Realists are keen as nation states being central to the world arena and the state is the dominant actor in world politics.
Although there’s no world government, there is a grouping that works according to tradition and rules, which is the U.N.
Link between nationalism and the state- very problematic relationship. Nationalism is what makes a lot of nation states initially come together but it also gives rise to conflict, dis-function and difficulties in the WA.
National security- realists love to look at security and see it as most central to world politics.
In 1945- 51 member of the U.N- now there is 193- most recent was south Sudan.
In 1945 UN was dominated by Europe and the Americas (north and south)- then it grew between 1945-2000 to Asia, Africa and Oceana and Europe and the Americas reduced their representation of the UN as their membership percentage fell.
There are more members in central and Eastern Europe as a country split into its component parts e.g Yugoslavia- effect the smallest things (world cup qualifying). This country spawned several new members of the UN in what was a single federal state before.
Somalia is seen a failed state as the authority of its central government doesn’t spread to different parts of the country due to strong differences in ethnicity, different ethnic groups (was true in former Yugoslavia) and there are groups which claim power on religious grounds. There are roughly half a dozen different ethnic groups, which control diff parts of the country. A consequence of colonization and de-colonization, which created artificial boundaries.
Prime candidates for statehood but is not a state- Kurdistan. Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey all have a very high Kurdish population. This is a non-state nation- has a consciousness and identity of its own but doesn’t have a state. The issue here is should there be a Kurdish state? Lots of conflict brought about by this. Examples of this in Europe are Catalonia and the Bask countries.
South Sudan was created due to internal conflict in Sudan. Lots of oil sources in the south. Here is an example where a new country has been created through intervention from the UN but also by other countries to create a peace agreement leading to a division of Sudan. There is still a conflict going on particularly as the oil resources straddle the boundaries between the north and south. Also tribal/ethnic differences. Due to decolonization as Britain owned it before. Sudan exports lots of oil to China. Palestine- another non-state nation. Conflict between Israel and Palestine over who should have control over particular parts of territory has been going since the aftermath of ww1 and even before, due to conflicts in groupings and religious clashes. Palestine gained considerable land. UN proposed a compromise. Series of wars increasing land owned by Israelis- some if is illegal. The dispute is much greater than simply land- it is national identity, culture, and an economic dispute. The conflict intersects with a number of Arab countries experiencing fragmentation conflict.
A lot of what looks like solid states on the world map aren’t so solid after all. They expand and shrink, can be divided by internal/external factors, they can be redrawn.
In western Europe we have soft boundaries- barely noticeable. Harder boundaries in the E.U such as Britain and the rest of E.U as the British gov isn’t part of the so-called Schengen system that eliminated border posts amongst members in the EU. Boundaries can contract, shift, expand and disappears, differ in softness and easier/harder to cross. This is clearly something that is epitomized in its day the berlin wall and Israeli wall. There is no part of the world that isn’t occupied by a state that claims sovereignty. The core in the WA has shifted, could be said the core was north Atlantic but its argued that this period is now passed.
Why is the state so dominant? States claim to