The Politics of International Relations

The issue of international economic relations has been widely discussed over the centuries. It is an important issue because it concerns fundamental economic approaches and economic question about the US hegemony in the World Economy and reactions of other nations regarding American hegemony. Three different arguments have been put forward about this issue; Global Political Economy — Robert Gilpin, New Imperialism — David Harvey, The Liberal International Order- John Ikenberry. In this context, a few definitions come into prominence, as realism, state-centric realism, liberalism and neo-liberalism. Liberalism is the political doctrine that seeks to protect and develop the freedom of the individual as the central problem of politics. (Ball, Minoque, Dagger, Girvetz 2018). Another important definition is realism which is a set of relevant international relation theories emphasizing the role of the state, national interests and military power in world politics (Bell, 2018). This essay firstly summaries the main points of the each arguments for theories about global political economy and examines the US hegemony in the World Economy from three different perspectives.

Ikenberry’s Liberalism — The Liberal International Order

In every period of the world history, all the international relations and power balances have been determined by the actors who will re-determine their own values (Yılmaz, 2007). The first hegemonic power of the modern world system was England. The hegemonic power of England, which came to the forefront with France, continued its position until 1945’s (Uzgel, 2003). On the other hand, the US became the leading producer of steel and automobile industry since 1914. Moreover, the USA has influenced the institutions that emerged with the Bretton Woods system (IMF, World Bank) during the cold war (Ikenberry, 2010). In addition to this the United States also supported the free market economy all around the world. Thus, the America has confirmed the position of hegemonic in the world economy (Ikenberry, 2010).However, during and after the Cold War period, global economic problems increased. In this context, Ikenberry (2010) argues that the liberal world order will be solution of all these problems. Furthermore, he suggested that there are four different reasons why the liberal order will continue to develop in the world. First reason is that after the Great War, it is not through the liberal order that such a war will happen again. The second reason is that the liberal order is not only managing by the US. It is managed by consortiums such as G7 and G20. The process of adaptation is simple. Thirdly, rising states do not form a block aimed at reversing or reorganizing the existing international order. China, India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and others have been seeking new roles and more influences within the global system. However, they do not form a new state coalition seeking global transformation. All these states are deeply attached to the capitalist and the World economy. Fourth reason is that states feel themselves more confident (Ikenberry, 2010) . With the reasons, (2010) sees the liberal order as the story of modernity and the search for the principle of universal politics and economy.

Capitalism, States and Oil — David Harvey, New Imperialism

David Harvey (2003), investigated the global capitalism and the effects of the new imperialism on the world economy in this book. He used historical-geographical materials in his work. Recently, many countries are importing oil all around the world (Workman, 2018). Oil is used in many fields such as industry, military and transportation (Harvey, 2003). Therefore, dominance over oil fields are significant for countries. In this context, new imperialism focused these areas. Harvey (2003) suggested that oil resources will run out. Thus, the Middle East, located on rich oil resources, attracts the attention of the whole world (Harvey, 2003). In this sense, the USA intervened indirectly to war between Iraq and Iran. In addition, the incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown how important oil trade is to American hegomony (Harvey, 2003). Moreover, after the Bretton Woods standard in the early 1970’s, the United States made an agreement with Saudi Arabia. The petro-dollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non backed, floating rate regimes (Tun, 2018). On the other hand, the 9/11 attack on the United States, which has experienced turmoil in domestic politics, has given an unprecedented opportunity like a raid on the pearl harbour. Foreign policy has created a good opportunity to control oil against rising regimes (Harvey, 2003). Beside, statesmen pursue collective advantage and must act within the political and military conditions of the state (Harvey, 2003). It is difference of two actors of capitalism.

State-Centric Realism — Global Political Economy, Robert Gilpin

Gilpin (2001) suggests the state-centric realism to be used. First of all, realism, is one of the oldest paradigms in international relations and international political economy. Realists believe that there is no centralized global authority that limits sovereign states and determines their actions. (Kat, 2015). Besides, the realists share a few ideas, however they have to make distinction between two major realist interpretations of international relations, namely state-centric realism and system-centric (Gilpin, 2001). Definition of state-centric realisim is traditional from realism. It emphasizes the state as the main actor in international relations. This position suggests that analysis should focus on the behaviour of individual states (imperial or national states). (Gilpin, 2001).

According to Gilpin (2001), national governments are still making fundamental decisions about economic issues. Although their effects on national and international economic relations have decreased, they are still quite high. Due to the transportation and communication opportunities brought by globalization and falling cost, the chances of establishing a relationship between independent economic actors have increased significantly today. Therefore, major economic actors (the US, Germany and England) have retread (Gilpin, 2001). States have focused on neo-liberal economic prescriptions in the face of this development and focused on issues such as minimizing themselves and coordinating security and economic management. This trend, which began in Europe, soon spread to developed economies in far Asia and then to the whole World (Gilpin, 2001)

Gilpin (2001) examines the global economy from a state-centric realist paradigm. The strongest criticism of realism comes from the tradition of constructivism, which criticizes realism for its materalist approach.

Comparison of the three perspectives

In recent years, the effects of globalization have been increasing rapidly. However, according to Gilpin(2001), states, borders or armies will disappear because the globalization is an utopia of liberal order. Whereas, Ikenberry argues that the solution of problems is still a liberalist order. In this regard, Gilpin and his claims seem opposite. Otherwise, Gilpin’s approach of state-centric realism is not based on the nationalism. On the other hand, Harvey examines the inovasion of Iraq, oil and US hegemony and he considers the national dimesion of power as a control mechanism over the capitalist order . In addition to this, his claims regarding imperialism amounts to transform from imperialism amounts to transform from imperialism to humanistic imperialism. Harvey’s idea is similar to Ikenberry’s idea.