A strategy for the Betastan government

by | Apr 1, 2021 | International Relation, Masters


Two years from now, the fictional countries of Alphastan and Betastan have a dispute when a senior member of the Alphastan government and her family disappear—and then appear again in the embassy of Betastan (on the territory of Alphastan). The government of Alphastan insists that its official is being held there against her will and demands that Betastan turn her over immediately. 

Independent news agencies are reporting that armed agents of Betastan did indeed apprehend the individual and her family by force, possibly killing several civilian bystanders in the process. It is also being reported that the intelligence agencies of Betastan believe the Alphastan official in question was responsible for several terrorist attacks on the territory of Betastan in the late 1990s. 

The government of Betastan refuses to hand over the official. 

In response, Alphastan has placed military forces around the embassy and has threatened military action if necessary. The Alphastan government also takes a series of other measures: it imposes dramatically heightened tariffs on all goods being imported from Betastan; it requires labels on Betastan goods stating that the product comes from a criminal government; and it restricts certain key exports to Betastan. Alphastan authorities also forcibly stop and search all trucks and ships that have recently left Alphastan headed for Betastan. Because Betastan is a waypoint for a great deal of trade between Alphastan and the European Union, the EU publicly complains about the trade restrictions and is apparently considering a response. NATO foreign ministers have also met to discuss the situation and consider that organization’s response. 

Alphastan also files a complaint against Betastan with the International Court of Justice, insisting that Betastan’s abduction of the official violates the terms of a consular treaty between the two countries. Alphastan has also sent information to the International Criminal Court, describing the abduction as a “crime against humanity” and an act of aggression and giving the ICC permission to investigate the matter.

Both Alphastan and Betastan are members of the United Nations, but neither is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Alphastan is a NATO member and is a candidate for EU membership. Betastan is not a NATO or EU member but has several close allies who are members of both organizations. Betastan is a member of the ICC, but Alphastan is not. Both countries are WTO members. Neither country has accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. Alphastan has a national who is a judge on the ICJ, but Betastan does not. 


You are an adviser to the government of Betastan and have been assigned the task of devising a strategy for the government’s response at all relevant international and regional organizations. This will be an internal document and so you should discuss freely the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies and the likelihood of success. You should treat the media stories about Betastan’s involvement in the abduction and its rationale as true. 

As you develop your response, cover as many issues related to these international and regional organizations as possible. You should address issues succinctly, and you may use a bullet-point format if you prefer. If there is information you do not have that is important to your answer, state what that information is and why it is relevant. You may find it helpful to divide your response into different sections, based on the organization that you are addressing.

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