(b) shows that US act upon their

(b) In your opinion, which of the
two theories better explains the foreign policies and actions of most countries
in international relations? Provide reasons to support your answer.

Majority
of the major world powers like the United States of America and the Republic of
China are prone to the realism theory in handling foreign policies and
decision-making. However, the theory of international relations used by a
country is sometimes depending on the leader. Meanwhile 2nd and 3rd
world class countries like Denmark and countries in the African continent tend
to adopt the idealism theory in their international relations with other
states.

Classical
realist scholars like Hobbes, Machiavelli and Moregenthau view the world in a
pessimistic way as they believe human beings are selfish entities whose purpose
is to achieve power and survival. According to realism theory in international
relations, countries lived in a status of war against each other and every
action and decision are based solely on national interest and centred on
national’s power. In the realist perspective, there can be no cooperation
amongst countries and there can be no trust among countries. These theories can
be seen in the foreign policies of the US and China.

For
instance in the US, the former president Barack Obama, is an idealist. During
his presidency, he has made an agreement named TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement) which involved 12 countries that border the Pacific Ocean in order
to strengthen the economic ties between countries and to bind Pacific nations
closer through lower tariff. However, TPPA was the earliest agreement cancelled
by Donald Trump as soon as he become the president of the United States. He has
seen TPPA as an agreement that will not profit the state.  Other than that, US portrays their theory of realism
in foreign policies when recently, they decided to cut $285m in funding for
United Nation after Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to any country in
the UN that voted against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel. This shows that US act upon their national interest and
self-preservation without having any willingness to sacrifice their national
interest over collective good.

In
addition, China can also be categorized as a realist state when they have a few
attempts to beat the US as the world’s superpower in terms of military, economic
and geopolitical stability. China has been seen to use soft power1 to
spread their influence through economic and military. In 2015, China has
introduced “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative to enhance their economic
strength with a few countries across the globe. However, the initiative was not
agreed by a few countries like Singapore as the project will only jeopardize
the well-being of their economy. Other than that, China also increase its
military power by having nuclear weapons as they believe it would help them in
securing their status as a global superpower. The rise of China as the new
superpower has affect the geopolitical stability in the region when China
decided to claim sovereignty over Spratly Island that is located at South China
Sea by the ‘nine dash line’.

On
the contrary, idealism theory in international relations contradict with the
realism theory. Idealism has more positive views and perceptions towards
international relations between countries. Classical idealist scholar like Kant
stated that peace could be achieved through the increment in trade, number of
international institutions and democratic countries. This is because democratic
countries are less likely to have conflict and go to war. Idealism theories of
international relations can be found in the case study of Denmark and African
Union.

As
cited by Wivel (2007) in Holm (2002), Denmark has changed its foreign policy
radically from passive and neutral to ‘active internationalism’ after Cold War.
The new policy aims to further common security, securing democracy and human
rights, creating global economic and social development and maintaining an
ecologically sustainable development. After the tragedy of 9/11, Danish foreign
policy has placed their priorities towards the fight against terrorism and
emphasizing the importance of peaceful conflict solution and addressed their
concern towards human right issues. However, since Denmark is already part of
NATO allies and have swear their allegiance to the United States, Danish
government has to continue to support the invasion of Iraq by the United States
even though human rights concerns have been the central of Danish foreign
policy after the Cold War era.

Another
significant example of idealism theory can be seen through the idea of Pan
Africanism in the African continent.  Pan
Africanism is a movement that aims to unify all people of African descent
across the globe including African diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America and
North America. African Union was then launched in 2002 as the result of the
movement and consist of 55 members of African countries. The union aims to
promote unity and solidarity amongst African countries, to enhance economic
development and to promote peace through international cooperation. The African
Union has so far making their progress in signing and implementing peace
between countries whose previously not at peace. Besides, the union has been
effective in promoting democracies amongst states and apart from security
management, AU also pays attention towards culture, education and trade within
and outside the continent. An economic relationship with China has been built
through the silk-road initiative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTION 2

 

What
do you understand by the term “conflict cycle”? With reference to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict, provide examples to elaborate your answer.

 

Conflict
cycle consists of 3 stages which are ‘conflict formation’, ‘conflict
escalation’ and ‘conflict decline’.

1.     
Conflict
Formation

Conflict
formed when two different societies fighting over the ownership of a land.
Territorial dispute amongst Jews and Palestine has started after the Second
World War. The Jews and Palestine think of themselves as two separate
identities who is superior than the others. The Jews have a grievance to be
satisfied which is to find a state for the Jew people as many were killed in
the war against the Nazi and for those who alive but have fled to other states
seeking refuge. The Zionist movement formed by Alexander Herzl has convinced
the Jews that they are chosen by God as they started to shortlisted countries
in order to form a state for them. Zionism is Israel’s national
ideology which promotes the belief that Judaism is a nationality as well as a
religion, and that Jews deserve their own land in their ancestral homeland,
Israel. Palestine became their first choice as they claimed sovereignty over
the land that used to be for Jews. Conflict started to form when the Jews
believe they can get Palestine as they have received support and votes from the
United Nations.

2.     
Conflict
Escalation

Conflict
starts to escalate when the numbers of actors and issues in dispute increase.
For instance, Israel has fought multiple wars with other countries in the
Middle East, all of whom support the Palestinian national cause. During 1948
until 1967, Jamal Abd Nasser, the president of Egypt has mobilized all armies
to fight against Israel. In 1967, The Arab waged the ‘6 days war’ against Israel
and they got support from the Soviet Union. Unfortunately the Arabs lost and
the whole of Jerusalem and half of Egypt were taken by the Jews. This shows
that the escalation of conflict leads to the expansion in the region. The
conflict has become more generalized as it has involved more people. The
conflict escalated when the frequency of attacks and intensity increased. It
can be seen when Egypt launched another war against Israel in 1973 under the lead
of Anwar Saddat. After that, the uprising of Palestinian against Israel
occurred in the late 1980s and in the early 2000s which were famously known as
Intifada. The intifadas had a dramatic effect on Israeli-Palestinian relation
as it has marked the end of negotiating process between Israeli and
Palestinian. The desire to achieve the goals has been replaced by the desire to
harm one another. The first intifada was a series of Palestinian
demonstrations, nonviolent actions like mass boycotts and Palestinians refusing
to work in Israel, and attacks (using rocks, Molotov cocktails, and
occasionally firearms) on Israelis. The fatal and damage towards the
Palestinian were bigger as the Israeli military responded to the protests and
attacks with heavy force and weapon. The second intifada grew out of the peace
process that supposed to happen in 2000. Negotiations between Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat broke down, and the intifada
began shortly afterwards. Unlike the first intifada, Palestinian responded with
suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and sniper fire, in which Israel has met with
even deadlier force. The conflict has slowdown in 2005, but not before about
1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians were killed. The second Intifada
witnessed a wave of rocket fire from Gaza to Israel and it has totally changed
the Israeli attitudes toward the conflict. Scepticism of the peace process grew
which caused more complication on future efforts to arrive to an agreement
between the 2 states,

3.     
Conflict
Decline

Conflict
declined when one of the parties in dispute lose hope or psychologically
exhausted. In this case, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has reached
its sticking point in which, make it more complicated for both parties to
compromise with one another. The first sticking point is the capital of
Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict as both Palestine and Israel wants Jerusalem as their
capital. The second sticking point is the refugee status of Palestinian who
have fled outside the country. Jews are afraid of the high population of
Palestine and refuse to allow them to come back to Palestine if they ever make
peace with each other. The third sticking point would be the Jewish settlement.
The Jews want to have the right to make settlement anywhere they desire but the
Arabs do not agree to the settlement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Soft power: non-military motive
including culture, diplomacy, foreign aid, trade and investment