The International Order- concept of the international system

In the field of international relations, the concept and role of the international system is frequently raised in understanding the environment surrounding the state. What is the meaning of this concept?

International relations in general are not subject to a written law or an official system that regulates relations between states, but rather these relations swim in an environment that is determined by international actors, and the term international actors is not limited to the states themselves, but rather goes beyond them to reach international organizations and multinational companies, in addition to To the people who play a role in the international arena, as is the case with the people who have global influence by virtue of the nature of their activities (the Rothschilds, the Bourburns) in addition to some of the leaders of terrorist organizations, arms dealers, etc..Accordingly, international relations can be defined as the totality of relations between international actors. As for the international system, it is the pattern of interaction between international actors in all fields. With the change of the owners of power, the shape of the system changes, and with the end of every confrontation between major powers, major shifts appear in the distribution of power and the rules that govern international interactions.Accordingly, it can be said that world peace is linked to the effectiveness of the international organization and its impact through its various institutions in confronting aggression and resolving conflicts by peaceful means and methods. And this was consolidated by the transition from the narrow circle within the framework of the state to the broad circle within the framework of the international community, which in turn contributed to the emergence of the international system. Relations between states and these relations aim to mitigate existing conflicts, contain manifestations of conflict, and work to find strong foundations for mutual international cooperation, based on the general interest of the international community and not on the basis of the individual interest of one of its components, and perhaps the way to achieve this lies in collective action based on AwarenessA realization that aims to regulate these relations through the creation of international governmental or non-governmental institutions, which have an independent personality and are recognized by states, and undertake themselves to implement the provisions and obligations contained in the covenants they sign.

 Hence, we can consider the agreement between states as a prelude to the emergence of the international system, and the strength of this system lies in the extent of cooperation of the participating parties and the extent of their support for the goals and achievements of this system. It is a well-established, permanent and organized phenomenon whose aim is to contain and end the manifestations of conflict and conflict, to create a ground for cooperation and construction, and to find ways and means through which it can coexist with countries with different systems in an atmosphere of good relations.

The idea of ​​the international system is not a new idea.  Dante Alighieri  in 1315 called for the necessity of unifying power and eliminating the spread of chaos through the establishment of a world government aimed at ending the existing divisions that have become a cause of various conflicts and disputes. As for the thinker,  America Crochet  , he started from the necessity of eliminating All the different aspects that stand in the way of the international organization, and he saw that this is achieved by the existence of a world that is open to each other, from which barriers and differences end, whatever their cause, and suggested getting rid of the principle of sovereignty that contributes to the dispersion of the international community, and we find that the ideas of American Crochet are more in line with the existing conditions It is more appropriate for a kind of manifestation of international organization that includes not the countries of the European continent but all regions of the world, as the German thinker   Wilhelm Leibniz went. Towards advanced steps in defining the concept of international organization, where he saw that world peace is not merely to prevent conflicts from arising, nor to eliminate differences, or to prevent states from using force. In the year 1670, the idea of ​​establishing an international organization that includes all countries in the European continent, supported by culture and science as auxiliary factors to establish a base of self-awareness that contributes to the realization of his ideas.

The consolidation of order in the international community is based on the struggle against chaos, and all its causes and effects. It also aims to consolidate areas of understanding between states and peoples, ensuring respect for basic freedoms, human rights and political independence, and adherence to the decisions of international organizations and official institutions that embody the international system.

Definition of the international system

Many political scientists have adopted systems theory founded by  David Easton  to study politics, which is based on the idea that political life is a body of interactions with special boundaries that are surrounded by social systems that affect them continuously. Gabriel Almond also defined   the political system as a system of interactions that exist in all independent societies and that perform the functions of integration and adaptation through means of employing or threatening to employ means of legitimate coercion, large or small.

The system (satte of affairs) is defined as: a state of harmony and discipline that is characterized by being free from chaos or strike, with the factor of adherence to the law and respect for authority. The system is a set of rules, controls, directives, orders, or assignments that are organized, commanding, and binding, according to the fact that they are issued by a higher authority, and therefore they are authoritarian rules.

 In the light of these definitions, we can say that there is an international system that assumes the existence of a set of organizing rules or behavioral patterns – these patterns are achieved through the commitment of the members of the international community to them – that achieve the ideal picture or state of international relations. Likewise, the focus actually began on the nature of the international system – as an independent factor that explains international behavior, especially the countries that make up this system – with the beginning of the behavioral school in the study of political science at the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties. How to divide power in the global system, and how this division affects the behavior of states in the international arena.

Maurice Alden East and his colleagues defined  the international system as: the set of patterns of interactions and relations between political actors of a terrestrial nature (states) that exist during a specific time.

The international system can also be defined from the above: It is a set of variables in interaction with one another. This interaction may be recurrent and interdependent. In addition, any changes in the parts of the system affect other parts. It can be said that all systems have certain rules and conventions, knowledge boundaries, structure and organization as well as a set of inputs and outputs. As for the units forming the system, they may be independent states or groups of states such as military and commercial alliances and international institutions such as the United Nations, in addition to international actors other than states and even some individuals. As for interaction in the system between these units, it takes after a certain time rules and norms to become international. As for the borders of the system, the example is the system of the major European countries, which can be described as a global system and non-European countries are its external environment. .

The international system is often characterized by anarchy, that is, it is a political system without a government, without stable rules and established values. Therefore, we must imagine an international system with rules without a regulator for these rules, and this global chaos occurs because all countries act according to their own interest, and that no country will act morally, as there is no one to secure it if other countries act in immoral behavior. In short, the most important part in defining any A system is the distribution of military and economic capabilities among the units forming the system.

Hence, we find that the analysis, from the perspective of the international system of foreign policy, focused its attention on the macro level of analysis. The main concern is focused on changes in the characteristics of the international environment in which states carry out their foreign policy. Here, it is indicated that any change in the advantages of the international system will lead to a change in the external behavior of the countries that make up this system.

In short, the analysis at the level of the international system focuses on the big picture of international relations, and relies in one of its foundations on the fact that the structure of the system plays the most important role in determining the behavior of states towards each other. Here, the focus is on the general shape of the foreign policy of the superpowers and not on the subtleties of the issues that depend on the case study.

The international system after the Cold War.

Since the nineties of the twentieth century, the world has witnessed radical and profound transformations in the global political system, and the contemporary world has never experienced such a momentum of transformations and this degree of overlapping and intertwining of the forces of change that began to establish what is known as the new world order, which is still under construction. Most of the political and intellectual transformations that the world witnessed recently were huge, decisive and foundational. They were not only huge and unusual, but they came flowing, fast and sudden. As a result of their depth, they affected the course of global political and intellectual history and came to separate two historical stages of the emergence and development of the system. Contemporary world politics.Also, these transformations worked to cancel all the previous constants, postulates and international interactions that had existed for half a century since the Second World War and began to establish new international rules and concepts that were different from what prevailed before that period, and from here we find that all the data indicate that these transformations It was mostly spontaneous and was not in any way planned or orchestrated and was therefore baffling even to the most powerful of the countries in control of the fate of the world.

In the aftermath of the dramatic radical transformations that occurred in eastern and central Europe starting in 1989, which expressed themselves in the collapse of socialist regimes, the fall of the Warsaw Pact, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the international system witnessed profound changes described as unprecedented and that they represent the end of a global system, which is the dual system. Polar to be replaced by another system.

Some researchers have believed that the end of the Cold War began when the Soviet Union let the communist government in Poland fall without interference, and thus ended the world order that had settled since 1945 AD, which was based on bipolarity and ideological conflicts, and if the researchers agreed on the end of the previous international system, they They differed in determining what the current international system is, as some went to say that the international system has become unipolar, while others went to say that it has become multipolar in which at least five powers represented by the United States, the European Union, Japan, China, and the Russian Federation are balanced. . A third party went on to say that the current system is nothing more than a transitional stage separating the fall of the old bipolar system and the emergence and formation of the structures of a new world order whose features have not yet crystallized.

The disagreement is due to the divergence of vision towards the main determinant of guiding international interactions. Researchers who gave a greater role to the structure of the system in guiding international interactions, and then the role of power in the system, believed that the United States could play the role of the unipolar controlling the global system. Supporters of this trend believe that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, its surrender in the Cold War, Russia’s orientation towards the alliance and its exit – albeit temporarily – from the arena of international politics and its preoccupation with its internal crises, this led to the fall of one of the two poles of the binary system, and the United States became the only superpower qualified to arrange global conditions without Effective opposition from other powers, and the other powers that are candidates to compete with the United States, such as Japan, China, and the European Union, are not yet qualified to play the role of the pole, let alone the possibility of competition among themselves.

 In contrast to the jurists who adopted the issue of measuring power and its distribution among states as an indicator of the international system, we find others used the national income rate as an indicator to measure power in the international system. Others went to use the national income rate as an indicator with the addition of other economic and social indicators such as life rates, education percentage, etc. Others also relied on economic, military and social indicators in how to measure power at the regional level (the case of the Middle East). Others measured power qualitatively, and in general, there are material indicators of change that indicate the existence of a new international order, including: the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the introduction of a new ideology in drawing American foreign policy (spreading democracy in the world) and the disappearance of the ideological conflict (communist, capitalism in the era of the Cold War), which coincided with the importance of the leadership of the United States of America in ensuring global security.

This was embodied in the fact that the United States of America ranked first in issuing the total annual major decisions in the military and economic fields between 1990-1996.

The previous views can be extracted in describing the nature of the post-Cold War international system as a system that searches for an identity or a system that is still in the process of formation, as there are multiple visions and orientations in its description between viewing it as the dominant unipolar system, or realizing it as a multipolar system, but in all It can be said that the most prominent features of this system are represented by the rise of the United States as the sole and dominant superpower in the structure of the post-Cold War world and system. This system has three components:

First: The seven advanced capitalist countries, the G7 (which became the G8 with Russia’s accession to it).

Secondly, multinational corporations.

And the third: the global economic institutions (the International Monetary Fund – the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – the World Trade Organization…).

 The diplomacy of these institutions, along with the United Nations, since the beginning of the twentieth century, has become an alternative to the diplomacy of military battleships, military landings, and blockades that were known at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Post-Cold War Order and World.

Sources and references:

Majed Muhammad Shaddoud, International Political Relations, Damascus University Publications, Higher Institute of Political Science, third edition, 2000-2001.

 Abdel Moneim Saeed, The Arabs and the Future of the World Order, Center for Arab Unity Studies, first edition.

 Mamdouh Mahmoud Mustafa, The Concept of the International Order between Scientific and Stereotypical, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 1998 first edition.

Muhammad Adnan Hayajeh, Diplomacy of the Great Powers in Light of the New International Order towards the Arab World, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 1999.

Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, The New World Order .. Facts and Illusions, International Politics Magazine, Issue 124, April 1996 edition.

Emad Gad, The Political Encyclopedia of Youth, No. 10, International Intervention, Dar Nahdet Misr 2007

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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