The ongoing process of international integration is often referred to as ‘globalization’. An organization called the ‘United Nations’ (UN) is specifically important as it is contributing to this process by creating a possibility for its members to discuss problems, initiatives and much more. Almost all states are its members and through that an important environment is created for international integration. The question this article tries to answer is; ‘Is international integration an advantage or disadvantage for world peace?’.
An answer is tried to be found through the exploration of the process of globalization, its link to the UN and the current conflict in Syria. The case study of the current conflict in Syria explores how the UN works in certain situations and the problems it faces for acting on an international level.
It will be used as an example to find an answer to the main question. As the UN is almost an universal organization it is the terrain for endless discussion between its members who all have certain interests. But its democratic character may not be truly valid as certain actors have more power than others, influencing the process of equal input. International integration and its features are constantly developing and as will be described the process has multiple consequences, positive and negative ones.
Modern society anno 2012 could be described as an interconnected world where information is shared at a rapid pace through various channels as internet, television and telecommunications. Mankind has evolved a curiosity in everything that happens around him. Nowadays it is possible to acquire the latest news by a single mouse click and we are excited to share even the slightest happenings through our personal domains such as Facebook and Twitter. A global network of intelligence arose with the development of modern day communication resources, one of the reasons for the process ofglobalization (Jeffery, 2002).
The general understanding of the process of globalization is the increasing international integration of the world caused by mass trade and cultural exchange (Fincle & Govale, 2012). Although opinions also seem to differ about the meaning of the concept it is generally accepted that it is concerned with the growing scope, speed and intensity of interconnectedness worldwide (Goldstein & Pevehouse, 2011). Reasons given for globalization are; freedom of trade, improvements of transportation, labor wages and skills and improvement of communication resources (Fincle & Govale, 2012).
Globalization has resulted in increased international trade, transnational corporations, faster and better accessibility of information, freer movement of persons and a greater dependence on the world economy. Opponents of globalization see an expanding gap between the rich and the poor, as wealthy states drain human and natural resources from less developed countries for unfair compensations (Jeffery, 2002).
Several indicators for globalization have been developed over the last decades, relevant are their variables and data they use. One of the first indicators designed and one that is used as reference for many others is the Kearney/FP index which is supported by a database (Lombaerde & Iapadre, 2007). It takes into account; “[…] the economic integration in the world economy, the extent of international political engagement, the internationalization of personal contacts of citizens and the use of internet technology.”
(Lombaerde & Iapadre, 2007, p.3). The Modified Globalization Index, by Martens and Zywietz, includes these four variables and adds another two;”[…] the involvement of a country’s military-industrial complex with the rest of the world, and the intensity of globalization in the ecological domain.” (Lombaerde & Iapadre, 2007,p.4)
Their definition of globalization is; “[…]the intensification of cross-national cultural, economic, political, social and technological interactions that lead to the establishment of transnational structures and the global integration of cultural, economic, environmental, political and social processes on global, supranational, national, regional and local levels.” (Lombaerde & Iapadre, 2007,p.4). Another is the Dreher globalization index that builds on the Kearney/FP index and emphasizes on information flows and international integration through economic policy development.
Another description of globalization is found in the work of Gibbens, who seems to agree that globalization is a process of cultural, political and economical integration of nation states throughout the globe (Giddens, 2000). Ritzer(2004) introduces, actually prefers, the use of the term ‘grobalization’, since he focuses on the imperialistic character of nations and transnational corporations. He pinpoints the will to integrate internationally by those who have the resources required.
International integration is a worldwide process with consequences. The process is steered by forces and it is important to mention that these forces are not divided equally across the world but rather are directed from a centre (Iadicola, 2008). Nowadays the United States of America is in this centre of a so-called global empire. It has the most influence on international organizations and the determination of integration on political, economical and societal levels among nation states (Iadicola, 2008).
Iadicola(2008)researched this power centre empire idea. A passage concerned with globalization states that;”[…] globalization is in part a product of the power of empires as a result of conquest and trade and immigration creating patterns of cultural diffusion.”(Iadicola, 2008, p. 2-3). Globalization started long ago and it intensified during the colonial era. Yet, nowadays it seems globalization has increased in speed and reach as could be explained by the intense growth communication means, with internet as key feature.
The empire has played a sufficient role in the distribution of capital flows, trade and economic partnership. Integrating more and more states into the world economy does not mean that wealth is equally divided among them, as Iadicola(2008) describes;”[…] the structure of international flows of income, investments, and royalty payments today does not correspond to any notion of an interdependent world that is mutually benefiting from these flows. In contrast, singular concentration and unidirectional flows towards imperial-based corporations dominates the process of globalization[…].”(Iadicola, 2008).
Empires have determined the forces of globalization for ages, The British Empire is a prime example of how trade was used to connect multiple continents. But also the Greek, Ottoman and the European empires as the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch were all involved in international integration as they claimed overseas territories in the form of colonies and motivated international trade(Iadicola, 2008).
Maier(2005)sees the empire as a major, leading actor in international integration. The forces needed to influence globalization are found at this actor. Empires are organized by and for those who principally control resources and production and not by those who work for it, as the empire has a class ideology(Maier, 2005).
The empire has four essential features that relate to its influence or penetration of those dominated by it. These features can be seen as globalization forces, used to gain more wealth, power and increased global cultures. It uses; military-, economic-, cultural- and political penetration and integration. The USA has used these means with increasing intensity over the last decades to expand their interest (Iadicola, 2008).
Globalization can be seen as international integration at multiple levels. Its intensification over the last decades can be attributed to new and faster ways of communication, increased global trade and the need of the empire for expanding its power. Yet, there is more to describe that will help to discover its limitations, overall developments and influence.
Relevant for the increasing international integration is international law. International law can be seen a system of principles, rules, concepts and norms for governing and managing relations among states, intergovernmental organizations(IGO), nongovernmental organizations(NGO), individuals and several other actors in globalization.
International law’s main sources of creation are custom and treaties(conventions). Customary international law can be seen as law that arises from certain, commonly practiced actions by states. An example is the immunity diplomats enjoy in foreign countries. Custom will most of the time be formalized into a treaty, the most important source of international law (Scott, 2010).
These laws are created to rise expectations, create stability among states and determine how states should interact on international level as well as national. Although states enjoy sovereignty, they are restrained when certain agreements are made between states and adaptation of domestic policy might be required and is sometimes urgent (Shaw, 2008). International law is created by states, IGO’s and NGO’s and it is made for them.
The creation of international law is an outcome of international integration where states work together to set boundaries, create rules and determine what is important. Through international law it becomes clear that globalization influences all involved and will have consequences. The UN is the major actor that creates the environment for the adaptation of international law, what will become clear later in the article.
As mentioned, treaties are the main source of international law. It is an agreement that legally binds parties under international law (Scott, 2010). There are bilateral, two parties involved, and multilateral treaties in where three or more parties participate. The focus on international integration makes it relevant to research multilateral treaties.
“A multilateral treaty is the culmination of what may have been a long political process.[…]Once the treaty document is in place it provides the central focus for the continuation of the political process that, together with the treaty itself, can now be referred to as a ‘regime’.[…] a pattern of cooperation[…]”(Scott, 2010, p. 161-163).
According to Krasner(1983) a regime is “[…] principles, norms, rules and decision-making processes around which actor expectations converge in a given issue area.”(Scott, 2010, p. 163). The described passage provides a reasonable idea of what a regime in international law is. To establish a regime several factors or processes are involved. The first process is that of there being an issue of importance that concerns three or more states(Scott, 2010).There is a need to manage a common problem. It triggers the process of international integration.
This need will be generated by negotiations, the second process. It is in this phase that states or certain parties have the possibility to define, prioritize and recommend. Negotiations happen between states, but also between IGO’s and NGO’s who are capable of putting certain issues on the agenda of states, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(Scott, 2010). During the negotiations parties are able to hear each other out, trade information or make proposals.
The very existence of a variety of parties makes it tempting to think that there are many issues that need attention, much negotiations happen and that there are an enormous amount of multilateral treaties. The last part is a fact, a solid proof of an interconnected world, where cooperation is extensively exercised. Yet, the value of an issue depends on by who it is presented.
As mentioned before, globalization seems to be steered by an empire and especially from its centre. Scott(2010) does not mention empire, but he uses a different term, ‘hegemon’. “The theory of hegemonic stability suggests, most basically, that a regime emerges when a hegemon-a state with preponderant power- regards such a regime as being in its best interests. The United States has been a world hegemon since World War II.”(Scott, 2010, p. 165).
A hegemon is a super power who is capable of exercising positive leadership and is capable of making others accept its preferences. Short term costs areseen as a possibility when the hegemon regards the regime to be useful and will pay off in the long run.
Phase three and four are closely related. In the event of a conference all parties, or its delegations are presented the basic draft of the treaty in where an issue is tried to be managed. Proposals of laws, measures to be taken or cooperation to be achieved are presented and discussed during the conference which will result in a final draft on which all parties agree. Phase four is adoption and ratification of the final draft, legally binding all parties. A regime is established.
Globalization is for a large part achieved through treaty making, where parties work together to find solutions, create plans for development and control processes. Besides states working together, individuals can influence its process by creating needs, address problems and inform. The modern means of communication have increased the connectivity between society and those in power as international integration is increasing on all levels.
Some multilateral treaties establish an international organization that is concerned with the provisions the treaty entails. The United Nations
The most known international organization, made up of states, is the United Nations(UN). It was established via the UN charter, a multilateral treaty, stating its goals, procedures, means and measures and much more on how all participants were to act. It started with 51 member states and it has 193 nowadays. The UN is an organization that reaches all over the globe and it is possible for every member to address a problem during certain occasions(Scott,2008).
The UN is as it were an umbrella organization, it established many others to carry out what was agreed upon in the UN charter. The UN has so many organizations that it practically is involved all over the world with all kinds of problems on economical, social and conflict matters(Scott, 2008).
The UN charter is made of several articles, divided in chapters, paragraphs and subparagraphs. It is an immense agreement on how states should interact, develop, help and much more. The first article states the UN’s main purpose on which it was founded after World War II.
Article 1″The Purposes of the United Nations are:1.To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
2.To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3.To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
4.To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.” (UN, 1945)International peace and security, global peace and security, a global purpose which states that all members should help to solve and prevent problems as peacefully as possible. By signing the UN Charter a state will become part of an extensive network of rules and procedures which it has to embrace, which have been determined by them and others.
The UN has increased its influence due to the creation of an environment for treaty making. Over time the UN has become the world’s most important organization for international integration by motivating states to solveproblems. Its power has be justified by its members and the agreements between them (Schooyans, 2001).
The major organs of the UN are the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the Economical and Social Council and the General Assembly.For finding an answer to my question the focus will be on the Security Council.The Security Council is an organ that is most known due to the measures it can take. It is made up out of 5 permanent members and 10 non permanent members which will be selected by the General Assembly. Its permanent members are China, The United Kingdom, The USA, France and Russia. In chapter V of the Charter articles are defined to state its purpose.
Article 24″1. In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.[…] (UN, 1945).
All members should keep the Security Council informed, an obligation to make sure the UN can act if this is required.The five permanent members have a veto right, meaning they can dismiss certain decisions even when they are urgent, generally accepted and majority voted.
According to article 42 and 43 of the UN charter the Security Council is able to implement measures as economical and political exclusion, named sanctions. If no positive result follows, then it is allowed to use article 43 stating “[…]it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.” (UN, 1945).
Whenever the Security Council comes to an agreement about what measures should be taken it presents a resolution, a formal statement, extensively describing what is to come, how it is to come and who should be involved.
A resolution could form the basis for a military intervention. A problem that needs attention, according to the Security Council is (article 39)”[..] any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression[…]” (UN, 1945). The Security council has presented multiple resolutions with regards to an act of aggression such as resolution 83 and 84, 1950, to use force “[…] to repel the armed attack upon the republic of Korea by forces of North Korea.”(Scott,2010, p. 103). The use of force has been authorized through more resolutions regarding, Kuwait, Somalia and Sudan.
Looking back at the main question, it might be tempting to say that an organ, with multiple members, working for a safe and secure world is a definite yes. International integration has reached a point where there is a collective choice. A democratically (up till the veto) determined procedure that takes into account agreed norms and values by almost all states.
The vision was formed by 51 founding members and today the charter is almost universal. When a decision to interfere, to use force, to discriminate sovereignty, to ‘ensure’ safety and security is made it becomes clear that this world is so interconnected, that it lets an organization decide over life and death.
Determining if the use of force is necessary, is not only led by the Security Council, it is allowed to ask help and advice to reach a conclusion. Many international organizations keep track of human rights and they are eager to alarm the security council to act, with sanctions or force, when they think something needs to be changed. Their expertise and resources make them trustworthy, not only for the Security Council but also for the world population.
The increasing interconnectedness of the world makes it possible for these organizations to spread their worries and claims faster than ever before due to technological innovations as the internet, smart phones and global broadcast channels. International integration benefits from these technological innovations as problems become more visible and are spread faster. Communication and cooperation between organizations and states can lead to fast decisions and less damage to thoseunder threat.
International interventions, approved by the Security council, have increased in numbers since the ending of the cold war. The 1990’s can be appointed as the decade where most international interventions took place. It is also in this period that the idea of diplomacy over the use of force blurred. The use of force, military interventions, became a short term solution that would end the suffering of those suppressed. With regards to the twentieth century Afghanistan and Iraq are the most violent interventions so far.
After the 9/11 terrorist attack in New-York, the USA promoted and executed the ‘war on terror’. This replaced the idea behind interventions for humanitarian and conflict reasons to a new enemy; international terrorism and its supporting regimes. The use of violence became a tool to scare off the opponent as well as completely deactivating him.
Inner state conflicts that have been addressed increasingly over the past two decades are a relative new symptom for the UN and its Security Council. Shifting from conflicts between states to a state in conflict with itself. The traditional rules for peace keeping did not apply for these kinds of conflicts(Zandee, 2012).
International integration reaches to the very integrity of states, as seen with the use of resolutions. Not only in cooperative ways, but also in the form of interventions approved through cooperation between states. The link between globalization and the UN is in its cooperative character, where the United Nations provides a ground for discussion, problem solving, initiatives and the creation of rules. The UN promotes development on different levels and multiple fields and it is to be reached through cooperation between its members (Bertucci & Alberti, 2001).
In the year 2000 the ‘UN Millennium Summit’ was held for the purpose of the discussion and adaptation of the ‘UN Millennium Declaration’. Over 150 world leaders eventually adopted the declaration, agreeing on the goals it set out to achieve for the upcoming 15 years such as less poverty, better health care and non-violence. Important was the emphasis on better and more efficient cooperation between its members, an increase of international integration. One of the main points made was to make globalization a positive force for all world’s people (Sneyd, 2005). Syria
Syria is a state in the middle east neighboring Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. Its main source of income is the oil- and gas industry and a small sector of tourism can be found at the Mediterranean sea. Syria has had several conflicts over time regarding territory with its neighboring states (Donker & Janssen, 2011).
Syria’s recent history has been used as one of the many motives for the protests that arose in the spring of 2011. In 1967 the Syrian political party Ba’ath took power by a coupe, overthrowing the government. After this, in 1970, the Ba’athist Hafez al-Assad took power in his own hands via a second coupe. He used his military connections, as he fought in many sections, too establish a loyal security force.
Hafez al-Assad appointed many relatives and friends to several high governmental and military functions. In the beginning he was not very popular as he originated from a relatively small community of Alawi. Syria houses a variety of subcultures and religious sects and multiple conflicts between them have passed over time. Yet, the majority of Syria supported him for bringing stability to the economy and its inhabitants.
This changed over time as Hafez al-Assads regime became more authoritarian and the economy started to fail. In the 1970’s uprisings begun, which became more and more violent under the leadership of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’. An example is its sniper campaign targeting the government’s representatives. Many inhabitants did not support this way of protesting and the increasing awareness of the Brotherhood’s intentions gave way for Hafez al-Assad to act brutally in 1982. This was the final standoff between the Islamists and the regime and it took place in Hama.
An estimated number of civilian causalities varies between 5000 to 20000. Hafez al-Assad’s ruler ship was based on fear and showed severe consequences for those trying to destroy it. The media was state controlled and still is in present day (Donker & Janssen, 2011).
To gain stability after the uprisings Hafez al-Assad assigned more political positions to other sub group members of Syria. In response to the Brotherhood, any political form of Islam was strictly forbidden. During the late 1980’s and 1990’s Syria underwent, as many other states due to ending of the cold war, economic liberation. Policies developed actually improved the position of political elites who had the resources to engage in exclusive economic deals. The tension between state, now seen as corrupt, and its society grew.
In July 2000 Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father and he has been the leader of Syria ever since. His attitude and means concerned with ruling Syria do not vary that much from his father; society’s voice and politics are still not coherent as a small group owns most of the states power as well as economical and military resources. Bashar al-Assad’s nationalism, clientelism and severe repression held up over the years until March 2011 (Donker & Janssen, 2011).
On March 6, 2011, children that were not older than 15 wrote the text ‘the people want the fall of the regime’ (in Syrian) in the southern city Daraa. The children were arrested and tortured by Syrian security forces. Protests arose in response to this incident, first locally, but it did not take long for the remaining Syrians to participate in nationwide demonstrations. At first uprisings were generally peaceful, as people remembered what happened under his father’s ruler ship. Yet, over time certain protest groups became more violent and separated themselves from the mainstream, but still recalling its support (Donker & Janssen, 2011).
Videos posted on YouTube of the arrests spread a wide feeling of anger, among citizens, but also internationally (Times, 2011). Anti governmental movements have been suppressed to underground spheres under the ruler ship of the al-Assads and its police state. Yet, there was an opening for coming out now. Support for protests and coordinated uprisings were now present and several movements tried to gather as much people as possible. Thus, it happened several times that the government controlled media was manipulated to prevent protest progress as when mobile phone networks were shutdown as well as many websites (Zoepf, 2011).
The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ started at the end of December 2010 as a series of protests and demonstrations across several North African and Middle Eastern states, such as in Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia and also in March 2011 in Syria (Schippers, 2011). The Arab Spring was mostly led by the voices of youngsters concerned with their future. The feeling of repression, unemployment, corruption and little democratic value triggered many to protest against their current leaders and governments.
Many other states were showing symptoms of breaking regimes, motivating Syrians to continue to fight for their cause (Schippers, 2011). The peaceful protests gave way for more violent ones once the government started to repress them with violence. Heavy military resources were used to break up demonstrations as well as targeted assaults on protest group leaders (Schippers, 2011).
More and more, images, videos and reports came from Syria and were spread all over the world. The cruel acts of armed government forces towards civilians were portrayed as terroristic, suppressive, inhumane and in violation with international laws (Khalay, 2011). As in other ‘Spring’ states, governments were not going to settle easy. Violence was commonly used in Egypt and the prime example is Libya where the protests led to a civil war between government and several protest groups. The killing of civilians by a central, repression based government was described as a crime and the international community was to be involved soon (Khalay, 2011).
Amnesty International is an international organization concerned with human rights. It is mayor player in international integration, as its reports trigger discussion, provoke change and picture current developments. During the Arab Spring, Amnesty International has been highly concerned with the treatment of civilians. Reports about Syria indicate serious human rights violations and the organization is alarming the international community to act to stop these practices. Violent attacks harm civilians and there is a lack of primary resources and security. It is a situation that needs to be changed and it needs to be changed fast as these gross violations lead to more causalities every day (Khamis, 2012).
International intervention returns to the picture. Up till recent day the inner state conflict Syria is dealing with, is still not resolved. Thousands of deaths are marking an ongoing civil war which seems not to end on a short notice as the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad still enjoys military support(although some soldiers turned over) as well as scarce, yet important public support. The international community, with the UN as main player, has alarmed the Syrian government to stop its activities and has applied multiple sanctions to pressure its movement and resources such as oil export restrictions (Iadtu, 2011). The security council has been involved since the beginning of the cruel acting of the armed government forces.
The Arab Spring has been interpreted as a period of humanitarian crimes, where old repressive regimes are tried to be destroyed (Iadtu, 2011). The S