The study seeks to answer the question: Why states act through formal International Organizations? When viewed from the perspective of IOs, its two characteristics of centralization and autonomy placed it in the ‘altar’ of world politics, thus necessitating the states to act with the ‘blessing’ of it…
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The paper tells that in the earlier centuries, humans spread out to new geographical territories for various purposes. These territories with the passage of time evolved into civilizations, kingdoms and eventually into states or countries. However, this ‘evolution’ part was not a smooth affair, as certain territories wanting to annex more territories and also to dominate others, indulged in wars and other aggressive actions. These aggressive actions led to major wars including two World Wars. On the positive side, from the last few centuries, especially from the second half of the 20th century, states have become more ‘civilized’ and are acting in a more controlled manner. This happened and is happening due to various factors and one of the key factors is the formation of formal International Organizations (IO) by the states themselves. States wanted to develop omnipresent overseeing organization or organizations, which can handle a state’s ‘interaction’ with other countries in sensitive issues, pre-empt any detrimental actions carried out by one state against others, warn and act against states and their governments, when they act against their own people and also to manage social welfare issues like health, education, refugee issues, science, etc. This formation of IOs have actualized a positive environment throughout the world, with the countries acting with self-discipline, minimizing aggressive overtures, and at the same time indulging in welfare activities. However, this is not the scenario all the time, because certain countries without following the tenets of the IOs continue to act aggressively and unilaterally. Even amidst these dishonouring of the IOs, countries tend to obey and act through IOs for certain valid reasons. Historical Background The earliest precursor or the historical prototype of the present day International Organizations is the Delian League. According to Zweifel (2006, pg.31) Delian League was started around 4th century AD as an association among the Greek city-states, dominated by Athens, with the main “purpose of facilitating military cooperation against their common enemies”. Although, other regional groupings were formed by the territories to oversee and manage the relations among themselves throughout the last few centuries, nothing materialized on a large geographical scale. One of the main reasons why that did not actualize is because of the absence of sovereign states all over the world particularly in Europe. The evolution of territories and kingdoms into states or modern-day nations did not start till 17th century, with the complete evolution taking place mainly in the second half of the 20th century. According to Archer (2007, pg.4) the key turning points for the formation of IOs were the Peace of Westphalia, 1648, which ended the Thirty Years War and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Before that, the concept of European unification based on Christianity dominated the political circles of various European territories. However, when that did happen, it facilitated the formation of sovereign state system in Europe, and later throughout the world. Thus evolved states also understood the need to actualize a natural law or entity that can guide and manage the relations between them, and in that direction created bilateral, trilateral and even quadrilateral agreements. However, those agreements among states and did not enlarge maximally. However in the next few centuries, nothing concrete evolved due to various historical reasons including conflicts among the various states, imperialism, etc, etc. Although, international cooperation in terms of collective action happened with the Concert of Europe (1815-1914), Geneva Convention in 1864 and even Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 1889, it was not until after the First World War, that the work for the development of International organizations got started. Because of the unprecedented suffering caused by the First World W
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