World Politics

There has never been a universal policy for all countries in the world to follow as each country's political system and economic interests have defined the course of its interaction with other countries and have often led to conflicts of interests. Probably the largest gap between different politics took place after the end of World War II, in the period of the Cold War (1945-1991). The world was divided into capitalist countries - led by the United States - which supported democracy and free trade and communist countries - led by the Soviet Union - which subordinated the individual to the community and concentrated all governing power in the hands of the Communist party. The nations outside of these two groups were known as Third World countries. This has changed its meaning and has been used to identify developing countries, those with low levels of material well-being.

After the end of the Cold War there had been a policy of international cooperation and opposition to potential threats for crimes against humanity. Numerous international organizations have been established in order to enhance this protection. One of the most powerful and influential international organizations is the United Nations (U.N.), which encompasses an array of agencies, organizations, treaties and conventions. It does not only deal with politics but also works in the field of peace and security, economy, human rights, international law and equality and concentrates on Third World Countries. The U.N. recognizes the sovereignty of each nation but believes that humanity is one and the world should be considered as one, too. The various U.N. agencies have been working to promote this unity and to bridge the gaps between the most developed and the developing countries in every possible aspect.

The U.N.'s priorities are defined in its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals are due to be completed by 2015 and include eradicating poverty and hunger, while targeting halving the number of people who suffer from starvation between 1990 and 2015; providing universal education, with an ambition to ensure that every child in the world will be able to complete primary education; promoting gender equality by leveling off gender ratio in all educational systems, up to universities; improving child and maternal health, aiming at reducing child mortality by two-third and maternal mortality by three-quarters; fighting HIV/AIDS and other diseases, aimed at stopping the spread and reversing the numbers of infections; promoting sustainable development by reducing biodiversity loss and granting universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation and participating in a global partnership with a focus on the needs of the least developed countries.

Various economic topics have also been a subject to international cooperation on various levels. One of these is G7, a forum of seven of the most advanced countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, taking place several times per year, which became G8 after Russia was invited to join in 1998. Another organization of this type but on a much larger scale is G20 - a meeting of financial ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries, including the G8, the European Union as a whole, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, China, Japan, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Two more groups also regularly meet to discuss economic issues but they feature representatives of mostly developing countries: G11 and G77. The former includes Jordan, Croatia, Ecuador, Georgia, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay and Sri Lanka and aims at easing the debt burden. The latter is a coalition of developing countries which aims at promoting collective interests. Despite the name, the coalition consists of 131 countries, mostly from Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

Globalization has had a significant impact on world politics and economy. Despite the contrasting views on globalization and the anti-globalist claims that it may bring more harm than good, most notably for democracy, it seems to have become the predominant policy, especially in terms of the economy. Globalization is not simply international relations aided by modern technology and market forces but rather a whole world view defined by capital and establishment of a global system to support its interests. The financial crisis at the end of the first decade of the 21st century undermined the belief in the value of global economy but national and international support of globalization remains very strong.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

After International Relations: Critical Realism and the (Re)Construction of World Politics
Heikki Patomäki.
Routledge, 2002
Global Order: Values and Power in International Politics
Lynn H. Miller.
Westview Press, 1998 (4th edition)
A Global Ethic for Global Politics and Economics
Hans Küng.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Moral Spaces: Rethinking Ethics and World Politics
David Campbell; Michael J. Shapiro.
University of Minnesota Press, 1999
Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention: World Politics and the Dilemmas of Help
Thomas G. Weiss; Cindy Collins.
Westview Press, 1996
Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics
Andrew Hurrell; Ngaire Woods.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Power in World Politics
Richard J. Stoll; Michael D. Ward.
Lynne Rienner Publications, 1989
Dangerous Peace: New Rivalry in World Politics
Alpo M. Rusi.
Westview Press, 1997
International Politics since World War II: A Short History
Charles L. Robertson.
M.E. Sharpe, 1997
Women in World Politics: An Introduction
Francine D'Amico; Peter R. Beckman.
Bergin & Garvey, 1995
The Ethnic Entanglement: Conflict and Intervention in World Politics
John F. Stack Jr.; Lui Hebron.
Praeger, 1999
Ethnic Conflict in World Politics
Ted Robert Gurr; Barbara Harff.
Westview Press, 1994
Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy? Great-Power Realism, Democratic Peace, and Democratic Internationalism
Alan Gilbert.
Princeton University Press, 1999
Global Warming and Global Politics
Matthew Paterson.
Routledge, 1996
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