We live on a big planet, without a doubt. For the longest time, most people living here only worried about their own well-being without regard to those living farther than their eyes can see. To each his own is a great way to describe it. However, as we became more adept at controlling our surroundings we became bolder and felt more confident to explore farther horizons. It’s no longer surprising that conflict soon arose – a conflict that is very much present until now – when people from different backgrounds start fighting over their respective territories. One defending his own while the other looking to expand his conquest. It has always been that way for the longest time and that still applies until today although maybe a little less barbaric than previous conquests but we still can’t entirely eradicate violence in the picture.
We have already been through a lot for many centuries of trial and error when it comes to international relations. It is a topic that you can’t always seem to get the right formula as wars still exist in various parts of the globe. Our modern technologies weren’t able to save us from our own human nature that perhaps in a way impede our progress. It is never an easy thing to make peace and stay at peace with one another but it is worth trying knowing this is the only way the human species will survive. We have to try at the very least and it is the reason why there are courses on international relations offered in colleges and universities to ensure that the future generations know how to run the world despite our diversity and conflicting backgrounds and opinions.
By appreciating the far-reaching significance of emotions, not only in developing international relations theory, but also in shaping the perceptions, motivations and intentions of political actors, we can approach and understand world politics in a whole new, more holistic light. Far from a hindrance, we see, rather, that emotions tell us things – important things that we could not otherwise have known. Emotions permeate the complex, often overlapping social structures that underpin decision-making and collective actions in world politics. And while often hidden and inaudible, and typically neglected and refuted, when emotions are uncovered and taken seriously, the political insights they provide are invaluable. Recognizing that emotions are social and political – and thus lie beneath all political perceptions – reshapes how we think about the global realm, about society, politics and the formation of policy. Indeed, a turn to emotions provides critical clues as to why international actors, individually and collectively, think what they think, and respond in the ways they do.
The pervasive social roles of emotions in society and politics has far-reaching implications for the study of international relations: they force us to rethink dominant conceptions of world politics in theory and practice. In my next instalment on emotions and international relations for E-IR, I explore this more closely.
What we need to remember is that various political systems are in place yet the bottom line is that people are still behind these offices and positions – people with human emotions whose actions are affected by what they feel. Hence, when you look at nations and its establishment, think of the people running this place. Think of their upbringing, their values, and essentially just what they are like behind the scenes because it can tell a lot about how they also end up running the country. Most leaders are only concerned about their own jurisdiction and has little to no regard for the rights of those outside their territories. This is the major cause of conflicts that is basically just human emotions at work only that of prominent and powerful people whose every decision can make or break a country or even start or end a war.
The majority of the conference is spent doing exactly this: caucusing. During the sessions, delegates interact as if speed-dating, sizing up one another’s stances on issues before forging alliances, breaking into groups and collaborating on resolutions in Google Docs. It’s also open season for veteran delegates to bully the newbies.
Hence the behavior of Mexico, a barrel-chested delegate from Boston’s Suffolk University, regarding an issue that generally doesn’t occupy the attention of actual Mexican diplomatic bigwigs: that resolution mandating QR codes on weapons, which was his creation. Holding forth in one corner of the basketball-court-size room, he pitches the idea to a half dozen dewy-eyed delegates. Colombia, Russia, and Georgia are onboard. But Kazakhstan sounds skeptical: “Why QR codes and not bar codes?”
Mexico cuts him off, then launches into a lecture concerning the two-dimensionality of QR codes and the one-dimensionality of the other. It’s a dazzling display of MUN acumen—gavel-mongering, in MUN lingo—regardless of its factual accuracy, because it serves to bludgeon Kazakhstan into intellectual submission and leaves him unable to rebut, aggravated to the point that he breaks character.
It is indeed a crazy world we live in yet despite that we try so hard to maintain some sort of order and ensure that as many nations are civil to one another even though some only do it for show. Perhaps this is our biggest flaw as a species. We do not just settle for mere surviving but we want to rise above the others at all cost. Yet it can also be our charm. Human emotions can work in both ways (for the good and the bad) when it comes to international relations. It all depends on the person with power. Their own personality and values will dictate the way their government will operate and that could likewise affect relationships with neighboring countries. Perhaps voters should be more prudent in exercising their right to suffrage, so they put in office the best leaders from the lot and lessen the conflict that already consumes the world today.