Interaction in International Relations

Interaction in International Relations is discussed with instances cited in this article. We do hope that you find it helpful and informative.

Interaction in International Relations

Interaction in International Relations
Interaction in International Relations – Photo Source:

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Interaction between nations in the international community takes three general patterns: cooperation, competition, and conflict.

The three Patterns of International Interaction are explicated below:

1. Cooperation Interaction

In cooperative interaction, most international relations are cooperative in nature. Through their diplomatic organs, nations are able to reach binding agreements or arrive at compromises and settlements without fighting a war. In the modern world cooperation between nations has become necessary due to the common interest of mankind.

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Politically, nations cooperate to achieve certain basic goals such as the maintenance of peace and security around the world for the mutual benefit of all and the survival of mankind.

Most times, this is the main goal of an international and regional organization. Economically, nations cooperate to promote the common economic interests of all people.

Sometimes, a state may take economic actions that may seem to conflict with its national interests. For instance, member states of OPEC subject themselves to the rules of the organization and cut back their production levels even though the state of their economics dictates otherwise. Such action is taken to maintain high prices.

The objective of interaction in the North and South dialogue is to arrive at an economic arrangement that will benefit all of humankind because a favorable economic condition is essential for peace.

2. Competitive interaction

Competition is a regular pattern of interaction between states. States may compete because of the scarcity of resources or because of incompatible foreign policy objectives.

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Competitive interactions do not necessarily lead to conflict. Competition between states may be economic for instance, before the construction of her steel rolling mills and petrochemical plants, Nigeria advertised for contractors from industrial, business, and financial establishments based in the industrialized world.

Eventually, only a few of those applied and compete to win the friendship and alliance of other countries. The communist and capitalist blocs constantly compete for the friendship of the developing countries. The Olympic Games are an example of cultural and athletic competition between nations of the world.

3. Conflict Interaction

Many scholars of the social sciences consider conflict as a normal and inevitable feature of human society at all levels. According to Forest L. Grieves, human conflict is a fact of modern social life and is likely to remain so for the indefinite future.

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Grieves further suggests that wars can never be abolished. Thus, conflict is a regular feature of interaction at all levels of human society including the international system.

Conflict interaction is usually given more attention than other forms of interaction by national leaders and the media because it could lead to war if it is not properly managed.

According to Ray Ofoegbu, many sources of conflict between states are:

a. Incompatible foreign policy objectives.

b. Scarcity of economic and commercial resources.

c. Fear, mistrust, and misinformation.

d. Inability to reconcile specific basic differences for example, racial, ethnic, or religious differences.

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Some national leaders are greedy for power and influence or are selfish and belligerent. Thus, such leaders provoke other nations into a state of conflict and war.

Although conflict is a normal pattern of interaction between states, most interaction is cooperative. In case of conflict, states make serious efforts to resolve the conflict by means other than the use of military force. This is because conflict situations disrupt the international environment.

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