Theoretical Weakness Argument
With reference to the theory of logic of institutionalist, Institutional order has made US to face constraints within its security policy. Therefore, US has to ensure cooperation of order aspects that it favors by cooperating across the board. The argument for the theory is based on the perception of the working principle of reputations. However, proponents of this theory have made an assumption, but not provided a justification of the perspective on reputations.
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Downs and Jones claim that there is no theoretical basis of how reputation plays a significant role in international institutions. They argue that states should be viewed as having segmented or multiple reputations. This is because the various reputations of states are developed based on the linkage to current regimes or treaties, which exist in independent regimes. This illustrates that a state reputation to security realm can be different to a state reputation to economic realm. As such, US has the ability of making a reputation for its commitments to UN Office financial obligations and another reputation for NATO financial commitments.
Downs and Jones argument for multiple reputations is acceptable since compliance rates vary among states and timing and rates of defection have a weak correlation across states. This argument for Downs and Jones may be strengthened by additional of further considerations. These are interests of states on international institutions are different and that institutions are valued by states different based on acting and processing of the compliance information. Furthermore, bureaucratic politics have to be taken into consideration.
Problems on reputation conception
The compliance rates may be high and uniform across international institutions if states adopt a reputation that advocates for international cooperation and propensity to cooperate. However, evidence of compliance rates among states indicates that they are good, but their consideration is low, as well as the reliability. Focusing beyond compliance rates it is clear that linkages on key issues are essential. For the case of US, linkages on security institutions and economic institutions are a major consideration. This is because US does not focus on undermining cooperation prospects on the latter area, as well as the increased flexibility on the former area. Odell postulates that during negotiations there is no need of making linkages between economic issues and security issues. This occurs since states have a strong consideration of the pressure from the interest groups.
When considering linkages on issues, other states may less likely consider linkages when dealing with US in comparison to what they would do if they were handling other smaller states whose cooperation is not significant to secure and may not pressure for securing a linkage. Bush administration struggled to create or revise its security institutions. In addition, Bush administration focused on institutional building in order to attain success in running of its affairs.
For US, as well as for any other states, it is sometimes costly to comply with international institutions. According to institutionalist theory, states may comply with international institutions because of reputational costs and evidenced retaliatory action threats. Nevertheless, there is no justification for the perspective of general reputation in institutionalist theory.
Summary of Article (Second Part)
Credible Restraint, Anticipated Power Shifts, and Legitimacy
A state may alter its strategies or renegotiate its old bargains due to a change to unipolarity from bipolarity. However, this change may lead to the development of legitimacy problems for the case of the leading state. This is because the leading state is engaged in provision of public goods and security, as well as balancing on other poles while under the bipolarity conditions. This makes other states to view the leading state’s power as legitimate due to its balancing system. The leading state may also influence its power by engaging in competition. Unfortunately, under unipolarity conditions it becomes difficult for the leading state to illustrate the legitimacy of its power.
The legitimacy of a state’s power is based on the judgment, which leaders make for the country in unipolar state. This depicts that leaders may determine the legitimacy of a state based on unipolar power durability. Leaders also consider the normative approval, which is applied in international order. In case leaders of the dominating state make a judgment that unipolar, power will wane soon or eventually, different calculations with regard to institutions and rules may be adopted. Finally, shifts in power may be based on the ability of commitments to establish credible constraints or limit exercising of unipolar power. Institutional bargain is based on credibility of commitments and restraints, which exist in agreements.
Unipolarity may be regarded as a distinctive power distribution pattern, which has not being seen in the world until recently. It is regarded as one of the essential international system that involves concentration of material capabilities. As such, a single state is on top of the other states and has the ability to command power resources. Multipolar and bipolar systems involves power diffusion among various great powers. Unipolarity has the consequence of denying power balance and alteration of constraints and incentives, which bear on the organization of institutions and rules. Further, unipolarity depicts organization of features, which are evidenced in international order.