The Importance of Interdependence and International Cooperation
We are not a nation alone in the world. We do not make up the beliefs, developmental status, and environment of the entire globe. To act as if there is no interdependence within states is not only ridiculous, but also dangerous. Professor Squibwell draws attention to this issue, and while his views may be a little extreme in the statement that “the world functions as a single integrated unit,” he is accurate in suggesting that we “collaborate with other states, strengthen international organizations, and support the humanitarian and educational activities of international civil society.”
International relations are dictated, to a large degree, by a set of norms. While some states may, at times, disagree on what actions should be considered “normal,” the majority of nations recognize the mutual benefits that can be attained through cooperation on generally accepted “rules”. Some examples of norms include peaceful settlement of disputes and respect of national borders. These expectations are adhered to by most state leaders and are somewhat institutionalized by international organizations (IOs) such as the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Whether they be humanitarian, economic, environmental, or any other form of focal group, each of these organizations is in charge of regulating different standards of behavior. With anywhere from 2 to 100 members, IOs would not exist if there was not a need for nations to lean on each other for a regulation of norms or assistance. The creation and ongoing existence of such groups proves that Professor Squibwell’s call for the collaboration of states is valid.
Another trend in world politics that gives legitimacy to Professor Squibwell’s viewpoint is the importance of trade. Annually, close to $5 trillion of trade takes place internationally, making up 15% of the globe’s economic activity. (Goldstein, 351) While mercantillists take the standpoint that it is not the pl.ace of international organizations to set up plans for mutual gains in terms of trade, liberalists hold more practical views on the issue. They believe that states should not be looking at their own, short-term gain as if in competition with the rest of the world, but instead that states should find ways in which to fulfill the long-term, mutual gain of nations.
International trade inherently benefits at least two states. An individual actor does not have the ability to produce all the goods it needs. It therefore must produce the items for which it has a comparative advantage and trade those goods for those that another country had a comparative advantage for producing. While each nation may be working for his own gain in trade, there is also a concern for the overall gains of all states. Mercantilism may have worked in the past, but in today’s world it is important to create strong foundations for the future. Selfishness and personal gain is...