Response to discussion

Each response 250 wordsResponse 1: I noticed two important themes in this weeks’ readings.  First, the lack of consensus for defining international organizations (IOs) (Duffield 2007, Iriye 2004).  This falls in line with my undergraduate Homeland Security studies and the lack of consencus for defining domestic terrorism. How can we really talk about something if we don’t agree on the basics?  Reprocussions are readily visible thorughout “society”.  Second, though not a recurring theme in our literature but to our current state of national politics is, “the international relations literature remains unnecessarily balkanized as adherents of different conceptions talk past one another, when they attempt to communicate at all” (Duffield 2007).  So, scholars do not agree on definitions nor, as is suggested, will they listen to various points of view (ibid).  I’m not sure which is more disconcerting.  I do like Iriye’s (2004) differentiation of the two types of IOs, one formed by states, such and the UN, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  I see them both as gap-fillers (much like the third theme running through our reading…gaps in literature).  NGO’s such as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) (BRAC 2020, CHAI 2019) play such a large, global humanitarian role in health care, sexual violence, access to medical care, ect.  The World Bank (1995) clearly stated their importance when defining NGOs stating, “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development”.  Mondal, Chowdhury and Basu concluded NGOs have faster reponse times due to less bureaucracy (2015).  US disaster response is built on an escalting scale beginning with local response then escalating upward when resources are depleted or overwhelmed (FEMA 2011).  Sometimes communication between agencies is disrupted, procedures unclear or not clearly communicated (Cole and Fellows 2008).  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), synonymous in the western world with relief through pop culture reference in movies (care packages provided to POWs), as well as disaster relief drives, is not an NGO (ICRC n.d).  It functions independently from government based on its mandate and legal status.  I believe NGOs such as the ones previously listed are most crucial international politics for one reason; suffering should have nothing to do with politics.  Whether it is a earthquake in Iran, a Hurricane in Puerto Rico, a cyclone in Bangledash, or famine in multiple African countries (Oxfam 2020), governments have limitations in funding, organization, and training.  Chandra and Acosta note the importance of NGOs in disaster recovery but also note limitations such as lack of coordination with governemnt agencies (2009).  As previously stated, NGOs are gap fillers mean to augment response or fill a critical need not filled by government. 

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