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How Realism might explain MH 370

Malaysian Airlines. Photo: Billy Wilt/ Flickr/ Creative Commons

Malaysian Airlines. Photo: Billy Wilt/ Flickr/ Creative Commons

Global Matters: CGP-experts comment on how to explain the handling of MH 370 with International Relations theories

News from Mar 11, 2015

MH370, the doomed flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared exactly a year ago. Among anger and sorrow from friends and relatives of the 239 passengers and crew that disappeared, the performance of the governments involved in solving the puzzle hasn’t looked good – Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and China. What insights can IR theories bring for the explanation of the disastrous handling of MH 370? This week on “Global Matters. Bits and thoughts on World Politics”, Center for Global Politics experts discussed how we can explain such a disastrous handling of an event by applying International Relations theories.

Shen Dingli, Professor and Associate Dean at Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies, who is also an expert of the Center of Global Politics, offered two different explanations. He argued that if no country has followed the trajectory of MH 370, which has exposed the inability of the international community to monitor the earth entirely and constantly, then this has indicated “a limit of institutionalism”, and the disappearance of MH 370 has shown a big loophole in tracing all civilian aircraft. If it’s the case that one or a few countries do know where and how MH370 met its end, but were unwilling to share the truth for the sake of national interests then “this is called realism”.
Klaus Segbers, founder and Director of the Center for Global Politics at Freie Universität Berlin argues more pessimistically. He has observed that after the disappearance of MH 370, all governments that were involved were particularly eager to escape responsibility. And the concerned public and media were just looking for scapegoat, which has dramatically decreased the will to cooperate among states.

“Thus agencies and governments involved were less interested in figuring out who the culprits actually were.” “Unfortunately, I don’t see many reasons for why this kind of behavior should change in the future,” Professor Segbers said.

Join the discussion here.

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