International Relations Theory Essay

International Relations Theory Essay.



International Relations Theory

Type of paper:

Argumentative essay


Humanities : International Relations

Format or citation style:


Pages: 4 ( continue with my work to make it 6 pages)

Deadline: 7hrs

Hello, please try to follow the directions as the professor has written it.

It would help to read the readings I attached first, then get quotes, and then start analyzing

Also it has to be argumentative. so let me know what kind of arguments you are thinking of

I was thinking about comparing Krishnas arguments about liberalism/IR and Seths arguments to the example of Groitus in Keene

Prompt for the essay:

“We are accustomed to thinking of liberalism and human rights norms as controversial perhaps only for dictatorial regimes who abuse their populations. However, the history of the international system suggests that liberalism and human rights have a more complicated, and darker, history. Please discuss the relationship between the history of colonialism on one hand and liberalism and human rights on the other. The works of Keene, Seth, and Krishna would be particularly useful in elucidating this linkage.

Be sure to address all aspects of the prompt in your paper, which should be written in 12 point font, double-spaced, and one inch margins; it should be 6 to 8 pages in length, excluding the bibliography. Meandering summary should be avoided, and do not feel that you have to cite many different works – only those that are relevant to the question in some way. Be sure that your paper and the assertions you make are firmly grounded in the reading. The paper should be clearly written and properly structured, with a brief introduction to frame the argument and a conclusion. Be sure to properly cite the sources you use – not only when using direct quotations from them but also when paraphrasing. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade and possibly other consequences. Use parenthetical notation in the text; these citations appear in the body text immediately after the quoted or paraphrased material and look like this:

(Author last name year of work, page number).

(Wendt 1987, 340).

Pease include a list of works cited at the end of the paper. I am not concerned about the specific notation used here, but something like this for articles would be fine:

Grieco, Joseph M. 1988. Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism. International Organization42(3): 485-507.

Or for books:

Keohane, Robert. 1984. After Hegemony. Princeton: Princeton University Press.”

Note from the professor:

“There’s liberalism and then there’s liberalism – something I should probably have clarified a bit more. Liberalism, as a political philosophy, is a long tradition going back to John Locke and even Hobbes, which defines a specific relationship between the individual and society that tends to emphasize the contractarian nature of society (the social contract), individual rights and autonomy, private property, and the relegation of uniqueness/difference – like religious beliefs, etc. – to the private sphere. This is the liberalism that I mean in the first prompt. Now, in terms of IR theory, “liberal” theories of IR are inspired by this general philosophical approach. As we have seen, liberal/neoliberal institutionalist theorists emphasize rational choice and contracting and, unlike realism, tend not to focus on the potential for violence. Moravcsik’s liberal approach emphasizes the importance of substate actors as the “individuals” in his theory – given, individuated, rational actors that pursue specific interests, and that the state expresses these interests in international politics. Neoliberal institutionalists take the state as the “individual” and understand the state as interacting in bargaining relationships with other states in ways to maximize gain characterized by the game theoretical matrices we discussed.”

Nexus between colonialism, liberalism and human rights.

Debates on human rights and liberalism have always inclined to assert that these two concepts are in line with issues pertaining to dictatorship. On the contrary, the international historical perspective on the same issue is that there exists a lot of complexities that surround liberalism and human rights. In the post-colonial era, the modern international relations perspective has given history a minimal interest and regarded it as unimportant. In his asserts, Krishna argues that the expansion of international society has propagated more focus on matters to deal with Europeans and which she terms to be mistaken. In particular, the narrative of expanding international society has focused on preaching capitalism in the modern era while associating human rights and liberalism with dictatorship. In this paper, the linkage between colonialism and liberalism have been discussed on one hand and how colonialism is connected with human rights is also discussed.

The post-colonial era has seen the western states dominating international platforms. During these periods the organizations have furthered their interests by expanding foreign policies and practices into other countries. In an attempt to give more explanations about their policies and practices, the concept of liberalism has been raised by scholars from the political spectrum. The term colonialism has been viewed differently in different parts of the world. In the western nations, anti-colonialism is what has been seen as being aggressive and the main source of societal problems. During the Hitlerite era, the empire was not described with this term, colonialism same applies to the period when the Russian expansion to the Elbe occurred. Colonialism has been attributed to the relatively liberal society and in the process, the western powers are abdicated from their influential role. The post-colonial era has led to abdication in historical rules like the British empire and constructive statesmanship has replaced the colonial forms of governance. Other regions that have been on the transit to liberalism include the Indian sub-continent and Ghana which underwent development process after years of colonialism.

In the 19th century, global think tanks believed that it is prudent to have a unified political order. In the post-colonial era, different colonialist had a political structure. In their suggestion, global thinkers recommended that political orders be divided according to political classes. The civilized were to have their political order while the rich were to have their own political. However, this suggestion has not played out as anticipated because the international relations diplomats have not categorized nations and accorded them specific legal and political order. One would ask why did the lawyers and diplomats think of segmenting nations according to their social status and dictate to them the political layout that they must observe. The colonial era period was characterized by this kind of division. In the post-colonial era, such an approach to form divisive political and legal order would tantamount to threatening the sovereignty of modern nations.

During the colonization period of the West African countries by the French, we can see that imperialism benefited the Europeans. The French set policies that endorsed the right to basic needs within their colonies. They publicly declared that they had liberated the Africans from all forms of oppression such as slavery, disease, and ignorance. Also, the French, put some limitation to the amount of compulsion that could be exercised by the colonial government to the colony, through the writing down of some set of laws or principles that governed the people at the time. This consequently created a delusion that the human rights were being honored but in the real sense, they continued to silently oppress the Africans and used these human rights and democratic creeds as a cover-up to other westerners at their convenience (Conklin 1998, 420). The deduction from the above example is the fact that Europeans simply masked their intentions for their colonies as they seduced the world that colonization was a good tool for development in the third world but on the contrary colonization was purely an evil force.

The assumption and notion that the nineteenth century being a peaceful century is clearly an obstruction of the historical records as it was nothing close to it during the empire regime. The imperial rule was very cruel, forceful and a totalitarianism form of government, which did not offer equal human rights to all but rather offered privileges to people according to class and race. After that, a Victorian morality which centered on the Bloomsbury intellectuals who argued that social and cultural rights be given priority to political and civil rights. They also combined a liberal political outlook with a new conception of the role of Europe and its civilization in the world.

Human rights are inherent since they are applied universally, regardless of background, race, gender, status, and nationality. The denial of these rights is an affront to the dignity of all and stain on the human condition. The right to seek and enjoy refuge or asylum from persecution was a universal declaration of human rights in 1951, during the Geneva Convention. Despite the fact that Britain was one of the first countries to sign the Geneva Convention and one of the founding members of the UN, they went to various lengths to prevent refugees from seeking asylum in Britain. They maintained and founded their large colonies with a strong notion of race superiority. Britain wanted to maintain its outward image to the world, so they participated in the negotiations on human rights. But with the strong belief that all activities should continue as they were before a conclusion is reached. This meant that the colonized people at the time were excluded from the access to human rights, also the fact that all countries that had not yet gained independence were not represented at the UN (Mayblin 2014, 428). Therefore any non-European asylum seekers were excluded to the right to asylum. This explains the nature of things during the asylum regime in the manner of cause and effect. The definition of a normal refugee according to the Europeans in the First World War was a white, male and anti-communist, which differed from the majority of refugees who were fleeing from third world countries.

Civilization was defended against a philosophy of autocratic governments based on the principle of racial discrimination. Lawyers from the Grotius society from Britain proposed the implementation of international law that states that:

“To ensure universal peace and order, international law must be universal. Its operation, however, requires the existence of some minimum level of civilization and moral values among the nations subject to it. While therefore the aim must be a universal law, the development of a new international law from a nucleus of States must be envisaged as a possibility.”( Grotius Society 1941, 291).

This law clearly undermined some nations as they implied that they could not stand by themselves in the new modern world, with uttermost surprise, this proposal was received with little resistance with the argument that most of the countries did not have a self-sufficient economy and military capability of defending themselves. In conclusion, most of the international laws that were passed were majorly inclusive of the Europeans than the non- Europeans. (Keene 2002, 138). Therefore we can say that form the rights or freedoms fail to address the class-based nature of exploitation contained with capitalist relations of production.

In the 16th century, a European society emerged from a group of European countries who came up with the foundation for cultural resistance and political antagonism. This society practiced liberalism since they controlled and encouraged their growth amongst themselves until the 19th century during the arrangement and division of colonies in Africa. Walker recognizes that history is just but a mere political thought and it is a chronicle that is bound to repeat since history has shown that it has always and will always be a game of relations between states (Walker 1989, 322). The European social democracy and human rights were culturally specific, Eurocentric and irrelevant to the societies which were not westernized in terms of culture. Politics will always be the amoral struggle for power in the advancements of interests,

Krishna points out that there are events which shaped the development of the international order such as colonization, the peace of Augsburg and the settlement of Westphalia, rise of the slave trade, the founding of the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company, McCartney’s mission to the Middle Kingdom and many more. Keene also makes the same point and stresses that in order to understand European dominance its is not mandatory to first understand the emergence of the European societies, because they asserted their dominance through imperialism and colonialism (Krishna 2001, 173). This is further explained using an analogy of the contact between post-Westphalian Europe and the non-Europe world, here Krishna explains that a satisfactory account of colonialism should be based on the interactions between Europe and those that it colonized. He stresses that colonialism defined what our world is today, as it not only affected the colonized but the colonizers as well.

Work cited

Conklin, Alice L. “Colonialism and human rights, a contradiction in terms? The case of France and West Africa, 1895–1914.” The American Historical Review 103.2 (1998): 419-442.

Grotius Society, ‘The Future of International Law’, Transactions of the Grotius Society, 28 (1941), 291.

Keene, Edward. Beyond the anarchical society: Grotius, colonialism, and order in world politics. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Krishna, Sankaran. “Race, amnesia, and the education of international relations.” Alternatives 26.4 (2001): 401-424.

Mayblin, Lucy. “Colonialism, Decolonisation, and the Right to be Human: Britain and the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees.” Journal of Historical Sociology 27.3 (2014): 423-441.

Seth, Sanjay. “Postcolonial theory and the critique of international relations.” Millennium 40.1 (2011): 167-183.

Walker, Rob BJ. “History and Structure in the Theory of International Relations (1989).” International Theory. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1995. 308-339.

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