It would be reasonable to claim that international relations, norms, and regulations have a great impact on the behavior of a state. In the modern world, it is impossible for a country to operate without contacting its neighbors. Nonetheless, state behavior is mainly defined not by international influence but rather its domestic policies and chosen regime.
Domestic Policies and Chosen Regime
Obviously, every independent state has worked out its ideology and ways things should be done. Every ruler, like a president or a parliament, changes laws and regulations so that they are suitable for the state of affairs. Moreover, these rulers often make sure that new laws do not contradict the regime and other regulations. It is also their job to care for citizens and make everything possible to make them satisfied and ensure that the country progresses.
State Interests and Regime
Another category that shapes the state behavior is state interests. Generally speaking, every country pursues wealth and power, although each of them chooses different ways to have their goals fulfilled. These ways may be defined as a regime, i.e. regulation of the relationships between a government and a society. Nowadays, there exist three types of regimes, authoritarianism, monarchy, and democracy. Each of them has their distinctive features that consequently define state behavior.
State Regime as a Basis for Its Behavior
In the modern world, when everything is being globalized, the most successful and influential countries are democracies. This regime has already proved its effectiveness, and that is why it is often chosen. When people have an impact on the internal law-making process, they are happier than those who are often oppressed and live in an authoritarian or even totalitarian setting. As a result, state behavior depends on the regime to a certain extent. That is why it is important to compare two most widely spread regimes in the modern world.
Democracy is a way of functioning of the political system, an organization of public life, based on the recognition of the people as a source of power, on its right to participate in the decision of State and public affairs and to endow citizens with enough wide range of rights and freedoms.
The characteristic features of the democratic political regime are: the election of representative bodies of state power and local self-government through universal equal and direct elections by secret ballot; the parliament having the exclusive right to issue state-owned laws; the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, the existence of a mechanism of deterrence and balances between them; multiparty, the presence in the party system of political parties, both standing on the ground and denying it, but acting within the framework of the Constitution; political decision-making by the majority, while respecting the interests and rights of the minority; the absence of direct public relations between political parties; guarantees of the functioning of the democratic political regime envisage the establishment of a system of control by civil society over the activities of state bodies and apparatus.
The signs of a democratic political regime include: participation of the population in the formation and exercise of state power through direct and representative democracy; proclamation and real maintenance of human and civil rights and freedoms; the principle of "permitted all that is not prohibited by law"; political pluralism, including multiparty, competition of political parties, existence on legal grounds of political opposition, both in parliament and outside it; publicity, lack of censorship in the mass media; real implementation of the principle of separation of powers.
In the most general form of authoritarianism entrenched the appearance of a system of rigid political rule, constantly using coercive and force methods to regulate basic social processes. Therefore, the most important political institutions in society are the disciplinary structures of the state: police, secret service, prison infrastructure. In this style, Dominion opposition is excluded not only from the sphere of decision-making but also from political life in general. Elections or other procedures aimed at revealing public opinion, aspirations, and inquiries of citizens are either absent or used formally.
By blocking relations with the masses, authoritarianism (except its charismatic forms of government) loses the ability to use population support to strengthen the ruling regime. However, the power that is not based on the understanding of the demands of the broader social circles is usually incapable of creating political orders that would express public inquiries. Being guided by the State policy only on narrow interests of the ruling layer, authoritarianism uses methods of patterning and control over its initiatives in relations with the population. Therefore, authoritarian power can only enforce legitimacy. But such limited public support reduces the possibility of political maneuvering, flexible and operational management in the face of complex political crises and conflicts.
Persistent disregard of public opinion, the formation of public policy without the involvement of the public in most cases make authoritarian power unable to create any serious incentives for the social initiative of the population. However, through forced mobilization, individual regimes (for example, Pinochet in Chile in the 1970s) may, in short historical periods, cause high civic activity. In most cases, however, authoritarianism destroys public initiative as a source of economic growth and inevitably leads to a fall in the effectiveness of governance, low economic performance of the authorities.
Comparison of Regimes: USA and North Korea
If we were to compare two countries with bipolar regimes, for instance, the USA and North Korea, we would realize the impact their respective regimes have on their behavior. On the one hand, the US is an example of a well-working democracy with its government and president being regularly elected. There exist, undoubtedly, certain problems and drawbacks, but the influence of the USA on the world community should not be underestimated.
Taking into account the above, it would be safe to say that it is the US regime that defines its state behavior. The country positions itself as a strong power and economy that cares for its citizens. However, the index of happiness is rather low. This trend can be explained by the fact that there exists material inequality. On the other hand, the US government seems to be doing everything possible to cope with the urgent problems and fulfill the needs of its citizens.
On the other hand, there is North Korea, which is a completely totalitarian state, in which people are completely deprived of their basic democratic rights including freedom of speech, religion, and so on. The regime has, without a hint of doubt, a direct impact on the state behavior. We witness North Korean leaders being arrogant, stubborn, not willing to cooperate with the civilized world and doing everything what they want thus making the population suffer.
In summation, it is not worth denying that external factors impact state behavior. However, the internal aspects of regime and politics have a bigger influence. Having compared democracy with authoritarianism, it is true to say that they affect state behavior differently. The two approaches to power shape the state behavior and it is evident from the examples listed above.