Peace Studies Theory
Peace studies theory concentrates on the eradication of violence in the society. This is achieved through setting up structures that promote peaceful co-existence. Iain Atack analyzed the peace studies as theory and action. Positive versus negative peace structures are compared, citing the benefits of maintaining international peace. This article intends to discuss the critics of the theory and its implication in today’s world.
Through the critical examination of the theory by Johan Galtung, three levels of violence are analyzed. The direct, cultural and structural categories have been discussed and their effects on world peace analyzed. The structural violence is critical because it is very broad and important analyses of the issue are not met. There has been much diversity in the economic status in many nations. Government’s political structures are associated with eruption of political violence towards some groups in the society.
Structural violence has been criticized has a misguiding term. This is because, the process to eradicate poverty in the society is less emphasized compared to the process to groom violence. Violence entails the undertakings that hinder the peaceful co-existence of human beings. The government structures to fight human injustices are just theoretical and are never put in practice.
The concept of negative peace is also under criticism in many nations. Peace is associated with absolute absence of war in the society. Contrally, the international peace has been challenged by the continuous rise of antagonistic groups. Different communities view peace in various perspectives and are applied differently.
In today’s world, this theory is unrealistic. This is because peace is necessitated by the willingness of people to develop good ethics and values. There is lack of awareness about the political phenomenon among the citizens. This has been a crucial challenge to the attainment of international peace.
USA Realist Paradigm
Barber believes that the realist paradigm does not provide guidance to the USA in its pursuit of foreign policy in the 21st century. Barber argues that the dispersal of the American culture and interests on the global scale have provoked resentment in many parts of the word. The concept of the USA paradigm emerges from the globalization and dependency on other weaker world states for foreign aids. According to him, making generalizations about the superiority of the American culture over other cultures is the greatest evil made by the American administrators. In some cases, its involvements in the protection of human rights in war stricken zones, especially in the Middle East has been criticized for violations of international law. The death of innocent civilians in such countries has provoked opposition from human rights groups. For example, the opposition of the USA war mission in Iraq indicated the discontent to the USA interests into other nation’s affairs.
The acceptance of the American culture in some of the African and Asian states, have been received with mixed perceptions. On one hand, it shows the dilemmatic situation faced by these nations in safeguarding their national interests from the American aids and international influences. On the other hand, it represents nations torn between the acceptance of modernity and the ancient values of these states. According to Barber, the US administrators disregard to the world perceptions of its culture fails to offer guidance in its pursuit of international interests. Barber believes that the American’s policy popularity scores in Europe are irrelevant to the developing countries of Asia and Africa.In summary, the realist paradigm does not favor the American foreign policies. The resentment of the American policy pursuits stems from its subjective treatments of other countries cultures and interests. Unless the administrators change their perceptions on these smaller world economies, its policies will fail to gain worldwide acceptability.
Pillar, Paul. Intelligence and U. S. foreign policy: Iraq, 9/11, and misguided reform. Columbia: Columbia University Press. 2013. Print.
Gender Perspectives on the US Military Intervention in Afghanistan
Women-centered perspective on the US military intervention in Afghanistan is considerably different from that of men. While the concern of women is centered on fleeing from their homes to be secure, men are more sensitive on who is taking part in the war and violence. For women, the removal of the Taliban does not amount to liberation. They do not value the promise of democracy. All they need is peace, which they can derive from living in their homes, both geographically and as a mental construct, which if often targeted and destroyed by foreigners and locals during war and conflict, mainly as an instrument of spreading fear and intimidation. Although the home is important to men and women, it is mostly identified with the women because of their historical role in the making of a home. Apart from physical implications, the destruction of the home and community greatly affects women’s primary identity of the self, culture, and the sense of belonging, which ultimately affects their creativity, interpersonal relationship, and world-view. While battlefields as open or public spaces are associated with, women are often associated with the home and family as private spheres that are perceived as being outside the range of war.
The gender distinction can be useful in formulating an international relations theory. There is a need to recognize the home in international politics as a basic unit of analysis, rather than focusing only on the nationwide state. The reason for this as demonstrated above is that the home is integral to state formation and its continuation. It is evident that a state’s foundation of social life is built entirely upon the construct of the home. It influences one’s self concept, identity, creativity, interpersonal relationships, and one’s world-view, which collectively influence international politics and relations.
Brief Economic History of East Asia
The effects of the cold war left the East Asia countries torn into two, and their regional cooperation severely compromised to an extent that it was deemed quite a luxury. However, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was formed during the era of the cold war, was very significant in rebuilding the regional cooperation, even though initially, it focused on politics and security concerns. As the cold war neared its end, the huge political barrier that compromised the regional cooperation amongst the East Asian countries was eliminated. The ASEAN initiated the “10+1” dialogues with these countries, China, Japan and Republic of Korea, separately, to boost their trade matters.
The ASEAN concluded in 1992 and resolved to establish a free trade area that would be beneficial to all the East Asia nations. This decision shifted the ASEAN focus from the political and security concerns to trade, in order to improve the competitiveness of these East Asian countries so that they would meet the tide of globalization. Nevertheless, in the year 1997, the East Asian countries experienced a massive financial crisis that compromised their regional cooperation so much. This financial crisis acted as a catalyzing factor by rapidly boosting their regional cooperation (Nihon University, 1993).
The East Asian countries realized that their local trade was not only important in helping them meet the tide of globalization but also very crucial in promoting their collective strength and achieving common development in East Asia. Later, the ASEAN launched a 10+3 dialogue and mechanism between these East Asia countries, which boosted their trade, giving them a fast track on their cooperation and helped them attain great achievements in trade and common development (Nihon University, 1993).
In the early 1990s, East Asia countries had a very small share in the global economy of just 6%, according to the World Bank president, but the share has improved greatly over time and is presently about 18%. This was also reflected by the rise of the regional total trade volume, which summed up to 45% in 1992 to 52.23% in 2007. In addition, East Asia countries did not have any trade bloc during the early 1990s, but this changed with the launch of the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2008. This was very significant in the East Asia trade because over 3.5 billion people benefited from the other five Free Trade Areas established two years later, namely ASEAN-China, ASEAN-Japan, ASEAN-Korea, ASEAN-India and ASEAN- Australia-Zealand. The economy in these countries plus other five ASEAN countries was boosted to an extent that they acquired 8 out of the world top 45 economies in 2010.
It was a great achievement for the East Asian countries to fight and overcome the 1997 and 2008 financial crisis. These countries used these crises as a catalyst to speed up their economic growth and reach common developments, which was very important in showcasing their strong vitality. In addition, the East Asia countries and the ASEAN established the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), which acted as a very active multilateral mechanism and improved their foreign exchange reserve to a collection of 120 billion US dollars. Their Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF), a regional initiative that has been very significant in promoting and maintaining stability in the East Asian financial and economic growth, was also boosted to 700 million dollars (Esping, 1996).
The improved economic trade and the merging of the interests of all the East Asia nations involved has effected pace in their exchange of ideas and cooperation to meet the tide of globalization. This has enabled the nations to establish and maintain peace and stability within their borders since the end of cold war. No other hot war has ever broken since then, and this is important and a great achievement because their regional trade has not been affected. In addition, regional concerns, peace and stability between these countries have been greatly manageable with the increased financial and economic stability (Leipziger, 2001).
The improved trade associations in East Asia can be assumed to have increased with the increase in peace between the regions. The impact of economic growth in the area in meeting the tide of globalization increased greatly such that from 1980 to 2003, the nominal GDP of the East Asia economies grew so much to over 4.7 times. The total exports in the East Asia increased over 6.9 times and the investment inflows 19.3 times. This tremendous growth in the East Asia economy has improved so much and it is currently comparable to that of North America and Western Europe (Park, 2004). The other great achievement has been on the regional imports which have rose from 34.8% in 1980 to 58.6% in 2003 (Ng & Yeats, 2003).
These achievements have improved the trilateral cooperation within the East Asia region, contribution to progressive common development in the region. Countries in East Asia have achieved high economic growth and have significantly improved their position in the rankings of the world per capita income. For instance, Japan has been ranked second country with the highest economic growth in the world and the rise of the Republic of Korea from the last third to the first quarter of the ranking based on the GDP size of the world economies (Ng & Yeats, 2003).
Five Most Important Future Challenges Facing East Asia
Dating back to the era of the stop of the cold war to the present times, the East Asian regionalism has experienced differences of opinion in terms of development and significance.
One of the major challenges is divergence, in that; the East Asia is a vast region that is home to different nations that are at different developmental stages (Littlewood, 1999). It is home to fully industrialized countries like Japan and a range of rapidly developing nations. The region characterized by countries that embrace different political systems, that is, some nations embrace socialism, while others embrace capitalism and monarchies. Diverse religious and cultural backgrounds such as Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Christianity and Shinto also characterize the region. The above mentioned examples of diversity pose a huge challenge on the efforts that are meant to foster regional integration.
The second major future challenge is in relation to complex grievances experienced among the East Asia counties. With reference to world records, the East Asia region still stands out as the only region that has a legacy of cold war. Today, the circumstances surrounding the Korean peninsula still pull constant strains on regional security. Furthermore, the ancient, historical dispute backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, religion still linger in the region and are a major contributor to the dampening of the spirit of cooperation between the countries (Sakakibara & Yamakawa, 2003). For instance, in the recent years, the major powers of the region interacted more intensively in the East Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions, where their interests are intertwined – a factor that has did capture world’s attention. Another set of challenges that emerge from this factor is the increasing instances of terrorism activities, transnational criminal activities, occurrence of natural disasters and increased prevalence of infectious diseases.
The third major future challenge is in terms of the prevalent institutional deficiencies in most East Asian countries. The aforementioned informal forums that foster mechanisms of cooperation in terms of 10 +1, 10 +3 as well as the East Asia Summit should be more flexible, binding and efficient while advancing openness and comfort for all the nations. However, the deficiency experienced in regional security mechanisms displays a weak connection in regional cooperation.
The fourth major future challenge lies in coordination amongst the countries in the East Asia, in that, a majority of the cooperation mechanisms that have been implemented in the recent times have divergent emphasis. This leads to overlapping interests in the membership and the agenda for discussions that fuels instances of competition, which is disadvantageous to the pooling of resources. Additionally, there needs to be untraveled coordination amid the corporations of the East Asia and Asia Pacific (Kuroda & Kawai, 2004).
The fifth key future challenge is the influence the US has across the East Asia region. The US is the world’s leading force, a significant pacific nation and an affiliate of the East Asian Summit. In essence, the East Asia cooperation is a subject that should concern only the East Asian countries and there is widespread feeling that there is interference, positive or negative, by the United States that influences their procedures.
The East Asia countries should embrace peaceful coexistence, respect and treat other members as equals, while promoting reciprocal political trust. The achievements of the East Asia countries can be credited to the generally peaceful and stable environment in the recent past years, and this should be appreciated and treasured by the region (Sakakibara & Yamakawa, 2003). In the recent past, disputes have risen between a number of the East Asian countries, which have dented the political trust between the nations involved and affected regional cooperation and involvement of all the countries. The countries in this region must never go back to the era of cold wars, and should therefore, adopt a common principle that fosters security, joint development initiatives, peaceful coexistence and resolving disputes by way of dialogue or negotiations, and laying strong political foundations that deepen regional cooperation.
The East Asia countries ought to foster cooperation between each other and pursue shared development that is beneficial to all of them. The region has experienced rapid development in the past two decades but it is feared that the momentum for growth is slowing down due to the rise of protectionism, lethargic economic recovery and instability of the global financial market (Kuroda & Kawai, 2004). Therefore, the countries should prioritize economic growth and social improvement while fostering the spirit of mutual assistance and a win-win paradigm. Only by embracing this recommendation, will the countries be able to effectively mobilize resources, merge public support for cooperation and attain complete recovery of the region.
The East Asia countries ought to foster openness and inclusiveness by taking advantage of the nature of their complementary factors. As noted above, the diversity in the region brings about both negative and positive connotations, but all this can be diverted to positive energy (Kuroda & Kawai, 2004). The countries should be respectful of the legitimate interests and opinions of the member countries, while copying examples from other successful regions in the world, for example, Europe.
The relationship between the US and the East Asia region should be promoted even though there exists differences in terms their historical backgrounds, cultures, development stages and social structures, and in the way the two view international affairs (Mason, 2001). The relationship should be mature and involve in depth communications for strategic economic development and in dealing with disputes. As long as the two regions work concurrently, they will continue with coexist peacefully and cooperate between themselves, a factor that would be beneficial to both of them.
The ASEAN has been significant in the establishment and spread of norms to the bigger powers in the region, while at the same time socializing them. It should continue fostering the spirit of cooperation between these nations including the relationship with the USA, to thwart any competitiveness and promote community building processes (Kuroda & Kawai, 2004). Even though the East Asian countries identify with regional order, institutional systems and regional identity, as the primary stages of growth and development, regionalism has shown distinctiveness in the maintenance of regional stability and fostering prosperity.
The measures for economic integration should be taken seriously by the East Asia countries, through expansion of the ASEAN framework and establishment of a regional monetary fund for trade and financial integration, with suitable exchange rates and coordination mechanism for the region (Edwards, 2011).
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Edwards, S. (2011). Exchange-rate policies in emerging countries: Eleven empirical regularities from Latin America and East Asia. Open Economies Review, 22(4), 533-563. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11079-011-9206-4
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Kuroda, H., & Kawai, M. (2004). Strengthening regional financial cooperation in East Asia. Financial governance in East Asia: policy dialogue, surveillance and cooperation, 134.
Leipziger, D. M. (Ed.). (2001). Lessons from East Asia. University of Michigan Press.
Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied linguistics, 20(1), 71-94.
Mason, A. (Ed.). (2001). Population change and economic development in East Asia: challenges met, opportunities seized. Stanford University Press.
Ng, F., & Yeats, A. (2003). Major trade trends in East Asia. World Bank Policy research working paper, 3084, 57.
Nihon University International Symposium on Economic and Social Development in East Asia, & Nihon Daigaku. (1993). Economic and social development in East Asia: Policies, management and, population : proceedings of the Nihon University International Symposium on Economic and Social Development in East Asia : Policies, Management, and Population. Tokyo: University Research Center, Nihon University.
Park, S. H. (2004). ASEM and the future of Asia-Europe relations: Background, characteristics and challenges. Asia Europe Journal, 2(3), 341-354.
Sakakibara, E., & Yamakawa, S. (2002). Regional Integration in East Asia: Challenges and Opportunities. World Bank East Asia Project.
Sakakibara, E., & Yamakawa, S. (2003). Regional integration in East Asia: challenges and opportunities (Vol. 3078). World Bank, East Asia and Pacific Region, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit.
The convention on the rights of the child (CRC) is an international treaty that protects children from all forms of discrimination by providing children with basic rights and mandating governments to observing those rights. The convention has fifty-four articles. Forty of these articles address themselves to substantial rights that range from political to cultural rights (Kaime 2011, p. 16). This essay tries to establish the achievements, failures and strengths of the CRC. The paper argues that the said treaty has more strengths and achievements than failures.
Strengths and achievements
To start with, a treaty simply refers to a written international agreement that according to Villiger must be concluded between states and should be governed by international law (Villiger 2009, p. 76). This agreement may be contained in a single instrument or more instruments that are related to one another. With regard to this definition, it is clear that every international treaty is based on international law. As such, it should refer to international law when making critical decisions. Looking at the treaty in question, it is clear that it refers to international law whenever making critical decisions that relate to children. It is also clear that it is based on international law. First, on article 41, it is evident that the treaty does not violate international law. Instead, its bases are on international law as well as state laws. Second, on article 40(2), it is evident that the said treaty is based on international law because it refers to it. To a great extent, this serves as one of the strengths of the treaty on the rights of children.
Once again, referring to the above definition, it is clear that international treaties are formed by state members. This means that international treaties cannot exist in the absence of states. In other words, states must come together to form these treaties. Looking at the treaty in question, it is clear that states have come together to form this treaty. This is in relation to the fact that the treaty keeps on referring to state parties. For example, article 2 starts by defining what state members need to do to be part of the treaty. Other articles keep on referring to state parties. This indicates that various states have been involved in the formation of the treaty in question (Villiger 2009, p. 81). This basic element of international treaties strengthens CRC as an international treaty.
One critical thing to note with this treaty is that it contains fifty-four articles, and that each of these articles addresses itself to one particular issue. For example, the first article addresses itself to the definition of a child while the 33rd article addresses itself to drug abuse. For the international treaties, this is a critical element that strengthens them by clarifying issues. The CRC has adopted this practice for the same reason. Apart from containing articles that address themselves to particular issues, the treaty covers a number of issues that affect children. Some of these issues include protection from child labor and prostitution, guaranteeing education and good life to children, giving children rights to play and protecting them from discrimination among other issues. With regard to this issue, it has been suggested that treaties should concern themselves with 4P’s. As an achievement, the first P for CRC should concern itself with participation of children in making decisions that affect them. The second P should concern itself with protecting children from all discriminatory acts. The third P should concern itself with preventing children from harm while the fourth P should concern itself with provision for assistance to children (Kaime 2011, p. 17). Over and above, the treaty in question can be said to satisfy the 4P’s because of the following reasons. First, the treaty encourages state parties to include organizations that protect children when making critical decisions that affect children. It also encourages those organizations to act in the best interests of children (Howe & Covell 2013, p. 26). Second, to a great extent, the treaty can be said that it protects children from different forms of discriminations. The treaty does this by identifying various forms of discriminations and outlining what state parties should do about each of these discriminations. Third, the treaty protects children from harm by identifying possible harms and committing state members to protecting children from those harms. For example, the treaty protects children from violence by identifying various forms of violence and committing state parties to protecting children from those forms of violence. Fourth, the treaty encourages state parties to facilitate for the provision of basic needs to children. Given that CRC treaty satisfies these 4P’s, then it has achieved significantly as an international treaty.
According to Klabbers (1996, p. 72), treaties are valid if state parties have free consent to those treaties. This means that state parties should not be coerced into signing treaties. In relation to this fact, some states and countries in the world may not be parties to CRC treaty. Although this might downplay the critical role CRC treaty plays in protecting children, it strengthens CRC as an international treaty because it promotes autonomy among state parties. As at 2014, only three countries were not state parties to CRC. These countries include USA, Somalia and South Sudan (Davidson 2014, p. 499). Once again, while this might appear as a weakness, it strengthens CRC because state parties are free to join either by signing the treaty or exchanging instruments that constitute the said treaty.
In terms of defining its scope, CRC treaty can be considered to be clear and succinct on this issue because of the following reasons. First, the treaty starts by defining a child as a person that is below eighteen years of age. Second, the treaty goes ahead to outlining that it applies to all children regardless of their ethnicity, ability, religion and gender. By so doing, the treaty defines its scope clearly and succinctly (Dorr & Schmalenbach 2011, p. 21). This strengthens the treaty.
In terms of failures, given that the treaty gives room for state parties to apply their national laws in implementing the treaty, CRC treaty is susceptible to varying interpretations and implementations. Such variations may emerge from differences in state laws among the state parties. This means that a state party may implement the treaty differently thereby undermine the treaty. Although such a state may be said to violate international law, such a state may defend itself on the basis of its national law. This weakens the treaty even if it tries to address this issue broadly.
Over and above, in spite of the few shortcomings, the CRC treaty is a strong international treaty because it addresses the various elements of international treaties. First, the treaty is based on international law and to some extent on national laws. Second, the scope of the treaty is clear and succinct. Third, the treaty gives state parties autonomy by allowing them to become members freely. This notwithstanding the treaty is weak because national laws may undermine its implementation.
Davidson, H., 2014. Does the UN convention on the rights of the child make a difference? Michigan State International Law Review, 22(2), pp. 497-530.
Dorr, O. & Schmalenbach, K., 2011. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: A Commentary. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Berlin, Springer.
Howe, R. & Covell, K., 2013. Education in the best interests of the child: a children’s rights perspective on closing the achievement gap. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.
Kaime, T., 2011. The Convention on the Rights of the Child: a cultural legitimacy critique. Groningen, Europa Law Publishing.
Klabbers, J., 1996. The concept of treaty in international law. The Hague, Kluwer Law International.
Villiger, M., 2009. Commentary on the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.