International Relations Aspects - Essay Sample

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Wesleyan University
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Question 1: In what ways is a non-state actor different from a nation-state? Please be specific and give examples of each to support your argument.

Non-state actors refer to entities or organizations that engage in the international matters through territorial possession, social justice, and global commerce. The number of offensive and hostile non-state actors have recently increased in the Middle East and also some parts of the African continent who are posing a significant challenge in the management of the state as well as the relationship between states. Such non-state actors of today include terrorist groups which have amassed a significant amount of resources through public cohesion and corruption. Non-state actors pose a considerable threat to states by causing regional insecurity which seeks to destabilize the nation states. Non-state actors have engaged nation states in asymmetric warfare which continue to pose a significant challenge to the development and coexistence of nation states. Non-state actors are dynamic in nature and very unpredictable which has made it futile to face those using the conventional military.

The emergence of many and diverse violent and defiant non-state actors has changed the global politics and also the previous premise of the power of nation-states which continue to be haunted and challenged by non-state actors which seek to establish new world order. The emergence of radical ideologies is the primary tool being used by non-state actors to mobilize resources and support from the people who protect them from regular agencies of the nation states such as the police and the military. The emergence of the non-state actors such as the Alshabaab in the central African nation of Somalia and the ISIS in the Middle East has significantly destabilized the areas where they occur.

There is the need for a new approach and international community cooperation to deal with the emerging violent non-state actors which are radicalizing the youths to orchestrate violence against government installations and the people who support nation-states. Today, the non-state actors exist in almost every state in which some are dormant whereas others are active and very violent leading to the deaths of thousands in the Middle East. The high resource endowment of the non-states actors has made it significantly difficult for the nation states to deal with them due to their ability to mobilize numbers and resources that even the nations states do not have.

Non-state actors are organizations which have sufficient power to influence international relations based decisions. They are non-governmental organizations such as religious groups and NGO's who do not work by States' authorities and guidelines. On the other hand, the nation-state is a political entity in which homogeneous people or citizens belonging to same ethnic group inhabit the sovereign state. Nation-states do not have any mandate or sovereign power to influence international relations issues since it is guided by state-based organs which are primarily focused on serving the people of that particular country. This aspect is opposed to non-state actors since their responsibilities are broad and are not constrained by territorial limitations because they are focused on enhancing peaceful co-existence in the globe.

Non-State actors facilitate in opinion building in international affairs which is a broader scope based on enhancing cohesion and peaceful co-existence in the global context. For instance: Non-State actors played a central role via opinion building in curbing war in Iraq which had lasted for long. Nation State is not mandated to undertake such responsibilities since it has limited power invested in State organs such as the military. Nation State government has a limited and territorial-based jurisdiction which does not allow it to engage in international relations affairs. This aspect demonstrates that non-state actors have a broader influence in international level which cannot be compared to the responsibilities which nation-state is able or is mandated to undertake. The variation between the two important players in the global context is based on the jurisdiction powers manifested in their scope of responsibilities.

Non-State actors play a central role in both national and international, the establishment of goals. There are immense challenges which are commonly shared in the global context such as the war on terrorism and environmental issues such as global warming. These issues are indirectly initiated by poor national and international policies are highly influenced by governments with the aim of boosting economic growth and development. Non- State actors intervention is critical in settling such global issues since they are the threat to human and wild animals existence. These actors intervene by initiating the establishment of commonly shared goals and objectives which are of goodwill to all players in international context. The Nation-States, on the other hand, is confined in nationally based responsibilities since they can influence the establishment of goals which are meant to benefit citizens in their territorial jurisdiction. The Nation states via their government organs, there are focused on initiating developments which benefit the ethnic group which resides in their sovereign bounders.

Safety of citizens is a human right which is under the watch of Nation States since it works to ensure the wellbeing of all people in their territory. This perspective clearly demonstrates that the difference between Non state actors and nation-sate is manifested in the scope of responsibilities and power to exercise some duties. National responsibilities are confined to nation states as international actors. On the other hand, non-state actors have a broader scope to exercise its responsibilities and powers since it plays an indispensable role in both national and international context in the establishment of goals which are for the well-being of all global players.

Implementation of appropriate and suitable programs which facilitate economic, social and political stability requires a reliable source of funds. Non-State actors source their funds from member states and donations from good wishers while the Nation States accumulates finances via taxation. International affairs require interventions which are among the primary objectives why non-state actors are established. The funding program which these international players require cannot be raised via taxation since they have no mandate to govern or exercise some State based powers such as the Nation States can as per their scope of responsibilities.

Question 2: Why has the Intelligence Community had to adapt with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of more and more non-traditional threats to our national security? Please discuss the differences between how the Intelligence Community addressed traditional threats and how we have to approach the problem today with the addition of the non-traditional threat problem set. Are there any similarities?

Differences in handling traditional and non-traditional threats

Intelligence community such as CIA is central players in the enhancement of national security. National security is not a negotiable aspect since it characterized by the protection of people's life, economic, political and social development. The intelligence community in this context refers to a specialized security organ which undertakes standardized investigations on matters of national security. The evolvement of this entity is magnificently based on the cold war because this period marks the transformation of threats which interfere with national security.

The intelligence community addressed traditional threats by using military resources and responsibilities scope. Traditional threats were not dangerous as the non- traditional ones are since they include; physical actions such as civil war and military wars. The intelligence community deeply depended on the special military techniques to sabotage entities which are the threat to the national security. Physical research activities were the primary technique which, the Intelligence community depended in addressing traditional threats. These research activities include spying which enabled the organization to access information about any organization perceived to be a threat to the national security. The emergence of non-traditional threats such as cyber-crime and terrorism, the applicability of spying technique is impossible. The non-traditional threats are sophisticated and they require more advanced intelligence based techniques. The intelligence can address modernized and advanced telecommunication devices such as satellites. The satellites enable the intelligence community to access secret information about countries which are the threat to the national security. This telecommunication technique has facilitated in preventing some non-traditional threats such as terrorism.

Intelligence community highly depended on military conquest in its process of gathering evidence on traditional threats. This technique enables the entity to access highly protected information which it could not access via any other means. The intelligence community is facing a lot of challenges in addressing non-traditional threats since it is bound to adhere to both national and international laws strictly. The military conquest technique is a threat to international relations, so it is not applicable in settling non-traditional threats. The entity collaborates with international organizations such as United Nations to structure a legal process of accessing information about any country which is a threat to the national security. This technique is highly effective in addressing state terrorism which is initiated by the government. The intelligence community can access reliable information about this non-traditional threat via the help of the international organization.

Similarities in handling traditional and non-traditional threats

State and non-state actors are central players in the improvement of national security since it enables the intelligence community to access secretive information on various threats to the national security. Intelligence community collaborates with this players to curb both traditional and non-traditional threats. This technique enables the entity to address some untraceable threats which dangerous effects on the country's economic stability.


Bush, George W. The national security strategy of the United States of America. Executive Office Of The President Washington DC, 2002.

Handel, Michael I. War, strategy, and intelligence. Routledge, 2012.

Kruck, Andreas, and Andrea Schneiker, eds. Researching Non-state Actors in International Security: Theory and Practice. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

Richelson, Jeffrey T. The US intelligence community. Hachette UK, 2015.

Schroeder, Heike, and Heather Lovell. "The role of non-nation-state actors and side events in the international climate negotiations." Climate Policy 12, no. 1 (2012): 23-37.

Viotti, Paul R., Mark V. Kauppi, and Stephen G. Brooks. International relations theory. Boston: Longman, 2012.

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