• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye have described international relations as exhibiting 'complex interdependence'. What do they mean by this? How accurate a picture is it of the contemporary world arena?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye have described international relations as exhibiting 'complex interdependence'. What do they mean by this? How accurate a picture is it of the contemporary world arena? Keohane and Nye's theory of complex interdependence is a theory which tries to give an opposing view to the realist theories which have dominated world politics since the turn of the century. At the time of writing the cold war was dominating the contemporary world arena and this is evident in the authors writing. Complex interdependence is a liberal theory, it is my view that the arena we see today falls in the middle ground between the realist's 'soldiers and diplomats' and Keohane and Nye's ideal type of international system. The vital point of disagreement between Keohane and Nye's view and realist views is that they believe that military force does not take priority over other issues due to the costs involved. "Complex interdependence refers to a situation among a number of countries in which multiple channels of contact connect societies; there is no hierarchy of issues and military force is not used by governments towards one another." ...read more.

Middle

Hence vulnerability is a measure of a states ability to cater for a change in its environment. The use of raw materials is a good example of this. Two countries could have an equal level of sensitivity to a change in their potential import levels of raw materials however it is the accessibility of viable alternatives and at what cost which will show their respective level of vulnerability. Vulnerability is clearly a more important measure of interdependence that sensitivity. States are sometimes able to exploit other states vulnerability to achieve political manipulation of issues. This will involve a level of negotiation where power measured in terms of resources is measured against influence over outcomes. This practice is referred to by Keohane as "the political process of translation." Asymmetric interdependence has far more benefits for the stronger power in terms of the use of power. For example waltz says "US Foreign policy is replete with examples of how the United States has used its superior economic capabilities to promote its political and security interests." Strong states may make short term concessions to weaker states but that is in effect only to encourage them to follow policies of interdependence for the long run benefits of the stronger state. ...read more.

Conclusion

A good example of this is the European Parliament. International organisations play an ever increasing role in international relations today. This is in keeping with the theory of complex interdependence. As the use of military force becomes a less and less viable option increasing levels of international co-operation are inevitable. We can see examples of how the use of international organisations can be seen to benefit both stronger and weaker states. Stronger states often play a formulative role in the creation on Non-government organisations. This can lead to them holding a disproportional amount of power within that organisation. The US and the International Monetary fund are good examples of this. The IMF, based in Washington has been referred to by critics as merely an instrument of US foreign policy. Smaller states can benefit from using NGO's such as the World Trade Organisation as it is a relatively cheap and available partner in protecting its international interests. * A major area in which we can see the relevance of complex interdependence in the contemporary world arena is in states use of asymmetrical interdependencies for political gain. * . It has been seen on a number of occasions how trans-governmental contacts have in fact made it harder for more powerful state to exert their power on weaker opponents. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. Feminist approaches to the study of international relations theory

    By the late 1960's women peace researchers were analyzing power, "developing feminist conceptions of power as power to, or empowerment, rather than power over".3 Although feminists are united by their common desire for sexual justice and their concern for women's welfare, there is a wide spectrum of 'feminism'.2 These can

  2. Critically discuss the role and importance of international commercial arbitration as an alternative dispute ...

    (Bradgate & Savage (1994), Page 603) Each of these bodies has its own procedures for arbitration which avoids the problem of one country having different procedures from another, thereby creating a conflict over which jurisdiction should hear a case. Arbitration: the good and the bad There are some advantages of arbitration are arguable.

  1. Outline the debate about whether 'export-led growth' is better or worse than 'import substituting ...

    factor in, the rapid growth of net capital inflows to the region, brought with it policy challenges that were not met by the countries concerned, and helped to bring about the Asian Financial crisis of 1997. The export-led policy the region followed enabled a huge influx of capital into the

  2. Explain the evolution and characteristics of the debt problems of LDCs. In the light ...

    Devaluation imposed by the IMF regularly reached rates of 40-50%. The aim was to make the country's exports more competitive in order to increase stocks of foreign exchange required for debt repayments, while suppressing demand for imported products and reducing money supply.

  1. By the mid nineteenth century, Britain had been the world's strongest economic power for ...

    What emerges here is a double bind. Although Germany and America were turning out far more technically trained personnel in proportion to Britain, the British industry still had more than they wanted.30 There is also the 'third generation' theory which argues that subsequent generations of businessmen are less and less inclined to be creative, innovative or willing

  2. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    These trends are dragging the WTO in dangerous directions, away from the traditional market access focus of the GATT. Part Two shifts to the new WTO round. It surveys the political road-blocks impeding progress in the run-up to the Cancun Ministerial and beyond.

  1. Environmentalism and International Law - Considering "Asphalt and the jungle"

    The road project can lead to deforestation, which may lead to the extinction of some of these species. The international community is inclined to see the Amazon forest as a global resource, and is thus eager to ensure that the forest is protected.

  2. Critically evaluate Brazil's International Trade Policy in terms of key trade issues and primary ...

    The Brazilian government plays an important role in encouraging export production and the use of Brazilian inputs in exported products with a variety of tax and financial incentives. For example, Brazilian government has launched a program for the Northeast of Brazil which includes long-term financing of US$1.5 billion to the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work