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Understanding International Relations Through Level of Analysis Essay

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Level of analysis discloses three different ways of understanding international relations. The System-level analysis considers "top-down" approach to study world politics (Rourke, 2007, p. 91). It emphasises that international actors, countries, operate in a global social-political-economic-geographic environment and the explicit characteristics of the system outlines the mode of interaction among the actors. The State-level analysis stresses the national states and their domestic practices such as national interests, interest groups, government, and domestic economy as the key determinants of the state of world affairs (Mingst, 2008). The Individual-level of analysis examines human actors on the global stage. It focuses on the human nature, which defines the primary human characteristics that influence decisions; organizational behaviour that describes human interaction within organized settings, e.g. decision-making group; and personal behaviour that investigates the effect of the uniqueness of individual decision makers on foreign policy (Rourke, 2007, p. 65).
The System-level of analysis shows that the Iraq Crisis (2003–present) is not a domestic conflict as it involved international actors like UN, IAEA and countries like USA. In 1991, after the second Gulf War, UN enforced the destruction of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) on Iraq. The UN condemnation of Iraq was crucial to preserve its authenticity. The UNMOVIC and IAEA had been responsible to check Iraq's acquiescence with its responsibility to eradicate WMDs (UN Chronicle, 1991). Iraq’s non-cooperation with inspection agencies by obstructing the inspection from 1997 to 2002 resulted in massive international pressure and strengthening USA’s doubts on Iraq. The apprehe...


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...most distressed by outcome of a war, could exercise only inadequate control on the issue of armed action against Iraq. Most of the regional actors discarded the U.S. policy towards Iraq with varying intensity as they feared insecurity after Iraq’s disintegration (Reuters, 2003) whereas; Jordan decided not to endanger its rewarding ties with Washington. Another key actor at this level is the Baathi party in Iraq which was based on tribal division, domestic oppression and economic enticement. Under Baathi regime military, bureaucracy and security services was divided into several competing institutions which reinforced Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq. In the post war Iraq, the USA in collaboration with the Iraq National Congress and the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution started to make Iraq a democracy that is similar to the American political culture and values.



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