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Ritzer (2010) defines globalization as a process or set of processes that involves “increasing liquidity and multidirectional flows of people, objects, products, places, and information as well as the structures they encounter and create that are barriers to or expedite to those flows.” Literally, this means that globalization is a process that connects the various elements of flows of people, objects, products, places and information through structures such as politics and trade. Ritzer (2010) argues that the structures, for example, politics, acts as barriers or expedites of the level of association in the globalization process. Smith & Johnston (2002) are of the same sentiment as they observe Ritzer (2010) argument that the structures of globalization presents barrier and expedite platforms as challenges and opportunities respectively. Smith & Johnston (2002) argues that “the political opportunities of globalization can open up for political challenges of globalization, and vice versa.” Therefore, political challenge and political opportunity presented in globalization rely on each other in the essence that one of them needs to exist for the other to exist.
Political opportunity may present an opening for nations to develop, but also gives rise to political challenges when other nations are jealous. Political challenges usually bring about wars in the globalization process, which are often put out by political opportunities. Amenta (2012) describes political opportunity as the ability to set globalization structures such as international organizations with the aim of offering social equality and justice in globalization activities such as trade and environment. The major constituents of international political opportunity structure (IPOS) are UN, World Bank, EU, and World Trade Organization. In their existence and mandate of these organizations, a single nation is likely to find the criterion for achieving social justice in terms of trade and help. However, when the organizations are misused they present a political challenge and the multifaceted nature of globalization. Meara, Mehlinger & Krain (2000) warns that the world is moving very fast from the gains of initial benefits of globalization, and caution should be taken to ensure that the political challenges do not bring globalization on it knees.
Globalization as a Political Challenge
To understand the problem of political challenges presented by globalization, perhaps it would be better to look at a dominating nation in terms of politics, economic, and military power such as the U.S.A. It will help in understanding the globalizations opportunities that makes the nation to reshape itself in form of political challenges when addressing globalization. To achieve this, a good viewpoint is the September 11 disaster that opened a new approach of manifesting political challenges in the theme of globalization. The American nation had previously demanded attention by seeking to be the guiding model of good governance through presentation of globalization opportunities. The attention seeking might in reverse have angered other nations or social groups in order for them to plan the September 11 disaster as political tool for relaying a message. The disaster opened doors for a new term of global politics, which was a move from the older name of geopolitics. The political challenges are brought about by jealousy in the essence of power and trade competition. When things do not go as the competitors wish, they try all means to bring down their competitor. In the case of American bombing, it was the case of power competition. Globalization brings nations together; to trade and exchange ideas. However, cultural and religious diversity finds a way to manifest themselves politically in the manner of making decisions. Nations within the global web, often feel threatened when other nations make implementations or decision that are competitive in nature.
Such political challenges have been witnessed elsewhere in the form of business competition in e-Commerce and the currency market. For example, there are cases of nations targeting other nations’ internet platform in order to crush the said nations’ e-commerce activities. All these political challenges originate from the benefits of globalizations as political opportunities. It is because before the political challenges rise, the warring nation must have in contact to share or trade. On another dimension, the two nations warring might have a mutual friend, that one nation feels must be protected from harm by the other nation. For example, take the case of America invasion to Iraq in order to safeguard Kuwait. The thirst by America for power dominance and to act as the big brother to every nation on this planet makes America prone to terrorist, since the terrorists feel that the American nation is stepping on their race, class or religion. Thus, in the end, the political and cultural power that the United States holds makes it a larger target for all the nations that feel that the U.S is to blame for their problems. Since the United States is strong in terms of economic and military power, not many nations can make a threat to the nation. Therefore, the nations might combine forces with other nation to turn a blind eye to terrorist targeting the U.S. On the same note, the oppressed nations might utilize the opportunity by trading with emerging superpowers, such as China, in order to bring the U.S on its knees.
Globalization as a Political Opportunity
Globalization entails not only politics, but also the elements that co-work with politics including culture, trade, and environment. One thing which is evident over the years is that growth in industries, technology and agricultural achievement has always brought about something good to unite the world. The good platform is experienced while trying to connect those who do not have the trendy resources or product with those with the products. It is often reflected in the trans-border movements experienced with a particular nation with a certain product and another nation that does not have the products, but is in search of the product. In the course of searching for the products, most of the nations engage in peaceful political activities in order to obtain what they do not have. A good example to illustrate globalization as a political opportunity is the case of wherebyglobalization prevented a chance of war between India and Pakistan. India feared that a war with Pakistan would cut ties with the U.S.-based multinationals, and pressed New Delhi, the electronic pillar of India, in 2002 to stop its conflict with Pakistan. In this case, the U.S as a globalization factor between India and Pakistan acted as a political opportunity to bring about peace in the two nations. Both nations are mutual partner of the U.S, and therefore, India could not act in a manner that it would spoil it relationship with a superior nation like the U.S.
Over the history of the globalization factor, especially after being speeded up by the internet, global political issues are addressed with caution. However, despite the benefits of globalization, many of the benefits arise from political challenges. For example, in the case of India and Pakistan, the two nations were at the globalization side of political challenge, which could only be solved by the globalization face of political opportunity. It is a clear reflection that the two faces of globalization, political challenge and political opportunity coexist together. In the wake of internet dominance, not a number of political challenges of globalization have gone unchallenged by the political opportunity face of globalization. In warring nations, the political opportunity face has played a major activity in restoring peace and building the nation. For example, the war in Sudan had existed for many years, discovery of oil in the country drove a number of nations to build interest in stopping the war in Sudan and at the same time get involved in activities that would rebuild the nation. It raises questions as to why the nations interested in rebuilding Sudan increased their vision for Sudan peace after the mention of oil. The nations saw an opportunity through the global mechanism of aiding nations in war and famine. There are a couple of nations still in war, for example Somali, but not a majority of superpower nations have built interest in rebuilding the nation. If Somali was to discover a rare product or resources, numerous nations would line up to aid Somali in the rebuilding mission. Out of the noble course, it would get competitive and political challenges would emerge.
There exists a strong relationship between the two faces of globalization from a political perspective: challenges and opportunities. Political opportunity opens doors for the rise of political challenges, while political challenges open doors for political opportunities. It is this understanding that makes the political atmosphere on the global scope to be uncertain. Often, it is obvious in the case where there is no specific nation that another nation can trust. For example, a nation might be trading with a particular nation and within no time change trading base in respect to the most foreseeable gain from the new formed relationship. However, since globalization is a process, nations across the world will learn their lessons from various association mistakes till they are able to balance between challenges and opportunities of globalization. Balancing of the two faces of globalization political representation will mean that the political opportunities of globalization do not exceed the political challenges of globalization. Globalization cannot be argued to exist in one form; political opportunity or political challenges. This is because it will be like saying that globalization is either good or bad. In reality, globalization has had both the advantages and disadvantages; a majority of which are politically influenced.