Three 150 word responses in a Forum post. International Relations topic.

Humanities

I need three 150 or more word forum responses. The topic is International Relations. APA format with peer reviewed works cited. I will list below the three posts that need a response.

Post 1

Examining the diplomatic conflict resolution process between states in the international arena quickly leads one to the understanding that there are common practices that lead to a successful negotiative environment. The process of conflict resolution requires many events to happen in a particular order, and while refusing to accomplish some may not derail the entire process it most certainly hinders progress. The first critical aspect in the conflict resolution process is to mediate the issue and ensure that any violence ceases as soon as possible. Upon the conclusion of such a task, which in and of itself is difficult, states need to examine the situation and determine if reparations are appropriate. This next step referred to as ‘Inquiry’ by J.G. Merrills’ book, International Dispute Settlement, describes the process of looking into the events leading up to the conflict and what happened by which actors during the period in question. Merrills examines the idea of conflict inquiry to be both a method of fact-finding and arbitration. (Merrills 2011, 41) As a method of fact-finding inquiry can be the means by which states examine a past issue to understand what lead to the problem, who acted incorrectly, and overall who was a fault. As a method of arbitration in a conflict resolution scenario, inquiry can be conducted by the international community on behalf of the conflicting states to determine who must pay reparations to the other.

Critically important to the idea of inquiry following mediation in an international relations conflict resolution situation is the importance of choosing the correct actors for the job. J.G. Merrills outlines the important considerations one must have before inquiry can be successful by discussing the ‘Dogger Bank’ episode between Britain and Russia.

“The Dogger Bank episode furnishes a striking example of the value of the international inquiry commission as an instrument of dispute settlement. Had the issue been investigated by two national inquiries it is almost certain that as in the Maine case, they would have exacerbated matters by coming to opposite conclusions.” (Merrills 2011, 43)

Given this examination by Merrills one can understand the importance of picking the right international inquiry commission if an issue between two states were to rise to the top. Realism, and even some tenants of liberalism, argues that states will always examine conflictual situations from their perspective and in order to serve their best interests. (Donnelly 2008, 9) If conflicting states were to perform the inquiry actions themselves they would then in turn, as Merrills states, seek to arbitrate the situation from their best interests potentially leading to further conflict. In her journal article entitled, Conflict Resolution as a Field of Inquiry: Practice Informing Theory, Eileen Babbitt outlines why states constantly put their sovereignty ahead of international cooperation and are predisposed to having issues arbitrating an issue without an intermediary.

“Although adjudication, arbitration, and various judicial means have frequently been used to deal with interstate disputes, as well as disputes between private actors that cross international borders, the continued importance that states attach to their sovereignty has meant that the opportunities for judicial recourse tend to be limited. Bargaining and negotiation are thus the default option when disputes arise, and much of the work of CR scholars has centered on understanding these processes of negotiated interaction both when they succeed and fail.” (Babbitt, 2011, 43)

Given these considerations, the idea of the international relations community looking to inquiry as another aspect of conflict resolution policy is not unbelievable, assuming that the states have an intermediary or intermediaries who are tasked with fact-finding and remaining neutral to the issue. Conflict resolution for the future (‘Conflict Transformation’) requires states to be happy with the outcome of any resolution process. If inquiry helps the conflict resolution process and finds common ground where both states feel that they are happy with the outcome then it could prove to be a strong addition back into the international relations conflict resolution tool box.

Post 2:

The Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (1899) was one of the first times in history when International Commissions of Inquiry were formally brought forth as a viable and recommended mechanism of dispute settlement. This was when commissions of inquiry were formally established to resolve disputes “arising from a difference of opinion on points of fact” (Convention Title III, Article 9). Unfortunately, many of the other Hague Conventions were violated during World War I and World War II; thus it appears that commissions of inquiry began to shift to more of a fact-finding mechanism instead of just a dispute settlement mechanism in the mid-20th century.

Toward the end of the 20th century, the United Nations (UN) Inquiry of 15 December 1999 was established in order to look back at the genocide that occurred in the town of Srebrenica in 1995. This inquiry showed a self-introspective step at understanding the failures of the UN in order to prevent such a tragedy in the future (van den Herik 2015, 302). Continuing on into the early 21st century, there have been many commissions of inquiry that were either mandated or requested in order to highlight and find out more information on human rights violations, such as fact-finding campaigns in 2000 surrounding declassification of documents from the 1970s and US links to Condor-style operations in South America (McSherry 2002, 49-51) and in Libya in 2011 (Report on Libya 2011, 4).

Today, inquiry still takes many forms from commissions operating ex ante (before the event occurs) to those who operate after the fact to uncover the facts of an on going or recently completed dispute or human rights violation. Additionally, inquiry has also taken the form of investigation for alerting only and not for use as a dispute mechanism.

Although not in the same context as the original inquiries, I do believe that inquiries are making a comeback, especially in the realm of human rights as evidenced by the continued establishment of commissions of inquiry by the UN and other organizations today. They still tend to hold their goal of fact-finding and publishing, but for use in human rights, they are not primarily focused on resolving disputes, but instead are focused on bringing human rights violations to light amongst international players in a similar vein as the UN Inquiry regarding Srebrenica perhaps in order to encourage sanctions or other forms of international pressures for socialization and positive change (van den Herik 2015, 297, 309). Since there is no over-arching organization or international law that really governs the implementation and use of inquiry as a dispute settlement mechanism, it appears to be less popular and maybe not as efficient as other mechanisms, but they are still viable and useful in today’s globalized structure.

Post 3:

Thank you for your following thoughts on the Russian and by implication, autocratic challenge to inquiry: ” Further, there are other stumbling blocks such as the race of might where, unlike the past when the superpowers often led inquiries and conflict management practices, they are currently taking sides based on their interests in particular situations. As was experienced recently, Russia, for example, has been blocking attempts to launch an investigation and take the necessary measures on the warring sides in Syria (Sanger, 2016). This is due to its conflicting interests with the West and particularly the US. With the ongoing trend and the declining significance of inquiry bodies such as the ICC, however, it is highly unlikely that inquiries’ significance will be restored in conflict resolution. Unless the current policies are reviewed and an establishment of a policy where the international policies will override the local policies, then this will continue to be a challenge amongst the members of the international community.”

What approach would you recommend to both overcome Autocratic resistance to inquiry as well as improve the effectiveness for the inquiry process?

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