Introduction Robert Keohane; aneoliberal institutionalist and the author of the book “After Hegemony,” triesto focus on educating all type of audience; political scientists, economists,and even citizens who share common interests in developing an understanding ofthe term international cooperation and the concept behind it, using not Internationalrelations terms, but ordinary language for all type of readers to raise knowledge.
He first defines both terms “cooperation” and”international regimes,” then he focuses on distinguishing between cooperationand common interests because sometimes even if common interests exists, it isnot enough to cooperate; as a result, cooperation tends to fail. Keohaneuses the game theory concept and collective goods theory in order to proof thateven with the absence of common government, it is still possible forcooperation to occur with the help of regimes, in where states will act basedon self-interests rather than playing by the rules. Accordingto Keohane, international regimes are great assets for governments because itgives them the option to enter “mutually beneficial agreements” with otherstates.1 Keohane then goeson to explain “World Political Economy” using Giplin definition to explain howwealth and power are attached to one another.
He explains that both power and wealth arerelated by the actions independent state actor could undertake without the urgeto seek approval from a worldwide higher authoritative power. Todefine wealth, Keohane brings up different theorists and their definition ofwealth, including Giplin’s definition, and then he argues that all thedefinitions tend to exclude an important part that could be essential to definewealth. Therefore, he concludes that the definition ofwealth should be simply as the “means of want satisfaction.” Power on the other hand, as Keohane stated,should be calculated before taking any actions, as to different types of powercould resolve in variety of outcomes.2 There are two state behaviors that Waltzstresses on when it comes to analyzing the state’s behavior, which are calledthe “Inside-out” and the “Outside-in.
” “Inside-out;”also could be referred to as unit-level, studies the behavioral changes of astate from a domestic level. “Outside-in;”also could be referred to as systemic, studies the state’s behavior affect fromthe world system changes. Keohane believes that the most crucial way toexplicate a state’s behavior is the “Outside-in,” due to his belief that statesare shaped by their international environment. Despite the fact that wealth and power have agreat impact on a state’s behavior, Keohane also emphasizes on the importanceof the international regimes recognition.
International regimes are as essentialas wealth and power when analyzing states.3 Wehave established that the goal of Keohane’s book is to help demonstrate howcooperation and regimes are indispensable. He also states that hegemonystability relays on cooperation, and that cooperation relays on regimes,therefore, all of these three states complement one another.4 However, cooperation is not considered to beidentical to hegemony, in contrast, hegemony uses asymmetrical cooperation,while cooperation is considered valuable.
Cooperation with the existence ofregimes can be established without the hegemony presence.5 Cooperation is unnecessary under theconditions of harmony. Keohane makes itclear that cooperation and harmony are not alike; he distinguishes between thetwo by referring to harmony as apolitical (not political) and cooperation as extremelyinvolved with politics. 6 Changes in behavioral patterns areneeded for cooperation. One of thepatterns Keohane covers is the Intergovernmental cooperation; it exists whentwo states governments build a mutual respect to the each other, in which ifone government followed their policy to achieve its own objectives, and theother state understands that, they will then be able to build policycoordination with one another. Discordas well exists, and it is as important as cooperation is, it occurs when onestate pushes other state into changing their policy, which eventually couldresult in conflict.
Cooperation has the tendency of being mixedwith conflicts, but it is important to avoid becoming involved in theseconflicts, as it may results in more harm then good.7 John Ruggie was the person behind theinternational regimes concept; he defined it as “a set of mutual expectations,rules and regulations, plans, organizational energies and financial commitments,which have been accepted by a group of states.” However, recently regime been defined byKrasner as “sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, anddecision-making procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in agiven area of international relations. Principles are beliefs of fact,causation and rectitude.
Norms are standards of behavior defined in terms ofrights and obligations. Rules are specific prescriptions or proscriptions foraction. Decision-making procedures are prevailing practices for making andimplementing collective choice.” Keohane agrees with the definition, however,he believes that norms in the definition is very vague. Therefore, he believes that the definitionof regime should emphasize more on defining the concept of norms, where thefeatures of regime should become more focused on only self-interest.8 Keohanethen goes on to explain why world politics cooperation tends to fail. Some reasoning behind the failures ofcooperation is that the interests of the states are not aligned with oneanother, which could result in conflict. There is a theory that statesthat rationality could be the solution, however, Keohane says that even ifrationality was used to cooperate, there is still this slight chance tofailure.
And some might disagree, butKeohane backs up his argument with agreeing that there might be an individualthat is rational, but not all members in are rational, which will create theissue in cooperating. He also takes therealists side when it comes to expectations about cooperation, he argues thatinstitutionalists sometime have unrealistic expectations when it comes tocooperation, they have high hopes that nothing is going to go wrong, incontrast with realists, they tend to see the worst case scenario, which toKeohane, this is how cooperation should be viewed. He states that realists are rational egoistsactors.9 Keohane states that the Prisoners’ Dilemmais one of the game theories that been used a lot in the world politics, he alsobelieves that using this theory might be the reason of states trusting oneanother. 10 Hethen talks about the use of rational-choice theory, which states that whether agovernment can have the choice to decide about making the right move for thestate in which cooperation agreed upon, so helping a state “voluntary.
” 11 He also states that cooperation is gained bybargaining.12 Conflicts of interest succeed in aself-help system. However, according toRonald Coase, who argues that externalities do not exclude the effectivecoordination among states. Coase theoremspecifies three important conditions that have not yet been used in the realworld. First condition is the legal liability.
Second, the zero transaction costs. Finally, having the information.13 Keohaneconcluded that governments tend to do minute interest calculations with issuesthat they face. He also states thatidealism is not a factor for analysis.
International institutions allow certaintypes of bargains and negotiations that will be resulted in mutually beneficialagreements. Keohane then states that there are also severalintervening factors that could affect international institutions. 14 After Hegemony: Robert Keohane’s Work Implemented In 2018 IfKeohane wrote his book After Hegemony in 2018 instead, I believe his work couldbe even more optimistic.
The reasonbeing it is because many changes (negatively and positively) had occurred inthe global world since 1984. However, hegemonicstates today has been stabilized for the past several years more than it everbeen. As a result, internationalcooperation is growing today tremendously, and not only hegemonic states beencooperating with one another, but also they have built this mutual respect andtrust with one another. Keohanementioned the idea of giving a cooperative state the option of when tointervene and when not “voluntarily.”15 Today with international cooperation,hegemonic states are having the option to whether they should intervene or stayout of it. For instance, using the Japan, China, andPhilippine’s China Sea case as an example. In 1951, Philippines and the UnitedStates signed a mutual defense treaty that states that Philippines will beprotected at all costs, the United States will come to the rescue if under anycircumstances Philippine is being attacked.
Japan has had strains with China in regards to the dispute over theSenkaku Island, which is located in the East China Sea. Furthermore, Japan and China are under thealliance dilemma with the U.S. In 2017,recent issue has occurred between the Philippines and China regarding the SouthChina Sea. China threatened to attackthe Philippines if they do not stop developing their oil and gas resources inthe South China Sea.
However, since the U.S.- Philippines treatyalliance exists, this war is very unlikely to happen.
Moreover, the U.S. decided not to beinvolved in this matter because it could backlash on the U.S., therefore, theU.
S. decided to stay out of it to keep it’s current alliance in tacked.16 Keohane interpretation of how states canbuild cooperation without the need for hegemony has also became accurate. For example, the Gulf region has no stronghegemony state, but the six Gulf countries have created an alliance with oneanother and today it is called the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), whichinvolves Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates. According to Keohane, wealth and power areessential factor of a state, but considering cooperation is also as essentialas both wealth and power. 17 Wealth and power in todays world plays a bigrole, however, a state with both these but no alliance could create many enemiesand be in constant worry from hegemony states. Also in the need of help when itis in danger, no countries are willing to be involved no matter how much poweror wealth this state has. We can take alook at North Korea as an example, it has the nuclear power and it has wealth,but its international cooperation is week.
Now have North Korea decided to go in a war with the U.S., mostdefinitely it would not have many states support and if anything other statesare more likely to align with the U.S. rather than North Korea. From myunderstanding of Keohane’s book in regards to what neoliberal internationalrelations theory is that it illustrates that this school is not only concernedwith cooperation and peace only, but this school really studies all areas, thegood and bad, that could happen with cooperation and the international regimeperspective.
Neoliberal school has thegood mixture between both realism and liberalism. It views the world in a realistic andrational way. It has very realisticexpectation and it does not rely on false hopes. They believe that cooperation isaccomplishable but with careful measurement for each situation. Conclusion Inconclusion, Robert Keohane demonstrated a clear idea of what he was trying toaccomplish. Reading his book “After Hegemony” as a first year student inthe international relations field, Keohane’s use of ordinary language in hisbook has helped me develop a better understanding of what internationalrelations is all about, and how the international regimes have huge impact oninternational relations per say.
Keohane made it clear that even without the existence of hegemony, it isyet still possible to achieve cooperation, that being said, of course it is notgoing to be easy, many obstacles could occur like discords for example whentrying to achieve a middle ground. Moreover, achieving cooperation without hegemony is possible with thehelp of international regimes. International regimes are under looked, and some unfortunately do notbelieve in the regimes factors. Therefore,Keohane illustrates how regimes work in order to achieve cooperation, and onceyou take the initial toward regimes and cooperation, the rest will be easy.