Even bound by rules, such as an

Even though cooperation is a veryrenowned topic, achieving it can prove tricky and very complex in theinternational arena.

It is quite so difficult because this arena has an anarchicalstatus as there is no governing body enforcing cohesion throughout nations. Inorder to help us understand this, we need to know how to clearly define what someof these key terms are. In the context of internationallaw, a state is recognised when a population within a defined territory iscontrolled by a government; such entities are seen as maintaining sovereignty,which is recognised by other states in the international system (Baylis et al.2013: 544). Anarchy is what defines the international system as there is no overallsovereign power. In a realist view, this creates a self-help system as thisenvironment pushes states in the direction of being suspicious of others and thereforethey strive to become self-reliant to safeguard their own safety (Baylis et al.

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2013: 156). Autonomy theory focuses on the rationality of individuals, in thiscases the states in place of individuals, in reference to their capacity tomake moral choices (McKinnon 2015: 325). State autonomy is an ability toformulate and act on independent ideas without consideration for others. Thisis reflected in an international state system which promotes competition asopposed to cooperation.

State systems are devised from regular communicationand engagement between two or more states, but without any implication ofshared values between them (Baylis et al. 3013: 545). A less realist, moreliberal or constructivist view, contrasts this with the idea of aninternational society in which states share common values and perceive themselvesto be bound by rules, such as an agreement not to trade nuclear weapons betweennations (IAEA 1970: 2). Depending on which theory you look at, the way you seethe international arena varies. Throughout this essay, I will be analysingdifferences between these IR theories in order to evaluate which best explainsstate cooperation.

Cooperation is “required in anysituation where parties must act together in order to achieve a mutuallyacceptable outcome” (Baylis et al. 2013: 530) and this can only come intofruition in circumstances with “conflicting and complementary interests” (Axelrodand O. Keohane 1985: 226). States are not harmonious as this would suggeststates were already acting in a natural order.

Nineteenth-century liberalsbelieved a natural order was somewhat corrupted with distortions, such as thebalance of power1, and that there would be no conflict if thesedistortions were not there (Baylis et al. 2013: 534). 


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