Functionalism is a theory of international relations that emphasizes the importance of cooperation and integration in promoting peace and stability among nations. According to functionalists, regional organizations like SAARC are created to serve functional needs and provide specific benefits to member states. If a regional organization fails, functionalists would argue that it is due to the organization’s inability to meet the functional needs of its member states. Here are some ways functionalists might explain the failure of SAARC as a regional organization:
- Lack of functional cooperation: One of the key reasons why SAARC has failed to live up to its potential is the lack of functional cooperation among its member states. The organization was created to promote economic cooperation and regional integration, but member states have been reluctant to cede sovereignty and implement policies that would benefit the region as a whole.
- Historical tensions: SAARC member states have a long history of political and economic tensions, which has made it difficult for the organization to function effectively. For example, India and Pakistan have a history of conflict, which has spilled over into the functioning of SAARC.
- Weak institutional capacity: Functionalists would argue that the weak institutional capacity of SAARC has been a major impediment to its success. The organization lacks the resources, expertise, and political will to implement policies and programs that would benefit its member states.
- External factors: Functionalists might also point to external factors such as global economic trends and geopolitical competition as contributing to the failure of SAARC. As global economic power shifts away from South Asia and towards other regions, member states may be less motivated to cooperate with each other.
In summary, functionalists would argue that the failure of SAARC as a regional organization is due to a combination of factors, including the lack of functional cooperation among member states, historical tensions, weak institutional capacity, and external factors. In order for SAARC to succeed, member states would need to work together to address these challenges and create a more functional and integrated regional organization.