International organizations therefore have the power to not only formulate but also implement policies based on the way they carry out their day to day affairs; their policies and through the advice of their expert opinion (Alexandar). Most often than not, international organizations act above international cooperation and surpass their influence above influencing state interests to affect the sovereignty different states enjoy. More fortunate (or unfortunate) is the fact that with this kind of influence, international organizations can even assign new norms and values to existing states; in addition to creating new states. An example would be Bosnia and Kosovo which are, to some extent, run by the international community. However it is important to understand that that is a rare occurrence and is thought to be a temporary solution therefore it is hard to suggest this as a core function of International Organizations in general.
Another important role is the administrative role international organizations play. “International organizations have in some quarters been perceived to have the power of creating small administrative units or acting as administrative units in their own right”. The UN backed administration in Kosovo is one such attempt by an international organization to establish an administrative unit while the OSCE mission in Bosnia is also another attempt to impose a parallel administrative unit in addition to the already existing system. Certain strong international organizations possess a lot of power over other states and even impose sanctions on other states if they don’t adhere to their resolutions. International organizations which have this capability include the WTO, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nations Security council (Alexandar). It is therefore easy to influence international politics through the control of international organizations because of the growing influence and power of such organizations. . However, this depends on several factors such as the strength of a state or who its supporters are.
International organizations are therefore in a position to influence the institutional and political landscapes of all countries within its sphere of influence, although some observers note that these “organizations act in the interests of the states involved”. They also act as catalysts for change and socialization, with notable organizations upholding such an agenda being Council of Europe and OSCE (which is active in the Eastern part of Europe). Interestingly, states give rise to these international organizations but once they are on their feet, they selfishly act in their own interests; even above operational and functional levels (Alexandar). This fact is affirmed by Renalda who says “it appears that sub-national and trans-national organized interests have become influential actors in politics and are noticeably active on their own or by means of collective action through a number of existing and rapidly emerging international organizations”.
When analyzed from a functional perspective, it can be affirmed that even the staff who work in these international organizations have a lot of influence in the operational decisions various governments make because their influence may sometimes spill over into other decision making contexts. In this manner, international organizations have a high degree of independence but their activities can be extensively perceived as normative because of their capability in creating their own rules and their persistence in abiding by their own norms and special expertise. With this kind of power largely entrusted with such organizations, international organizations can not only influence or regulate international politics but they can also construct the social world (Alexandar).
In conclusion, it is fair to say that international organizations have a significant degree of authority over state operations thereby giving them the capability of influencing the international system. This authority is usually unrivaled by state interests because different states are also under the obligation of adhering to resolutions made by international organizations. Because states have given these international bodies a lot of authority, their (international organizations’) wishes ultimately dictate state actions and how different states relate with others. In the same respect, Haftel affirms that “the independence of an institution largely determines its authority and influence – in short, its ability to shape international politics”. Therefore, some International organizations such as the European Union can be termed as independent bureaucracies who have their own independent set of rules, norms and values which they abide by (and also force states to abide by). In this manner, international organizations qualify as independent non-state actors which influence international politics. In the same regard, Barnett claims that “the rational-legal authority that International organizations embody gives them power independent of the states that created them and channels that power in particular directions”. International organizations therefore possess a lot of authority in the international system; in that, they hold states up to specific policies and laws which they formulate while partially acting as independent administrative units which have the power to influence state actions at operational and functional levels. This comes in contrary to the Liberal view
Alexandar, Andrew. To What Extent Are International Organizations (Ios) Autonomous Actors in World Politics? 2010. 3 November. 2010.
Barnett, Michael. “The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organizations”. International Organization 53.4 (1999): 699-732.
Reinalda, Bob. Decision Making Within International Organizations; With a Foreword by Robert W. Cox. London: Routledge, 2004.
Reinalda, Bob. Decision Making Within International Organization. Page 11
Barnett, Michael. The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organizations. Page 723
Alexandar, Andrew. To What Extent Are International Organizations (Ios) Autonomous Actors in World Politics? Page 4
Alexandar, Andrew. To What Extent Are International Organizations (Ios) Autonomous Actors in World Politics? Page
Reinalda, Bob. Decision Making Within International Organizations. Page 18
Barnett, Michael. The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organizations. Page 699