The Conflict Between Iran and Israel: Why is it so Difficult to Reach an Agreement?


All last time the Arab-Israeli conflict was discussed by politicians, political analysts, journalists far from the reality of the context. In their opinion, the key problems are: the problem of the borders between Israel and inhabited by the Arabs of the territories of Judea and Samaria, the status of the Golan Heights and the problem of the Arab refugees.

However (and it is) a brutal conflict began long before the creation of the State of Israel and to the problem of refugees, when the first Jewish immigrants settled in nobody lands of Palestine or land lawfully acquired from their owners. Jews started their development and each of their success attracted Palestine and another group of Arabs in search for work. It was at that time began cruel massacre of the most famous, but not the only and exclusive, became a massacre in Hebron[1], 19 years before the creation of the State of Israel. The massacre was accompanied by mass killings.

War with its Arab neighbors after the proclamation of the State of Israel continued, not because of disagreements over the borders. Openly proclaimed the goal of aggression was not just preventing the creation of a Jewish state as such, but the “final solution” – the extermination of the Jews from Palestine. For a smooth implementation of this task, the Arab leaders have offered all Arabs to leave the territory, on which were planned mass murder that they “won’t be underfoot” during the planned mass murder of Jews[2].

They were promised that they then will return to “liberated” territory and returned to their lands and property together with the land and property of the Jews. The plan originated the problem of Arab refugees. And today the most outspoken Arab leaders say that their ultimate goal is not to establish acceptable to the borders with Israel but the elimination of the state of Israel and throughout the Jewish presence in Palestine.

And even so-called “moderate” leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, as Mahmoud Abbas[3], consider unthinkable accommodation with Jews, even a single Jew in the Arab state, which is planned to be built in Judea and Samaria.

Many researches have been made to identify what is going on with Israel and its neighbour Iran, but anyway everything is confined in the history of these countries.

Historical roots

History of the Jewish people originates about 4000 years ago (17-th century BC) from the epoch of the patriarchs – Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob[4]. In Mesopotamia were founded the documents relating to 2000-1500 years BC, which confirm that the Jews in those days, had a nomadic life, as described in the Bible.

The Book of Genesis tells how Abraham was sent from the Sumerian city of Ur in the land of Canaan, to initiate a nation which believes in one God. In the Torah, Pentateuch of Moses, which is the Holy book of the Jews, Christians and recognized by the Muslims, Ismail, Isaac, and Jacob are not just sons of the prophet, but the ancestors of the whole peoples.

The first son of Abraham was Ishmael, born of the maid Hagar which was Egyptian. Hagar despised her barren mistress Sarah what causes a dislike and prosecution in relation to herself and her son. And the Lord gives Sarah a blood child, which was to inherit God’s promise, Isaac. For this child of Hagar and her son Ishmael was necessary to expel.

From here begins the story of the descendants of Ishmael-the Arabs and the descendants of Isaac-Israelis. Remote together with his mother in the wilderness of Paran, Ishmael grew in freedom, married on Egyptian woman [5], and of him there came twelve sons[6], who became the ancestors of the small Bedouin tribes who conquered the desert, lying between Canaan and Egypt (Sinai Peninsula). Local Arabs attributed its descent to Ishmael, and even the genealogy of Muhammad dates back to him.

According to the Bible, son of Isaac, Esau sold his birthright to his brother James for a mess of pottage. From the times of Abraham birthright was very important because the first-Born son was endowed with greater rights and authority than the younger which must be subordinated to the senior.

Dying Isaac blessed Jacob instead of the eldest son Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Esau hated brother and even wanted to kill him, so that Jacob had to go away from their family. On the advice of his parents, he went to Mesopotamia, the land of Babel. And Lord God, under some mysterious circumstances after having experienced the power of Jacob, gave him a new name “Israel”, which means “struggled with God”[7]. And Jacob and his 12 sons became the founders of the nation of Israel, or Jewish nation. Since those times the enmity between Israelis and Arabs continued.

To more deeply understand the reasons for disagreement, I decided to learn a little more about those lands that were populated by the descendants of Jacob and Ishmael.

The Bible describes that Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travelling, in the land of Canaan. In biblical times, it was a country that stretches to the West from the North-West bend of Euphrates and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Currently is divided between Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.[8]

As for Ishmael, the same States that the descendants of Ishmael lived from Havil to Sura[9] , i.e. in the Western and Northern parts of the Peninsula of Arabia, spreading through the wilderness to the Persian Gulf[10], introducing the core of the Arab people. The Arabs have always been enemies of their Israeli brethren, spread to the East and West and currently they remained unconquered, and only certain parts of their country for a short time were under foreign power.

The first king of Israel was David who gave the Board to his son Solomon. During the reign of Solomon, the Jewish nation was divided into Israel and Judah. The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital in the city of Samaria lasted more than two centuries and survived 19 kings. Judah and Jerusalem as its capital lasted 400 years, and it was ruled by the same number of monarchs – the descendants of King David.[11]

But with the expansion by the Assyrian and Babylonian Empire, Israel and Judah appeared in the hands of foreigners. The ruins of Babylon are localized in Iraq near the town of al-Hilla, Babil governorate. Euphrates River divides the monument into two parts – Western and Eastern. [12]

Over the next four centuries Jews have experienced different periods of self-government under the rule of the Persians (538-333 years BC to BCE), and then fell under the power of Hellenists (the Ptolemy’s and the Seleucids 332-142 years BC).[13] After the conquest of the ancient world by Alexander the Great (332 BC) in the Land “of promise” preserved Jewish theocratic state under the rule of the Seleucid Syria.

Also there was the conquest of Persia by Alexander (now Iran). Darius king of the Persians, with his friends escaped from Ekbatan in Eastern Iran, where he was killed by Bactrian Satrap.[14] Persian state ceased to exist, and all its possessions became part of the Empire of Alexander.

In 19th century medieval backwardness began to recede before the first signs of progress. For spheres of influence in the region fought many Western powers, often through missionary activity. Gradually improved the position of Jews in the country, and their number constantly began to grow.

In December 1917 in Jerusalem entered the British troops under the command of General Allenby, putting an end to the age-old domination of the Ottoman Empire. In July 1922, the League of Nations granted Great Britain a mandate over Palestine (so then called the Land of Israel).[15] Recognizing the historical connection of the Jewish people to their land, Britain promoted the creation of Jewish national home in Eretz Israel (in Hebrew – “the Land of Israel”).

The authorities of the British mandate granted the Jewish and Arab communities to manage their internal Affairs. But the Jewish national revival and the efforts of communities to build their country encountered fierce resistance of the Arab nationalists. Efforts to enter into a dialogue with the Arabs, taken at the dawn of the Zionist movement, led to nothing and only have increased the gap between Zionism and Arab nationalism, which at any moment could create an explosive situation.

Recognizing radically opposing goals of these two nationalist movements, the British recommended in 1937 to divide the country into two States, Jewish and Arab.[16] The Jewish leaders accepted the idea of separation and authorized the Jewish Agency to enter into negotiations with the British government to discuss various aspects of the proposal.

The Arabs, on the other hand, were strongly opposed to any partition plan. The continuing Arab riots forced the British to publish the White book, which imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Jews into the country. On November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly voted for recommendation to divide the territory into two parts, Jewish and Arab.[17]


 Differences: Iran and Israel

The difference between two countries is not only in the territory they inhabit, but also can cause such differences as a governmental structure of each state, religion and economy.

Governmental structure

The symbol and the foundation of the existence of the state of Israel is the Declaration of independence. In the Declaration is justified historical necessity of the rebirth of Israel and the agreed principles of existence of a Jewish and democratic state based on freedom, justice and peace, as it was bequeathed to the biblical prophets. It also calls for peace with the neighboring Arab States in the name of development and prosperity to the entire region.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy consisting of Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. There is the institution of the presidency, the Knesset (Parliament), the executive (Cabinet of Ministers) and the judiciary.[18] The President’s duties are mostly ceremonial and formal in nature and are defined in the law. Among them – opening of the first session of the new convocation of the Knesset; specifying a member of the Knesset to form a new government; receiving the credentials of foreign envoys; signing treaties and laws adopted by the Knesset.

In Israel there is a system of universal, direct national elections. Elections are secret and conducted on an equitable and proportional basis. The entire country constitutes a single constituency, and all citizens who are 18 years old, have the right to vote. In all the elections that were held, voted 77 to 90 percent of the registered voters, this means that the majority of the Israelites are concerned to the external and internal policy of their country. [19]

According to Constitution of 1979, Iran is an Islamic Republic. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) was founded on 1 April 1979 as a result of the Islamic revolution of 1978-1979.[20] Iran is one of the few real theocracies in the world. Constitutionally was fixed rule of not only the Islamic principles in the organization of the legislative, Executive and judiciary, but the rule of the Islamic clergy in the structures of state power.

The embodiment of monopolization of the clergy of political power was those powers which granted to the Rahba (head) – the head of the country.[21] The spiritual leader is recognized faqih – religious man of law. Rahba controls the activities of all branches of power.

Defines the main directions of internal and foreign policy, appoints the head of the judiciary; the commander of the armed forces and internal troops, the commander of the army of the guardians of the Islamic revolution, signed the decree on appointment of the President, who is elected by means of universal, direct and secret ballot. He has the right to declare war and conclude peace, declare Amnesty or commutation of the sentence at the proposal of the head of the judiciary.

According to the Constitution, the highest after the spiritual leader of the state is the President. The President as head of the country represents Iran on the official level, especially in relations with foreign States. According to the Constitution of 1979, the Foundation of all the sides of life of Iran was based on the principles of Islam.[22] So to manage the country could exceptionally well-versed in Islam face – Ulema.


Jewish society in Israel today consists of religious and non-religious population – from ultra-orthodox to citizens leading completely secular lifestyle.[23] Nevertheless, between them there is no clear difference. But Israel was conceived as a Jewish state, and so the Sabbath (Saturday) and all the Jewish festivals and Holy days are considered national holidays and in varying degrees, celebrated by all the Jewish population of the country.

Because religion in Israel is not separated from the state, different communities are divided among themselves in opinions on how the country should be manifested in its Jewish religious entity. If Orthodox layers of the population seek to extend the application of religious laws beyond the personal status, where they have exclusive jurisdiction, the secular residents consider it a religious dictatorship and violation of democratic character of the state.

About 1.7 million people, comprising approximately 24 percent of Israel’s population, are non-Jews.[24] They are called the Arab population of Israel, but this is actually different groups of population, though speaking, mainly in Arabic they have their own way of life, traditions and history. Arab Muslims (almost one million), most of which are Sunnites, live mainly in small towns and villages, over half of which is in the North of the country.

Declaration on the establishment of the State of Israel from 1948 guarantees complete freedom of religion.[25] Every religious community has the right and the opportunity to freely follow the laws of their religion, to observe its holidays and rest days, and manage their internal affairs.

The religion held by the majority of the Iranian population is Shia Muslim (89%). Sunni Muslims in Iran constitute about 9% of the population and the remaining 2% of Iranians are from ‘other’ religions – primarily Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish. What makes the religious beliefs in Iran so interesting is that although almost 90% of Iranians are Shia Muslims, globally the percentage of Shia Muslims is only 10%.[26]

Iran recognizes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian religious minority, and other religious minorities. The continuous presence of the country’s pre-Islamic, non-Muslim communities, such as Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, had accustomed the population to the participation of non-Muslims in society.

U.S. Department of State claims Iran’s government actions create a “threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities”,with claims of “imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs”.[27] Judaism is a recognized religion in Iran. The government does not directly attack Judaism. But what interesting is that non-Muslim owners of grocery shops are required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops.


The most amazing economic achievement of Israel is a stable growth of its development on the background of constant problems, requiring enormous expenditure: national security; at present time Israel spends on defense 8 percent of its GDP (compared with 25% in the 1970s and 23% in 1980).[28]

Even in a period of relative peace in the country it should be supported by a powerful deterrent capability of the enemy. A wave of mass immigration, created the modern infrastructure and the economy from scratch, fought in four wars, and provide security for their people. It is considered as a real “economic miracle”.

In recent years, more than 85% of the total imports, which in 2006 amounted to 47,2 billion dollars accounted for manufactured goods and fuel.[29] Israel is the world’s leading centre for the production and sale of diamonds. The diamond industry in Israel is a world leader in advanced technology and skill of the processing that provides minimal losses during polishing of rough diamonds and turning them into real diamonds. The main buyers in 2006 were the United States (63 per cent), followed by Hong Kong (14 percent), and Switzerland (11 percent).[30]

Iran’s economy is the fifteenth in the world in terms of national production (according to the CIA) and the largest among the States of Western Asia and OPEC. In 2007, Iran overtook Turkey in terms of GDP, thus becoming the largest economy in the Islamic world. The volume of the GDP in 2007 was $852, 6 billion, growth of GDP – 5, 8 %. Iran has the second largest after Saudi Arabia’s oil reserve (18 billion tons) and takes 5, 5 percent of the global market of oil products trade. Since 2008, Iran sells its oil on its own stock exchange in Euro and materials.[31]

The natural desire of the Iranian leaders to reduce the dependence of economy on oil, and therefore the dependence of political dependence on the external market. This task was during the shah government, and It is now. To solve this is difficult, as it is obvious that for the financial basis for the restructuring of the economy the easiest way is to use oil revenues. [32] Being the main earner of diamonds Israel is a very important object for Iran.


Political conflict: What Iran wants?

Subsequently, in public speeches Ahmadinejad has repeatedly affirmed its position regarding Israel. His statements were as from the traditional rhetoric of the legacy of Khomeini and new elements.

For example, the President of Iran quickly realized that denial of the Holocaust is one of the most light and resonance methods to attack Israel. The most important feature of anti-Zionism for Ahmadinejad became attempts to link the Holocaust and problems of the Israeli – Palestinian interaction.[33]

Revisionism of the Holocaust is still very limited went beyond the limits of scientific circles, has now become a full-fledged member of the international relations of the sovereign state, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The idea of the denial of the Holocaust for Ahmadinejad was not only strategic, but even more of a tactical nature. At the stage of its origin in the Israeli political discourse purpose of Holocaust denial was to distract attention from the Iranian nuclear program, which at that time was the focus of attention of the world community.[34]

The Iranian press of those years claimed that under the influence of such approach to the problem of the Holocaust, the West is ready to make concessions in negotiations on the nuclear program, trying to get Iran to stop. With the advent of Ahmadinejad to power the delicate balance in the Iranian-Israeli relations, periodically going to mutual rejection, completely collapsed.

Iran has embarked on a path of open hostility with Israel, and hostility beginning to be expressed not only in the claims to the present policy of Israel, but in the denial of the Holocaust, which is crucial moment for Israel, and immediately influenced the foreign policy of Iran.[35]

Ahmadinejad lashed out at Israel and the United States, noting that all the serious problems that afflict humanity, is the result of «’godless’ regime in the US and ‘villainous Zionist regime’». He added that the uncivilized «Zionists» destroy mankind «under the heavy wheels of their own egoism, capitalism and materialism» for the sake of satisfying their own whims.[36] He also pointed out that, nowadays, everywhere there is corruption, crime or humiliation, «we are faced with the ‘Zionist regime’, the USA or their accomplices»

The Iranian President reiterated that the USA and its allies have used the events of September 11 to justify its penetration in the middle East and complete freedom of action in this region. He also demanded from the USA to answer hundreds of questions associated with the events of September 11 (note that he made a similar statement in his speech at the UN General Assembly).

He said that the USA started the game “to attack our region”,[37] and added that Washington wanted to steal natural resources and to seize control over the entire region. He demanded that the US should stop their crimes and withdrew [forces] from the region, before local country will do it by force. [38] Is it war of Iran and Israel, or may be US and Iran?! Barack Obama spoke in Jerusalem with the statement that the cooperation between the two countries will continue until the power of the Israel defense complex reaches the level at which the Jewish state will be able to protect their own people from any threat. [39]

  Last thoughts..

The Arab-Israeli conflict in the minds of the world is gradually transformed into a war of civilizations. Maybe from it beginning it was a part of such a war?…But war of which civilizations? Whether East and West, as they say? two directions of development of society. Western civilization is mainly focused on changing and improving the external world in which we live, its adaptation to the needs of man.

This scientific and technological progress in all directions. This progress is based on the intellectual abilities of a man himself and extends them in accordance with the principle of positive feedback. This is a creative task, which requires a constant search – search for new ways. Eastern civilization (more precisely, the far East, originated in India and China) is more oriented not to change the world, but on the adaptation of man to the world in all its complexity and contradictions.[40]

In this regard, for the improvement of the inner world of a person to achieve harmony with the outside world. This is also a very creative task, requiring constant search for its solution for centuries developed methods and philosophical bases of psychological development.

I think that the variant of many explanations can be that the basis of the aggressiveness of Islam and the Arab society is more fundamental socio-psychological and even psycho-biological reason. Humans, like the animals has the most important biological needs – the need for search an activity. This requirement should be implemented, its implementation saves physical health and resistance to stress, and if it cannot be done in a constructive behavior, it manifests itself in destructive behavior, aggression.

While the Jews were in a subordinate and untenable situation, to practice tolerance and patronage attitude, but today the Jews, and especially with its prosperous state, represent to Arabs all the advantages of a prosperous Western culture and cause a sense of inferiority. What you cannot catch up, overtake and subdue, must be destroyed. The so-called war of civilizations is a ruthless war against civilization, and the Arab-Jewish conflict is only its best line.


[1] Jewish Library. The Hebron Massacre of 1929

[2] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем?

[3] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем?

[4]Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[5] Bible. Genesis 21:21

[6] Bible. Genesis 25:13

[7] Bible. Genesis 32:28

[8] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[9] Bible. Genesis 25:18

[10] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[11] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[12] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[13] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[14] Поход Александра Македонского на Персию.

[15] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[16] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[17] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[18] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[19] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[20] Государственный и политический строй Ирана.

[21] Государственный и политический строй Ирана.

[22] Государственный и политический строй Ирана.

[23] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[24] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[25] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[26] Religion in Iran.

[27] Freedom of religion in Iran.

[28] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[29] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[30] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[31] Экономика Ирана.

[32] Экономика Ирана.

[33] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами.

[34] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами.

[35]Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами.

[36] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010

[37] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010

[38] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010

[39] США готовы спонсировать Израиль.

[40] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем?

EU External Policy as a Model for Cooperation

Climate change, geopolitical uncertainty, and changes in the global economic balance-each of these calls is one of the manifestations of very uncomfortable truth: the dependence of the world from the increasing consumption of energy. The geopolitical implications of the growth in global demand for oil and gas are difficult to predict. The fields of oil and gas in the world are located unevenly. Transportation of hydrocarbons is often exposed to risks, and projects for production have in mind their implementation in more unfriendly parts of the world. In these circumstances, its necessary to move away from the traditional understanding that energy is a matter of national security, because it is the question of European security.

The complex and hybrid nature of European integration, from which stems the complexity of EU external energy policy, is defined by three different dimensions, following which, we may say that its external policy is a combination of an international organization and international actor. Besides international actors exist important EU actors as the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and other important actors as the Member States which have a say in energy foreign policy. The aim of external dimension of the EU energy policy is to ensure its security by diversifying its natural gas supply. Therefore, the external policy of the EU may serve as a model for cooperation with other countries/ partners.

Historical Background

 Energy policy is most important political issue for today, as it is tied to climate change, making it the topic of high priority within the EU. Energy policies in the past mainly were made at the national level and the areas of disagreement up for today include the energy mix of countries and the problem how to find future energy investment. Therefore now energy challenges are better met at EU level, thus creating integration process, which is rooted in energy issues.

The beginning of the integration of Europe marked the ‘Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community’ signed in 1951, at the same time was set up a common custom union. The aim of the treaty was collective control over commodities, which were essential for warfare and reconstruction. [1] Following this, the Euratom Treaty on civil nuclear energy was entered, creating of the European Economic Community. The idea of nuclear energy was born after crisis affecting the Suez Canal in 1956, which served as the main route for oil from the Middle East to Europe. [2]

But external energy policy of the Euratom remained restricted to technical assistance in nuclear safety to the former Soviet Union. Another oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 put a security based approach under doubt. As the oil sector became one of the most strategic political areas, a political effect of the crises brought nationalization of energy policies.[3] Thus sea-bordering states began to build their own oil terminals and both electricity and gas supply were considered even more important questions of a national sovereignty.

After such policy developments, appeared two consequences. Firstly, the new European States strategies of energy diversification by developing the nuclear energy lost its actuality because of public didn’t accept such energy option; and secondly, very high level of politicization of energy policies, which reduced a Europeanization in this field.[4]

The first oil crisis of 1973 made member states to take a Directive 73/238/EC of the Council on measures concerning oil supplies, which was a response to the energy crisis but didn’t result in a common foreign energy security policy of the member states.[5] In the later state of the development of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, the issue of energy security remained always marginal but it never became a subject of the EU’s external policies.

EU actors – and their role

The complex and hybrid nature of European integration, from which stems the complexity of EU external energy policy, is defined by three different dimensions.

First dimension defines the EU in realist terms, in which states form a geopolitical union, but keeps political control over such security issues as nuclear weapons; second dimension is seen as a functionalist economic integration in which exists a single European market and economic block at the international level; and third dimension explains the EU as a post-modern empire which exerts influence over the external world by exporting its integration model.[6] Following this, we may say that its external policy is a combination of an international organization and international actor.

Besides international actors exist, important EU actors as the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and other important actors as the Member States  have a say in energy foreign policy. The EU Commission initiates legislation and thus has considerable influence, as it may withdraw a legislative draft, but it has no decisive say. Being the executive body it also monitors the implementation of energy legislation.[7] As a Commissioner, who is proposed by the government of his home country, heads each policy area, the character of its power affects the stance taken by the Commission.

The EU Council and the EU Parliament are central actors in the legislative process. The EU Council has representatives from Member States on Energy and keeps focus on States interests. The EU Parliament as the second legislative body, takes part in all important energy policy decisions. In the Parliament decision-making on energy policy is strongly influenced by political preferences.[8]

Outside the institutional level, the most important actors are the Member States. Their influence appears through their energy ministers in the EU Council. It’s noticeable, that the EU can only act in areas for which the Member States gave the EU the competence to act. For example, a Member State competence is the energy mix and such indicators as national preferences, available natural resources, industrial reasons and energy foreign policy have influence on what kind of mix a country has. [9]

Thus, a difference in the energy-mix leads to differing interests. In order to strengthen energy security in the EU, the demand on energy solidarity was included in the Lisbon Treaty, as if some EU members are dependent on one supplier, such as Russia, in the gas sector, it will make the affected countries more nervous about their energy security that those countries which have a diversification in suppliers. [10]

Another important role also play the international and national energy companies in the EU via associations in the Economic and Social Committee and direct contacts with EU MEPs or members of the Commission. Mostly the liberalization process in the energy sector is handled with big time lags within the EU, but some national champions such as France’s EDF and Germany’s RWE gained some influence, as well.

The key priority of the EU is completion of the internal energy market, as liberalization process.[11] However, this process remains incomplete. Being an international actor which is exporting its liberalization model beyond its borders, it becomes model for non-EU members to follow.

External energy policy as a model for cooperation

The EU has cooperation agreements with all neighbor countries, including the southern Mediterranean-rim countries, a framework developed within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Among the general cooperation is agreement on European Economic Area. In terms of energy policy, Norway will remain one of the Union’s most important partners, being important supplier of oil and gas for the EU. Cooperation between Norway and the EU is governed in the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). Under the EEA, customs duties were abolished and 80% of the EU’s single-market regulations apply. [12]

Another form of general cooperation is accession negotiations, an instrument with which the EU may apply its legal order to partner countries. A new member, Croatia, has a great potential for wind and solar energy, along with this, being important energy transit country for southeastern Europe and central Asia.[13]

Within the framework of the European Energy Community Treaty, Croatia became transit country for electricity and an important partner in realizing the Nabucco gas pipeline. Another potential candidate in ongoing negotiations is Turkey, which plays a central role as an energy hub.

The European Neighborhood policy (ENP) as a form of cooperation, holds agreements between the EU and the countries of eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, which includes mainly energy policy cooperation. Since its creation, the ENP has been developed into separate blocks- the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean. Partner countries in Eastern Partnership, in particular Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine are important transit countries and however, the interest is remains in diversification of fossil-fuel supplies and the expansion of nuclear energy, in case of Ukraine. [14]

The Union for the Mediterranean is an evolution of previous Mediterranean policy. Such countries as, Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauretania, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Turkey are now Monaco, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina also members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Declaration of the Union for the Mediterranean’s summit along with Solar Plan, include energy project, with German and French participation. [15] The Solar Plan focuses on expansion of renewable energy technologies.

Another aspect is cooperation with Russia and Central Asia. The European Union is the largest consumer of Russian energy products, as Russia is the largest single external supplier of oil to the EU. In 2013, Russia delivered approximately 161.1 billion cubic meters to European Countries, its about 30% of Europe’s gas supply.[16] 50% of the EU oil supply also was imported from Russia.

The aim of external dimension of the EU energy policy is to ensure its security by diversifying its natural gas supply.[17] The plan is to create new gas pipelines, which are supposed to supply the EU with gas from Middle East, the Caucasus and the Central Asian region. Such projects include: the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline; a pipeline connecting Turkey, Greece and Italy; a pipeline connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania; the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and South-Eastern European Pipeline.[18]

Currently, the most promising project is the Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that would start at the border of Georgia and Turkey and deliver gas to the border of Turkey and Bulgaria and thus through the ‘short’ Nabucco transport the gas to Central Europe. Such projects have also geopolitical aspects as they can lead to reduction Russia’s impact in the areas of interest of its foreign policy.

Along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have the world’s second largest reserves of oil and gas. Kazakhstan has three times higher the oil reserves of the North Sea whilst in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan the gas reserves are the 5th and 8th highest in the world. [19] Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are major suppliers of uranium to the EU. Cooperation between EU and Central Asia takes place under the Baku initiative that enhances energy and transport cooperation between the EU and the states of the Black and Caspian Seas.

In November 2006 in Astana four priorities for cooperation in energy field were adopted: energy market convergence; energy security; sustainable energy development and investment. [20] INOGATE programme provides funding for energy cooperation for each of the four priorities.

Also an important cooperation is Gulf Cooperation Council. It is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf that consists of six members: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The states of the Gulf region don’t belong to the EU’s neighbours, however, they are among Europe’s most important suppliers of energy with the exports of oil and gas.

Current developments and future challenges

Currently, several strategy papers are defining energy developments on EU level, the most important of which are: ‘Energy 2020. A strategy for competitive sustainable and secure energy’ published in 2010 and ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ published in 2011. ‘Energy 2020’ aims to achieve an energy-efficient Europe; to complete the internal energy market; to empower consumers and achieve the highest level of safety and security; and to strengthen the external dimension of the EU energy market. [21] The ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ is also a strategy paper, but with a longer time-frame, which aims to provide planning certainty for investment. Commission predicts in general, are the increasing household expenditures for energy and energy related products.

Energy has now become a prominent issue in all EU’s external political dialogues. Energy cooperation with major suppliers such as Russia, the Middle East and countries of the European Neighborhood Policy are in high priority whilst energy cooperation with rising powers from the Global South seems to be missed. This is more case for external energy relations with BRICs as it not only serves as new consumers of scares resources but also most visible China’s rise as the worlds biggest investor in wind technologies. Thus one of the major challenges that the EU is facing is the establishment of a multipolar world order with emerging powers.

The strong control of Russian state over production and supply to Europe became clear in the Sakhalin –II dispute in 2006. Apart from control over domestic energy resources, Russia imposes strong control over its energy transit network, what weakens internal European efforts to establish common energy policy.[22] Oil and gas exports from Africa are expected to triple by 2030.

However, because of the rising demand, the USA and China have also their plans on Africa’s energy resources, what significantly poses an external problem to the EU’s energy policy. Gas imports from the Middle Eastern region are only 1.5% of Europe’s total gas imports. Dependence on oil and gas from the region brings several problems for the EU’s energy policy, such as unclear situation concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons programme and background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as transportation of products to Europe faces more risks than their production.[23] Therefore the safest way is to become less dependent on external developments is to explore opportunities at home. However, the question of international industrial competitiveness rises, what implicates energy-taxes.

The existence of agreements that currently is available to the EU helps to expand its cooperation with partner countries in the alternative energy sector. The Lisbon Treaty strengthened the political value of the topic of energy, however without transferring additional decision-making power to community institutions. Nevertheless, energy documents are issued by both the European Commission and the European Parliament which implement principles, goals and laws and regulation that affect Member States and actors within the EU, and also determine the content of external energy policy.

The problem of the common voice is on the agenda in connection with different energy characteristics and interest of member states. Thus, the EU faces a range of complex external problems in developing an energy policy. Cooperation with Russia and China remains the most difficult, as these both countries disproved the EU’s model of market liberalization. Thus, adherence to the EU internal energy policy agenda, which aims to transform market at international level, doesn’t in fact always benefit EU external energy policy objectives.


[1]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 2

[2]EU external energy policies. Andrei Belyi, University of Dundee. POLINARES working paper n. 69. December 2012. Page 3

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid page 4

[5] Ibid page 4

[6] Europe’s Global Role: External Policies of the European Union. Jan Orbie. Ashgate Pub. , 2009. Page 203

[7]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 3

[8]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 4

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12]The External Relations of the EU in energy policy. Issue paper ERENE. Berlin, December 2010. Heinrich Boll Foundation ed. Page 20

[13] Ibid

[14] Ibid page 3

[15] Ibid page 3

[16]Russia Ready to Boost Energy Cooperation with EU. 14.10.2014.

[17]Controversial Issues in the EU-Russia Energy Relations. Tichy Lukas. CENAA Analysis.

[18] Ibid

[19]Central Asia-Energy. Development and Cooperation-EUROPEAID.

[20] Ibid

[21]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page7

[22] External Problems for Europe’s energy policy- a brief geopolitical analysis. Elmar Hellendoorn, College of Europe, March 2009.

[23] Ibid

The English School: ideas, traditions and theory

Central ideas in the English School

The ‘English School’ label was first written down by Roy Jones in 1981. According to Hall, Dunne and Wheeler’s commitment to solidarism and constructivism eschew some of the English School’s foundational ideas such as the centrality of states, importance of power politics and a deep skepticism about the possibility of different political communities reaching agreement on substantive political matters.
A third perspective, somewhere between these two poles, has arisen as a result of the increased dialogue between English School ideas and other worldviews – most notably realism and constructivism.[1]

Constructivism is a broad church; constructivists share three common concerns that also resonate with English School theorists.
First, they argue that normative and ideational structures are just as important as material structures, an idea that relates closely to the English School’s ideas of international theory as normative theory and the importance of interpretivism.
The second common concern is that ideational structures shape the identities and therefore interests of actors in world politics.
The third common view is that the relationship between agents and structures is mutually constitutive.

Constructivism attempts to find a synthesis between approaches that focus on the actions of actors and the way that they create political institutions and ideologies and structural approaches, including neorealism and Marxism, which hold that political action is shaped by socioeconomic and historical structures.[2]

The social structures that constitute and constrain states in international society are themselves constructed and maintained by social interaction between states, a point commonly accepted by English School theorists. It is important, however, to recognize that the English School and constructivism are not synonymous.
In particular, the School is committed to methodological pluralism and a tripartite conception of world politics.[3]

For Wight, ‘realist’ worldviews and practices are based on ‘power politics’. They emphasize the inherent conflict between states, the anarchical condition of world politics and the role of war as the ultimate arbiter.[4]

Realism refers to a leader’s primary responsibility for the welfare of citizens. In contractarian terms, a state can be understood as having a contract to secure its own citizens. Realism operates under the assumption that states are the only actors on the political stage, also known as ‘statism’ and ‘individualism’.[5]

Additionally, the states work in an anarchical system, meaning in the absence of higher, trans-governmental and universally recognizable authority no rules are applied in the international realm. The other assumption is that politics is driven by law of human behavior- the mix of urges like the drive for powers, will to dominate, self-interest and ambition.

Major differences between three traditions of the English School: realism, rationalism and revolutionalism

The ‘three traditions’ idea was Wight’s response to his own observation that there was no discrete body of international theory separable from legal, historical and philosophical forms of knowledge. There are two ways to understand the meaning of tradition.
The first is to see a tradition as a form of intellectual inheritance. A tradition is a mode of thought handed down through generations. Participants in a tradition believe that what they are doing and how they are thinking can be traced to past generations.[6]

Тraditions are externally constructed and imposed – they are not descriptions of the way things really are but categories to enable our understanding. Second, they are sets of ideas or modes of thinking, not really existing objects.[7]

As was mentioned before, for Wight, ‘realist’ worldviews and practices are based on ‘power politics’. They emphasize the inherent conflict between states, the anarchical condition of world politics and the role of war as the ultimate arbiter.

‘Rationalism’ sits somewhere between realism and revolutionism though there is considerable debate over which pole it is closest to. Rationalism is based on the notion that the world’s diverse communities and cultures are housed in states that together form an international society. Rationalists insist that states can agree to construct and follow rules that facilitate their mutual existence and prosperity.[8]

Whilst rationalism is often dubbed the ‘Grotian conception’ of international society, it is important to recognize that there are at least two rationalist ‘strands’ within the English School.[9] Both accept the idea that states form an international society, but they disagree about what type of society it is. Those that accept a Vattelian or pluralist view of international society argue that states are only bound by whatever rules they consent to.

Others hold a Grotian or solidarist view.[10] The Grotian view differs from the Vattelian in at least two ways. First, Grotius argued that states had an inherent right to defend themselves and to punish those who commit basic wrongs. Second, the Grotian perspective holds that states are bound to obey international law irrespective of whether they consent to be so bound.

The third tradition is revolutionism, which can be either benign or malevolent. Revolutionists share a belief in moral universalism. Whereas rationalists insist that moral values derive from the society and state in which they exist, revolutionists argue that certain moral principles are universal.[11]

Wight and Bull were both skeptical about revolutionism. Wight associated it with fascist and communist movements that wanted to replace international society violently with a global government in its own image. Bull was concerned that revolutionism or the quest for global distributive justice would ultimately destroy global order and replace it with unmitigated anarchy. [12]

As Jackson pointed out, each tradition could be thought of as a layer of responsibility confronting political leaders which taken together point to the important normative and pragmatic dilemmas that shape world politics.

Similarities between English School and Realism

The foundational claim of the English School is that sovereign states form a society, albeit an anarchic one in that they do not have to submit to the will of a higher power.[13] There is, they argue, a surprisingly high level of order and a surprisingly low level of violence between states given that their condition is one of anarchy.

This is not to suggest that the English School ignores the phenomenon of violence in relations between states. Its members regard violence as an endemic feature of the ‘anarchical society’ but they also stress that it is controlled to an important extent by international law and morality.[14] Even so, confusion about the central purpose of the School can result from the fact that its members seem distinctively realist at times.

Members of the English School are attracted by elements of realism and idealism, yet gravitate towards the middle ground, never wholly reconciling themselves to either point of view.[15] Members of the English School maintain that the international political system is more civil and orderly than realists and neo-realists suggest. However, the fact that violence is ineradicable in their view puts them at odds with utopians who believe in the possibility of perpetual peace.[16]

The English School recognizes that each approach contains insights about the condition of international politics. The realist’s claim that states, unlike individuals in civil society, are forced to provide for their own security in the condition of anarchy is valuable, as is its emphasis on how adversaries seek to outmaneuver, control and overpower one another.[17]

However, this perspective captures only part of the substance of world politics. The international system is not a state of war despite the fact that each state has a monopoly of control of the instruments of violence within its territory.[18] Because of a common interest in placing restraints on the use of force, states have developed the art of accommodation and compromise which makes an international society possible.

Three pillars of English School

Whilst realism, rationalism and revolutionism are sets of ideas about the way the world is and how to shape it best, ‘international system’, ‘international society’ and ‘world society’ are analytical devices to help us understand the global polity at any particular historical juncture.[19] They are labeled as triad the three pillars of English School theorizing.

According to Bull, an international system is formed whenever states are in regular contact with one another and where

‘there is interaction between them, sufficient to make the behaviour of each a necessary element in the calculation of the other’.[20]

Beyond the simple assertion that states comprise an international society, there are important differences about the type of international society we live in today and the type we ought to live in. As Buzan argues, it is a debate about both the

‘degree and institutionalization of shared interests and values’ and about the ‘collective enforcement of rules’.[21]

Both pluralist (Vattelian) and solidarist (Grotian) conceptions contain descriptive as well as prescriptive components. To date, both of these approaches have tended to assume that international society is a society of states and to focus on the types of diplomatic and legal intercourse and historical analyses that informed early English School approaches. The dialogue between pluralism and solidarism helps to highlight the important tension between conceptions of order and justice in IR.

By contrast, ‘world society’ is much less well defined. Manning describes it as the society of ‘all mankind’ which exists ‘within, beneath, alongside, behind and transcending’ the society of states.[22] Martin Wight, too, has a vague concept of a world society united by a thin common culture. For Wight, all international societies are subsystems of this wider world society.

Bull himself identified world society as ‘a degree of interaction linking all parts of the human community to one another’ and insisted that it was held together by ‘a sense of common interest and common values’.[23] Later, Bull even went as far as identifying ‘human rights’ as the basic value that bound world society together.

The three traditions are modes of thought carried by diplomats, politicians, intellectuals and other individuals in the three pillars that comprise global politics (international system, international society and world society). Thinking of international system, international society and world society in this way raises important questions about the relationship between the three pillars.[24]

Kantian concept of world politics and “benign” and “malevolent” revolutionalism

The third tradition is revolutionism, which can be either benign (Bull’s ‘Kantian’ perspective) or malevolent (e.g. Marxist or Islamic fundamentalist). Revolutionists share a belief in moral universalism. Whereas rationalists insist that moral values derive from the society and state in which they exist, revolutionists argue that certain moral principles are universal.[25]

As Bull put it, the universal imperative has been

‘fed by a striving to transcend the states system so as to escape the conflict and disorder that have accompanied it’.[26]

Wight and Bull were both skeptical about revolutionism. Wight associated it with fascist and communist movements that wanted to replace international society violently with a global government in its own image. Bull was concerned that revolutionism or the quest for global distributive justice would ultimately destroy global order and replace it with unmitigated anarchy.[27]

More recently, however, revolutionism has become associated with a Kantian conception of world politics based on the idea that there is a world society of individuals that comes prior to the society of states. From this perspective, sovereignty and other international rules should be understood as instrumental values because they derive from states responsibility to protect the welfare of their citizens, and when states fail in this duty, they lose their sovereign rights.[28]

Kant held that revolution, even against a tyrant, is always impermissible, but he did not make a compelling case for this extremely conservative position. Kant was mistaken to hold that participation in revolution is always wrong; his position is compatible with his insistence that rulers are bound by justice and his hopeful attitude toward the French Revolution.[29]

Kant is adamant in his stand against instigating and participating in revolutions against the de facto rulers of the state.[30] Regardless of how tyrannical the head of state may be, Kant says, no person has the right to attempt to overthrow him. Revolutionaries must be punished by death, he insists, even if their motives were honorable.

Even so, Kant was optimistic about revolutions as forces for moral progress that we might otherwise never achieve.[31] He was known as a supporter of the French Revolution, reportedly referred to as “the old Jacobin.” The way the French Revolution inspired spectators throughout Europe, Kant says, was among the most significant events in history, for it reflected a moral disposition that gives hope for continuing moral progress.[32]

With the decline of Marxism-Leninism, fundamentalist Islam now stands as the world’s leading anti-American ideology. The problem facing us is not Islam (a religion) but fundamentalist Islam (an ideology). We can oppose the ideology while at the same time respecting the faith; this, after all, is what the many anti-fundamentalists Muslims do.

Second, fundamentalists do not comprise a single movement. While they share certain beliefs (“Islam is the solution”) and opinions (such as anti-Western attitudes), they differ widely among themselves in temperament and in specific policies. [33]

The last paragraph of the Communist Manifesto reads:

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”[34]

And this includes two statements: that the existing social and political system Is to be changed by a revolution; and that a social revolution is to be identified with an overthrow of that existing social system by violence. [35]

[1] The English School. chapter 7 page 75 Griffiths, Martin (ed)

[2] Ibid page 76-77

[3] Ibid page 77

[4] Ibid page 79

[5] Explaining War: A comparison of Realism and Constructivism.

[6] The English School chapter 7 page 78 Griffiths, Martin (ed)

[7] Ibid page 78

[8] Ibid page 79

[9] Ibid page 79

[10] Ibid page 79

[11] Ibid page 79-80

[12] Ibid page 80

[13] The English School. Chapter 4. Andrew Linklater. Pp 84-108

[14] Ibid page 88

[15] Ibid page 88

[16] Ibid page 90

[17] Ibid page 90

[18] The English School. Chapter 4. Andrew Linklater. Pp 84-108

[19] The English School chapter 7 page 78 Griffiths, Martin (ed) page 80

[20] Ibid

[21] Ibid

[22] Ibid page 81

[23] Ibid

[24] Ibid

[25] The English School chapter 7 page 78 Griffiths, Martin (ed) page 79

[26] Ibid 79

[27] Ibid 79

[28] Ibid 80

[29] Questions About Kant’s Opposition to Revolution. The journal of Value Inquiry 36: 283-298, 2002. Thomas E. Hill, JR. Department of Philosophy, The university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

[30] Questions About Kant’s Opposition to Revolution. The journal of Value Inquiry 36: 283-298, 2002. Thomas E. Hill, JR. Department of Philosophy, The university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

[31] Questions About Kant’s Opposition to Revolution. The journal of Value Inquiry 36: 283-298, 2002. Thomas E. Hill, JR. Department of Philosophy, The university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

[32] Ibid page 284

[33] Islamic Fundamentalists are the New Big Threat to the West. Daniel Pipes. Philadelphia Inquirer. September 16, 1994.

[34] Marx and Engels. Communist Manifesto.

[35] Marxist Theory on Revolution and Violence. Adam Schaff.


Post-structuralism as a Theory of International Relations (2)

Michel Foucault’s “regimes of truth” and biopower concepts

Foucauldian thinking insists on a close relation between power and knowledge or, more accurately, on the inseparability of what he calls ‘power/knowledge’. He talks in terms of ‘regimes of truth’, systems of power relations that determine what mechanisms are used in any particular era to determine what counts as true.

Each society has its own way of authorizing ‘truth’. And each system of power relations produces particular subjects and at the same time generates knowledges about those subjects. For example, in the criminal justice system, records are kept of offenders. The sum of these records produces the delinquent as subject.

Each society creates a “regime of truth” according to its beliefs, values, and mores. Foucault wrote that ‘Truth’ is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements. ‘Truth’ is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it.

A ‘regime’ of truth. Because of this, Foucault sees

“the political problems of intellectuals not in terms of ‘science’ and ‘ideology,’ but in terms of ‘truth’ and ‘power.'”

The question of how to deal with and determine truth is at the base of political and social strife. [1]

Michel Foucault first used the term biopower to describe a way in which a state can exert total control over its constituents. Biopower, Foucault argued, was the way in which capitalist states exerted control over people to better promote life. Major means of control were through statistics and probabilities.

States, meaning countries, analyzed likely responses to actions by the government and ways in which people could most probably be controlled and directed in all aspects of life. Even in a democratic state, this marriage of the social sciences to political sciences affects a high degree of control over a population, as Foucault claims. [2] Power such as that suggested in biopower is used for the good of the state to protect the lives of its people.

Such things as managing medical care might be part of a state employing biopower ruling techniques. However, Foucault takes this further, suggesting that best control can be achieved through eugenics. Eugenics is the theory rife with racism and classism, where humans apply the concepts of natural selection to benefit the human race.[3]

An example of this type of biopower can be evaluated by the current US relationship to several Arabic nations. There are some that argue the best action would be to destroy all Arabic nations and rid the world thus of terrorism. This is biopower in its most ugly and extreme form, and it is justifiable according to the concepts of Foucault. Such an exercise has been seen before in history in the mass extermination of Jews during WWII and in the more recent mass genocides in the Sudan.[4]

Subject and social order

The sociological ‘self’ is shaped significantly by the social and economic environment. In other words, the subject does not arrive in the world fully formed. Rather, the subject is developed by upbringing and socialization. It is in this context that the nature–nurture debate arises.[5]

The poststructural ‘move’ is far more radical, abandoning any residual notion of preexisting subjectivity. According to this way of thinking, the ‘subject’ and the ‘world’ are not distinct. Instead, they are produced, as ‘world’ and as ‘subject’, through social, cultural and particularly political practices. This is often expressed by saying that subject and social order are ‘mutually constituted’ or ‘co-constituted’. The important thing is that neither subject nor environment is ontologically privileged. The subject is not born into a world. The subject produces the world of which it is a part at the same time as it is itself produced.[6]

For Weedon, ‘subjectivity’ refers to that aspect of an individual’s psyche by means of which the person identifies themselves and their place in the world. This entails the person ‘inserting’ themselves into a particular ‘subject position’ within a chosen ‘discourse.’

Subjectivity is therefore liable to change and to change radically in the event of a new discourse becoming available, changes in power relations between rival discourses, or by different subject positions becoming available within one and the same discourse. [7] Seeing the subject as fragmented or as the potential holder of a diversity of identities or possible subject-positions, which is often retains the concept of an essential subject.[8]

However, identity can no longer be ‘possessed’ nor subjectivity ‘fragmented’. Sigmund Freud’s work proposed that people were not in control of their thoughts.[9] To account for certain symptoms that he observed in his patients and for common phenomena such as dreams, slips of the tongue and jokes, it was helpful to propose that a large part of thinking takes place in a separate realm, which Freud called ‘the unconscious’. [10]



[1] Michel Foucault: Truth and Power

[2] What is Biopower?

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] Postconstructivism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 90

[6] Ibid page 90

[7]The poststructuralist subject. Review of Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Chris Weedon, 1987.

[8] Postconstructivism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 91

[9] Ibid page 91

[10] Ibid page 91

Post-structuralism as a Theory of International Relations (1)

Explaining IR

Poststructuralist philosophy had been a main feature of the Humanities since the 1970s and now – with the time lag with which academic vogues usually hit International Relations – making its way into Security Studies. Poststructuralism’s concern with power, structures, and the disciplining effects of knowledge seemed to resonate well with core themes in classical realist Security Studies.

Second, the political context was that of the Second Cold War, and poststructuralism was part of a wider political and normative contestation of the Reagan’s Administration and NATO’s understanding of the world as doomed to bipolar nuclear standoff and of the Soviet Union as the evil empire. As well as critical peace researchers in the 1970s, poststructuralists were also astute critics of the way in which the exploitation of the Third World underpinned Western military, political, and economic superiority. The way in which nuclear confrontation loomed large in the 1980s meant that “security” was one, if not the, major subfield of IR with which poststructuralists engaged. [1]

One aspect of poststructuralism is its power to resist and work against settled truths and oppositions. It can help in struggles against discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, against inclusions and exclusions on the basis of race, background, class or wealth. It guards against the sometimes overt, sometimes hidden, violence of established values such as an established morality, an artistic cannon or a fixed legal framework.

We shall see that this does not mean it denies them; rather, it works within them for the better. [2] It does not mean that poststructuralism is a fixed form of politics in the more restricted sense of government and power within social organizations.

One key aspect of poststructuralism is to show that power is not limited to organizations. This applies both to the limits of government, which extend far beyond laws and political structures, and to the limits of power, where power is to be understood not only as a power over others, but also as a power to change oneself and wider situations from within.[3]

Scholars of post-structuralist tradition

Poststructuralism is best described as a worldview or even an anti worldview. Scholars working within this worldview are skeptical of the possibility of overarching theoretical explanations for things that happen in the world. They prefer not to look for grand theories but rather to examine in details how the world comes to be seen and thought of, in particular ways at specific historical junctures and to study how particular social practices – things people do – work in terms of the relations of power and the ways of thinking that such practices produce or support.[4]

Formulating grand theory is seen as a social practice among other social practices: theories of how the world works are regarded as part of the world, not detached from it, and are studied by poststructuralists alongside other practices.[5] A starting assumption of poststructuralist thought is that there is no point outside the world from which the world can be observed: all observations and all theoretical systems, in physical theory or natural science as well as social theory, are part of the world they seek to describe or account for, and have an effect in that world.

For example, theories are not and cannot be politically neutral, but rather inevitably have a social and political impact.[6] In this picture of the world, then, the theorist of IR is not a detached observer of world politics but inevitably a participant in it.

There are some assumptions in which poststructuralist scholars are unconvinced by. One of them is: the assumption that it is possible to step outside the world and observe it or, to express the same thing differently, that the scholar can adopt a God-like detachment or otherworldliness.[7]
The other assumptions are all linked with each other: traditional, modernist approaches assume a world that comprises distinct entities, such as individuals, material objects, processes, events and structures that can be said to possess some form of essence or nature and that exist unproblematically in time.[8]

The job of political and social theory then becomes to describe and account for the relations and interactions that take place between objects and/or structures, and the job of normative theory to consider how we might decide what form those relations and interactions should take.

Poststructuralist ways of thinking, in contrast, do not start from this point. Rather, they are interested in the processes and practices that produce entities as distinct in the first place.[9] For example, rather than starting from the individual human being and asking how these individuals come together to form social groups, they ask how it is that we come to think in terms of people as separate and distinct individuals in the first place.[10]

Poststructuralist thinkers want to ask why we think in terms of entities or beings that are distinct one from another – why we see the world as made up of such entities existing against the background of a neutral flow of time – but they also want to dislodge this view, and suggest the possibility of thinking differently.[11]

Themes in post-structuralist work

Through poststructuralist work run themes that are closely interrelated, such as subjectivity, language and discourse, power relations and biopolitics and the notion of excess or lack.


Poststructuralist notions of the subject or ‘personhood’ represent a series of moves away from the ‘modern’ subject: the fully self-present, though self-doubting, Cartesian subject, the subject who could say with certainty ‘I think therefore I am’.[12] The first move away from the Cartesian subject took place under the influence of sociology. The sociological ‘self’ is shaped significantly by the social and economic environment. In other words, the subject does not arrive in the world fully formed. [13]

The ‘subject’ and the ‘world’ are not distinct. Instead, they are produced, as ‘world’ and as ‘subject’, through social, cultural and particularly political practices. This is often expressed by saying that subject and social order are ‘mutually constituted’ or ‘co-constituted’.[14] The important thing is that neither subject nor environment is ontologically privileged. The subject is not born into a world. The subject produces the world of which it is a part at the same time as it is itself produced. [15]

Several strands of thinking contributed to the move from a Cartesian subject through a sociological subject to a postmodern or poststructural subject. Sigmund Freud observed in his patients and for common phenomena such as dreams, slips of the tongue and jokes, it was helpful to propose that a large part of thinking takes place in a separate realm, which Freud called ‘the unconscious’.[16]

In this realm, to which there is no conscious access, thinking processes are structured very differently. In a second strand of thinking, De Saussure demonstrated that, objects are not presented as distinct, ready for naming.[17] This can be seen by the way in which each language not only names objects differently, but has a distinct set of objects that it enables its speakers to ‘see’. This means that people do not speak language. Rather, language ‘speaks’ people.

Language and discourse

As well as pointing out the importance of language in constituting the world, De Saussure noted that meaning in language depends not on positive value but on differences.[18] Words mean what they do not because of any link in sound with the object they represent but because of the difference between one word and the next. What is said is meaningful because of the associations with what is not said.

A Foucauldian approach is also concerned to demonstrate the continuity between discursive practices and other social practices. Discourse is not confined to written forms or to language in the narrow sense, but extends to all symbolic systems and to any form of social practice that by definition involves such systems.[19] One of Foucault’s key contributions to contemporary thought and political analysis is his demonstration of the way in which knowledge is tied up with the forms of subjectivity or subject-hood to which it gives rise.

He showed this in the case of the penal or prison system. Prisoners were held in cells structured in such a way that each prisoner could be seen by the prison guards at any time, but no prisoner could see another prisoner or the source of surveillance.[20] As a result, prisoners behaved as if they were continuously observed: they disciplined themselves.

Foucault also crucially observed that although prisons always failed in their declared aim of rehabilitation – levels of reoffending by released prisoners were always high – they nevertheless continued as institutions. For Foucault, the crucial question was not ‘Why did they fail?’ but ‘What was their function?’[21] His response was that prisons delineate a class of person – the delinquent – as a distinct group that has no political voice.

Analogous forms of argument and analysis have since been applied to institutions of IR. Third World development is a process that fails to produce its stated result but that continues nevertheless because it serves to delineate certain countries as in need of development and thus intervention.[22]

Power relations and biopolitics

Traditionally power has tended to be thought of as something that can be possessed: states or individuals have power, and some have more than others. Foucault suggests a new way of thinking of power. He argues that power should be seen not as something that preexisting entities possess but as something produced in relationships. Thus Foucault does not speak of ‘power’ but of ‘power relations’.[23] Power is not held centrally but produced in a dispersed way, through a series of power relations that take place on a micro-level during social interactions.

In the Foucauldian view, power is not separate from resistance but rather implies it: were there no resistance, there would be nothing that could properly be called ‘a power relation’.[24]
Foucault argues that sovereign power, which he regards as entailing the power over death – the sovereign can put to death those it chooses – has more recently been supplemented by biopower, the power over life or, more specifically, the power over populations.

ЦBiopower is expressed in disciplinary practices, such as are found in the prison, the barracks, the school or the hospital, and in forms of governmentality.[25] The state increasingly operates through these practices, which are addressed to entire populations, rather than through the direct expression of sovereign power in relation to the individual subject.

 Excess or lack

The lack or the excess can be explained by noting that once something has been named, that something both never lives up to the name it is given and is always more than the name can encompass. For example, if people are described as ‘political activists’, what does that mean?[26] One might say, well, if they are activists, why do they not stand in elections, or go on demonstrations: surely writing letters to one’s representative or delivering election manifestos is not sufficient? Alternatively, the term does not exhaust that which it names. The people concerned are not just activists. Consider all the other things they do, being fathers and mothers and employees, for example.

More broadly, in poststructuralist thought, attention is drawn to the ‘mystical foundation of authority’, the way in which the ‘origin’ of a state or a system of laws is a ‘non-founded founding moment’ that has nothing to rely on to justify or legitimate itself because it is the very point at which the source of law or legitimation will have been established.[27]

One of the features of poststructuralist thinking is the way it questions conceptions of politics and the political. Whereas politics (something that takes place in elections, political parties and government institutions, and forms part of the realm distinguished from the economic or the social) operates within a settled agenda or framework that is taken for granted, the political takes place when that agenda itself is called into question; the political also refers to the processes that take place every day in order to reproduce that order, once established. The political moment is unsettled and unsettling, the moment of excess or of trauma.[28]

[1] Poststructuralism and security. Lene Hansen.

[2] What is Poststructuralism?

[3] What is Poststructuralism?

[4] Postconstructivism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007.

[5] Ibid page 88

[6] Ibid page 88

[7] Ibid 89

[8] Ibid 89

[9] Ibid 89

[10] Postconstructivism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 89

[11] Ibid 89

[12] Postconstructivism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 90

[13] Ibid page 90

[14] Ibid page 90

[15] Ibid page 90

[16] Ibid page 90-91

[17] Ibid 90-91

[18] Ibid page 91

[19] Ibid page 91

[20] Ibid page 91

[21] Ibid page 91

[22] Ibid page 91

[23] Ibid page 91

[24] Ibid page 91

[25] Ibid page 92

[26] Ibid page 93

[27] Ibid page 93

[28] Ibid page 93

13 Theories that View Family as an Agenda


Key thinkers



1. Structural-functionalism Talcott Parsons Traditional family is the only institution that can perform two core functions in society – Primary Socialization and the Stabilization of Adult Personalities. -Being Out of Date because of the blurred gender roles

-Ignoring the exploitation of women (sexual division of labour in the family)

-Functionalism is too deterministic (ignores the fact that children actively create their own personalities)


2. Conflict Theories Marx, Engels, Weber, Habermas, Foucault Family type generally changes with society-more specifically; the nuclear family emerges not because of the needs of industralisation, but because of the needs of the Capitalist system. It socializes people to think in a way that justifies inequality in encourages people to accept that capitalist system.


– too deterministic

– ignores family diversity

– feminist argue that the Marxist focus ignores the inequalities between men and women, which is the real source of female oppression


3. Modern Conflict theory C. Wright Mills, Alan Sears Societies are defined by inequality that produces conflict. The conflict based on inequality can only be overcome through a fundamental transformation of the existing relations in the society, and is productive of new social relations.


4. Intersectionality Leslie McCall, Kimberle Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins We should think of each element or trait of a person as inextricably linked with all of the other elements in order to fully understand one’s identity.  
5. Identity Politics L.A. Kauffman, Jeffrey Week, Ken Plummer, Barbara Smith Only those experiencing a particular form of oppression can either define it or fight against it. People’s politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through correlated social organization.


-groups based on shared identity , other than class, can divert energy and attention from more fundamental issues, such as class conflict in capitalist societies.

– identity politics are just other versions of bourgeois nationalism.


6. Social Exchange Theory George Homans,

Peter M. Blau, Richard M. Emerson.


Every individual tries to maximize his wins. Social exchange process brings satisfaction when people receive fair returns for their expenditures.

Formula to measure the choice making processes: rewards-costs=outcomes

Or (what I get out of it – what I lose by doing it=my decision)


7. The postmodern perspective Stacey, Nareven 2 key characteristics:

-diversity and fragmentation

-rapid social change

idea: individuals in postmodern society have much more freedom of choice in aspects of their lives.


-even though people have more freedom, there is a still a structure, which shapes people’s decisions.

-Contemporary Feminists disagree with Postmodernism, pointing out that in most cases traditional gender roles, which disadvantage women, remain the norm.


8. The New Right view Charles Murray Traditional and conventional nuclear family is the only one correct, based on fundamental biological differences between men and women.


-It Is patriarchal – the family is male dominant. Feminists argue that this is negative for women.

-Its harmful to call other family-types ‘inadequate’ – schools, advertisements and television reinforce this idea.


9. Liberal Feminism John Stuart Mill, Mary Wollstonecraft Equal opportunity via fair opportunity and equal political rights. Distinction between the public and private realms.  
10. Libertarian feminism Tonie Nathan, Wendy McElroy Individualist feminism encourages women to take full responsibility for their own lives.  
11. Anarcho-feminism Lucia Sanchez Saornil Patriarchy is a manifestation of involuntary coercive hierarchy that should be replaced by decentralized free association.  




12. Queer Theory Michel Foucault, Michael Warner


Idea: Gender is part of the essential self.

Developed out of an examination of perceived limitations in the traditional identity politics of recognition and self-identity.


-written by a narrow elite for that narrow elite. Class biased.

-doesn’t refer to any specific status or gender object choice.



13. Standpoint Theory
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


The theory strives to understand the world from the standpoint of women and other marginalized groups in society. The more authority an individual possesses, the more they have when implementing their viewpoints on the world. Key concept: women.


– Contains a problematic emphasis on the universality of this experience, at the expense of differences among women’s experiences.
– opens the possibility of an overbalance of power, in which the oppressed group intentionally or unintentionally becomes the oppressor.


Feminism as a Theory of International Relations

Creating feminist IR

The year 1988 marked an important milestone. At that time the second wave of women’s movement activism was at its height in many countries, raising individual consciousnesses of women, transforming state policies concerning conditions of paid and unpaid work, shining light on the power dynamics inside marriages, political parties, legislatures, courts and peace movements, and converting acts of male violence against women from a private problem into a public issue.[1]

By the late 1980s, new Women’s Studies journals such as Signs, Women’s Studies International Forum, The Women’s Review of Books and Feminist Review had been created, attracting manuscripts from scholars working in history, literature, sociology, art history and anthropology. [2] While some courses in ‘Women and Politics’ had been created by individual academics as early as the mid-1970s, and while there had been moves by feminist-informed political scientists to organize women’s caucuses inside professional groups such as The American Political Science Association, little was being done in the late 1980s to bring feminist ideas into the field of IR, which appeared to be a fortress of intellectual and professional resistance to feminist insights into the workings of power. [3]

The BISA, along with the US-based International Studies Association (ISA), had become the institutional arena for determining what would be taken seriously in the scholarly study of IR. [4]
The next step in creating ‘feminist IR’ was to open up a professional space for feminist IR. That meant persuading the association’s officers to open up new panel sessions and to acknowledge that feminist issues could be ‘counted’ as IR.[5] Fifteen years later, when thousands of academics were preparing for the ISA’s 2004 annual conference in Montreal, Quebec, there was a Women’s Caucus, now operating inside the ISA, to monitor and challenge academic sexism in the ISA.[6]

Second, the Feminist Theory and Gender Section (FTGS) of the ISA had been institutionalized, helping to mentor younger scholars, encourage participation by feminist in formed scholars in the running of the ISA, sponsor papers and panels at meetings, and to broaden the cultural and geographic profile of feminist IR specialists beyond its largely white and US–British female base[7].

Third, prior to the 2004 ISA conference, 18 full panels were proposed for FTGS sponsorship, while an additional 81 individual papers were proposed on gender, feminism and IR.[8]
In 1999, members of FTGS had also launched a new journal, The International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFPS). The new journal was to serve as a place where the diverse interactions of gender and power would be explored.[9] The journal’s founders decided that there should be a three-person senior editorial team, not just a single editor; each of the three core editors would be based in a different geographic region, so as to structurally push the IFJP to adopt a genuinely global approach to the creation and distribution of new knowledge.[10]

Feminist approaches to study IR

Feminist perspectives on international relations have proliferated in the last ten years, yet they remain marginal to the discipline as a whole, and there has been little engagement between feminists and international relations (IR) scholars. According to Francis Fukuyama, Feminists and IR scholars frequently talk about different worlds and use different methodologies to understand them. [11]

A different kind of misunderstanding, also prevalent, arises from the fact that talking about gender involves issues of personal identity that can be very threatening, even in academic discourse. Feminists are frequently challenged by their critics for seeming to imply (even if it is not their intention) that women are somehow “better” than men.
In IR, this often comes down to accusations that feminists are implying  women are more peaceful than men or that a world run by women would be less violent and morally superior. Critics will support their challenges by reference to female policymakers, such as Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, or Indira Gandhi, who, they claim, behaved exactly like men.

As with many theories, “feminist theory” reflects on a wide range of perspectives generating many internal debates concerning how it should be represented.[12]

Standpoint feminist theory considers how

“the gendered construction of knowledge…[helps to] understand traditional topics in international relations” and is “alerting us to the idea that gender may be structuring how we think in the international context.”[13]

Tickner argues that IR is gendered to “marginalize women’s voices,” and stresses

“women have knowledge, perspectives and experiences that should be brought to bear on the study of international relations.” [14]

For example, Tickner would argue that security, a main topic in IR, should not only be understood as “defending the state from attack,” but should also consider that security for women

“might be different because women are more likely to be attacked by men they know, rather than strangers from other states.”[15]

In other words, in contrast to traditional IR views that view security as protecting the state from other states, feminists argue the topic of security should address acts of rape and violence, not only from foreign perpetrators, but from their own fellow citizens as well.

Feminists point out that, speaking for the study of problems of safety of the women’s point of view, they do not infringe on the rights of men. On the contrary, they hope that the example of women – the most oppressed part of the population – can be convincingly prove the necessity of development of new concepts of individual and global security, based on non-hierarchical principles.[16]

Feminists-postmodernists see a way out of this impasse in modern policy and science on how to get rid of such categories as «nation-state», «national» or «state sovereignty», «national interests», «national security», etc.[17] And instead should, be formed a «global civil society», in which there will be no place for the nationalist prejudice, or discrimination on the ground of gender.

Similarities between poststructuralism and feminism in IR

The connection between theory and political praxis within feminism has always been close. Feminism has been understood to imply a political project of empowerment, connected with the emancipatory impulse of liberal-humanism and Marxism, and an epistemological project rooted in Enlightenment rationalism and universalism.[18]

During the 1980’s these canons within feminist theory have been influenced by a set of poststructuralist discourses radically questioning its inherent epistemological rationalism and universalism as well as its ontological essentialism. [19]
Whilst all feminists are aimed at identifying and defending equal opportunities for women, how this is interpreted has developed and fragmented over the years to the effect that feminism is now a relatively complex structure of overlapping ideas and concepts. [20]

Post-structuralism can be applied to be many things and fundamentally believes that our interpretation of what is right comes from our own experiences and interpretations. As such, it can never be entirely objective. This is why there are so many different beliefs in the world, because all those millions of people have completely different experiences and societal influences. Post-structural theory takes a particular interest in language as this is how we communicate our experiences. As such, language shapes the way  we see the world. [21]

Feminist post-structuralism looks philosophically at the way in which women are treated in the world and attempts to break down barriers by identifying how societal influences have led to the status quo. It is a rather less militant branch of the movement, seeking to make change by demonstrating that equality is invariably a product of the environment and that by shaping that environment, equality can quite easily be addressed.[22]
Speaking about similarities of Feminism and Post structuralism in IR, it can be said that both of them are critical to existing state affairs and both make deal with power and dominance.

Power in private spaces and power in public spaces: feminist concern

Feminist investigations by academic and activist researchers have revealed that many forms of public power and private power are dependent for their operation, legitimization and perpetuation on controlling the thoughts and bodies of women and on controlling notions of femininity and masculinity. Women have been left out of the most influential studies of IR because so many investigators have presumed that women are inconsequential in the public arena.[23]

Women’s history demands a global perspective. There’s far more to it than Queen Elizabeth I.[24] We need to refocus historical attention from the school of “famous women” (often royal females) to encompass broader groupings of women with power: clan mothers and female elders; priestesses, diviners, medicine women and healers; market women, weavers, and other female arts and professions. These “female spheres of power,”[25] vary greatly from culture to culture. Some of them, particularly the spiritual callings, retain aspects of women’s self-determination even in societies that insist on formal subordination of female to male in private and public space.

The debate on what is the place and role of women in modern society stimulated analysis of the use of women, the position of women in the family, at work, the necessity of women’s political activity. [26] It is impossible to divide the public and private spheres of life or liability; the house and the state are interdependent and mutually influence each other. [27]

«The separation of the private and the public, which is typical for all modern societies, is a structural basis of gender relations. Private sphere is a traditional area of the women’s world». [28]

«In an ideal world, the world of private – this is the world of sweet home, life, soaked in the culture of the spiritual work of the previous generations, atmosphere of love, peace agreement, from which the cruelty is expelled». [29]

Public power requires a woman to be strong and in many ways be better than a man. Today we see how women make their own laws and take high positions in government.

Non-feminist approach to IR and a concept of patriarchal state

A principal shortcoming in the conventional, non-feminist approach to international politics, according to feminist students of IR, is its practitioners’ tendency to assume that states are the natural actors, coupled with a presumption that states speak for the nations they claim to rule.[30] In contrast, a feminist analysis questions not only the ‘naturalness’ of states, but that of nations too.

Feminist informed, investigations of societies have revealed that both the state and the nation have been constructed out of particular ideas about femininity and masculinity. The building blocks include ideas about femininity that have been wielded in ways to marginalize women in state affairs, as well as in nation-building movements. [31]

Where women have become prominent in the decision-making circles of a state or a nationalist movement it is usually because some women have organized to force open those spaces in the masculinized leadership. Thus, feminist political analysis takes seriously the ways those ideas about ‘motherhood’, ‘sexual purity’, ‘the good wife’ and ‘family stability’ shape policy making within nationalist movements, political parties and state institutions.[32]

Patriarchy is a societal system of structures and beliefs that sustains the privileging of masculinity. Feminists do not automatically assume that every state at every stage of its evolution is patriarchal, but they approach every state as problematic. The state is neither natural nor inevitable. [33]

Patriarchy is based on a system of power relations which are hierarchical and unequal where men control women’s production, reproduction and sexuality. It imposes masculinity and femininity character stereotypes in society which strengthen the iniquitous power relations between men and women. [34] Patriarchy within a particular caste or class also differs in terms of their religious and regional variations. Similarly subordination of women in developed countries is different from what it is in developing countries.

While subordination of women may differ in terms of its nature, certain characteristics such as control over women’s sexuality and her reproductive power cuts across class, caste, ethnicity, religions and regions and is common to all patriarchies.[35]

“Patriarchal ideas blur the distinction between sex and gender and assume that all socio-economic and political distinctions between men and women are rooted in biology or anatomy”.[36]

[1] Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 107

[2] Ibid page 107

[3] Ibid page 107

[4] Ibid page 108

[5] Ibid page 108

[6] Ibid 108

[7] Ibid 108

[8] Ibid 108

[9] Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007. Page 109

[10] Ibid page 109-110

[11]Why women can’t run the world: international politics according to Francis Fukuyama.

[12]Feminist Theory and International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism

[13] Lorraine Code. Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories. (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), 273, Netlibrary/eBook Collection (29 November 2003).

[14] Feminist Theory and International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism

[15] Lorraine Code. Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories. (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), 273, Netlibrary/eBook Collection (29 November 2003).

[16] Феминизм в современных международных отношениях.

[17] Феминизм в современных международных отношениях.

[18] Hekman, S. (1990) Gender and Knowledge: Elements of a Postmodern Feminism. Cambridge: Polity.

[19] Feminist politics after Poststructuralism.

[20] What is feminist post-structuralism?

[21] What is feminist post-structuralism?

[22] What is feminist post-structuralism?

[23] Feminism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007.

[24] Women power.

[25] Women power.

[26] Публичные и приватные сферы как основа гендерной стратификации.


[28] Здравомыслова Е. и Темкина А. Введение // Хрестоматия феминистских текстов. Переводы / Под ред. Е. Здравомысловой и А.Темкиной. СПб., 2000. С. 5.

[29] Климова С.В. Дом и мир: проблема приватного и публичного //

[30] Feminism. Griffiths, Martin (ed). International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge, 2007.

[31] Ibid page 105

[32] Ibid page 105

[33] Ibid page 106

[34]Understanding patriarchy.

[35] Understanding patriarchy.

[36] Heywood, Andrew, Political Ideologies: An Introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2003








Constructivism as a Тheory of International Relations

The fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union signified the end of the Cold War. The peaceful end changed not only the world order, but also debates in international relation’s theories.[1] The end offered a challenge for constructivists to understand. Wendt said :

“material structure can have sui generis effects…, [t]he Cold War was fundamentally a discursive, not a material, structure.” [2].

The Cold War could be over if the US and Soviet Union did not perceive each other as enemies.[3] Change could grow from below. It was possible for states to reinvent their identities and consciously transform their international roles, and subsequently change the world order.

The central tenet of Constructivism is that most or even all important elements of international politics are the products of specific social circumstances and historical processes, rather than being inevitable consequences of the human’s nature or the nature of politics. This willingness to see international relations as socially constructed, sets constructivism apart from traditional approaches to realism and liberalism.[4]

The belief that reality is socially constructed leads constructivists to place a greater role on norm development, identity, and ideational power than the other major theoretical paradigms. Indeed, norms, identity, and ideas are key factors in constructivist theory.
Constructivism – whether as a mode of instruction or a school of thought on how the world is known by the observer – has a long and diverse history.

The Rise of Constructivism in International Relations

In the 1980s, constructivism has become an increasingly significant approach, especially in North American IR. During the Cold War there was a clear pattern of power balancing between two blocs, led by the United States and the Soviet Union respectively. [6]
After the end of the Cold War and following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the situation turned much more fluid and open.
The historical context, i.e., the end of the Cold War, and the theoretical discussion between IR scholars, especially among neo-realists and liberals helped set the stage for a constructivist approach. And constructivism became especially popular among North American scholars, because that environment was dominated by the neorealist/neoliberal approaches. [7]

Constructivism has deeper roots. It is not an entirely new approach. It also grows out of an old methodology that can be traced back at least to the eighteenth–century writings of the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico[8]. According to Vico, the natural world is made by God, but the historical world is made by Man. History is not some kind of unfolding or evolving process that is external to human affairs. Men and women make their own history.

Social Constructivism, it can be argued, can be traced to the times of Aristotle, in his argument that man is naturally a political animal ‘zoon politikon’.[9] He argued that attempts to derive knowledge about politics from the endowments and behaviour of man in-isolation are misguided; He contended that man cannot exist outside a social context. Social Constructivist appears to have accepted Aristotle’s argument that political actors are influenced by the social context they inhabit. [10]

Constructivism was introduced to IR by Nicholas Onuf who coined the term. It gathered a larger following among scholars with a series of influential articles and a book by Alexander Wendt, who is the best-known advocate of Social constructivism in the field of international relations. [11]

Distinguishing features of Constructivism

Constructivism refers to,

“the philosophical belief that people construct their own understanding of reality” [12].

Rather than assimilate a body of knowledge about one’s world and environment, constructivists believe we ‘construct’ meaning based upon our interactions with our surroundings. These interactions provide the evidence and the opportunities for experimentation with the world and thus, construct our realities. [13] In its most radical form, constructivists believe that there is no reality saves for what we create with our own minds.

Constructivism is both a social theory and a number of different substantive theories of IR.[14]  According to constructivist philosophy, the social world is not a given: it is not something ‘out there’ that exists independent, out of the thoughts and ideas of the people involved in it. Everything involved in the social world of men and women is made by them. The fact that it is made by them makes it intelligible to them. The social world is a world of human consciousness: of thoughts and beliefs, of ideas and concepts, of languages and discourses, of signs, signals and understandings among human beings, especially groups of human beings, such as states and nations. [15]

Wendt mentions ‘material resources’ among those elements that constitute social structures [16]; in that sense materialism is a part of constructivism. But it is the ideas and beliefs concerning those entities which are most important: what those entities signify in the minds of people?!
The international system of security and defence, for example, consists of territories, populations, weapons and other physical assets. But it is the ideas and understandings according to which those assets are conceived, organized and used—e.g., in alliances, armed forces and so on—that is most important.[17]

Wendt illustrates the constructivist view with the following statement:

“500 British nuclear weapons are less threatening to the United States than 5 North Korean nuclear weapons’ because ‘the British are friends and the North Koreans are not’[18].”

That is to say, it is less the material fact of numbers of nuclear warheads that matter. What matters is how the actors think about each other, i.e. their ideas and beliefs. Material facts enter the picture but they are secondary to ideas.[19]

It is suggested by von Glasersfeld that constructivism can only be understood though considering both ontology and epistemology. Ontology refers to issues concerning the nature of being and seeks to answer the questions: What is being? What is the nature of reality? Is there a reality? [20]
Idealism, a branch of ontology, views reality as something that can only exist in ideas or ideals. The Idealists’ assertion is that no claims about external realities can be made because they are observer-dependent and not absolute.

Epistemology, the second philosophical root of constructivism, pertains to the origin, foundation, limits, and validity of knowledge. Central questions of epistemology include: What is knowledge?, Where does knowledge come from?, How much does the knower contribute to the knowing process?. [21] Epistemology deals with the transmission of knowledge.

Modern and Postmodern Consrtuctivism

The constructivist school is broadly divided into two streams: modern and post-modern constructivism. The two approaches are also sometimes referred to as conventional and critical constructivism. Both adopt an ontological position and that ontology is necessarily prior to epistemology, as analysis cannot be divorced from the reality it seeks to account for.

The ontological position of constructivism in IR doesn’t

“…deny the phenomenal reality of material processes”[22]

but asserts that actor response to such material concerns are wholly determined by the shared meaning structures through which they are necessarily perceived.
Modern and post-modern constructivism most critically differs fundamentally with regards to epistemology.[23]
Post-modern constructivists, wholly reject the positivist notions of the existence of neutral observable social fact and the possibility of empirical analysis; while claims diverge on the matter on how analysis should proceed and what the purpose of scientific enquiry thus need to be. Post-modern constructivism in its essence is a post-positivist theory itself.

Modern constructivism – viewed as negotiated empiricism. This approach suggests that, despite a broadly constitutive ontological stance, and despite the inherent flaws of empiricism, knowledge acquisition through subject observation is still the best means available of pursuing scientific progress.[24] Modern constructivists, in contrast to the rigid empiricism of mainstream theories, believe that both material and ideational dimensions of international activity are “observable”. [25]

Norms and Ideas

At the heart of constructivist thought is the notion of the latent presence of norms in any social activity, including international relations. Norms, constructivists suggest, however, cannot be understood in isolation from ideas, as ideas constitute the essential building-blocks from which norms are derived. [26]

Ideas are

“beliefs about right and wrong held by individuals”, while norms are “collective expectations about proper behavior for a given identity”.[27]

Norms are considered the fundamental determinants within all global politics, because actors are group entities – a collection of individuals – and IR is concerned interactions between such groups, hence, action and interaction, constructivists propose, will be influenced by the nature and extent of shared norms. [28]

Identities, interests and action

The notion of identity and its relationship with interests, builds upon constructivist notion of ideas and norms. The relationship is of critical importance because it constitutes the root of all action. It specifies the exact nature of the link between norms and action, providing a compelling rationale for how and why norms have the power to determine action.[29]

Identities, constructivists suggest, are the basis of interests. This is because constructivists assert that

“… the question of ‘what am I?’ is both logically and ontologically prior to the question of ‘what do I want?’” [30].

According to constructivists

“explanations based primarily on interests and the material distribution of power cannot fully account for important international phenomena and that analysis of the social construction of state identities ought to precede, and may even explain, the genesis of state interests”.[31]

Wendt discusses what kind of anarchy (or cultures of anarchy) that will prevail, depends on “how (actors) construe their identity in relation to others”. [32]
In Wendt’s analysis, “interests presuppose identities because an actor cannot know what it wants until it knows who it is”[33], which in turn depends on their social relationships.[34]

Therefore, identities become crucial in constructivist analysis because they provide the basis for interests. States

“do not have a ‘portfolio’ of interests that they carry around independent of social context; instead, they define their interests in the process of defining situations”[35].

Constructivists focus on constitutive processes and argue that identities are always in the process of being formed and reformed. [36]

The relationship between agents and structures

The constructivist attention to the social construction of interests and identities introduces the more general problem of the relationship between structures and agents.[37] By “structures” it means the institutions and shared meanings that make up the context of international action, and by “agents” means any entity that operates as an actor in that context.

The co-constitution of states and structures goes beyond recognizing that there are interaction effects between the unit and the system level.[38] In Theory of International Politics, Waltz suggested that two states interacting in anarchy are

“not just influencing the other” by their actions; “both are being influenced by the situation their interaction creates” [39].

A constructivist approach to co-constitution, by contrast, suggests that the actions of states contribute to making the institutions and norms of international life, and these institutions and norms contribute to defining, socializing, and influencing states. Both the institutions and the actors can be redefined in the process.
The recognition of mutual constitution is an important contribution to the theory of international relations, because many interesting empirical phenomena in international relations are understandable only by a methodology that avoids assuming a neat separation between agents and structures.[40]

Actors develop their relations with, and understandings of, others through the media of norms and practices. In the absence of norms, exercises of power, or actions, would be devoid of meaning. Constitutive norms define an identity by specifying the actions that will cause others to recognize that identity and respond to it appropriately.[41] Since structure is meaningless without some inter subjective set of norms and practices, anarchy, mainstream international relations theory’s most crucial structural component, is meaningless. [42]

Constructivists and globalization

Social Constructivism plays a key role in enabling us to understand the complexities of globalization because it provides us with a particular lens that permits to interpret globalization in distinctive ways and which leads us to question it in a different way.

Globalization is a changing concept. There is no final or definitive answer. Interconnectedness of the world is similar to the World Wide Web (www), because it signifies societies in a web. For instance, the flow of ideas, criminal activities, goods, images, weapons and a worldwide flows of capital and so forth.[43] This in turn, means that developments in one part of the world can come to have consequences in another region of the planet by affecting the life chances of individuals and communities in different areas.

Therefore Social Constructivism aids us by providing a discourse about international reality which we can be used to understand the social construction of reality. More importantly, a social constructivist’ understanding of globalization emphasizes the non-material forces at work here and focuses on the process of meaning construction and interpretation as constitutive for globalization.“Globalization” as a discourse reifies globalization as a social structure. [44]

To be a constructivist in international relations means looking at international relations with an eye open to the social construction of actors, institutions, and events. It means beginning from the assumption that how people and states think and behave in world politics is premised on their understanding of the world around them, which includes their own beliefs about the world, the identities they hold about themselves and others, and the shared understandings and practices in which they participate.[45]

Material structure, international social structures, and domestic politics, all together construct the world’s politics and economy and construct relations among states. Material and discursive power play and direct the drama of international relations. Complex world needs complex theory to understand. Constructivism offers itself to meet such demand. The Constructivist Turn does not only color and construct the debates in international relations theories, but also construct the international social system.[46]


[1] Ganjar Nugroho, “Constructivism and International Relations Theories ”, Global & Strategis, Th. II, No. 1, Januari-Juni 2008, hlm. 85-98.

[2] Ganjar Nugroho, “Constructivism and International Relations Theories ”, Global & Strategis, Th. II, No. 1, Januari-Juni 2008, hlm. 85-98.

[3] Ibid page 85-98

[4] Constructivism: International Relations Theory in Brief.

[5] Jonathan Cristol. “Constructivism” Article.  10101 words.

[6] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[7] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[8] Giambattista Vico,  (born June 23, 1668, Naples [Italy]—died January 23, 1744, Naples), Italian philosopher of cultural history and law.

[9] Aristotle on Politics. Man is political animal.–man-is-a-political-animal-a244832

[10]The contributions of social constructivism in political science. Ronald Elly Wanda.

[11] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[12] Constructivism: Pre-historical to Post-modern. William R. Warrick. George Mason University.

[13] Constructivism: Pre-historical to Post-modern. William R. Warrick. George Mason University.

[14] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[15] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[16] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[17] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[18] Wendt, A., 1995. “Constructing International Politics”. International Security, Vol. 20 (1)

[19] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[20] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[21] Jackson&Sorensen. Introduction to International Relations. Social Constructivism.

[22] Phillips, A.B., 2007. “Constructivism”, in Griffiths, M. (ed.), International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century: An introduction. Routledge, Abingdon. Page 62

[23] Barkin, J.S., 2003. “Realist Constructivism”. International Studies Review, Vol. 5(3) page 326-327

[24] Bakin, J.S., 2003. “Realist Constructivism”. International Studies Review, Vol. 5(3) page 326-327

[25] Farrell, T., 2002. “Constructivist Security Studies: Portrait of a Research program”. International Studies Review, Vol. 4 (1) page 60-61

[26] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[27] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[28] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[29] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[30] Phillips, A.B., 2007. “Constructivism”, in Griffiths, M. (ed.), International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century: An introduction. Routledge, Abingdon. Page 62

[31] Mlada Bukovansky, ‘American Identity and Neutral Rights from Independence to the War of 1812’, International Organization, Vol. 51, No. 2, 1997, pp. 209-243, p. 209.

[32] Maja Zehfuss, ‘Constructivism and Identity: A Dangerous Liaison’, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2001, pp. 315-348, p. 318.

[33] Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, p. 231.

[34] Ron Jepperson, Alexander Wendt and Peter Katzenstein, ‘Norms, Identity, and Culture in National Security’, Peter Katzenstein (ed.), The Culture of National Security, (New York: Colombia University Press, 1996), pp. 33-75, p. 59.

[35] Wendt, ‘Anarchy is What States Make of It’, p. 396.

[36] Atkinson, ‘Constructivist Implications of Material Power’, p. 534.

[37] Smit-Snidal. Typeset by Spi, Delhi 298 of 316 January 18, 2008. “Constructivism” chapter 17.

[38] Smit-Snidal. Typeset by Spi, Delhi 298 of 316 January 18, 2008. “Constructivism” chapter 17.

[39] Smit-Snidal. Typeset by Spi, Delhi 298 of 316 January 18, 2008. “Constructivism” chapter 17.

[40] Smit-Snidal. Typeset by Spi, Delhi 298 of 316 January 18, 2008. “Constructivism” chapter 17.

[41] Ronald L. Jepperson, Alexander Wendt, and Peter J. Katzenstein, “Norms, Identity, and Culture in National Security,” in Katzenstein, The Culture of National Security, p. 54.

[42] The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory

[43] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[44] Constructivism as a basis for understanding transnational terrorism: the case of Al Qaeda. David Schild.

[45] Smit-Snidal. Typeset by Spi, Delhi 298 of 316 January 18, 2008. “Constructivism” chapter 17.

[46] Ganjar Nugroho, “Constructivism and International Relations Theories ”, Global & Strategis, Th. II, No. 1, Januari-Juni 2008, hlm. 85-98.

Power Elites in Georgia: Old and New

Power is never completely impersonal while it is in the hands of certain people or groups of holders of power who are elites and leaders. Choices which are made by elites at a certain stages of state development, the level of power and authority that they exercise in society, determine the success of the process of forming and consolidating a new regime. According to the studies of G. Field, M. Burton and D. Higley, the stability of a regime is directly linked to the degree of consensus among its factions regarding existing institutions and rules of game.[1]

Georgia’s case can serve as an example of it. During the period of independence, three political regimes have changed in Georgia: the regime of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who came to power in 1990 and was overthrown by a military coup in 1992; then the regime that was led by old Communist party functionary and former USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Shevardnadze who also was overthrown as a result of a “Rose Revolution” in 2003 led by Mikhail Saakashvili. Both regime changes in 1992 and 2003 were cause by rifts in the elite.

Speaking about Georgia, the country is divided into 67 districts and five independent cities. In most cases, the local power was concentrated in the hands of the President’s governors and groups linked to him. Thus the powerful regional elites became those who had personal ties with the country’s president and they formed a separate group in the structure of the national elite during Shevardnadze’s rule.

In reality there were unlimited control over the activities of the district administration from the leadership of the provinces and also its worth to note that the spread of corruption and clientalistic relationships at all levels of government was a feature of Shevardnadze’s reign.

Speaking about the administrative elites of the districts, the head of district administration created a team of colleagues that would fall apart with the departure of the leader from the position of the head of the district. A new administration head had to balance between three different interests: his personal, the interests of the provincial and the central government and the interest of local groups. [2]

Regarding the economic elite, its formation was related to the shadow of the Soviet period. Influential economic groups attempted to establish control over the district administration and in most cases it had illegal nature of the business.

The next type of elite existing during the Shverdnadze’s regime were criminal authorities, who operated in the districts. With their own influence they interfered in conflicts between different groups of regional elites and worked mainly with the old nomenklatura-type elite and business.[3] In the post Soviet Georgian society, so called “thieves in law” acted as a regulator of the power relationships between the various subjects of power.

Another type was Mkhedrioni (“army”) , who represented armed groups active in the years 1992-1995 and played a dual role. In the civil war they were one of the pillars of Shevardnadze’s regime and to some extent gained the official status of militia, however they often displayed criminal behavior and their leaders tried to establish control over the economy. Mkhedrioni in Georgia were something more than just government in government but it was the governmental power by itself.

And the last type of old elite was a party activists. Party activists who came to power after the 2003 revolution were unable to establish themselves in the leadership of the districts as it was in 1991-1992. The lack of resources, such as money or management experience, made the party elite dependent on the support of central authorities.

Considering Georgia in studies of post-Soviet states the terms “clans” and “families” are used. One of examples was Shevardnadze and his family. The dominant position of the family member and close relatives came to the light after the “Rose Revolution”. A Chief Auditor in the Shevardnadze government profited from corruption and assisted corrupt practices for the Shevardnadze family. Another example, the father-in-law of Shevardnadze’s son, Guram Akhvlediani, was the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and the leader of the most influential of the subgroups – the “clan Akhvlediani”, which developed business interests in mineral oil and aircraft and controlled the Poti port. [4]

Shevardnadze had many relatives so everyone had its own place under the “sun”. The Banking Sector also was and is occupied by the Georgian economic elite. TBC Bank of Georgia and its group received from the state the exclusive right of bottling Borjomi mineral water, one of Georgia’s largest exports. There also are foreign investors since 2000-2001, which reflected in the disposition of forces among the economic elite of Georgia.

They are individuals who gathered wealth in Russia in the 1990s. The best example is Bidzina Ivanishvili, ex-prime minister of Georgia, who operates primarily in the area of the business of television, began broadcasting his TV Company “Imedi”. But since he decided to leave its position as prime minister, he closed the channel, which served as a tool in his political career. His “Channel 9” had been on air since 1999. By 2003, Shevardnadze’s Union had crumbled and replaced by New Georgia, which promoted a programme of independence, integration into Europe, closer relations with US and NATO, the liberation of the economy and increases in salaries.[5]

This event marked the era of new emerging elites. Five major groups or parties opposed New Georgia: the National Movement, led by Saakashvili, the United Democrats by Nino Burdjanadze with Zhvania in the background, a left Labour party, conservative New Rights party and the Industrialists.

Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II is the only constant in Georgian political Olympus of the post-Soviet era. A few years ago, right after the victory of the «Rose Revolution», Ilia II expressed its concern with the fact that there is no one, nationally-elected President of Georgia was not able to delegate his powers to a successor in lawful way. When there raised a real danger that Mikhail Saakashvili will share the destiny of the exiles of Gamsakhurdia and Shevardnadze, Catholicos announced as the only way of overcoming this «curse of Georgian policy»[6] is the idea of monarchy.

The opposition seized on the initiative of the head of the Church, because it is consistent with its commitment to eliminate the Institute of a strong President. Till today, Ilia II, remains a national arbiter, spreading the values and ideas, religion and attitudes within the Georgian society, which was clearly seen during the events of the parade of LGBT party in Tbilisi.

After the reign of Shevardnadze, many may say that Saakashvili eliminated corruption but still he had hidden business with Azerbaijan Company “Socar” and many others. The share of the President on each litre was about 22 tetri (= 4 cents), i.e. only from this business Saakashvili clan received approximately 24 million per month.[7] During the Saakashvili’s anti-corruption campaign was designed, first, on the destruction of some of the businesses that they did not belong, and secondly, the creation of «elite corruption».

Yes, at the bottom they destroyed corruption, and participation in corruption was only the right of the political elite of the President and his entourage. The earlier mentioned group created by two members the «Mkhedrioni», which were members of the elite groups inside «Mkhedrioni» under the name of «Baratebi», has grown into a company with a significant regional importance. Business group has extensive contacts with the political elite of Georgia. Its main companion and defender until 2008 was an influential member of the Parliament of Georgia, after which he became a member of the government who has close ties with Saakashvili.[8]

In Georgia, the «elite corruption» or in this world called intellectual corruption when all money belongs to the ruling elite, which, under the flag of democracy actually owns all business, was just such a situation which continues to exist so far: the ruling elite controls all spheres of the economy, including strategic and small businesses. On the background of absence in the country new ideas, new motivations and the existence of income only in upper layers drives us to a situation when the market is frozen, we do not develop innovative businesses and do not receive new. Such situation has developed over the years in the economy of Georgia.

After the next presidential elections, Georgia transformed from a super-presidential to super-premier Republic with a touch of design of parliamentary governance. But the twist is that in contrast to the majority of parliamentary republics of European type, the head of state is not elected in the Parliament, but by a universal suffrage. And if the President is a person, disloyal to Prime Minister, he will soon become a headache for the government. That’s how the current president Margvelashvili was elected, being under the protectorate of ex-prime minister Ivanishvili.

Georgian elite mainly studied abroad and those who made the rose revolution were trained abroad and they had work experience in organization of such activities; and we can say that to the leader positions came more broad developed generation. During the Communists’ the knowledge of Russian language was obligatory because it gave access to all the resources planned by the Moscow Imperial center, it follows that Russian was the oldest language of the elite.

Today the English language has become the second language of the elite which lobbies its interests both within the country and abroad.
Attempts of first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia to declare that the country needs to move in the direction of EU, failed. Eduard Shevardnadze also made some successful steps in that direction but the civil war in Georgia and absence of support from the West forced him to take pro-Russian side. Already Mikhail Saakashvili made significant efforts towards more close relations with EU.

The question of integration is one of those which coincided with the interests of ruling coalition of “Georgian dream” party and the party of ex-president Saakashvili. David Darchiashvili, a deputy of Georgian parliament and chairman of the issues on European integration Committee supported the political and economical integration, however many businessman and entrepreneurs assured that the economical advantageous for Tbilisi are very far perspective.

Also the fact that the relations with Russia improved after the defeat of Saakashvili, Georgian political and economical elite don’t want to disturb the development of trade relations. A perspective to sit on two chairs, EU and Russian, for our elite is seen as easily achievable goal.

[1] Different Governments in Tbilisi, same people in regions: local elites in the years of independence. Research paper. Giorgi Gotua.

[2]Different Governments in Tbilisi, same people in regions: local elites in the years of independence. Research paper. Giorgi Gotua. Page 207

[3] Ibid page 208

[4] Power Elites in Georgia: Old and New. Research paper. Chapter 9. Zurab Chiaberashvili and Gigi Tevradze. file:///C:/Users/user Downloads/10_ChapterIX.pdf

[5] Power Elites in Georgia: Old and New. Research paper. Chapter 9. Zurab Chiaberashvili and Gigi Tevradze file:///C:/Users/user Downloads/10_ChapterIX.pdf

[6] Через революции-К царству.

[7]Режим М. Саакашвили: что это было. М.С.Григорьев. Москва 2013. Стр 19

[8] Купатадзе А. Изменения после изменений: цветные революции и организованная

преступность в Грузии, Украине и Киргизии (август 2010 г.) //

Тhe Stagnation in the Economy of Japan After Japan’s „Economic Miracle”

Much of Japan’s modern economic success can be traced to two significant periods in its history: the pre-war Meiji Era and the post-war Economic Miracle.

The Meiji government also created conducive business environment for private businesses to thrive. Shipyards and factories were built by the government and sold at extremely low prices to entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs eventually began businesses that quickly expanded into conglomerates known as the Zaibatsu.[1] The Zaibatsu controlled much of Japan’s economic and industrial activity.

By the start of World War II, the Big Four Zaibatsu – Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo and Yasuda – had control of over more than 30 percent of Japan’s mining, chemical, metals industries, 50 percent of the machinery and equipment market, and 60 percent of the commercial stock exchange.[2]

Although World War II devastated most of the Japanese economy, the social foundations laid down during the Meiji Era contributed to the post-war economic miracle from the 1960s to the 1980s. New constitutional and economic policies implemented by the US during the American occupation of 1945-1952, also contributed to the eventual recovery of the Japanese economy.[3]

Furthermore, although there were attempts to dissolve the Zaibatsu system, the Zaibatsu managed to evolved into the Keiretsu with the six major Keiretsu being Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Mitsui, Dai-ichi Kangyo and Sanwa Groups.[4] However the greatest contributing factor of the Japanese Economic Miracle was the establishment of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in 1949.[5]

MITI implemented numerous policies that led to heavy industrial growth in Japan. Many scholars have described MITI to have had the greatest impact on the economy of a nation than any other governmental regulation or organisation in the world.

During the post-war economic miracle from the 1960s to the 1990s, Japan experienced huge economic growth – at an average of 10 percent annually in the 1960s, 5 percent in the 1970s, and 4 percent in the 1980s.

Growth in the 1990s slowed down largely due to the asset price bubble in late 1980s, and the crash of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1990-92.[6] This period is termed as the “Lost Decade” in Japan. Modest economic growth continued after 2000, but the economy has fallen into recession three times since 2008.

A specialist on the political economy of Japan, Daniel Okimoto and 9 other scholars analyzing Japan’s economic crisis from 1985 through 2000 have identified six underlying causes:

  • Surplus in Savings[7]:
    Japan has traditionally enjoyed an unusually high savings rate and a comparatively low consumption rate. During the decades of recovery and high-speed growth, this “savings surplus” supplied sorely needed capital to private industry in the form of bank loans.This money was used to build and expand Japan’s industrial infrastructure and to achieve the rank of a world-class manufacturing power.

    However, during the 1990s, the “savings surplus”, once the indispensable fuel for high-speed growth, became a serious, structural impediment, leading to a severe slump in demand and causing a heavy drag on Japan’s economic recovery. Japanese domestic saving consistently exceeds domestic investment.

  • Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Vested Interest Groups[8]:
    LDP support from interest groups representing protected, inefficient sectors of the Japanese economy has contributed to Japan’s economic malaise but has also made it difficult for the Japanese state to implement the reforms necessary to get back on track.

    Focused on staying in power, the LDP has been unwilling to implement far-reaching reforms or tackle the tough issues, such as the ominous overhang of nonperforming loans (NPLs). The LDP’s coalition of interest group supporters, which supplies money and votes, has lobbied hard to sandbag or dilute reform measures. The unprecedented length of Japan’s asset deflation and liquidity trap is largely due to the absence of effective, far-sighted political leadership.

  • Policy Mismanagement[9]:
    The lack of political will and effective leadership are reflected in serious policy mistakes. These include: the consumption tax hike in 1997, which stifled nascent signs of recovery; the unparalleled slowness in disposing of NPLs. While it would be unfair to blame the bubble, asset deflation, and the liquidity trap solely on Japan’s politicians and policymakers, it is accurate to say that policy mismanagement has aggravated the problems and prolonged the processes of recovery.
  • Structural Impediments[10]:
    The complex structure of Japan’s political economy – particularly the close, symbiotic ties between the economic bureaucracies, like the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the corporations under their regulatory jurisdiction, like banks and insurance companies – has also contributed to Japan’s problems.

    The interests of the Banking Bureau of MOF and the banking industry are interdependent. There is little transparency or public accountability. Information is hoarded about the actual scope of bad loans. Old methods of crisis management (specifically, administrative guidance) prevail. These elements help to explain why it took the government so long to deal with the massive hemorrhaging of Japan’s financial system. Although Japan has made progress toward developing a more transparent, rules-based system, the problems of nontransparency and weak accountability have not disappeared.

  • Yen Appreciation[11]:
    Another underlying cause of the bubble, sustained asset deflation, and the liquidity trap is the steep, long-term appreciation of the yen relative to the dollar. For Japan, yen appreciation has been a chronic problem. Exchange-rate factors have limited the effectiveness of certain policy tools that might have cleaned up Japan’s financial mess.

    Caught in a classic liquidity trap, for example, the option of designing monetary policy to hit specific inflation targets would be difficult, in part because a sudden, sharp devaluation of the yen would put enormous pressure on South Korea and Taiwan to devalue their currencies.

  • Global Capital Flows[12]:
    Japan’s rapid growth from 1955-1975 and its steady growth from 1975-1991 can be understood as part of a global expansion of trade. But if postwar Japan has benefited from the globalization of trade, it has profited less from the globalization of capital flows. Neither the public nor private sector has handled the liberalization of capital movements as adroitly as the liberalization of global trade.

    Japan has received surprisingly low returns on its massive dollar assets abroad. Japanese manufacturing industries were better prepared to take advantage of the globalization of trade than Japanese financial institutions were to utilize the opportunities created by the globalization of capital flows.

There is no doubt that the poor macroeconomic conditions have contributed to the deterioration in the condition of the Japanese financial sector. The conventional wisdom, concisely stated in the annual report of the Bank for International Settlements, is this:

“The Japanese situation highlights the powerful two-way links between the real economy and the financial system: the depressed state of the economy is hurting the banking system, and the poor health of the banking system is impeding the economic recovery.”[13]

Japanese banks have had low profitability for more than 10 years.
A comparison with the U.S. banking system helps to quantify the low profitability at the Japanese banks and to focus attention on two chronic problems. One problem is the lack of profitability of their lending operations.

Japanese banks’ interest margin has hovered around 1.2 percent of assets. His roughly analogous figures for U.S. banks (which include both fees associated with the loans and interest revenue) are about three times as high, at about 3.3 to 3.5 percent for the time period from 1990 to 2002.[14]

The second recurring problem is that Japanese banks depend more heavily on revenue from lending. In the accounting year ending in 2003, the catch-all category of “other revenue” (that counts all nonlending revenue) for Japanese banks was 38 percent of the revenue from lending operations, while the U.S. banks earned “other revenue” equal to 73 percent of the lending revenue.[15]

In turn, these profitability problems of Japanese banks reflect other issues: Japan’s banking industry is too large in size; it has a poor record in offering new high-margin financial services; it cannot compete profitably with money-losing government lenders; and many of its customers are insolvent.[16]

Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown emergency have begun not only to destabilise the world’s third-largest economy, but deepen the economic crisis and financial fragility afflicting global capitalism as a whole. Production halts, rising sovereign debt, interruptions to investment flows and soaring energy prices are driving home shocks to Japan’s economy, with unfathomed international implications.

[1] Economy Watch. Japan. June 2013.,

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Japan’s Economic Miracle: Underlying Factors and Strategies for the Growth By Masahiro Takada

[6]Economy Watch. Japan. June 2013.,

[7]Stanford. FSI, APARC., Daniel L. Okimoto., Causes of Japan’s Economic Stagnation., 1999-2004

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

[13] Japan’s Financial Crisis and economic stagnation. Takeo Hoshi. Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 18, Number 1—Winter 2004—Pages 3–26

[14] Japan’s Financial Crisis and economic stagnation. Takeo Hoshi. Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 18, Number 1—Winter 2004—Pages 3–26

[15] Japan’s Financial Crisis and economic stagnation. Takeo Hoshi. Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 18, Number 1—Winter 2004—Pages 3–26

[16]The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2004., Takeo Hoshi, Anil K Kashyap., Japan’s Economic and Financial Crisis: An Overview