With high levels of globalization manifesting in the forms of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO)s and diffusion of power to terrorist groups, the question of whether the state has less of a role in global politics now.
States are less powerful as an actor now that there is an increased number of non-state actors that challenge the power of states. The diffusion of power has led to an increase in power of non-state actors such as the UN, EU, NATO, and terrorist forces. An example of this is the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Back in 2003, the U.S. started the War on Terror against states like Iraq and Afghanistan. This was largely sparked by the 9/11 attacks. Unlike expectations, the U.S. wasn’t able to claim victory for more than 10 years until the Biden administration withdrew all troops present in Afghanistan, leaving Afghanistan to be taken over by the Taliban forces.
This case showcases two things. First, non-state actors can accumulate power when in conflict with another state. The U.S. had an advantage in the sheer amount of power. However, the willingness to use the power of the terrorist forces significantly outweighed that of the U.S., as the Taliban’s utmost goal is to take control of Afghanistan, while the U.S. needs to divert its power to multiple uses. Second, there are more restrictions to the use of power by states. With increased political globalization, the U.S. cannot ignore the voice of prominent IGOs like the UN, as they have to abide by the global guidelines if they want to retain their soft power.
Furthermore, with increased social globalization, citizens within the state have more detailed & faster information on the government’s decision. The interest of citizens is for their tax to be used in a way to benefit them, and because they perceive the Afghanistan war to be wasting their tax money, they choose to oppose it. With the citizens prioritizing their self-interest, the government decided to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan. In summary, the rise of non-state actors’ power disrupts the accumulation of power by states and restricts the use of their power.
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