type of flexible governance will be implemented under the leadership of the government; for example, the IMF’s branch will deal with people’s finances locally being autonomous of the central government. In this case the IOs will have a certain sphere of competence officially recognized by the state. This model will benefit both actors: the state will establish such norms, under which will feel confortable in dealing with the national affairs, and the IOs will deal with concrete problems of local communities under official recognition of the state. In any case the state aims at creation of such norms that will be mutually beneficial for all world actors. Answering the initial question of the essay in terms of IOs’ role it can be said that the state will respect norms when all actors respect them as well in order to ensure peaceful and effective co-existence.
The second argument treats universal human rights as a basis, on which states should respect norm. In order to secure human rights as a universal concept all states should respect norms equally, otherwise the concept will not work. There are two problems modern political scientists face while dealing with this problem: the lack of strong explanatory basis of the concept of human rights and heterogeneity of the political regimes, which treat human rights differently. Hunjoon Kim and Kathryn Sikkink collected data on 100 transitional countries to find out whether prosecution of human rights violations can decrease repression (Kim & Sikkink, 2010, p. 939). According to the authors, the increased enforcement of law contributed to lessening of the state repressions. Both normative and coercive factors contribute significantly to the explanation of human rights’ commitment, however during the transition period many states (so-called “spoilers”) use their amnesty right to violate any norms of traditional justice (Kim & Sikkink, 2010, p. 958). In this case the concepts of linkages and leverages by Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way help to advance this research. Under linkages the authors understand social, political or economic bonds between non-democratic or transitional regime (where human rights’ violation is more possible), under leverages – the vulnerability of the external democratization pressure (mainly from the US and EU) (Levitsky & Way, 2006, p. 379). If democracy is to be defined as such regime, which complies with human rights it can be seen that human rights in non-democratic countries are often violated. No improvements in this sphere are possible without democratization, based on the concepts of linkages and leverages. Countries with weak linkages seldom achieve positive results in human rights enforcement. Western leverage can also be limited by the existence of the regional leader or divisions in pro-democracy camp (Levitsky & Way 2006, p. 383). In both cases the very notion of human rights in these countries is put under threat. The fact that universal human rights are not well grounded theoretically is obvious. To make human rights universal (as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms of 1948) it is necessary that all countries without any exceptions respect this piece of international norm as a basis of their existence. But unless the community of nations does not sort out the fundamental principles of the phenomenon of human rights, it will not be able to make competent and adequate measures to guarantee, and most importantly, to implement human rights. Unless the community of nations does not integrate on this basis the universal human rights will have “double standards” in their realization. Answering the initial question from the prospective of human rights, it can be concluded that the states should respect this norm in order to guarantee the true equality of people’s rights in the world. However, human rights can become universal only when all countries treat this norm as something innate to human dignity. Democracy as a set of institutions can spread human rights as a value through mechanisms of linkages and leverages. The human rights persecution, Hunjoon and Sikkink were writing about, can work only when the country democratizes. Before the minimum set of institutional requirements is not fulfilled prosecution will not affect the human rights sphere significantly.
The essay reviewed two cases when countries need to respect norms. The first case was due to the IOs’ growing influence in the system of international relations and the necessity to create fair rules of the international policy for all actors. Two systems of governance, proposed by Hooghe and Marks, have a potential to create these mutually beneficial norms for both state and IO. Although the state lost its monopoly in international relations, it holds strong positions in international decision-making, which lets it create such norm that will be respected by all actors. The second case when state needs to respect norms is related to human rights. The Declaration of the Universal Human Rights and Freedoms makes human rights universal value for liberal countries. However the problem arises when scientists deal with non-democratic regimes that do not hesitate to violate these rights. In this case combination of prosecutions, linkages and leverages can significantly contribute to state’s democratization. Finally, it needs to be said that liberal democracy, no matter how many drawbacks it has, is built on the states’ respect for norms.
Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. 2003. Unraveling the Central State, but How? Types of Multi-Level Governance. The American Political Science Review, 97 (2), pp. 233-243..
Kim, H. and Sikkink, K. 2010. Explaining the Deterrence Effect of Human Rights Prosecutions for Transitional Countries. International Studies Quarterly, 54 pp. 939-963..
Larner, W. and Walters, W. 2004. Globalization as Governmentality. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 29 (5), pp. 495-514.
Levitsky, S. and Way, L. 2006. Linkage versus Leverage. Rethinking the International Dimension of Regime Change. Comparative Politics, 38 (4), pp. 379-400.
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