IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

More reflections

After I write one of my “reflections” posts I usually say maybe I’ll add some more later.  Well, this time I am actually doing that.  My students have been writing about (wrestling with?) the idea of nation building.  The Wikipedia article on the subject is brief but gives you a reasonable overview of the term.  Have a close look at the next to last paragraph where the term’s ambiguity is neatly summarized.  My students have been primarily concerned with the “interventionist” kind of nation building (consider current events).    While following their discussions, I have noticed a couple of things.

1.  The number of states with serious problems–often called “failed” or “failing” states in our era–seems to be increasing (though they might simply be getting more attention).  So, there is a sense that, as with so many issues on the global agenda, “something needs to be done.”

2.  However, if the “something to be done” is done by an individual state, or even a group of states with similar interests, one might wonder if they would be acting primarily to help the country and people concerned, or to promote their own interests in the country/region.  Some, for instance, argue that such “nation building” is really just an excuse to open the door to foreign manipulation and economic gain by contractors  and multinationals of  various kinds.

So, we have a(nother) dilemma which I like to call a GGI:  a Global Governance Issue.  Something definitely needs to be done, but the capacity to do it in what would be perceived as a legitimate way is limited.   The U.N. is probably the best approach at the moment, but it is clear that the “powers that be” would rather have a more  hands on approach in those areas where there really are economic and strategic prizes to be won.

Of course, if we take a step back we can see that this is all part of a longer term learning process, where, as I suggested in my last post, the “international community” has to evolve to do what needs to be done for community members.  This is well and good; however, this process seems at times to involve rather high human costs.  So I, for one, would like to see it accelerated a bit so peace and well being can become more the rule than the exception.

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July 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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