Guide to Module Two:
In the first module, we learned that after World War II, international political and economic institutions
were established to facilitate international peace, cooperation, and prosperity. In this module, we had an
introduction to the international state system that was operating behind those developments. First, we
learned what nations and states are, and their relationship. Then, we examined some of the reasons why
states cooperate, as well as challenges (like globalization) to their sovereignty. We also explored what it
means to be a strong, weak, or failed state, and had an introduction to some of the ways political
scientists assess (e.g. matrixes and indices) “stateness.”
The European Union is a powerful example of the increasing interdependence we talked about in
module one, and in this module we learned about some of the ways in which the European Union has the
makings of a supranational government. What are the most basic institutions that comprise the European
Union and how can they be compared to federalism in the US? We also had a chance to consider the
European Union from historical, political, and economic perspectives. What did France and Germany
gain? And what do other states gain by cooperating? We had an introduction to how economists analyze
the benefits of cooperation by looking at customs unions and optimal currency areas.
In this module, we were exposed to many examples of the way in which the international state system is
not sufficient to ensure increasing peace, cooperation, and prosperity in the world today. When states, in
particular, become weak or fail, they have tremendous power to harm. The next three modules will pick
up this theme and explore it from three different perspectives: human rights and human security; earth
systems; and human development.
Learning goals for this module
The International State System
Not all nations have states. What is a nation is and how is it different from the state? What are some
difficulties associated with not all nations having a state?
(e.g = Iraq/Yeman/any state in UN.)
• Have internal autonomy with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force
• Legally equal, with an external autonomy
• States respect one another’s territorial integrity and have boundaries.
(Kurds in N. Iraq/Turkey, Igbos in Nigeria)
• socio-cultural entity, a union of people sharing who can identify culturally and
: e.g. history, culture, identity, religion, language, traditions, ethnicity, etc.
• doesn’t necessarily consider formal political unions.
2) What are some challenges to state sovereignty?
• Main point: sovereign state system helps to solve some issues in world politics, while