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The chaotic structure of world relations


Definitely, chaos is an instance gravely unbeneficial at any given fact or situation. This is most true in the principles and normative values regulating, or self-regulating world relations.

If we do not want conflicts and disintegrationsto perpetuate within our own personal lives ---or in our community in general---then as much more that we would not opt for chaos in the relations among states and nations.

Basically, the interaction between and among states --- especially at the beginning of the era where nation had begun to evolve into instituted states (from the prior institutions of kingdoms and empires that had mostly vague territorial and political frameworks) sometime in the 16th century --- is mostly confined in an environment of chaos.

When we say chaos in international relations, it refers technically to the lack of formal organizational and hierarchical structure among nations, that sheer might and strength becomes the limited characteristics forestimation as to what nation should exert its influence over and against other lesser states. Of course, this form of strength should primordially be in the nature of military force, and then political influence.

This lack of structure had been deemed by political theorists to be the sole basis why in the early stages of human civilization, nations and territories are often in violent and head-on collisions with each other, showing and exerting each other’s strength and resolve almost at every turn, that sad to say, only war and confrontation could resolve a certain status quo. And since power is often fluctuating, nations had been embroiled in repetitive war in those early ages of human civilization.

This despite that international organization such as the United Nations nowadays provides a certain form of arrangement among states; still, this does not strictly refers to a hierarchal form of organization as nations remain co-equal with each other, and no nation or nations holds formalized power over all other nations. It remains to this day therefore that world relations are chaotic in nature, this despite the existence of the United Nations.

For instance, in the time immediately prior to World War I, a form of uncertainty had arose as to what nation state has the most strength in the European region, a fragile balance of power had permeated, and alliances were formed as a result of this insecurity, that eventually, when these states started to question each other’s resolve much more intensely, war broke out among them, eventually and steadily developing into a global war.

The only solution – which is at times dangerous proposition – is the presence of a singular state that could exert enormous power and influence above most, if not all states in the world. This situation becomes the so-called hegemony in international relations.

This hegemonic structure is provided today by the powerfulness and heraldic power of the United States of America thatas a singular entity, it wields so much power and political influence over all other nations that its grasp is nearly empiric in nature.

While radical minded individuals resent this situation, where America often involves itself in every conflict and confrontation in almost every nook and cranny of the world, this had becomesomehow a positive value for today’s world peace and stability.

For instance, in the developing events that had brought China and the Philippines to a head on collision over a piece of island in the South China Sea (or West Philippine Sea), over the disputed Scarborough Shoal, some tactical moves by the United States, specifically the docking of attack submarine USS North Carolina in a port near Scarborough; such move was seen to be in the context of attempting to pacify the tense situation brimming between the two Asian nations. 

Without the veiled intervention of America, any escalation in the Scarborough issue would sway so much in China’s favor. That it would not be too surprising to realize how China becomes too eager to put up a fight against the Philippines over the disputed piece of land protruding over the seas just west of the latter’s territory.

However, with the existence of a mutual defense treaty between the United States and the Philippines, China could not be so forceful or profligate in engaging the Philippines to a full-blown military confrontation. Otherwise, it would be inviting America into the whole conflict --- Which would not be in its own interest for certain.

Somehow, we as a nation, becomes ultimately benefitted from this hegemonic structure being perpetuated by America as the lone superpower in existence today. Despite that it is often vilified as an international bully by many political critics.

by Yusop Masdal

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