discussion forum 67

From the discussion post below please help me answer the following questions.


  1. To what extent, do those criticisms of international arrangements reflect sovereign states’ domestic social movements and changes?
  2. Is a state’s critical attitude toward international institutions and treaties reflecting certain elements in its political culture?

Many nations have been faced with challenges of having landmines which end up destroying property and making life miserable for others in times of conflicts. Landmines expose people to dangers that could have long-term effects in their lives (Daniels, 2006). According to the U.S. Department of State (1998), landmines are a key policy problem, as they cause many injuries and deaths in regional conflicts, hinder post conflict reconstruction, seriously undermine infrastructure, and deny land for civilian use thereby leading to the overuse of existing land”. Some of the countries that have implemented strict laws on landmines include Belgium and others have followed the trend since landmines have a lot of dangers once they explode at the wrong time and they may kill innocent people (Kaufmann & Pape, 1999).

The Ottawa Treaty is highly commended by scholars, diplomats and NGO representatives and considered to be an innovative model for future developments of international law (Rutherford 2000, 75). International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations which was formed in 1992 with the goal of ridding the world of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. The coalition began with six NGOs and has grown to become a network in over one hundred countries (ICBL, 2016). According to Global Policy Forum, there are now over 1,300 international NGOs working as part of the coalition (Global Policy Forum, 2018). The first step of the NGOs was to place the issue of a land mine ban on the political agenda which increased media and public attention. The next step was to articulate and codify the issue into international law. This was done by altering the way in which governments perceived the legality of land mines. By drawing media and public attention to the issue, the NGOs were successful in changing to debate from a political issue to a humanitarian issue. This was apparently the first time that the majority of the nations of the world agreed to ban a weapon which has been in military use by almost every country in the world (Rutherford, 2000)

The efforts of NGOs to ban anti-personnel landmines resulted in the mobilization of countries and governments while also forming a global partnership. The anti-personnel landmines treaty was a major accomplishment at the end of the twentieth century in banning a weapon that had been used in most of the world’s armed forces (Rutherford 2000, 74). One of the complications this treaty faced is the idea of banning anti-personnel landmines wasn’t agreed upon by every state. Belgium took the lead in 1995 and was being recognized as a state to become the first to pass the domestic law for banning landmines (Rutherford 2000, 74). Two years later Belgium followed in 1997 and shortly after 122 states signed the treaty banning AP landmines (Rutherford 2000, 75). The Ottawa treaty was known as the fastest growing international agreement in history with a total of 138 states joining (Rutherford 2000, 75). The Ottawa Treaty banning the use of AP landmines serves as an example of a successful process presented by NGOs to serve an international political agenda even through implications it was met with. AP landmines resulted in deaths during conflicts, damage to infrastructure and creating an environmental hazard by making an area of land uninhabitable until cleared of all AP landmines. The implementation of the Ottawa treaty helped alleviate human suffering and some of the other security issues they presented. In 1997 The Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Jody Williams the coordinator of ICBL for the efforts formed to promote diplomacy worldwide (Rutherford 2000, 75).

The abolition of slavery was a successful, huge, costly, and time consuming initiative. Unfortunately, although this initiative served the global community, the burden was carried by Great Britain alone. According to Kaufmann and Pape, “it was the most expensive international moral effort in modem world history” (Kaufmann and Pape, 1999). Although it took approximately sixty years to accomplishment, certain elements had to be present to accomplish the mission. The main element in any campaign is communication. Great Britain was a dominating force on the seas, in the slave trade, and in sugar production, so we must as why they engaged in this international moral action. An international moral action is one that advances a moral principal, and is not tied to a selfish interest (Kaufmann and Pape, 1999, p. 633).

The Atlantic Slave Trade was considered as the most successful and expensive moral effort in international history. The result was a total ban in slave trade and a new norm to be followed throughout the world. Britain’s anti-slave campaign went against its own interest and instead pursued an advanced moral principle. The decision Britain made at the time resulted in repercussions which were loss of life, wealth, injury of material interests of its citizens and putting its national security at jeopardy. It has also been a constant debate among scholars to recognize whether U.S. interventions, such as coming to the aid of Kosovo falls under the same category as an international moral issue along with the Atlantic Slave Trade (Pape and Kaufmann 1999, 633).

The Climate conference in Doha to discuss efforts in addressing the issue of the devastating effects of global climate change fell short in its objective. The conference meeting was aimed at limiting greenhouse-gas emissions but lacked in agreements to assist developing states cope with this issue (The Economist 2012). The UN has presented two tracks which were the Kyoto protocol and a mechanism created to combat climate change. Japan, Canada and Russia are some of the states signing the Kyoto protocol international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (The Economist 2012). The meeting in Doha can’t be considered a success but more a way to promote awareness of climate change and the consequences it has on the whole world. One issue presented in Doha during the climate conference was the “loss and damage” effect caused by climate change but this was vetoed by influential member states and instead focused on recognized the suffering, costs of mitigation as topics of discussion (The Economist 2012).

The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Ottawa Treaty are examples of some of the achievements accomplished through the use of transnational social movements. The global climate treaty and the Kyoto protocol in particular cannot be considered as a failure or success but rather a work in progress with some positive results but not to the extent of the Ottawa Treaty or the Atlantic Slave Trade’s level. There is much room for improvement and lack of funding for a costly project such as the global climate change treaty mentioned in the Doha article. Not all developing states can afford to sign the treaty at the moment or would it be in their self-interests as it would create new issues since they would need to actually enforce new greenhouse gas emission regulations and meet those requirements annually.


Daniels, D. J. (2006). A review of GPR for landmine detection. Sensing and Imaging: An international journal, 7(3), 90-123.

Kaufman, Chaim D., and Robert A. Pape. 1999. “Explaining Costly International Moral Action: Britain’s Sixty-year Campaign Against the Atlantic Slave Trade.” International Organization 53.4:631-668. Accessed December 16, 2019. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor…

Rutherford, Ken. 2000. “The Evolving Arms Control Agenda: Implications of the Role of NGOs in Banning Antipersonnel Landmines.” World Politics 53.1:74-114. Accessed December 16, 2019. http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor…

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs, 1998 Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, September 1998, pp. 8-9, 11.

http://www.economist.com/news/international/215683… [Accessed December 16, 2019]


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