Do State Governments Play Any Role in International Politics?
International politics is defined as the exercise of power plays, interactions and struggles between and among nation-states in the world. Three things we must know about the role of sub-national governments in international relations are as follow:
#1. Power is central to any discuss on politics, including international politics. States and subnational governments participate in international relations. In Nigeria for example, states with huge natural resources potentials like crude oil, often play major role in determining the international oil prices in the international markets.
#2. In the era of globalisation, non-state actors and sub-national governments are playing more influential roles than even national governments since the beginning of the 21st century.
#3. States like New York, Tokyo, Ottawa, Lagos are themselves large economies and among the largest in the world. Recently the Edo state government in Nigeria sought the World Bank loan, which only requires only the guarantee of the Federal Government.
There are myths surrounding the roles of sub-national governments in international politics. Some of them include:
#1. International bodies like the UN and the likes only admit sovereign states as its members hence, no room for subnational governments. In fact, the Nigerian Constitution specifically classified international relations under the “Exclusive Legislative List”, which is under the purview of the federal government. The truth of the matter, in the Nigerian first republic, the Western Region was known to have established “liaison offices” abroad just as the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) and African National Congress(ANC) were granted official observer status both in UN and AU for the causes they represent.
#2. AU pushed for a negotiation with the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism in some of its north eastern states. This is true, but the operation would have been largely unsuccessful had the governors of some of the states not been part of the discussion.
#3. European languages and culture is the official means of transacting international negotiations. While we agree with this view, we must not forget the fact that the porous international borders in Nigeria with its neighbours makes the introduction of cultural interactions with bother countries very possible.