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International Policy Issue Research Paper

You may have to write a research paper that needs to be about International Policies. The issue should be narrow and simple. In others words, small. Your research may want to look at something in the area of “racial profiling” and how it affects airports and airline travel. How are middle easterners affected. Or, something about international borders, are they secure? If you have other topics, for example only, consider not picking something like "the Middle East peace process". Rather, pick something like, "the candidate wants Jerusalem to remain undivided." Make sure it is a manageable topic.

The introduction must contain three elements:

  1. First, what the problem is; what are we talking about? I need to know the surrounding issue.
  2. Second, what is your answer to the question? In one sentence, answer the question you were asked. (“Most important part of the paper”). Everything else depends on it.
  3. Third, prove that your point is correct. In order of importance, what are the major reasons for believing your thesis to be true?
  4. At the end of your introduction I should be able to stop, and know what the problem is, what your answer to the problem is, and how you are going to prove it.

In the body, I need to argue for why the answer to the question is correct. (The body needs to contain a type of “argumentative essay” that must be argued either for or against). Discuss one point at a time and explain each point thoroughly. The material can be researched, facts you have compiled, personal experience, speculation if you must. I need to prove the answer to be correct.
One point per paragraph! In each paragraph you will have a thesis statement at the outset. What is the point of that paragraph? The point of each paragraph (you may have more than one paragraph per point, although not the other way around) must be clear in how it proves your thesis to be correct.

A good conclusion is a simple matter. Simply sum up how you proved your thesis to be correct.

Example of How to Look at International Policy from A Realist Theory Standpoint

Numerous international relations theories have been introduced since Morgenthau put forth his Politics Among Nations, but none has so completely addressed actors and motivation in the international system.  In order to show that today’s international system fits his model, the classical realist’s main points must be addressed.

The Realist Theory first asserts that political policy originates in the basic rules of human nature.  Policy decisions should be studied as the result of rational analysis of alternatives.  Actors will make decisions most in keeping with the national interest. The Realists’ views of human nature are based on the Hobbesian concept that man’s greatest motivators are fear and greed. 

Second, and perhaps most important, Realism holds that political actors make international relations decisions on the basis of national interest and power.  This national interest is sought through either diplomacy or war.  Morgenthau elaborates:

The concept of the national interest presupposes neither a virtually harmonious, peaceful world, nor the inevitability of war because of the pursuit by all nations of their national interests.  Quite to the contrary, it assumes continuous conflict and threat of war to be minimized through the continuous adjustment of conflicting interest by diplomatic action.  

The first two tenets of Realism are evident in international involvement in humanitarian endeavors. In the last decade, the United States has used humanitarian concern as a reason to intercede in Iraq, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavian states.  The state did not intervene in other crises such as the genocide in Rwanda.  The only explanation for such inconsistency is pursuit of the national interest.  In Iraq, the United States needed to protect petroleum interests and the Middle East status quo.  In Somalia, rights groups demanded attention to mass starvation and violence- public interest had to be weighed.  Finally, in Eastern Europe, the United States seeks to maintain its role as international superpower through diplomacy and peacekeeping missions

The international relations actors’ most basic goal is survival through the protection of “physical, political, and cultural identity against encroachments by other nations.”  According to the tenets of Realism, as long as the world system remains anarchic, or without a common order, this sense of survival will dominate international competition.

International actors are not subject to the moral standards expected of the individual.  Decisions in the international arena are made according to assessment of the world at that moment, not a static moral code.  Instead of determining the morality of policy decisions, the successful international actor will consider how the decision will affect his power position.

Realism does not advocate or accept, however, violations of human rights. Morality affects the national interest through public and international interest.  One of the states’ most valuable tools is legitimacy in the international community, as illegitimate states are often at a disadvantage when it comes to alliances.  Public interest is especially important in the era of widespread democratic movements.  The recent increase in non-government organizations dedicated to reporting and preventing abuses of human rights has added a greater voice to the balancing tools advocated by Realists.

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