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International convention/norm and international law - Politcal Concepts Part 4

During competition over the post of the leading state in the past, there did not appear political actions linked to any international law; because there was no such law. Rather, since early history competition was through military actions represented by wars, invasion, and biting some frontier territories. This situation continued till mid 18th century, where the international law expanded, or rather existed as a law and legislation. Since that time, political actions started to assume an important part in international relations, and in the settlement of international problems. Thus, political actions started to replace military actions concerning settlement of problems, containing the domination of the leading state and competition over its position. Since that time, arbitration to international law regarding international relations increased; besides the use of political actions as a means for solving international problems, either alone or together with wars and invasions, increased as well. This approach has consolidated obviously after 1919, where World League was established. Thus, more arbitration was made to international league, and international diplomatic norm. International actions generally undertaken by the sates and those competing with the leading state, besides those particularly undertaken by the leading state depended on what is called international diplomatic norm and international law. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the international diplomatic norm and international law so as to understand the reality of political actions and the way of undertaking political actions from an international aspect.

As regards international diplomatic norm it is old, where it existed together with the emergence of emirates and (political) entities. It is the host of rules that emerged due to the relations that existed between the human groups at time of war and peace. Due to observation of these rules for a long time by these groups, they became international diplomatic norms. This host of rules became firmly established between these states later on, and the states started to consider themselves voluntarily bound by these diplomatic norms; and then became like a law. This commitment is ethical rather than physical, where the human groups used to commit themselves to this diplomatic norm voluntarily, and in fear of public opinion. Whoever failed to follow it will be exposed to anger of public opinion and would be disgraced because of that. As an example for this subject, ie international diplomatic norms, is the agreement of Arabs before Islam on preventing fight during sacred months. Therefore, Quraysh reproached the Messenger (saw) when the expedition of Abdullah ibn Jahsh killed Amru ibn al-Hadhrami, arrested two men from Quraysh and took the trade caravan. It shouted every where that Muhammad and his companions had infringed the sanctity of the sacred month, shed blood and seized property in it, and arrested people. So, it incited the public opinion against him, because he violated the international diplomatic norms.

Thus, there were between all human groups some mutually acknowledged rules, where they follow at time of war and peace. Some of these rules are the delegates, which are known as ambassadors, war spoils, and the like. However, some of these norms are general, which are followed by all human groups, like ambassadors, ie delegates/messengers. Some others are specific to certain groups. This norm developed based on the needs of the states, emirates and (political) entities, ie in accordance with the needs of the human groups for their mutual relations as groups. People used to arbitrate to the public opinion concerning these international norms, and they would reproach whoever violated them. So, they were observed voluntarily and willingly based on the ethical influence only, without having a physical force to apply them. Dependent on these norms, human groups used to undertake political actions.

With regards to the international law, it has emerged and existed against the Islamic state when it was represented in Ottoman state. This is because the Ottoman state, as an Islamic state, invaded Europe and declared jihad against the Christians in Europe. It started to conquer their lands, one after the other. So, it took over what is called Greece, Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria, to the point it knocked the gates of Vienna. It scared all the Christians in Europe; so a general norm existed amongst the Christians that Islamic army is invincible, and when Muslims fight they do not give regard to death, because they believe they will enter Jannah once killed, and because they believe in fate (qadar) and life-term (ajal). The Christians have seen of the bravery and severe assault of Muslims that made them run away from them. This helped Muslims to sweep over lands and subjugate them to the authority of Islam. Christians at that time consisted of emirates and feudal estates; so they were fragmented states, where each state was fragmented into emirates, each of them is governed by a feudalist who shares authority with the king. This made the king unable to force these emirates to fight, and nor he has right of speaking on their behalf with the conquerors concerning issues of foreign affairs. This helped Muslims to fight and conquer lands. This situation of the European states continued till medieval ages, ie till the end of 16th century. In that century, ie in the medieval ages, the European states started to gather for forming one family/community that can confront the Islamic state. The church used to dominate these states and Christian religion used to combine them; so the church started some attempts for forming a Christian community out of this group of states. They started to determine relations between them, which led to the emergence of accepted rules for organising the relations amongst them. This was the first emergence of what was called later on international law. Therefore, the basis of the emergence of international law was the fact that the European Christian states gathered on the basis of Christian bond to confront the Islamic state. This led to the emergence of what is called international Christian community. It agreed on rules amongst it, which include equality of member states concerning rights, these states hold the same common principles and ideals, and all of these states submit to the Catholic pope regarding the highest spiritual authority, including all of its schools. These rules were the nucleus of the international law. However, gathering of these Christian states did no work at the beginning, because the rules they agreed upon were unable to combine them. The reason was that the feudalist system was an obstacle before the strength of the state and before its ability to conduct foreign relations. Besides; the domination of the church over the states made them of the subordinates of the church, and deprived them of their sovereignty and independence. Therefore, there was struggle in the state for controlling the feudalists, which ended with the success of the state and removal of feudalist system. At the same time there was struggle between the state and church that led to the removal of the authority of the church over the domestic and foreign affairs of the state, after the church used to control them. However, the state continued to be Christian, but it organised its relation with the church in a form that emphasises the independence of the state. This led to the emergence of strong states in Europe; however they were unable to confront the Islamic state. This situation continued till mid 17th century, ie till 1648. In that year, the European Christian states held the conference of Westvalia, where the permanent rules for regulating the relations between the European Christian states were laid down, and the community of Christian states was organised to face the Islamic state. The conference laid down the conventional rules of the so called international law, though it was not general international law. It was rather international law for the European Christian states only, which prevented the Islamic state to join the international community; besides the term of international law does not apply to it. Since that date, what is called international community emerged, and it consisted of all European Christian states, without distinction between the monarchist and republic states, or the Catholic and Protestant ones. It was first confined to the states of West Europe; then the rest of European Christian states joined it, followed by the non-European Christian states. However, it remained proscribed to the Islamic state until the second half of 19th century. At that time, the Islamic state became weak, and was called the sick man. So, the Ottoman state requested entry to the international community, but its request was rejected. Then it made a more earnest request of that; so harsh conditions were imposed on it, which included want of arbitration to Islam concerning its international relations, and inserting some Europeans laws. Ottoman state accepted these conditions and surrendered to them. Thus, after its acceptance of giving up its character as an Islamic state in international relations, its application was accepted, and it was included in the international community in 1856. After that, other non Christian states, like Japan joined the community. Therefore, Westvalia conference, which was held in 1648, is the one that organised the conventional rules of the international law. Based on its rules, political actions existed distinctly, together with the collective international actions.

The most important amongst these rules were two dangerous ideas: The first is the idea of international balance, while the second is the idea of international summits. With regards to the idea of international balance, it decides that if a state tried to expand on the account of other states, then all other states would come together to prevent its expansion, in defence of international balance, which is capable of preventing war and spreading peace. With regards to the idea of international summits, a summit consists of the different European states, and it convenes to study its problems and matters in the light of European interests. This idea has developed into the summits of superpowers, which meet to review the matters of the world in the light of the interests of the superpowers. These two ideas were the source of what the world suffers of difficulties, which it faces in the course of removing the authority of the colonial powers and superpowers.

The first time these two ideas were used was at time of Napoleon, at beginnings of 19th century. When the French revolution took place, and spread the ideas that are built on freedom and equality, and recognition of the rights of individuals and peoples, it managed to change the political map of Europe, build new states and destroy old ones. Thus, the European states gathered together under the pretext of balance, and rallied against France. After defeating Napoleon, these states gathered in Vienna summit in 1815 and discussed restoring of balance, and organising the affairs of the International Christian community. Thus, monarchism was restored in Brussia and Austria; and Sweden and Norway were united in a federation; besides Belgium was annexed to Holland, making one state that prevents French expansion; and Switzerland was made permanently neutral. In order to execute the resolutions of this summit, the states participating in it concluded alliance between them, which is the alliance of kings of Brussia, Russia and Austria, with the agreement of King of England; and France joined it after that. It thus represents an alliance of the superpowers to dominate over the other states. In 1818, treaty of X-Lachable was held between Russia, England, Brussia. Austria and France, where these states agreed on military intervention for suppressing any rebellion that threatens the results concluded in Vienna summit. Thus, the five superpowers appointed themselves as an organisation for protecting security and order in the international community, ie in the Christian community. Then these states expanded their authority to include some Islamic countries after the weakness of the Ottoman state. They made some interventions under the pretext of safeguarding peace. So, they intervened in Naples in 1821, in Spain in 1827, in Portugal in 1826, and in Egypt in 1840. These states tried in intervene in America; so they tried to help Spain in restoring its colonies in America. However, USA, after becoming strong and feared, prevented that. So, the president of USA, James Monroe, issued his famous statement, known as Monroe statement, in 1823, where he said in it: “USA will not allow any European state to interfere in the issues of the America continent, and nor occupy any part of it”. Thus, these states ceased from intervention.

This is the origin of the international law; and this is what gave justifications of intervention; and allowed the superpowers to control other states; besides this is the basis of the political actions, which the states undertake to execute their interests or to compete with the leading state. However, these rules went under some change; but it was a change in favour of the superpowers, for regulating their ambitions; or in other words, for dividing the benefits of the world amongst them in a way that does not lead to wars and military conflict. Nineteenth century was the century of colonialism; so the states rushed in the world for colonizing the weak countries. This resulted in conflict that did not develop to become Great War. However, England, France and Russia realised that Germany, with its huge power, started to threaten them. They saw it would take the oil of the Islamic countries in Iraq, besides threaten England over the oil of Iran and Arab Peninsular. So, these three sates agreed together against Germany, and declared war on it. Ottoman state entered the war on the side of Germany and against the allies; but victory was for the allies. However Russia withdrew from the alliance, leaving England, France and America. America returned back to its isolation; so the field was left to England and France. These two states established the League of Nations in order to regulate colonialism between them, and prevent military conflict. This was through organising the affairs of the states and preventing war between them. However, league of Nations; besides it was established in a strange atmosphere of contradiction, it stumbled, because the policy of the superpowers did not change. The concern of each one of them in the peace conference was to achieve balance between the various states, safeguard its interests, and divide the territories of Germany and Ottoman state. The colonial states did not accept any interference in their sovereignty, they maintained their colonies and added to them new form of colonies under a deceptive name called ‘states under mandate’. This caused the stumbling of the League of Nations in its attempt for making international conciliation and maintaining security. It tried to conclude international treaties for securing peace, ie for guaranteeing absence of conflict over the colonies. Protocol of Geneva was laid down in 1924 under the sponsorship of the League, so as to settle disputes through peaceful means, and to impose resort to compulsory arbitration. Locarno agreements were laid sown in 1925 for mutual security and common aids. Covenant of Brian Kellogg was put in 1928, which prohibited resort to war; and Geneva Convention in 1928 that relates to compulsory arbitration. However, all of such agreements were unable to prevent the failure of the League of Nations in its task, for many wars broke out under its eyes. These included the Chinese-Japanese war in 1933, Italian-Abyssinian war in 1936, invasion of Germany to Austria in 1938, to Czechoslovakia in 1938 and to Poland in 1939, and finally the break out of World War II in 1939.

This is the change that occurred to the international relations. So, they changed from summits to an international organisation that assumes the maintenance of international security. However, this development did not bring any change, for the states continued in struggle over the spoils till World War II broke out. After that war the superpowers viewed the build up of an international organisation was the best way for organising the relations between them. They make it at the beginning made of the states that were involved in the war; but they expanded it after that to become a global organisation, where all the states of the world were allowed to join it. Thus, the international relations between the states were regulated in accordance with the convention of this organisation. Accordingly, the international relations have changed from a summit of the superpowers for controlling the world, dividing the spoils and preventing the emergence of other superpowers, to become an international organisation for regulating the relations between the states and guaranty of the control of the superpowers, which changed after that to become as a global state that regulates and controls the states of the world.

International situation after Vienna conference in 1815 was represented in the four superpowers: Brussia, Russia, Austria and England. Then France tried to move these states away from their situation, and it changed the map of the world together with the international situation, thus becoming the leading state. Superpowers and other states rallied against it, foiled its ambitions, but associated it with them in controlling the world. The international situation became then represented in these five superpowers. Then England started to surpass others gradually till it became the leading state. When Germany tried to compete with the leading state and win the oil of the Islamic countries, England agreed with France and Russia against it, fought it, foiled its ambitions and unilaterally colonized most parts of the world. Thus, England took the lion’s share, pleasing France with the crumbs and giving it some colonies. So, the international situation became represented in England, France, together with Italy. However, England remained the leading state. The League of Nations then emerged, which was actually established to safeguard the position of the leading state, and prevent other states from competing with it, besides preventing any state from becoming a superpower. This is despite it was established under the pretext of safeguarding world peace. When Germany tried again to compete with the leading state, and it became a superpower, England agreed first with France, and then with Russia and America as well, where they waged World War II against it till they destroyed it.

However, the outcome of the war this time was against England, for it came out smashed at the end of war. The victorious state was America; therefore international force shifted from England’s hand to America’s hand. Thus, America became the leading state; and the international situation became represented in America as the leading state and SU as the competing one; while England and France became second degree states, ie secondary states in the international situation.

However, after World War II, a new factor occurred on the international situation, which is the division of the world internationally into two camps. This aggravated the severity of international conflict, and complicated the international situation. This situation did not exist before in such form. Yes, indeed the international situation before World War I was made of blocks, but these were not camps. Before World War II, it was divided into front of democracies and front of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship. However, its division was not based on ideology, because neither Nazism and nor Fascism was an ideology or reach the level of an ideology. Therefore, there were no camps before World War II in ideological sense. After World War II, the world was divided internationally into two camps, which are the western camp and the eastern camp. America was considered the leading state in the western camp, while Russia (SU) was the leading state in the eastern camp. Though the two camps struggled over ideological basis, and over their conflicted interests, they emerged on international basis. This is because ideology was not the only centre of their division into two camps; rather there were also international interests. However, these international interests were in accordance to the communist ideology in the eastern camp, and based on the requirements of its propagation. While in the western camp, they were in accordance to the propagation of the ideology, in pursuance of the national interests. This was on the basis of the capitalist ideology, which considers benefit as criterion for all actions in life. Therefore, there are states in the western camp that are not based on its ideology; however their interests are linked with its interests. This did not exist in the eastern camp. So, all of the states of the eastern camp were communist, because the ideology was their foundation. While the western camp was loose; so it was possible to create cracks in the western camp, and to move out some of its states to the eastern camp. It was also possible to create another camp from the western camp, which is different from the two camps, and which can stand as one unity that has its influence on the international situation, at time of peace and war.

Whoever examined the western camp would find internal division because America holds the position of the leading state. This is after Britain held that position and America was in isolation of the international situation. This division is apparent and hidden, and it was the reason for delaying breakout of a world war. This leading state did not behave in international politics as a leader of the camp as Britain did when it was the leading state. She rather behaved like a general of a military camp, where she imposed this leadership over the soldiers by force. Therefore, the states of the camp that were closer in terms of power to the leading state, like Britain as an example, were more resentful and disobedient than the weak states. This is related to the policy of America, herself; for after her victory in World War II, she insisted on wresting sovereignty from all the states, and imposing her sovereignty over the world. She was also seized with arrogance because of her feeling of her power and huge wealth. She viewed that she must dominate over the entire world, and all nations and peoples have to ask for her help and seek her pleasure. Therefore, she invaded Europe with political actions and financial projects, and then with military coups in its colonies; particularly England, which was the leading state and had more colonies, followed by France and Holland. Instead of attacking the colonies, she attacked the colonial states themselves by using the plan of Marshal, and giving aid and loans. When she controlled them, she turned to the colonies and started to annex them gradually to her dominion, so as to seize all the colonies, but with a style different to that she used in attacking other European states.

Thus, dispute took root amongst the states of the western camp. However, this dispute is not new; it is rather old, where it started in the western camp before World War II; but it was not a dispute inside one camp. It was rather an economic dispute between two states, and then changed into a political one inside one camp. The reason of this dispute is the economic problems, particularly the problem of oil. This is because the treaties related to it were between Britain and America. Britain’s need to America’s support led to dispute between these two states, and consequently between the states of the western camp. The explanation of this is that after the situation settled down to Britain after World War I, France was competing with it. This competition was apparent; so Britain worked to weaken France through strengthening Germany at one side, and encouraging national and patriotic movements in the colonies on other side. Thus, it created troubles to France, and kept it busy in defending itself of the danger of Germany.

However, Italy emerged in the international situation, besides Germany emerged also as a power that threatens the position of Britain and France together. Thus, Rome-Berlin emerged, so Britain found it must bring America out of its isolation. Therefore, it tempted it through the oil of the Middle East, which led to the treaties of oil. However, once America started exploration for oil, its companies realised the great value of the Middle East, not only for economic profit, rather for the American entity itself. Therefore, the American companies started to wrest the oil fields and oil concessions from the English companies and started to excel them, which created competition between the English and American companies. Once the American (oil) companies went out and entered the Middle East, America went out of its isolation. Then World War II broke out, so America moved to the position of the leading state in terms of colonialism, while England, France and Holland retreated. Since Holland was weak, it finished as a considerable state. As regarding Britain, it lost some of its influence in the Middle East, some of its influence in the area of Mediterranean Sea and some of its influence in some small states. This led to its further international decline, where America continued to chase it for finishing its influence all over the world. As regarding France, it weakened after it lost its colonies in the Far East and Africa. Despite De Ghoul tried to revive it and restore its international influence, he could not bring it back to its previous position on international arena, though it is still considered of the superpowers.

This shows that the division of the Western Camp and its fragmentation after World War II and during the cold war have weakened all of its states except America. America managed through the liquidation of these states by wresting their colonies and via its own force and influence, remained the leading state, besides its influence strengthened. Britain however continued for some time to do some political manoeuvres and partial military activities for influencing the situation of its ally, America and for shifting it from the leading state position. But later on it became content in attempting to protect its interests without influencing the position of its ally, America. It took this approach after it discovered its weakness and the great retreat of its power, particularly in confronting a superpower of such huge military and economic capabilities like America. Therefore, the Western Camp, as one block, became fragmented and disputing within itself, where all of its states quarrel and compete with each other over interests; beside they plot against each other.

As regarding the Eastern Camp, it was built on the ideological basis only until the beginning of the sixties of last century. Russia (SU) used to lead it intellectually and militarily. It assumed in it the role of the teacher and guardian on one side, and the role of the guard and leader on the other side. Therefore, there was no any state that competes with Russia (SU) over the intellectual and military leadership; there was no even any state that dared to object to the Soviet policy; and if any objection happened it was suppressed by military force if necessary. The internal policy of the Eastern Camp was built since the time of Stalin on the basis of strengthening the apparatus of the state, besides the preparation of the military fighting forces for both defence and offence at the same time. As regarding its foreign policy, it was built on the basis of inconceivability of peaceful coexistence between capitalism and socialism. Therefore, the Eastern Camp viewed the necessity of taking capitalism as a political opponent, because in reality it is an intellectual opponent. When World War II took place, Russia (SU), cooperated with England, France and America in the war, and worked side by side for some time. However, this was an exceptional case that vanished once the war ended; and the cold war came back again between Russia (SU) and the western states, besides maintaining the political contact between them. This political contact was inside the United Nations, international summits, diplomatic courtesies and diplomatic representation. This did not mean change in the basic communist policy; it was rather one of the miscellaneous political styles. As regards the communist policy towards the Western Camp, it was fundamentally based on the idea upon which the SU is built. It is namely that which the communist ideology states; that capitalism and communism are impossible to live side by side peacefully. Rather, one of them must finally defeat the other. All communist literature mentions the impossibility of averting dispute between the two ideologies; an opinion which was viewed by both of Lenin and Stalin, without any difference between them; besides all communists agreed on this view. It was not possible to allow any communist politician, whether a ruler or otherwise, to proceed in a policy of peaceful coexistence between capitalism and communism; because he would be considered deviant from the communist thought in foreign policy.

This is the reality of the two camps from an ideological, political and international aspect. However, since 1961 a change had occurred to the two camps from an international angle that led to a change in their real situation and a change in the international situation. Since the mid of the fifties of last century, ie in 1956, some motions and agitations started in both camps, which increased till it led to the complete fragmentation of the two camps. The two camps thus became two states: USA and SU, where these two states gave no any regard to the other states of their camps.

As regarding the communist camp, the communist state was built on a non-national basis, rather on an ideological basis. This meant it was built as a communist state all over the world and for the entire world. This basis dictated two issues: Firstly, it must remain internally in a state of readiness for war and serious preparation of economical and military forces for spreading communism. This dictates continuous political and economical pressure on the people. Therefore, the communist state remained as an unpleasant nightmare to the Russian people; and this people remained economically deprived of the luxuries, and even of the necessities. All of this was for the sake of spreading the communism in the world. As for the second issue, which the communist state was obliged of was taking an ingrained state of hostility towards all the western states as imperial capitalist states, and kindling permanent cold war with them, besides being ready for indulging in real war with them at any time. This matter put the two camps in open hostility, and in a situation that might drag them into real war at any time. However, the compound evils of communism did not enable its proponents to proceed with its theories till the end. Therefore, in the last fifties of last century a new school of thought (in communism) assumed power, and started to give a new interpretation to it favourable to the interests of Russia, and it was more close to national rather than communist interpretation. So, in terms of the internal policy, they created some relaxation to the people from political aspect. As from economical aspect they reduced the pressure on the people and started to gradually allow consumption goods. In terms of foreign policy, they started to approach America and establish stronger relations with it; besides quick contacts between Russia and America started for preventing war between them. These contacts developed till they covered all the international issues of potential dispute between them. When these contacts became ripe, the important meeting between Khrushchev and Kennedy took place in Vienna in 1961. They agreed in this meeting to all international issues. Thus, Russia (SU) gave up an important idea from an international aspect, which is the permanent hostility between communism and capitalism; and adopted instead the idea of peaceful coexistence, in its capitalist sense.

As regards the capitalist camp, America realised that England is working against it and attempts to compete with it over the spoils. It also discovered that the state of cold war between the Eastern Camp and the Western Camp exhausts its power, because it is neither a state of war, where it turns its attention from economic development to military preparations, and nor it is a state of peace, where it turns its attention from economic development to military preparations. It is rather a state between peace and war, and it exhausts a great portion of the wealth of the state for the sake of military preparations for an imagined matter, ie for a war, which is not known whether it will happen or not. Besides, she noticed that it is England that provokes this cold war, intending to keep America in a situation that depletes her wealth and resources leading to her weakness gradually, where imbalance of power will then take place. America realised also that her interest lies in rapprochement with Russia (the communist) against Britain (the capitalist). Since the evils of capitalism are compound also, and because benefit is in the top of the priorities of the capitalists, where there is no fixed value in their view, rather they rush after material interests. Therefore, she also started to close the gap of differences between her and Russia (SU), and started attempting to enter into negotiations with it since the second half of the fifties of last century, ie since the time of Eisenhower and before the coming of Kennedy. Once Kennedy came to power he took the initiative by taking the step towards rapprochement between America and Russia. Just one year and a half after assuming authority his meeting with Khrushchev took place in Vienna in June 1961. In that meeting they reached a comprehensive agreement over the international issues that they might have different views towards them. Thus, America gave up also an important thought, which she embraced for about half a century, which is the elimination of communism and its removal from the whole world. She started rapprochement with SU over the so called peaceful coexistence, which she maintained for more than two decades. However, when Reagan came to power in the eighties he revived again the thought of working to eliminate the SU.

Thus, the interests of the two leaders of the two camps conformed so as they both stay influential internationally and they prevent others from emergence. It seems they have agreed to the policy of the containment of China, expelling Britain from its colonies and removing its influence from the Middle East and the Far East, besides preventing Germany from returning to become a nuclear power. They also agreed to peaceful coexistence between them, or what they called concord. They also agreed to not resorting to military power for solving their problems, besides dividing the world between them, defining their regions of influence and the necessity of helping each other, each in its region of influence. In other words, they were allied to form one global power, thus the whole world situation and the international situation have changed as a result to these agreements.

As regards the international situation, the world ceased to be two camps facing each other, where they competed politically and economically, and the relations between them faced numerous problems, as they were before 1961. Rather the world became two camps intellectually, where the communist thought at that period remained represented in the communist states, while on the other side, the capitalist thought remained represented in the capitalist states. It was not possible to make conciliation between the two thoughts; so the world, from this angle, was undoubtedly two camps. From an international angle, the entire world became one power represented in America and Russia; and these two superpowers controlled exclusively the entire world, where America held the position of the leading state.

Therefore, the two Eastern and Western camps disappeared, and so there were no more camps in the world. The international situation had went through a radical change, and returned to its form before World War I. This means it returned to become individual states, where each one of them struggled to obtain spoils and weaken other states, and the friction became between states, rather than between camps. The difference between the accord situation after the summit of Vienna and the situation before World War I is that the new international situation was governed by two superpowers, while the remaining states attempted to defend themselves against the designs of the two states, besides they tried to form a powerful block that can stand in the face of the two states. This is different to the situation before World War I, where the great powers were close to each other in terms of their power, though the leading state was the strongest amongst them. This closeness in power changed to disturbing the balance of power and acute dispute over the spoils, which led to World War II.

However, in the period of accord (détente), the power of the two states together was many times more than the power of any of the states of the world, even more than the force of all the other states. Therefore, there was no global war as known before; there was even no possibility for the accumulation of other states to create a friction that might lead to a world war. This also applies to the international situation at the time of détente and at the time before World War I. Before World War II, the world was formed of separate states, though it took the form of fronts. However, at the beginning, the states were close in power, and then imbalance in power happened, where Germany became stronger, as well as Italy and Japan, while England and France did not. America was in her isolation; so this imbalance in power led Italy, Germany and Japan, each alone, to seize territories through war. Succession of such individual wars led to strong friction that led to World War II. This is different to the détente situation, where the international situation was represented in the two superpowers and their accord. Such situation does not allow an international dispute that leads to a global war. It rather allows dispute between some of the states with the two superpowers, or between the states themselves. Though a local war might develop from such dispute, the force of the two superpowers is capable to put off such war once they wanted.

The détente policy that started between USA and SU in compliance with the 1961 pact did not mean the end of struggle between communism and capitalism. However, it has its own reasons and justifications, where both sides were exhausted by the cold war and preparation for an unknown event that might or might not occur. Therefore, they turned to détente policy and to dividing the world between them, so as to turn their attention to settling their domestic issues. By the end of Vietnam War, the détente started to lose its importance, where France was driven out of its colonies and it returned to Europe so as to strengthen itself with it. Likewise, Britain felt of its weakness, and so started to seek strength by Europe so as to deliver as much as it can. SU, on the other side became a huge strategic military force and it achieved superiority in the field of invading space; besides it managed to extend its influence to areas far from its vital domain, so it became an influential world power.

Attack against the détente policy started from most of the political groups, including the conservatives and liberals. USA started to evade observance of this policy because SU built under the shade of this policy a huge mass destruction force that created worry to USA and posed danger to her. The time of absolute security of USA came to an end and it turned to become based on reciprocal deterrence, ie on linking the destiny of one of them on the destiny of the other. One of the side effects of this détente policy is that European states started to split from USA, and started to follow a policy towards SU independent of USA. This led Kissinger to call 1973 as the year of Europe. It is because by 1973, when the agreement of Paris regarding the situation in Vietnam was signed, USA and SU had driven France from most of its colonies, and they forced Britain to dismantle most of its military bases worldwide, and drove it from many of its colonies, besides the containment of China. Thus, dente has lost its justifications. No doubt, America came out of the détente as a huge military force bigger than before. She also won a considerable political influence due to removing Britain, France and Holland out of their colonies and replacing them. This means détente gave fruits to USA. However, this did not mean it did not have disadvantages; but these were not comparable to its advantages to USA. In 1973, détente however lost its justifications; so America started to look to the disadvantages that resulted from it. She put in her priorities the following: restricting SU from extending its influence to regions far from its vital domain, frustrating the SU economically and returning Europe back to the American umbrella.

As regarding the extension of the influence of SU outside its vital domain, this was fragile due to the weakness of the Soviet economy. Despite this was easy to uproot it at any time, it gave SU the right to participate in the international issues; a matter that was not accepted by USA, which viewed the détente policy a means to contain the SU, rather than making it a rival to USA. Therefore, she considered it necessary to remove it from its regions of influence outside its vital domain.

As regarding frustrating the SU economically, USA viewed armament competition with SU would exhaust its economy and drive it into collapse. It started that at the end of the seventies, at time of Carter, but strengthened and became the most prominent element that distinguished the policy of Reagan administration; for he was the one that kindled armament race. He executed the programs designed by Carter that contained mainly the mobile MX missiles; but added to that the initiative of strategic defence, or what called star wars. This strategy dictates starting a technology for generating a preventive shield against the enemy missiles. This made the SU believe that its nuclear arsenal would be then of no value once a nuclear war broke out. Since this meant disturbing the balance of forces and encouragement for America to wage a nuclear war. This motivated the SU to attempt developing its defensive systems, because, according to the available data, there was no possibility for competition in offensive weapons. Therefore, competition changed from developing offensive weapons systems to defensive ones. Though, the defensive strategy adopted by Reagan, or star wars, had achieved some progress at the beginning, but it did not reach a degree that can be described as a technology capable of building these shield missiles. It has been proved scientifically that it is almost impossible to produce lezer canons capable to direct lezer rays dense enough to destroy the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) before they enter the atmospheric zone. However, Reagan announced adoption of this defensive initiative despite it did not reach enough progressive stage of development. Thus, he confused the SU and withdrew it to a new arms race, which its original weak economy was unable to afford. This is besides the strategy of star wars disagreed with the agreement signed by USA and SU in 1972 related to missiles anti missiles. However, Reagan insisted his initiative did not violate the agreement, a matter that escalated the situation with the SU. It can be said that by doing so, Reagan had put an end to the last aspects of détente policy.

These activities of Reagan withdrew the SU into new arms race; though this was for developing defence rather than offence systems. This race aimed at frustrating the SU economically, and driving it to remain within its vital domain agreed upon in the agreement of 1961, in Vienna or even driving it to collapse.

As for Europe, which used the détente period to escape the hegemony of the USA, the American politicians started their actions to bring it back under the American umbrella, after it was at the point of leaving this umbrella since 1973, the year that was called by Kissinger as the year of Europe. At that time the European states started to reiterate that their interests are different to those of America; and they started to distance themselves from entering any war on the side of USA in defence of American interests only. So, America started installing medium range missiles of Pershing-2 and Cruz in Europe under the justification that SU installed its medium range missiles in Europe and refused to remove them. Thus, the USA linked the security of USA with the security of European states, under the pretext of defending them, leading to linking their destiny with the destiny of USA in a way Europe cannot break away from it.

When Reagan won a second term in administration in 1985, Gorbascheve became the leader of the SU. Once he assumed authority SU started to give continuous concessions to USA; and thus SU started to stagger in its way to collapse. Therefore, Reagan was right when he was asked after leaving the White House about his most important achievements, that he answered saying: “they say I won the cold war”.

Thus, a radical change had occurred to the international situation at the time of Reagan’s departure to the White House. The détente policy finished completely, and the SU started to stagger after it was withdrawn into arm race and exhausted economically; this is besides the support of the Soviet dissidents and opposition groups. An international media campaign was waged in attack to the Soviet ideology, which meant USA ceased to have any regard to the détente. She rather waged a political, economic and ideological attack against the SU that led to the retreat of its influence or to its attempt to having influence in the world outside its vital domain. This also led to its economic collapse internally, besides the emergence of opposition movements inside the SU, the Eastern camp and the world against the Soviet policy. This continued till the SU collapsed at the beginning of the nineties of last century, and USA became the leading state without having any competing state close to its position, as it was the case before.

In summary, the situation through which the states of the world changed was that the old world was dominated by: the Ottoman state, Brussia, Russia, Austria, England and France. These were the states that controlled the world affairs, posed threat to peace and decided war. USA emerged after that, which restricted these states into the old world and distanced them from America. Austria fell later on from the level of great power leaving five world states, which were Russia, Germany, England, France and the Ottoman state. The Ottoman state fell down after that leaving four world states controlling the world which were Russia, Germany, France and England. Russia went into isolation after World War I, and after the emergence of communism in it, and assuming the authority in it by the communist party. Germany fell down due to its defeat in World War I. Thus, the great powers became only two, which were England and France. England became to control the entire world excluding America, while France was breathing heavily behind England. At the beginning of the fourth decade, ie in 1933, the Nazi party took power in Germany, and started working to elevate the situation of Germany till it became a great power. Little before that, Mussolini took power in Italy and worked to raise the situation of Italy, so it became a great power. Besides, Japan began to emerge and its influence expanded after it became one of the industrial states and thus it was considered of the great powers. The state of the SU strengthened and became to have an international presence, and thus returned as a great power. The world great powers became then six, which were SU, Germany, England, France, Italy and Japan, while America remained in her isolation. After World War II, Germany, Italy, and Japan were defeated and their situation declined. Besides, America got out of her isolation and rushed to participate in running the affairs of the world, and maintained the situation of England and France as two great powers. Thus, great powers became four, which were SU, England, France and USA. After the agreement signed by USA and SU in 1961, each of England and France fell from the situation of being a great power, leaving SU and USA as the only two super powers in the world. Through their agreement, they became as one force, and the world became one superpower made of two states. So, there were no super powers that control the world other than them until the SU collapsed.

When Gorbascheve became the leader of the SU in 1985, the same time Reagan won a second presidential term, the SU started to give continuous concessions to USA; and thus SU started to stagger in its way to collapse. Therefore, Reagan was right when he was asked after leaving the White House about his most important achievements, so he answered saying: “they say I won the cold war”. This led to the control of the international position by the leading state; and the SU fell from being a super power. After that, the fragmentation of the SU started, and Russia inherited the union’s military and wealth resources. However, it started to suffer of political bankruptcy and loss of ideological identity; this is besides its domestic economic and political problems inherited from communism, which led to the retreat of its political influence on the world politics.

Thus, USA became the only superpower in the world, ie the leading state that can steer the trend of world politics without any competition over this post. Though the European trio (France, Britain and Germany) has tried and is still trying to indulge in competition with USA, as it happened during the occupation of Iraq in 2003, and as it happened also in their meetings in the same year regarding forming a European force independent from NATO force, as well as their discussion of the American plan for Middle East, which was presented in the G8 summit in June 2004. However, these are only attempts that do not reach the level of the known competition over the post of the leading state. These can be considered as attempts to participate with USA in having some influence on the international politics.

This is the situation at this moment. It is necessary to understand that it was only the great powers, particularly the leading state that controlled that world throughout history. The great powers can also decline and be replaced by other states, which would lead to change of international stance. This change of the international situation is the thing that changes the structure of relations between the great states, and creates the disparity of force and weakness between the situation of the leading state and the situation of the remaining states that compete with it. Then the situation of the leading state would weaken as it happened with England when it was competed with Germany (after World War I). Or it might strengthen as it happened with America when she destroyed the influence of England and France, leaving the international influence confined to her and Russia after Vienna meeting in 1961. It might also become the leading state, but without any competition over this post as it happened after the collapse of the SU. So, it is very necessary to understand these issues exactly and progressively so as to understand international politics.


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