Complex Interdependence in
The World Today
Joseph Nye raises an interesting theory of modern international relations through his concept of complex interdependence. Nye describes interdependence in an analytical sense, as “situations in which actors or events in different parts of a system affect each other.” (Nye 179) Nye continues his definition of interdependence by stating that the results are often varied and although the potential for benefits exist, the potential for tragedy exists as well. Despite this potential for varying results Nye also notes that it is very difficult and very costly for a country to try and cut itself off from the world, such as Myanmar or Albania did.
According to Nye interdependence can be divided into four separate dimensions, which are its sources, benefits, costs, and symmetry. These dimensions can originate in both the physical and social aspects of society.
The idea of economic interdependence is an idea that cannot be disputed as a reality in this modern world. Economic interdependence is a concept that gained great popularity prior to World War I, and then again very slowly after America’s isolationist period post-World War II. According to Nye, “economic interdepende
Therefore, complex interdependence should not be looked as simply a notch in a spectrum, but instead as an evolutionary advancement in society that has grown out and beyond realism. The results of these organizations have led to a much higher degree of economic interdependence, which can be epitomized by the creation of a single monetary unit in 1999 by the European Union. Not all international organizations however, deal with issues of economics, the United Nations, by far the largest international organization, was created in 1945. In Nye"tms explanation of complex interdependence, he is very quick to point out that in and of itself, interdependence is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. Each of these components, are often composed of smaller organizations or committees, and each have a great deal of responsibility associated with them. In the sense that each has the ability to keep a subject or resolution from being adopted, such as the US has with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Sensitivity refers to the amount and rapidity of the effects of interdependence. However, the benefits created by complex interdependence, with economic interdependence as a main aspect has proven more often than not to be beneficial for all parties involved. However, in all reality elements of both realism and complex interdependence exist in our modern world. The United Nations is composed of six major areas; the Trustee Council, Secretariat, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice. Assumptions such as military power and security are not the only goals of individual nations, or that more than just those nations may influence or shape the international arena. This ability of the US, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom at the very least allows those countries to keep the reach of those international laws from interfering with their best interests. Nye gives the example of the effects of the 1973 Oil Crisis on both Japan and America, with Japan showing a much higher degree of vulnerability, since they relied on imported oil for 95 of their supply compared to America"tms 16, as a way to clarify this problem. Economic embargos by countries in control of "power resources" have the distinct ability to oppress and coerce countries in need of those resources. These policy decisions however, are quite often not as simple as just supply and demand, but instead are largely dependent upon the distribution of resources, especially those resources considered to be "power resources".