Transforming international regimes: what the third world wants and why

TitleTransforming international regimes: what the third world wants and why
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKrasner, SD

By building or altering international institutions, rules, principles, and norms, weaker countries can both ameliorate the vulnerability imposed by their lack of national material-power capabilities and their weak domestic political structures, and increase resources flows.

The emphasis given to fundamental regime change is a manifestation of 4 basic factors:

1. international weakness of all developing countries
2. the domestic weakness of virtually all developing countries
3. the systemic opportunities offered by international institutions which were created by a hegemonic power now in decline
4. the pervasive acceptance of a belief system embodying a dependency orientation.

1. Never have states with such wildly variant national power resource coexisted as formal equals. Very weak states can rarely hope to influence international behavior solely through the utilization of their national power capabilities. For them, regime restructuring is an attractive foreign policy strategy because it offers a level of control over states with much larger resources that could never be accomplished through normal statecraft grounded in dyadic interactions.

2. Vulnerability is high because it is difficult for domestically weak states to adjust to external challenges. International regimes can limit external vacillations or automatically provide resources to compensate for deleterious systemic changes.

3. TW has been able to turn institutions against their creators. Legitimacy can only be effective if the institutions are given independence and autonomy. This autonomy can then be used by weak states to turn the institutions to purposes and principles disdained by the hegemonic power.

4. The belief system associated with theories of dependency has been a critical factor, accounting not only for some of the TW's success, but also for its extraordinary unity on questions associated with regime transformation. The ideological hegemony enjoyed by the US at the conclusion of WWII has totally collapsed, and the alternative world view presented by dependency analyses has forged the South into a unified block on questions related to fundamental regime change.

Two kinds of political behavior:
1. Relational power behavior which accepts existing regimes, and
2. Meta-power behavior which attempts to alter regimes.

These quests have been successful and in general international organizations have been more responsive to the demands of the South. .In this,and other ways, the power of hegemonic states is dissipated by the very structures they have created.