Are you aware that the present world has been shaped by international agreements? An international agreement is defined by Congressional Research Service Library of Congress in their study on Treaties and other international agreements: the role of the United State senate, as “an agreement between two or more states or international organizations that is intended to be legally binding and governed by international law. ” International agreement and treaty are two confusing terminologies. However there occur differences.
A treaty is defined by Congressional Research Service Library of Congress as “an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law’ whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation” (Congressional Research Service Library of Congress, 2001). This essay looks at the major international treaties that have affected the world. Sykes-Picot agreement The Sykes-Picot agreement was signed in the month of May 1916, a period characterized by the First World War.
The war was between the Great Britain and France. Russia was also in the Middle East looking forward to the collapse of Ottoman Empire. The Sykes-Picot agreement signing led to the division of Middle East into several units such as Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq. These states exist even up to date. The units became areas of British and French hegemony (BBC, 2001). The agreement acquired its name from those who pushed to its existence; Sir Mark Sykes from Britain and Georges Picot from France.
According to historians, the agreement fell out with pledges that had already been issued by British to Hashimite leader, Husayn ibn Ali, the Sharif of Mecca who had been prepared in leading Arab revolution at Hejaz in the opposition of Ottoman rulers. There was hope that Arabs would get an important share from the won territory (BBC, 2001). In the agreement, the hegemonic France and Britain were to get ready to recognize as well as protect independent Arab states. At a request by Arab state, Britain was to supply Arab states it controlled with advisers.
The agreement allowed France and Britain to use indirect or direct administration according to their wish and in regard to their arrangement with Arab (BBC, 2001). At a strategic position, the agreement allows the establishment of international administration. Its form was decided only after consulting Russia, other allies and Mecca Sheriff. The Great Britain was to be given ports Haifa and Acre, supplied with water from rivers Tigris and Euphrates. The government of His majesty dictated that there was no time of entering into dialogue for Cyprus cession to third power without French government’s consent.
The agreement also stated that, Alexandretta was to be free port to the British trade without port or facilities’ charge discrimination (BBC, 2001). This was in regard to British goods and shipping. On the other hand, port Haifa was made free for France trade with no facilities’ and port charges discrimination. Great Britain had the right for the construction, administration and ownership of the railway that connected Baghdad with Haifa. It was theirs to always transport cargo along the railway line.
For twenty years, the tariff of Turkey customs was to be enforced and no increase was to be made unless there was an agreement made by those two powers. No interior barriers of custom in the areas of ownership were to be made. Duties were to be taken at the entry of the port passing them to the area destination administration. The government of France was prohibited in staging negotiations in a bid for their right’s cession and was not to cede rights to any other area except Arab state. Both British and France governments were not to accept a third party to acquire power in Arabia.
They were to exercise complete hegemony over Arab (BBC, 2001). The Munich Agreement During the pro-Nazi essentials of the Czech, the Germans demanded secede from the Czechoslovakia. It was a move that the Czechs could never resist especially when neither their allies nor Great Britain could support them. This led to the Munich Agreement. It is regarded as ‘a shameful conclusion of an allied fear to stage a confrontation to Nazi aggression’. According to Neville Chamberlain, the then British Prime Minister who brought the ‘piece of paper’; the Munich agreement was to “ensure peace in our time. It was an agreement between several states in Europe; United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France. It was reached upon on 29th September 1938. The European States agreed upon several terms as well as conditions and put them down in the Munich Agreement. The terms and conditions were governing the cession that had been laid down. The states were to be responsible for any single step towards securing its fulfillment (Jjay, nd) The Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles refers to peace settlement that was signed after the First World War ended in the year1918.
It was also a period when Russian Revolution as well as other events was taking place in Russia. The Treaty of Versailles was then signed at the Versailles Palace which is near Paris. It hence acquired its title “The Treaty of Versailles. ” It was a treaty signed by Germany and her allies. The influential politicians who witnessed the signatories of the agreement were: George Clemenceau, David Lloyd and Woodrow Wilson. It was the wish of many for Germany, that was then under the rule of Friedrich Ebert, to receive punishment for the consequences of WW 1.
Europe had been left in a pathetic situation by the war. There had been massive killings of soldiers and destruction of infrastructure. Germany had played a major role in WW1 with its devastating consequences (History Learning Site, 2010). The signing of the treaty was held on 28th June 1919. This was after a long duration of negotiations by the ‘Big Threes’ (David Lloyd from Britain, Woodrow Wilson from USA and Clemenceau from France) on what was to be contained in the treaty. The treaty was to cover the ways to treat Germany that had caused them so much pain.
All the Big Threes were at the point of punishing Germany for the wrongs done but in different ways, Britain, represented by Lloyd wanted revenge. However, Lloyd was a politician and he had his own interests too. He would support what Britain wanted for the sake of his political standing (History Learning Site, 2010). Despite this, he had secret fears of communism rise in the neighboring Russia that could perhaps find way in Europe. Europe was capitalistic where every man was for himself. Communism as opposed to capitalism practiced sharing of whatever one had with others. To Lloyd, communism was much more dangerous than Germany.
To his suggestion, if Germany was handled well, it could act as a barrier to communism spread. Harsh treatment as Lloyd feared could make the Germany citizens too disillusioned with their government as to give away capitalism to embrace communism from Russia. Though he was not lenient on Germany, he knew that she was the only one in Europe to stop communism spread. France wanted German’s repentance and America wanted punishment to Germany but in reconciliatory ways. The three nations however gave birth to the Treaty of Versailles that somehow satisfied everyone (History Learning Site, 2010).
The treaty had effects on Germany in a number of ways namely, territories, finances, military and the general. In the territorial section of the treaty, some pieces of land belonging to Germany were taken away; Alsace-Lorraine was given to France, Malmedy and Eupen were given to Belgium, Hultschin was accorded to Czechoslovakia, West Prussia, Upper Silesia and Posen were handed over to Poland, Northern Schleswig was given to Denmark, and finally Saar Memel and Danzig were placed under the League of Nations. The League also possessed the colonies that Germany had overseas.
The lands that had been taken as a result of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by Germany had to be given back to Russia. To the present the lands belong to the sates accorded (History Learning Site, 2010). Financially, losing industrial territories was a powerful blow below the belt on the Germany’s economy. Coal rich areas such as Upper Silesia and Saar had already been taken away. There were also heavy compensations that Germany was made to make. To Germany, the Allies were out to make her bankrupt. In keeping her economic capabilities to the minimum, Germany was warned against uniting with Austria (History Learning Site, 2010).
Germany also suffered militarily; her army was greatly reduced to a total of 100,000 men only. The army was not permitted to have neither an air force nor tanks. There was no submarine permitted; only six naval ships were allowed. West of Rhineland together with fifty kilometers to the East of Rhine River was a demilitarized Zone, DMZ; neither soldiers nor weapons were permitted in this region. The Allies were responsible for placing an army on western bank of Rhine for a period of not less than fifteen years (History Learning Site, 2010). In the general section of the Treaty of Versailles, three important clauses are evident.
In Clause 231, Germany was to fully admit that she started the WW1. This clause is referred to as the “War Guilt Clause”. In the second clause Germany had to take pay for any damage that was made during the war. In the third clause, League of Nations was to keep peace in the world (History Learning Site, 2010). The Germans reactions towards the treaty could not be helped. Earlier on, they had been promised that consultations were to be made on the Treaty’s content. However to their dismay, this never happened. This angered them but they had no choice. They could not even continue in the war since her army had fallen into pieces.
The terms of the Treaty were shown to Germany representatives just a few weeks before signing at the Versailles Palace’s Hall of Mirrors. They had to sign or else be invaded by Allies at that time of its military depression (History Learning Site, 2010). The consequences of The Treaty of Versailles were far felt. It kept Germany very weak and at the same time strong in stopping the communism spread. The bonders that Germany share with French were kept safe from any possible attack by Germany. However German felt treated unjustly and was angered by the same.
Germany hated with passion that clause that blamed her for causing the war that left her financially draining her (History Learning Site, 2010). The Treaty had so much to take from Germany. Most of the terms and conditions set in the Versailles Treaty were implemented. The League of Nations, that later became the United Nations and which exists even to date, was created though Germany had initially been left out. All the land that had been picked out was handed over to respective states and the League with the change of name of the western area to the present Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
Military reduction was only on paper, Germany side-stepped this rule. She put soldiers in reserves rather therefore never had above 100,000 serving solders. However, she had enough reserves which backed Hitler in the opposition of the Versailles’ clauses. The navy decreased to the proposed six battleships and there were no submarines. Air force clause succeeded as none was allowed. Germany accepted war guilt clause the moment she signed the Versailles’ Treaty. She also tried to make reparations as she could. Nearly all the terms contained in the Treaty were fulfilled by 1920’s (History Learning Site, 2010).
Germany was however not alone in the fight; countries like Turkey, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary were there to wipe her tears in these devastating times. They signed two treaties (Treaty of Neuilly by Bulgaria and Treaty of Serves by Turkey). Hungary and Austria were divided by as a result of these treaties. From then to date, Hungary and Austria are two independent states. They however lost part of their lands to Poland, Romania as well as Yugoslavia. New states such as Czechoslovakia were formed. Like Germany, they were also forced to decrease their military as well as pay for the damage.
The impact of the Versailles Treaty affected not only Germany but also other worlds. It made the modern world what it is today (History Learning Site, 2010). NAFTA NAFTA is an acronym of North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA involves free trilateral trade between three countries; Canada, United States, and Mexico. It was signed in the January of 1994 by the former US president, Bill Clinton. The agreement aimed at eliminating many tariffs on commodities between the three. Its terms dictated that tariffs had to gradually be phased out. The final terms of the agreement were not completely implemented till the 1st of January 2008.
However, the deal removed tariffs on exports in industries such as agriculture. Reduction in tariffs is currently evident on textiles as well as automobiles. Initiated by NAFTA was also the protection on intellectual-property and mechanisms of dispute-resolution. Regional labor as well as environmental safeguards were considered in the NAFTA (Teslik, 2009). NAFTA had been designed for the promotion of economic growth by stirring competition throughout the domestic markets and attracting investments from local and foreign investors. This has worked perfectly well in the current world market.
North American organizations have become very productive as well as efficient. They have fully exploited economies of scale in regard to production and specialization in intra-industry. When looked at in long term, consistent gains have been received. The NAFTA has expanded the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of U. S. though slightly. The same case has applied to Mexico and Canada (Teslik, 2009). On trade, the relationships between the three have intensified considerably from the implementation of NAFTA. Data from US Trade Representative (USTR) shows that intra-North American trade tripled from NAFTA’s implementation.
Local investments in business in US had shot up to 117% between years 2003-2007 in comparison with 45%in 14 years before the agreement. NAFTA accounts for 80% trade in Mexico and Canada. In US, it accounts for 1/3 of trade. NAFTA has also affected the labor market. USTR claims NAFTA’s positive effect on the labor market. 24% of jobs have been created since NAFTA was established. Reports show that the rate of unemployment has reduced significantly. Though the agreement has received opposition from critics, it has impacted positively on US employment (Teslik, 2009). Mexico and Canada have a similar story to tell.
Economic growth has been registered. Their exports to US have greatly increased. Employment in NAFTA section has reduced the rate of unemployment. Basic household commodities have reduced in prices by half (Teslik, 2009). Conclusion Every International agreement was not in vain and it had a role to play in regard to the modern world. For instance, the Versailles Treaty led to the formation of League of Nations that was transformed into the current United Nations. Sykes- Picot agreements lead to the formation of Middle East independent states and NAFTA has significantly promoted economic growth. All these tries have made an impact.