IRLS503 All Weeks Discussions (September 2019)

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 1 Discussion

International Organizations: Introduction and Overview

So that we are all on the same page from the outset, please read this blog post before posting and raise at least one point from it that you deem important in your Week 1 post:

After reading the Week 1 Lesson and completing the first readings, please address the following questions:

(1) Given that states are self-interested actors, why do IOs exist?

(2) What IOs, or kinds of IOs, do you find the most effective or necessary in international politics and why? Please differentiate between different types of IOs (e.g., IGOs, NGOs) to explain your answer.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 2 Discussion

IO Independence and Autonomy: Perspectives from Constructivism and Liberalism

After reading this week’s lesson notes and reading, please develop an argument that responds to each of the following questions:

(a) Do you think IGOs create a convergence of state interests?

(b) Do you think IGO membership results in socialization?

(b) Do IOs more generally help foster accountability among states?

Your answers should not regurgitate the conclusions of these articles, but rather critique them. Feel free to disagree with the authors if you find reason. For example, consider these questions in your answer: what assumptions undergird the arguments of these authors? To what degree are the authors’ conclusions generalizable across different issue areas, types of countries, or types of IOs?

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 3 Discussion

Institutions and Regimes: Perspectives from Realism and Liberalism

In 1994, Mearsheimer wrote an influential article in which he argued that only realism explains the international system and dismissed other approaches to international institutions. After reading the lesson notes and all of the assigned articles from this week, please compose a post that addresses each of the three points below.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Mearsheimer’s perspective on international institutions,

Evaluate the counterarguments offered by Pevehouse and Russett (2006), and Ruggie (1982), and

Assess how relevant the realist paradigm is for making sense of international institutions and international regimes today.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 4 Discussion

Human Rights: Treaties, NGOs, and Transnational Networks

Our readings this week concern the question of why states adopt human rights treaties and join human rights organizations. We also learn about NGOs and transnational advocacy networks, and the challenges they face. Please compose a post that addresses each of the following questions:

How do we determine whether human rights IOs are effective?

Which types are most effective: human rights treaties, NGOs, or transnational advocacy networks?

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 5 Discussion

After completing the assigned readings and the lesson, what are some of the biggest challenges IOs face when attempting to preserve security and enact justice? Analyze some of the factors that determine how successfully or unsuccessfully IOs address those challenges.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 6 Discussion

International Financial Institutions: The IMF, World Bank, and WTO

After completing the assigned readings and reading the lesson notes, please prepare a post that addresses the following question.

Whom are IFIs, such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, accountable to? In preparing an answer to this question, analyze whose interests are represented through the work of these IFIs and some of the accountability challenges they face.

Note: the objective is not to repeat and agree with one article in this forum; there is no “correct” answer to this question. The best answers will be well-supported with citations from our readings and display critiques of key points. We should end up with a healthy debate.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 7 Discussion

Regional Organizations: The European Union

The readings this week apply different theoretical perspectives to analyze the European Union as a regional IO. For example, in the articles, we read about rationalism, social constructivism, multi-level governance, enforcement and management theory, and more. In addition, the lesson notes discuss intergovernmentalism, supranationalism, and veto player theory. Which theoretical perspective(s) do you find the most persuasive and why when it comes to analyzing EU policymaking? Which is the least persuasive and why? Please incorporate specific examples to support your arguments.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 8 Discussion

A Global IO: The United Nations

Questions are often raised about the effectiveness of the United Nations in conflict resolution and peace operations. To what extent has the UN been successful in mitigating or preventing conflict? Under what conditions are peace operations likely to be successful?