peter willett

Topics: International relations, United Nations, Human rights Pages: 5 (945 words) Published: October 15, 2013
Peter Willetts: “Transnational actors and international organizations in global politics” (2008)
1. Introduction
-> international relations should no longer be regarded as ‘states’ interacting with each other: = from realist to pluralist approach
= international relations and global politics as the interaction of: - states or governments
- transnational companies (Nestlé, Shell, Ford, …)
- national NGOs
- IGOs (UN, NATO, EU, …)
- INGOs (Amnesty International, WWF, …)

2. Problems with the state-centric approach
-> 4 main problems:
1) ambiguity between different meanings of ‘state’
= legal person?
= political community?
= apparatus of government?
=> this article: government point of view (disentangle state and its citizens) 2) lack of similarity between countries
= legally equal but politically very different
e.g.: difference in size, population, economy, governmental system, … = some transnational actors are bigger than countries in terms of members, GDP, … 3) state systems and international systems
= false assumption that states are located in anarchic international system 4) difference between state and nation
= nations cross state boundaries as do transnational actors
= country-based political systems are thus not necessarily more coherent than global

3. Transnational companies as political actors
-> transnational companies as companies with subsidiaries outside the home country = increasingly more TNCs from developing countries
= important consequences:
- financial flows and loss of sovereignty
e.g.: currency no longer national in EU, national policies don’t affect intra firm trade
- triangulation and loss of sovereignty
e.g.: indirect trade can’t be prevented
- regulatory arbitrage and loss of sovereignty

e.g.: companies can threaten to close affiliates in a certain country and move to another one when conditions are not good anymore (Ryanair) - extraterritoriality and sovereignty
e.g.: TNCs with bases in different countries can cause clashes of sovereignty between those countries
- from domestic deregulation to global re-regulation
= economic regulation is occurring at global level because of TNCs = 3 factors which lead to more globalization of politics:
a) governments can only reassert control by acting collectively b) consumer pressure leads to global codes of conduct which are accepted by companies and implemented by NGOs
c) global companies pushed to submit to environmental auditing => Leads to cooperation of governments, NGOs and UN to recruit large TNCs in order to help implement UN principles of human rights etc.

4. Non-legitimate groups and liberation movements as political actors -> transnational crime must be distinguished between:
- activity that is considered criminal by the whole world
- activity of which actors claim it legitimate political motives (dictatorial regimes, terrorism,…) -> transnational criminals and their political impact:
= same problems for sovereignty as with TNCs:
- criminal financial flows
- criminal trade too diversified via triangulation
- police action displaces crime to other countries rather than stopping it - international drug trade involves extraterritorial jurisdiction BUT: High levels of international police cooperation ( TNCs) -> terrorists, guerrillas, and national liberation movements: = all terms for movements or minorities that reject a governments’ legitimacy - terrorists by those who disapprove

- guerrillas by those who are more neutral
- national liberation by those who are in favor
= only get international recognition when they don’t use violence = threat of transnational terrorism since 9/11
= °International Criminal Court + UN’s resolution of ‘collective responsibility to protect’ -> significance of criminals, terrorists, and guerrillas:
= terrorism is not a single political force (though it shows transnational characteristics) = governments can’t respond to it as independent sovereign actors


5. NGOs...
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