Toward Genuine Global Governance: Critical Reactions to "Our Global Neighborhood"

Toward Genuine Global Governance: Critical Reactions to "Our Global Neighborhood"

Toward Genuine Global Governance: Critical Reactions to "Our Global Neighborhood"

Toward Genuine Global Governance: Critical Reactions to "Our Global Neighborhood"

Synopsis

Nine authors representing various schools of thought within the world federalist movement express their disappointment with the 1995 Report of the Commission on Global Governance entitled Our Global Neighborhood. The constructive criticism offered by these essays constitutes a solid contribution to the contemporary literature on international relations and world government.

Excerpt

It is a basic tenet among world federalists that the prospects of human civilization upon the planet Earth would be dramatically improved by the immediate formation of a genuine world government. At the present time, this judgment is shared by only a tiny fraction of the world's population. The predominant judgment remains that the establishment of a legitimate state entity superior to the national governments at the present point in human history could and would dangerously destabilize a delicate international equilibrium, leading either to totalitarian despotism or to devastating civil war. Therefore (in the predominant judgment), our hopes for peace and progress must necessarily continue to reside mainly with the balance of power -- the stability of which is hopefully being augmented by the gradual strengthening of tolerant, cosmopolitan, and internationalist attitudes among both the general popuolation and its political leadership.

Nevertheless, few of those who subscribe to this predominant judgment of the present day are completely happy with it. The peril of relying on the balance of power among sovereign nation-states has been amply demonstrated by the two world wars of the first half of the twentieth century. On top of that, most of the second half of the twentieth century was blighted by a nuclear arms race between the superpowers that might easily have resulted in a catastrophic nuclear world war. Although the Cold War has receded greatly during the 1990s, memories of it are still fresh. Modern history clearly demonstrates the strong propensity of the sovereign nation-state system to generate international confrontation and conflict, so that the very dangerous conditions created by the Cold War of the recent past might easily be replicated by new -- and presently unanticipated -- conflicts in the near future. At the same time, the marvelous technological advances of the contemporary era in communications and transportation have greatly reduced the practical relevance of distance as a barrier to world government.

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