Flaws in International Institution Theories that lead Imperfection of International Institution -SeungMin Song

When the major international crisis occurs, the role of international institution often questioned because it solves nothing. Just like crisis in Ukraine, there is merely no effect from the international institution, especially in the major crisis.

Mearsheimer starts with realist perspective about international institution, which makes sense and was persuasive to me since realism is the school that thinks cooperation is not likely happened. He said, two factors that inhabit the cooperation are relative gain and concern about cheating. However, he also points out that there is no ideal theory that inhabits all two. If theories are imperfect, the reality that applied by those is obviously will be failed, which shows where international institution stands today. This is why there is a need of improvement for both theories and the international institution’s role in the world.

The case of Ukraine shows the role of institution’s failure. When it occurs, many major powers were in silence. Considering two factors that inhabit the cooperation, it is understandable why they were in silence; there is no self-interest or much relative gain that they get by getting into the situation. Even though we have the international organization, when major crisis happens, we do not know what to do, or many countries do not want to do because it is not in their self interest for the state.

The critical theory challenges realism with the idea of self-interest, the factor that makes cooperation less likely to happen. The critical theory states that there is a need of fundamental change of state’s behavior by creating norms of trust and sharing; yet, the question of how still remains. The world has a better norm of keeping peace comparing before the international institutions, such as NATO or the UN, were created, but that is not enough for stopping every single war. What we need is norm of thinking good for the international community, rather than state’s own benefit. Yet, just creating the norm is too vague and hard to define what to do. Before the norms created, there should be rules, like liberal institutionalism suggested, that slowly create the norm in the future.

After Second World War, the world recognizes the importance of international institution to keep the peace. We, as a global community, are still in process of creating the concrete one. The reason why there is no concrete one is because there is no theory that lead to make a concrete one. To make a better role of international institution, we need to improve or come up with the new theory that works in reality.




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