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POLSC211: Introduction to International Relations

Unit 6: International Organizations and Law   This unit will examine major international organizations, focusing in particular on the United Nations (UN) and its goals, membership, and structure. We will learn how the UN makes political and economic decisions that affect state actors in the global community. In this unit, you will come to understand how this international body came about and how it is able to influence positive change. We will also examine the UN’s various deficiencies and limitations, discussing possible measures of institutional reform. We will also learn about the UN’s international financial organizations: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
 

Unit 6 Time Advisory
Completing this unit will take approximately 23 hours.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 18 hours ☐    Sub-subunit 6.2.1: 14.75 hours

☐    Introduction: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.6: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.7: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1.8: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.3: 0.25 hours

 

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- discuss and explain the various analytical and theoretical positions used in the subfield of international relations to explain world politics; - delineate the historical development of interstate relations and the place of the nation state in that development; - describe specific issues that have relevance to the study of interstate relations, national security, war, economic integration, trade, and so forth; - discuss the role of national power and diplomacy in international relations; - discuss the nature and development of international organizations; - identify and discuss major issues of the international economy; and  - identify and discuss major issues related to human rights.

6.1 International Organizations in the International System   - Reading: Beyond Intractability: Eric Brahm’s “International Regimes” Links: Beyond Intractability: Eric Brahm’s International Regimes (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the text by Eric Brahm for an overview of how International Regimes are seen in international relations.  
 
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  • Web Media: YouTube: UC Berkeley: “Conversations with History: Robert Keohane” Link: YouTube: UC Berkeley: Conversations with History: Robert Keohane (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch the interview with Princeton University Professor Robert Keohane, starting from about the 10:00 minute mark until 27:50 minutes. Professor Robert Keohane is considered a founder of neoliberal institutionalism and the idea that cooperation is possible even under neorealist assumptions of anarchy.
     
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  • Reading: University of Chicago: Professor John J. Mearsheimer’s “The False Promise of International Institutions” Link: University of Chicago: Professor John J. Mearsheimer’s The False Promise of International Institutions (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down the webpage about half-way to where the title of the article is listed - note that the list is chronological from newest to oldest, and this article is listed as Winter 1994/1995. Click on the link labeled “PDF” to download the file, and read Professor John Meirsheimer’s critique of International Institutions.
     
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6.2 United Nations (UN)   6.2.1 Organizational Structure   - Web Media: United Nations’ “Structure and Organization” Link: United Nations’ Structure and Organization (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the image to enlarge the chart, and carefully study the organizational structure of the United Nations. Many people do not realize that entities such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are part of the UN. After studying the flow chart of the UN, we will look at some of the more important institutions that have developed over the years. 
 
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6.2.1.1 Security Council   - Reading: BBC News: “How the UN Security Council Works” and United Nations Security Council: “Background” Links: BBC News: How the UN Security Council Works (HTML) and United Nations Security Council: Background (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the two articles, which both provide background on the UN Security Council, its purpose, and membership. The readings will also cover the topics outlined in sections 6.2.1.1.1 and 6.2.1.1.2 of this course.
 
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6.2.1.1.1 Permanent Members   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath sub-subunit 6.2.1.1.

6.2.1.1.2 Non-Permanent Members   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath sub-subunit 6.2.1.1.

6.2.1.1.3 Security Council Reform   - Reading: The Washington Quarterly: Thomas G. Weiss’s “The Illusion of UN Security Council Reform” Link: The Washington Quarterly: Thomas G. Weiss’s “The Illusion of UN Security Council Reform” (PDF)
 
Instructions: To access the reading, click on the link to the PDF file. 
 
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6.2.1.1.4 Peacekeeping Reform   - Reading: Peace Keeping Resource Hub: Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor’s “Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations” Link: Peace Keeping Resource Hub: Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor’s “Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations” (PDF)
 
Instructions: From the above link, download the PDF, and read the “Executive Summary”.
 
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6.2.1.1.5 Annan Doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention   - Reading: American Enterprise Institute: John R. Bolton’s “Kofi Annan’s UN Power Grab” and Spectator: Peter Oborne’s “We Have a Duty to Protect Zimbabwe” Links: American Enterprise Institute: John R. Bolton’s Kofi Annan’s UN Power Grab (HTML) and Spectator: Peter Oborne’s We Have a Duty to Protect Zimbabwe (HTML)
 
Instructions: First read John R. Bolton’s critique of the Annan Doctrine, and then read Peter Oborne’s article supporting the application of the Annan Doctrine to the case of Zimbabwe.
 
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6.2.1.1.6 Sanctions   - Reading: United Nations’ “Security Council Sanctions Committees: An Overview” Link: United Nations’ Security Council Sanctions Committees: An Overview (HTML)
 
Instructions: Open the above link, and read the overview. Then, open the link at the bottom of the page titled Report of the Symposium on Enhancing the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions,” and read the document.
 
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6.2.1.2 General Assembly   - Reading: Council on Foreign Relations: Rebecca Bloom’s and Lauren Vriens’ “The Role of the UN General Assembly” Link: Council on Foreign Relations: Rebecca Bloom’s and Lauren Vriens’ The Role of the UN General Assembly (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this primer on the UN General Assembly. 
 
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6.2.1.3 Economic and Social Council   - Reading: United Nations Economic and Social Council: “Background Information” Link: United Nations Economic and Social Council: Background Information” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the webpage linked above.  
    
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6.2.1.4 Trusteeship Council   - Reading: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Ambassador Edward Marks’ “Transitional Governance: A Return to the Trusteeship System?” and Harry A. Inman’s and Walter Gary Sharp, Sr.’s “Revising the U.N. Trusteeship System – Will It Work?” Links: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Ambassador Edward Marks’ Transitional Governance: A Return to the Trusteeship System? (HTML) and Harry A. Inman’s and Walter Gary Sharp, Sr.’s Revising the U.N. Trusteeship System – Will It Work? (HTML)
 
Instructions: First, read Ambassador Edward Marks’s article advocating a system similar to the trusteeship system used during the wave of de-colonization in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, read Harry A. Inman’s and Walter Gary Sharp’s article, which is a response to Ambassador Marks.
 
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6.2.1.5 Secretariat   - Reading: United Nations’ “Secretariat” Link: United Nations’ Secretariat” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the webpage linked above.
 
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6.2.1.6 International Court of Justice   - Reading: International Court of Justice’s “The Court: History” and “How the Court Works” Links: International Court of Justice’s The Court: History (HTML) and How the Court Works (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read both webpages to learn about the history and operation of the International Court of Justice.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above. The articles above are in the public domain. 

  • Web Media: iTunes U: Yale University: Rosalyn Higgins’s “Life as President of the International Court of Justice” Link: iTunes U: Yale University: Rosalyn Higgins’s Life as President of the International Court of Justice (iTunes)
     
    Instructions: Select “View in iTunes” for track 8 “Life as President of the International Court of Justice.” Listen to the audio clip with the former President of the International Court of Justice.  

    Listening to this audio clip should take approximately 1 hour. 
     
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6.2.1.7 Financial Institutions   - Reading: International Monetary Fund: “Factsheet: the IMF and World Bank” Link: International Monetary Fund: Factsheet - The IMF and the World Bank” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the webpage linked above. Note: if this topic interests you, a darker perspective is presented by John Perkins, author of “Conscience of an Economic Hit Man” and “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”
 
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6.2.1.7.1 International Monetary Fund (IMF)   - Web Media: YouTube: Council on Foreign Relations’ John Lipsky’s “International Economics” Link: YouTube: Council on Foreign Relations’ John Lipsky’s International Economics (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Listen to John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director at the IMF, discuss the IMF’s relevance in today’s global economic crisis.

 Watching this video should take approximately 1 hour.   
    
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6.2.1.7.2 The World Bank   - Web Media: London School of Economics: Douglas Alexander’s “Out of the Bretton Woods: Building a World Bank for the 21st Century” Link: London School of Economics: Douglas Alexander’s Out of the Bretton Woods: Building a World Bank for the 21st Century (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Listen to the above podcast.

 Listening to this podcast will take approximately 40 minutes.   
    
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6.2.1.8 World Trade Organization (WTO)   - Reading: World Trade Organization’s “Understanding the WTO: Basics” Link: World Trade Organization’s Understanding the WTO: Basics” (PDF)         
 
Instructions: Read all the sections under “Understanding the WTO: Basics.”  Click on the link to read the first section, and then use the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the page to read all the other sub-sections under “Basics,” or you can use the “next” arrow to move to the next section.
 
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6.2.2 Voting Behavior   - Reading: University of Rochester: Professor David B. Carter’s and Professor Randall W. Stone’s “Sincere or Strategic? U.S. Aid Disbursements and Voting in the United Nations General Assembly” Link: University of Rochester: Professor David B. Carter’s and Professor Randall W. Stone’s Sincere or Strategic? U.S. Aid Disbursements and Voting in the United Nations General Assembly (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Professor David B. Carter’s and Professor Randall Stone’s article.
 
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6.2.3 U.S.-UN Relations   - Reading: Yale University’s Yale Journal of International Affairs: “The U.S. Relationship with the United Nations” Link: Yale University’s Yale Journal of International Affairs: The U.S. Relationship with the United Nations (PDF)
 
Instructions: To access the article, scroll down the page and open the link titled “unroundtable223.pdf”. 
 
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