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Politics between States. Globalization

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If we regard the world in terms of the nation-state model, then international politics looks like the politics of stateless societies. There is international law, but there is no authority to enforce, interpret or change it. Although the United Nations can be seen as a potential world legislature/government, it is based on the theory that individual states possess ‘sovereignty’ and are the final arbiters of what goes on within their territories. All powers of international organizations, including the United Nations, depend upon the agreement of states to treaties authorizing such powers. Thus politics at international level depends on compromise and negotiation, not on authoritative decision by representative organs. In legal theory Monaco is as sovereign as the United States. In political practice it is clear that smaller states are more dependent on the international respect for law and treaty obligations.

Phenomenon Influence on the nation state  
  Globalization the removal of barriers to free trade and the closer integration of national economies.
a historical process involving a fundamental transformation in the scale of human social organization, it links distant communities and expands the reach of power relations across regions and continents.
de-territorilization – or the growth of super-territorial relations between people.
internal instability from mini-nationalisms, ethnicity.
external instability, need for regional/global security.
economic dependence on global economic and financial organizations.
social integration, development of world standards for human rights.
technical integration, dependence on world communication networks and leading-edge technical developments.
ecological threats of pollution, global warming.

Traditionally historians described international relations as the decisions of individual statesmen pursuing ‘the national interest’, which was often related to the ‘balance of power’ between nations. Thus international relations can be seen as a game played between rational players, more power for one nation is gained at the expense of less power for another, skilful players achieve goals by forming winning coalitions.

It is more important to ordinary citizens that everyone stays alive and continues in mutually beneficial economic and trading activities, than that they belong to a state which is more powerful than the others. This relates to the question of the ‘national interest’. It is difficult to define a nation – for example the English have the same interests as the Welsh?

It is increasingly difficult for national governments to cut their people off from knowledge of developments elsewhere in the globe. This knowledge can be political dynamite. In the USA in the 1960s a series of urban riots were incited because the urban poor saw on television all the things that they did not have. Today such knowledge is linked to the notion of ‘globalization’.

The authors define globalization as the process that increases global interdependence of states, individuals and social and economic organizations and reduces the autonomy of individual states.


1 Give Ukrainian equivalents for the following words and expressions.

International law, legislature, international organization, representative organ, at the expense of, riot.


2 Translate words and word combinations from Ukrainian into English and use them in your own sentences.

Тлумачити, суверенітет, договір, коаліція, взаємовигідний.

3 Complete the sentences.

1. Although the United Nations ...

2. It is increasingly difficult ...

3. This relates to ...

4. The authors define ...

5. Thus politics at international level ...

4 Comprehension questions.

1. What is global politics in terms of nation-states?

2. What does the power of international organizations depend on?

3. How is political theory different form practice in global politics?

4. What are the components of international relations?

5. How can globalization be defined?


5 Say if the following statements are true according to the text.

1. International politics looks like the politics of nationless societies.

2. All powers of international organizations depend upon the agreement of states.

3. Compromise and negotiation are the foundation for politics at international level.

4. In international relations all nations achieve common goals.

5. National interests are very different and it makes international relations complicated.

6. People have knowledge of developments elsewhere in the globe and can start riots if they are unhappy with their state.


Project Work. Work in pairs. Study the table in the text and discuss the influence of globalization on the state. Is that influence positive? Prepare a 3 minute talk describing the influence of globalization on Ukraine, give specific evidence to prove your point.


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