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The end of the Cold War marked a new stage in the history of international relations, characterized by the rebuilding of many concepts that had existed since the feet of mankind and giving them priority in political discourses because of their direct connection to international phenomena. Among the huge amount of these concepts, we find the “crisis term,” which is one of the most common terms. In our current era, which can be described as the era of crises, today’s crises have touched all aspects of life and have become present at all levels and levels, whether at the individual level when the individual confronts psychological and social crises in his daily life, or at the national level when governments and institutions face political and economic crises, as well as at the level The emergence of what is known today as international crises with transnational extensions and is the subject of study in this article.
The concept of international crisis:
The origin of the word crisis goes back to ancient times, where the word crisis is derived from the Greek word krino, which means decisive or important decision, and from the Greek word kip vew, meaning to decide, and came in the Chinese language combining two meanings included in the word wit-ji, the word (wit) means danger. And the word (ji) means the opportunity that we can take advantage of to ward off danger.
This is in language. In practice, the first thing mentioned was the term crisis in Greek medicine, where it was expressed or indicated the fateful moments of the development of the disease, and thus depends on the patient’s recovery or death. With the development of the ages, the term was taken in circulation by many scholars and included various fields and opened the way for a multiplicity of opinions and studies about it, which put the researcher in front of the problem of finding a comprehensive definition of it. Charles McCleland expressed this by saying: “It is difficult and impossible to put a comprehensive definition of the crisis because of The huge number of studies that have been published about its meaning, which included all its angles.
From a political point of view, the crisis is: “a situation or problem that takes on the dimensions of the political system and requires finding a decision to confront the challenge it represents.”
As for the economic aspect, the crisis indicates: “a disruption in the path of economic growth, even a decline in production.”
And it came in the social sciences in the sense of chaos, it refers to the chaos that people, governments and countries suffer from, and in a more accurate sense it means the unstable situation that occurs suddenly and breaks the routine operations in every system, while in international relations it referred to the opportunity to gain Something.
Accordingly, we can say that the crisis in its general meaning, regardless of the field or field to which it belongs, whether it is political, economic or social, is a critical situation that occurs suddenly and forces the decision maker to take a decisive decision that presents him with an opportunity for success or failure.
As for the term international crisis, it was not used in international politics until the nineteenth century with the contributions of John Krieng Und Freienden, which came expressing the transitional period between peace and war, meaning there is a crisis and there is no war and at the same time there is no peace. In this sense it refers to the phase of no war, no peace.
There have been many definitions of the international crisis. Perhaps the reason for this multiplicity and difference is due to two main factors, the first of which is related to different intellectual and scientific trends, and the second is due to the wide and different use of its content to serve specific goals and interests.
Where known as Coral Bell – koral pill international crisis as ” a turning point in the nature of the relationship between the parties that, where conflicts rise to the level threatens to change the nature of relations between states,” In the case of crises between enemies , for example , turn into relations of peaceful relations to hostile relations ( warlike relations), or from cooperative relations to conflict relations, but in the case of crises between alliances, relations turn from alliance to splitting.
As for Oran Yong, he defines the international crisis as: “A set of events that reveal themselves quickly, causing an imbalance in the existing power balance under the international system or any of its sub-systems, fundamentally and to a degree that exceeds the usual degrees with an increase in the possibility of escalation of the situation to a degree violence within it.” What is noticeable from Jung’s definition is his reference to sub-regional or regional systems that are also affected by crises affecting the international system as a whole.
While Charles Hurman provides another definition of the international crisis as: “a situation that threatens one of the main objectives of political unity, so that it limits the time to think, plan and respond in order to change the possible outcome.” It is clear from Herman’s definition that he focused on the element of surprise, that is, the crisis A sudden occurrence that was not expected by the decision maker.
This definition is close to the definition of Kal Holsti, who sees that the international crisis is: “an important change in the quantity, quality or intensity of the interaction of nations.” The crisis according to Holsti is one of the stages of conflict, arising from the suddenness of one party to the other by an action, which It leads to an increase in tension and threat between the two parties to the extent that the decision maker must choose one of the two alternatives, either war or surrender.
Based on the previous definitions, we can see the extent of the difference and plurality about the meaning of the international crisis between the various scientific trends and schools of thought, but on the other hand there is a degree of agreement between some of them, and to simplify the points of disagreement and agreement, we will divide the students of the international crisis into two groups:
The first group: which we see as defining the international crisis within the framework of the concepts of the system approach in the analyzes of international relations, as it focuses on the behavioral interactions between the units of the system, meaning that, as Kenneth E. Boulding says, “the international crisis is the crises of the political or international system,” so An international crisis according to this trend is based on the combination of two basic criteria, the first is a change or an increase in the reality / intensity of the trend towards conflict in the interactions between two or more countries with the possibility of an escalation of military operations, and the second is the extent to which these changes destabilize the relationship between countries. Thus, the impact on the international system as a whole.
The second group: We find that it looks at international crises from the point of view that they are foreign policy crises, as they are linked to the decision-making process, whether organizational, as it is a state of sudden and immediate threat to vital goals that put the decision-maker in a critical position, as it forces him to choose the appropriate decision at a specific time, or perceptual That is, it is related to the decision-maker’s awareness, and here we distinguish between two types of crises, one-sided crises in which the actor sees himself surrounded by the crisis, while the opponent does not see it, and two-sided crises in which all parties to the crisis are aware of its existence.
And Mikhail Britcher tried to reconcile the two groups and gave a definition of the international crisis as: “a situation characterized by and predicted by four things that are summarized as seen by the higher levels of the decision-maker in: internal and external conditions, the emergence of a threat to current and future basic values, the escalation of the possibility of violence Military, imposing a specific time that is short to deal with these threats.”
Based on the aforementioned definitions and based on the analyzes of the various theoretical trends interested in studying the international crisis, we can present a general definition of the international crisis as: “a sudden turning point in relations between states, which includes a direct threat to the higher values and interests of various actors, which forces the decision-maker to take Quick and effective positions in a narrow period, where the possibility of the crisis turning into a conflict or war depends on how the concerned parties respond to the situation, which leads either to the stability or imbalance of the international system.
Because the term international crisis is related to the conflict aspect or conflict interactions in international relations, we find it overlaps with many terms that share some characteristics with it, which sometimes makes it difficult for the researcher to choose the appropriate term, and sometimes puts the reader in the stage of confusion between concepts, and among These concepts:
1- Tension: It means “a state of anxiety and mutual distrust between two or more actors within one country or between two countries,” and therefore tension is a stage prior to the crisis that may or may not lead to it.
2- Conflict: It means “the waiver of national revenues resulting from the difference in the motives, perceptions and goals of states, which lead to decisions and the adoption of foreign policies of a different nature rather than a consensual one.” Therefore, the conflict is a stage later than the crisis, any stage of the development of the crisis. If the crisis is not managed peacefully, it will turn into a conflict.
3- Conflict: The concept of conflict often overlaps with the concept of crisis, where Cal Deutsch defines conflict as: “the presence of incidental activities or ongoing actions that conflict with each other, an activity that does not agree with anyone else and prevents and impedes the effectiveness of the second activity.” Conflict is known Parties, dimensions and trends, unlike the crisis, which often lacks information about it. Therefore, the crisis is the highest sensitive stage of the conflict, and the conflict is the last stage of the crisis’s development, in which the equation is often zero-sum leading to war.
Accordingly, the conflict reactivity in international relations ranges from tension, which if it continues and increases in severity, leads to a crisis. If this crisis is not managed by decision makers properly, it will escalate into a conflict, i.e. a consensual solution becomes more difficult for the direct or indirect parties. Which often leads us to conflict, as the last stage of the crisis’s development.
Features of the international crisis:
International crises are characterized by characteristics that distinguish them from others, which are derived from the definitions provided to them. For this reason, we find that they differ from one direction to another. In general, the most important characteristics of the international crisis can be summarized as follows:
1- The feature of surprise: the international crisis represents a sudden turning point in the relations between countries or within a single country, as it occurs in a sudden and unplanned manner.
2- Threat feature: it threatens the higher interests and national security of the state
3- Time constraint feature: the time available to confront it is limited and short in light of the scarcity or absence of information.
4- The characteristic of risk: it imposes on the decision maker the need to take decisive and fateful decisions to face events, which may lead to a transformation in the future of relations between the parties.
But despite the fact that surprise is one of the characteristics of the crisis, this does not negate the existence of some indicators that motivate it and the indications that predict its imminence, such as conflicting goals and interests between countries, disputes over borders, interference in the internal affairs of countries, sectarian conflicts, and may arise as a result of psychological factors related to Misunderstanding, misperception, miscalculation and evaluation by the decision maker.
International crises are also characterized by dynamic and gradual growth, as they pass through stages in their development:
1- The first stage (the birth of the crisis): At this stage the decision maker begins to sense the danger of what is looming on the horizon, and he must deal with it and ward off it before it escalates and moves to the next stage.
2- The second stage (the growth and expansion of the crisis): here the crisis begins to grow and expand, deriving its strength from internal and external stimuli as a result of the decision-maker’s inability to control it in the first stage.
3- The third stage (crisis maturity): This is the most dangerous stage in the life of the crisis, in which the crisis reaches its maximum strength and depth, which makes it difficult to control and in many cases crises stop at this stage for internal, regional or international reasons.
4- The fourth stage (the crisis recedes): This stage comes as a result of the decision-maker’s ability to contain it according to well-thought-out plans, ie the beginning of a breakthrough.
5- The fifth stage (resolving the crisis): In this stage, the crisis ends permanently