Global governance in the aughties

First, bodice-ripping as political theory

“We live in an era in which unprecedented globalization and economic interdependence, liberal-democratic hegemony, nanotechnology, robotic warfare, the ‘infosphere,’ nuclear proliferation and geoengineering solutions to climate change coexist with the return of powerful autocratic-capitalist states, of a new Great Game in Central Asia, of imperialism in the Middle East, of piracy on the high seas, of rivalry in the Indian Ocean, of a 1929-like market crash, of 1914-style hypernationalism and ethnic conflict in the Balkans, of warlords and failed states, of genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, and of a new holy war waged by radical Islamists complete with caliphates and beheadings reminiscent of medieval times.” Extract from The National Interest


Here’s a more sober, more plausible, assessment of the likely route for the global governance framework (at least) from the U.S. National Intelligence Council:

The existing international organizations—such as the UN, WTO, IMF, and World Bank—may prove sufficiently responsive and adaptive to accommodate the views of emerging powers, but whether the emerging powers will be given—or will want—additional power and responsibilities is a separate question. Indeed some or all of the rising powers may be content to take advantage of the institutions without assuming leadership burdens commensurate with their status. At the same time, their membership does not necessarily have to involve heavy responsibilities or burden-sharing, allowing them to pursue their goals of economic development.

That veiw from mid-2008 is holding up pretty well, so far…except that ‘accommodating views’ does not mean doing anything. Which explains much about why WTO is stymied and why the Copenhagen conference of the UN Climate Convention was a farce (there are other reasons, too, in each case).

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