Cooperation is difficult for individuals and so it comes as no surprise that states have difficulty cooperating as well. Some would argue that the creation of international organizations like the United Nations and NATO marked the beginning of a new era where state leaders came together to discuss and reach agreements. However, this was more easily said than done.
Although the realist perspective on world politics is pessimistic in its outlook, there is some truth in its opinion of international organizations. Kelly-Kate Pease explains that realists believe that international organizations are rarely able to successfully veer states to behave in a particular manner when they have opposing interests. This statement is correct in stating that different interests and conflicting opinions are bound to make cooperation between states difficult. However, it appears as if realists believe that the fact that international organizations exist and the inability of them to reach a consensus on issues is a signal that international organizations are useless. John Mearsheimer makes it clear that the balance of power of the time, and not the actual international organization (NATO), made cooperation possible. This is a good example of why realists must be a little more optimistic. International organizations are not meant to solve a problem immediately, but rather provide a space for states to come together and discuss their options. The reality is that the formation of NATO helped bring together states with similar interests. Had NATO not been created and had a space for like-minded states to unite not existed, a third World War could have been a possibility.
Nonetheless, Mearsheimer’s point that realists advocate for NATO to “reconstitute itself on the basis of the new distribution of power in Europe” is an important concept for all international organizations. Due to globalization and technology, states are at least partially dependent upon each other. Although it is true that some nations have more power than others, there is nothing to say that the less powerful states of today cannot become the powers of tomorrow.
Michael Shreoder and David Banks question the silence of China and India on the Ukrainian crisis. It appears as if China, but more so India, are clinging to their history of being a weak state with no influence in international organizations. The reality is the opposite. China and India are progressing at a rapid rate and have the capability of taking over some of the responsibilities that world powers like Great Britain and the United States have. Realists are correct in their assertion that NATO must evolve, but this concept should be applied to all international organizations. The great powers that emerged after World War II are not as powerful as they used to be. Globalization and technological progress have taken root in other parts of the world and international organizations must make way for these states to take the burden off of the older generation of great powers.