Goals of This Exercise
- Examine how cooperation in the international arena is particularly subject to the problems of collective action.
- Explain how the rules and procedures of the United Nations and other international organizations affect the ability to overcome the collective-action problem.
- Explore potential means of overcoming the collective-action problem in international politics in lieu of the United Nations or other formal organizations.
The Rationality Principle: all political behavior has a purpose. All political actors engage in instrumental acts designed to further their individual goals.
Realpolitik: Political Goals in the International Arena
Treating individual nations as political actors, we can begin to analyze their goals as they interact in the international arena. Nations pursue their individual economic and strategic interests; this is known as realpolitik.
U.S. Goals toward Iraq
In 2002 and 2003, among the goals of George W. Bush’s administration was to disarm Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and depose Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
For some time, the Bush administration sought to build international support, particularly through the United Nations Security Council, for these goals.
The United States and Iraq: Understanding the Bush Doctrine
The Policy Principle: political outcomes are the products of individual preferences and institutional procedures.
In trying to secure UN Security Council approval for forced disarmament of Iraq, the United States had to contend with the varying preferences of the Council members and the Council’s institutional procedures.
The Rules of the United Nations Security Council
The UN Security Council is composed of 14 members; there are 9 rotating members and 5 permanent members (the United States, Great Britain, China, Russia, and France).
Although resolutions require majority vote, all of the five permanent members of the Security Council have a veto over resolutions.
United Nations Security Council Positions on Military Intervention in Iraq
- United States*
- Great Britain*
*Denotes permanent member of the Security Council.
Answer the following questions: