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Exploring the Efficacy of International Organizations in Russia's Acquistion of Crimea

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The emergence of international organizations and international norms has undoubtedly changed the way states exercise power in international politics. On the one hand, international organizations may have a large influence over the behavior of states by spreading international norms, such as self-determination, that then help shape foreign policy. They could also be viewed as a form of global governance that ameliorates nationalistic aggression. On the other hand, international organizations could be seen as simply a reflection of the existing balance of power within an anarchic, self-help system; international norms simply a convenient ideological rhetoric for a state to utilize in order to legitimize and justify their national interests. This essay will analyze Russia’s acquisition of Crimea as a specific example to explore the efficacy of the major international organizations involved: the UN, EU and NATO. International norms, specifically the idea of self-determination and territorial integrity, will also be analyzed with regards to whether or not it determines the behavior of major actors – in this case, the states involved in the Crimea crisis – or whether it is utilized by states as a policy tool to further relative gains. It will be argued that, in the example of Crimea, the influence of international organizations cannot be discerned by lumping them all together. While the UN has become obsolete during the crisis, the EU and NATO have emerged as relevant organizations that, at the very least, counterbalance and reprimand the actions of Russia. It will also be argued that the international norm of self-determination does not appear to shape or constrain how the US or Russia act, but is simply used as a tactic of “’internati...


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Keohane, Robert O. “International Institutions: Can Interdependence Work?” International
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Roberts, Adam. “The United Nations and International Security.” International Politics:
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Smale, Alison and Shear, Michael. “Russia is ousted from the Group of 8 by U.S. and
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Sengupta, Somini. “Russia vetoes U.N. resolution on Crimea.” The New York Times
15 March 2015. Web.
Waltz, Kenneth. “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics.” International Politics:
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