International Relations


This assignment is a take-home essay consisting of 3 questions (1, 2a, and 2b). The answers should fill about 2 pages. The objective is to test knowledge and assimilation of the course objectives. Please exclusively use the course materials to support each answer; you will not find the answers on Google or websites. To answer these questions use your own words; do not use quotations.

In Chapter 3 of our reading International Relations: A Very Short Introduction, Wilkinson discusses intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and the United Nations in particular. He writes:

Thus, while it is true that the UN Charter gives the world organization stronger powers   it has failed time and again when confronting major threats to peace and security. However, when I say the UN has failed I am really criticizing the member states, for it is they who decide (or fail to decide) what, if anything, the UN should do.

It is therefore a mistake to judge the UN as an autonomous actor in the international system: it is in essence an intergovernmental forum constantly constrained by basic inter-state disagreements and disputes both in the Security Council and the General Assembly
(2007, 70).

What does Wilkinson mean by this statement? Be sure to read the full chapter so youre not missing context. After you explain this statement in your own words, weigh in on the matter. Does the UN have more power than its member states, or is the UN just a shell in which the member states have all the power? Who should be blamed for failures? Can you think of an example or event that illustrates Wilkinsons point or your position?

In your own words, what is a multinational corporation (MNC)? What are some examples of MNCs that you interacted with today?

The short article by Cragg, Arnold, and Muchlinski (2012) discusses human rights and businesses (meaning MNCs). What steps have been taken, according to the article, to determine whether MNCs have human rights responsibilities?

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