Introduction economists, and even citizens who share common interests

Introduction

 

Robert Keohane; a
neoliberal institutionalist and the author of the book “After Hegemony,” tries
to focus on educating all type of audience; political scientists, economists,
and even citizens who share common interests in developing an understanding of
the term international cooperation and the concept behind it, using not International
relations terms, but ordinary language for all type of readers to raise knowledge.

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  He first defines both terms “cooperation” and
“international regimes,” then he focuses on distinguishing between cooperation
and common interests because sometimes even if common interests exists, it is
not enough to cooperate; as a result, cooperation tends to fail.   Keohane
uses the game theory concept and collective goods theory in order to proof that
even with the absence of common government, it is still possible for
cooperation to occur with the help of regimes, in where states will act based
on self-interests rather than playing by the rules.   According
to Keohane, international regimes are great assets for governments because it
gives them the option to enter “mutually beneficial agreements” with other
states.1

 

Keohane then goes
on to explain “World Political Economy” using Giplin definition to explain how
wealth and power are attached to one another.  He explains that both power and wealth are
related by the actions independent state actor could undertake without the urge
to seek approval from a worldwide higher authoritative power.   To
define wealth, Keohane brings up different theorists and their definition of
wealth, including Giplin’s definition, and then he argues that all the
definitions tend to exclude an important part that could be essential to define
wealth.   Therefore, he concludes that the definition of
wealth should be simply as the “means of want satisfaction.”   Power on the other hand, as Keohane stated,
should be calculated before taking any actions, as to different types of power
could resolve in variety of outcomes.2
  There are two state behaviors that Waltz
stresses on when it comes to analyzing the state’s behavior, which are called
the “Inside-out” and the “Outside-in.”   “Inside-out;”
also could be referred to as unit-level, studies the behavioral changes of a
state from a domestic level.   “Outside-in;”
also could be referred to as systemic, studies the state’s behavior affect from
the world system changes.   Keohane believes that the most crucial way to
explicate a state’s behavior is the “Outside-in,” due to his belief that states
are shaped by their international environment.   Despite the fact that wealth and power have a
great impact on a state’s behavior, Keohane also emphasizes on the importance
of the international regimes recognition. 
 International regimes are as essential
as wealth and power when analyzing states.3

 

            We
have established that the goal of Keohane’s book is to help demonstrate how
cooperation and regimes are indispensable. 
 He also states that hegemony
stability relays on cooperation, and that cooperation relays on regimes,
therefore, all of these three states complement one another.4    However, cooperation is not considered to be
identical to hegemony, in contrast, hegemony uses asymmetrical cooperation,
while cooperation is considered valuable. Cooperation with the existence of
regimes can be established without the hegemony presence.5   Cooperation is unnecessary under the
conditions of harmony.   Keohane makes it
clear that cooperation and harmony are not alike; he distinguishes between the
two by referring to harmony as apolitical (not political) and cooperation as extremely
involved with politics. 6
  Changes in behavioral patterns are
needed for cooperation.   One of the
patterns Keohane covers is the Intergovernmental cooperation; it exists when
two states governments build a mutual respect to the each other, in which if
one government followed their policy to achieve its own objectives, and the
other state understands that, they will then be able to build policy
coordination with one another.   Discord
as well exists, and it is as important as cooperation is, it occurs when one
state pushes other state into changing their policy, which eventually could
result in conflict.   Cooperation has the tendency of being mixed
with conflicts, but it is important to avoid becoming involved in these
conflicts, as it may results in more harm then good.7
  John Ruggie was the person behind the
international regimes concept; he defined it as “a set of mutual expectations,
rules and regulations, plans, organizational energies and financial commitments,
which have been accepted by a group of states.”    However, recently regime been defined by
Krasner as “sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and
decision-making procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in a
given area of international relations. Principles are beliefs of fact,
causation and rectitude. Norms are standards of behavior defined in terms of
rights and obligations. Rules are specific prescriptions or proscriptions for
action. Decision-making procedures are prevailing practices for making and
implementing collective choice.” Keohane agrees with the definition, however,
he believes that norms in the definition is very vague.   Therefore, he believes that the definition
of regime should emphasize more on defining the concept of norms, where the
features of regime should become more focused on only self-interest.8
  

           

            Keohane
then goes on to explain why world politics cooperation tends to fail.   Some reasoning behind the failures of
cooperation is that the interests of the states are not aligned with one
another, which could result in conflict. 
 There is a theory that states
that rationality could be the solution, however, Keohane says that even if
rationality was used to cooperate, there is still this slight chance to
failure.   And some might disagree, but
Keohane backs up his argument with agreeing that there might be an individual
that is rational, but not all members in are rational, which will create the
issue in cooperating.   He also takes the
realists side when it comes to expectations about cooperation, he argues that
institutionalists sometime have unrealistic expectations when it comes to
cooperation, they have high hopes that nothing is going to go wrong, in
contrast with realists, they tend to see the worst case scenario, which to
Keohane, this is how cooperation should be viewed.   He states that realists are rational egoists
actors.9   Keohane states that the Prisoners’ Dilemma
is one of the game theories that been used a lot in the world politics, he also
believes that using this theory might be the reason of states trusting one
another. 10   He
then talks about the use of rational-choice theory, which states that whether a
government can have the choice to decide about making the right move for the
state in which cooperation agreed upon, so helping a state “voluntary.” 11   He also states that cooperation is gained by
bargaining.12

 

            Conflicts of interest succeed in a
self-help system.   However, according to
Ronald Coase, who argues that externalities do not exclude the effective
coordination among states.   Coase theorem
specifies three important conditions that have not yet been used in the real
world. First condition is the legal liability.   Second, the zero transaction costs.   Finally, having the information.13   Keohane
concluded that governments tend to do minute interest calculations with issues
that they face.   He also states that
idealism is not a factor for analysis. International institutions allow certain
types of bargains and negotiations that will be resulted in mutually beneficial
agreements.   Keohane then states that there are also several
intervening factors that could affect international institutions. 14

 

After Hegemony: Robert Keohane’s Work Implemented In 2018

 

            If
Keohane wrote his book After Hegemony in 2018 instead, I believe his work could
be even more optimistic.   The reason
being it is because many changes (negatively and positively) had occurred in
the global world since 1984.   However, hegemonic
states today has been stabilized for the past several years more than it ever
been.  As a result, international
cooperation is growing today tremendously, and not only hegemonic states been
cooperating with one another, but also they have built this mutual respect and
trust with one another.   Keohane
mentioned the idea of giving a cooperative state the option of when to
intervene and when not “voluntarily.”15   Today with international cooperation,
hegemonic states are having the option to whether they should intervene or stay
out of it.   For instance, using the Japan, China, and
Philippine’s China Sea case as an example.   In 1951, Philippines and the United
States signed a mutual defense treaty that states that Philippines will be
protected at all costs, the United States will come to the rescue if under any
circumstances Philippine is being attacked.  
Japan has had strains with China in regards to the dispute over the
Senkaku Island, which is located in the East China Sea.   Furthermore, Japan and China are under the
alliance dilemma with the U.S.   In 2017,
recent issue has occurred between the Philippines and China regarding the South
China Sea.  China threatened to attack
the Philippines if they do not stop developing their oil and gas resources in
the South China Sea.   However, since the U.S.- Philippines treaty
alliance exists, this war is very unlikely to happen.   Moreover, the U.S. decided not to be
involved in this matter because it could backlash on the U.S., therefore, the
U.S. decided to stay out of it to keep it’s current alliance in tacked.16   Keohane interpretation of how states can
build cooperation without the need for hegemony has also became accurate.   For example, the Gulf region has no strong
hegemony state, but the six Gulf countries have created an alliance with one
another and today it is called the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which
involves Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates.   According to Keohane, wealth and power are
essential factor of a state, but considering cooperation is also as essential
as both wealth and power. 17   Wealth and power in todays world plays a big
role, however, a state with both these but no alliance could create many enemies
and be in constant worry from hegemony states. Also in the need of help when it
is in danger, no countries are willing to be involved no matter how much power
or wealth this state has.  We can take a
look at North Korea as an example, it has the nuclear power and it has wealth,
but its international cooperation is week.  
Now have North Korea decided to go in a war with the U.S., most
definitely it would not have many states support and if anything other states
are more likely to align with the U.S. rather than North Korea.    

 

From my
understanding of Keohane’s book in regards to what neoliberal international
relations theory is that it illustrates that this school is not only concerned
with cooperation and peace only, but this school really studies all areas, the
good and bad, that could happen with cooperation and the international regime
perspective.   Neoliberal school has the
good mixture between both realism and liberalism.   It views the world in a realistic and
rational way.    It has very realistic
expectation and it does not rely on false hopes.   They believe that cooperation is
accomplishable but with careful measurement for each situation.

 

Conclusion    

 

            In
conclusion, Robert Keohane demonstrated a clear idea of what he was trying to
accomplish.   Reading his book  “After Hegemony” as a first year student in
the international relations field, Keohane’s use of ordinary language in his
book has helped me develop a better understanding of what international
relations is all about, and how the international regimes have huge impact on
international relations per say.  
Keohane made it clear that even without the existence of hegemony, it is
yet still possible to achieve cooperation, that being said, of course it is not
going to be easy, many obstacles could occur like discords for example when
trying to achieve a middle ground.  
Moreover, achieving cooperation without hegemony is possible with the
help of international regimes.  
International regimes are under looked, and some unfortunately do not
believe in the regimes factors.   Therefore,
Keohane illustrates how regimes work in order to achieve cooperation, and once
you take the initial toward regimes and cooperation, the rest will be easy.