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February 17, 2009 |  6 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Niketa Kumar

Non-State Actors vs. the Westphalian Model

Niketa Kumar: Global governance will introduce a range of actors beyond the Westphalian state and will be based on interconnectedness. In the governing globally model the traditional nation-state will remain in control and formulate policy responding to global interactions.

Global governance reflects a new way of thinking about world systems and the interactions among global actors --state governments, NGOs, multinational corporations, international institutions-- and their civilian equivalents. Eleven years from today, global governance may exhibit two interconnecting effects and focus attention on two distinct responsibilities: governing for the globe and governing globally.

The current global economic crisis has been covered by news and industry analysts as evidence of the world’s interdependence and of the disadvantages involved in assuming self-sufficiency across states’ manufacturing, energy, financial and technical needs. However, through a governing for the globe model, shared norms and appreciation for interconnectedness will dominate over governments and international organizations which focus on narrow interests. Beyond ideology and proximity, global governance concerning trade and finance will force states to create new alliances based on need and opportunity. There will also be a growing proliferation of unique and unusual joint ventures and shared initiatives across the world. Just as Disney Corporation developed research with China’s Communist Youth League and South Korea seeks arable land in Madagascar, the next decade will witness growth in analogous transactions.The mantra for this method of global governance may be “what matters there, matters here.” It will also promote non-traditional actors, beyond the realm of Westphalian states. Corporations, connected individuals, and best practices in technology, industry and capital are the most equipped to encourage and advance these transactions and relationships. They will also be the quickest to manage and execute a governing for the globe model. Devoid of nationalities and agile in multi-continental mobility, these actors have the ability to establish a global system which answers to a larger diversity of populations.

Within the governing globally model, the focus shifts from non-state actors to traditional state control. Despite discussions on the withering of state power, the institution will not disappear any time soon. A country’s leaders and the allegiances and institutions to which they subscribe will need to enact practices and policies that respect concerns and issues beyond their imaginary borders. There may also be increasing pressure for inward looking policy as economic strategy is directly related to a state’s national security. This will obscure a clear picture of the global financial system. Recently, the capitalism of the 20th century has suffered a decline in reputation. It may be that individual states will now be more willing to implement their own practices and ideology upon domestic industries and financial regulation. Just as India and China have taken two distinctly separate routes to becoming the world’s fastest growing economies; other states may follow the same route of individuality. In the governing globally model, state leaders will need to understand and respond to global interactions when making decisions. However, there is a growing chance that a homogenous model for international trade and finance systems is largely implausible.

While the models described above are only predictions for global governance within the next decade, the ideal would be a balance between centralizing and decentralizing forces. While a global central bank represents an extreme reaction to fragmentation and diffused global power, recommendations for achieving this balance may center on establishing a trusted global society. Regulators should coordinate across countries and maintain updated dialogue and interest in a variety of locales. There should also be a centralized effort, perhaps through international institutions and tribunals, to end cronyism and corruption. As the global system for trade and finance becomes more porous and demands interaction among dissimilar actors, states should increase investment in education and social safety nets including relatively unexplored areas such as intellectual property law assistance. Ultimately, global governance will demand change in how states prepare their citizens and their regulatory regimes in a new economic world order.

Niketa Kumar is a junior studying International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

This article has been shortlisted for the Atlantic Community's "Global Governance in 2020" student competition.

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Member deleted

February 17, 2009

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The principle of territorial integrity of states has been since Peace of Westphalia 1648 instrument to prevent armed conflicts between the states. This principle is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The Helsinki Final Act of 1975 reinforced the principle and went further by including a section on the inviolability of frontiers.

These principles are core part of international law to guarantee of international security. Kosovo was one crucial event to break these fundamental principles of international law. By throwing this law out from window the Western Powers opened the “Pandora’s Box” for all separatist movements in the world.

More about his aspect of the case one may find from my article "Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize" in address http://arirusila.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/kosovo-marchfebruary-17th...
Tags: | international law | Balkans | Kosovo | Serbia |
 
Adam K. Svensson

February 18, 2009

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Globalization is often explicitly or, like in this article, implicitly considered a quite new phenomenon as concerns international relations. In many respects it is surely so; an indication of this is how our ways of communication are much more advanced now than before. However, in many respects it is not so. Different interstate relations, such as trade, were actually more intensive during the time before World War I than they are today.

Moreover, it is highly problematic to envision international relations in a black-and-white manner, such as viewing it either as 'a number of interacting sovereign states acting more or less in anarchy' or as 'in the globalized world only economic issues are of value'. A more fruitful approach is perhaps to be open to the importance of both these perspectives (which are often considered applicable to most events concerning international relations), or even include yet other perspectives. Instead of understanding events in terms of power or economic factors, as above, one approach is to understand the prevalent norms and values that characterize a certain event. In this way, the sovereignty of states CAN be of importance, but are not always. International law CAN matter, but does not always.
 
Christia  Flourentzou

February 19, 2009

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It is true without a doubt that globalization erodes the functions of the state and poses the question of whether we are witnessing the end of the sovereign nation state and thus, the end of the period starting with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648?

Such discussions remind me of the communitarian-cosmopolitan debate and in specific the work of Michael Walzer. His ideas on the state as a political community are interesting in the context globalization debate. The legitimacy of states -their legitimate right to exist- and the rights accredited to political communities emerge out of the rights of individuals. It is in the political community where one chooses how to shape her life and her preferred form of government; people have the right to chose their tyrannies. The moral standing of the state emerges out of the existence of the common life which the member of the polis can identify with and which the foreigner might not comprehend. Further, rights emerge in the political community where they are recognized from the collectivity and are then granted through a political process which cannot exist on the global level.

In the globalization debate the erosion of the nation state is replaced with cosmopolitan ideas like world citizenship. Walzer disagrees arguing that “I am not a citizen of the world... I am not even aware that there is a world such that one could be citizen of it. No one has ever offered me citizenship, or described the naturalization process or enlisted me in the world’s institutional structures, or given me an account for its decision procedures ... or provided me with a list of the benefits and obligations of citizenship, or shown me the world’s calendar and the common celebrations and commemorations of its citizens.” When it comes to world citizenship he explains allegiances through a model of concentric circles to argue that it is rather odd to expect that one’s allegiances will lie at the furthest circle, that of common humanity. Rather, one’s allegiances will lie with the circles closer to her; the neighbor, the fellow citizen and so on.

While this comment is not intended as a praise to the Westphalian state - and I am aware of the negative consequences of nationalism- I think that the state as a political community creating the common life is still of use to the individual and debates on globalization and the erosion of the nation state need to take account of that.
 
Jacob Brooks Bourgeois

February 22, 2009

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To expand upon Mr. Svensson and Ms. Flourentzou’s skepticism regarding an overt and explicit transition from a state system based upon the Westphalian model to a more internationally based community and institutional system. As previously stated, the process of globalization and the communication revolutions that have been underway for several hundred years have pushed societies and economies into increasing interdependency, however the notions in this article of “imaginary borders” disregard the significance of local traditions, histories, and cultures in shaping national institutions and law systems as discussed by Ms. Flourentzou. However, the importance of the national state does not end here, and because this article largely highlights the internationalizing forces of the global economy, it is important to stress the limitations of the economy in eroding the Westphalian state to the extent discussed above.

As Amar Bhide discusses in his book, The Venturesome Economy, rather than diminishing the importance of local markets and local tastes and preferences, the process of globalization has in fact reaffirmed the significance of national or regional entities. This has rung most true as the majority of corporations and businesses in general, while utilizing global supply chains and benefiting from advances in communications, have continued to focus on their own national or regional markets and thus highlight the importance of local community and local preferences that prove problematic the notion of a decrease in the importance of local tastes and concerns.

Additionally, the increasingly significant environmental concerns surrounding energy and food security in particular have recently reaffirmed the significance of local and national actors. Recent environmental concerns in the United States regarding Alberta’s “dirty oil” sand processing and its implications for NAFTA as well as the significance of the local food movements and food security issues globally provide telling examples of a reaffirmation of national state interests and national markets. While international governance will move forward with combination of centralizing and decentralizing forces as Ms. Kumar suggests, a shift in governance concerns from national interests to international ones are not as inevitable as may be assumed.
 
Unregistered User

February 23, 2009

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Outside of the fantasies of people who care nothing for piluralism, or don't grasp a world without their rights, there is no such thing as glbal governance. Transnational organizations by and of themselves have no legal powers other than through the actions of their member states. Much as it is with the concept of just what international law is, many young people simply don't get it, and often show contempt for the concept of sovereignty and importance of making elected government as close to the locality as is feasible.

This might be because federalism slows the governmental process, when in fact the reason for this is to make decisions and actions as measured as possible with a checking of powers. No doubt idealists who want to see activist like action to always "make a difference," and do it quickly will find the need for this to be an needless and confusing check on their own goals, but it is in fact the only thing between the citizen and tyranny.
 
Lucy  Russell

February 25, 2009

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Respect for sovereignty of nation states is very important for democracy. However through modern communication technology, people are increasingly aware of societies on the other side of the globe. While realising that this only affects a minority of people, a global citizenry can been seen to be emerging.

The number of international organisations covering a broad spectrum of issues has grown rapidly in recent years, which illustrates the increasingly common obstacles and interests of nation states. Climate change issues for example do not stop at borders and criminal circles operate through the same networks created by globalisation. The recent financial crisis too has highlighted our interconnectedness and is one of many issues that require global cooperation. Today’s fast-paced globalisation is unprecedented and cannot be ignored. While national and local issues will continue to be significant for most people, a certain amount of global governance is also necessary and unavoidable in today’s world.

Of course the issues of democracy and accountability need to be addressed, especially when considering the increasing power of non-state actors such as multinational corporations and NGOs. However with peoples dispersed over all over the globe through migration, those affected by a national government’s actions may not have voting rights and the ability to hold them accountable anyway. Therefore it is not only the transparency and democratic credentials of global governance that are at stake but also those of national governments.


 

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