History of Cultural Relations Policy
Transformation in International Relations
International cultural relations in the 20th century have went through changes which were influenced by the effects of the First World War (attempts for minority protection) the aftermath of the post-war political thought from 1945 (integration tendencies), the oil crises in the 1970s (greater role of transnational companies), the collapse of the bipolar system in 1991 (non-governmental groups access to armed forces) and finally by the emerging cultural policies in the last decades. Explanation of current trends in international relations requires deeper analysis for historical background of present world order.
Relations among nations in a contemporary sense were determined by balance of power for a long period of time. This concept had shaped the interactions between great powers and relatively weak countries in the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. Balance of power effected stability between competing forces in international system. Political, military power and economic strength of these units were similar and no super power could be found in the system. In this case at least five states played major role. Infrequently there was a balancing state which aim was to preserve the equilibrium between other states. Due to its consciously formed foreign policy, balancing state did not make constant alliances. The United Kingdom had this role in European interstate relations until the end of Second World War.
After 1945, as a new world order was formed, the role of the balancing state was converted to a mediator organization in a loose bipolar system. This system contained two blocs of states besides numerous non-aligned countries and also several generalist interstate organizations which included all the socialist and capitalist countries. Political division of the world had both sociological and ideological aspects. United Nations and its Security Council was the main forum for mediating in the case of clashing political blocs. The other source for securing international order in this system was nuclear deterrence. By developing arms of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction some states became able to protect themselves against existential threat by the single fact that they had the capability to use nuclear force. This system had its stability because of the effects of the deterrence of the state-developed nuclear weapons. Regional wars and proxy wars served often as a place for clashing interests supported by super powers.
As the collapse of the Soviet Union the relations among nation states had slightly changed. By the vanishing of the great power, the new countries on its remains became unprotected, sovereign and needed in the same time. Two aspects of transforms were visible after the end of bipolar system in 1991. Regional integrations (such as European Union, African Union, NAFTA, etc.) became more powerful. These organizations are structured either on supranational or intergovernmental decision-making institutional order, or combination of both. Nowadays these integrations act as independent international entities. The other aspect of changing trends in international relations is interdependence. Diverse sources of raw material and best utilization of labor force is specific in developing countries, while industries and high markets are situated in developed countries. This division of resources, processing and consumption enables to regard cooperating states as interdependent.
In the age of the penetration of global economic or political thinking and solutions and under the aegis of integrated states as the engine of sustainable development, globalization provided new opportunities for international actors. These opportunities related to inter connectivity and emerging role of global and transnational economic companies versus politics and more simple form of turning into independent actor in the global relations. After the oil crises of the 1970s, traditional roles of nation states have weakened. This environment enabled newly emerging powers and non-governmental groups to step on the stage of world politics. From this time we can observe a competition between governments and transnational companies to gain power and influence.
Two major indicators helped for the above mentioned entities to become more relevant participants of transforming international order: economy and armed forces.
On economic aspect most important non-governmental organizations are the international pressure groups of different interests and transnational companies besides powerful nation states. While states are forced into regional cooperative organizations and transnational companies have more power, although there are distinct newly emerging states with considerable political power as well. Such countries previously owned great amount of raw materials and labor force – without having stable governmental background. Today these states have the capacity and ready to become dominant regional powers and constitute new pillars of a world system based on multi-polarity.
On the military aspect, terrorist groups and the threat of rogue states become more apparent besides national and legal international arms. War against terror and actions against threatening states became the main source of conflicts at the same time as national boundaries are weakening and military operations become regardless of location. In this system, stability is based on the balance of money and control of transnational companies, as more groups have access to sources of weapons.
Besides military power great powers use their soft power to gain influence. In post-bipolar international relations vaporous national boundaries and interdependence facilitated international ethnic and cultural cooperation. Former colonies and new countries seek to establish closer ties with their diaspora after the dissolution of empires. In order to strengthen political bonds initiatives for new dialogue are needed. In the first decade of the 21st century kin-state policies and legal forms of pan movements contributed to changing way of thinking in foreign relations. As cultural relations policy became relevant, international community is more involved in minority protection and dialogue among cultures.
History of cultural relations policy
The history of cultural relations policy is constructed by both the historical events which influenced the development of interstate relations and by the international legal instruments (historical treaties and documents) which facilitated cross-border relations of sub-national regions.