IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Signs of the times

Some days ago I wrote a few things about events in the Middle East and human needs.  Well, what is going on–and shows no signs of letting up–raises many other issues as the various situations develop and change.  For me, one of the most important of these relates to Global Governance.  Put simply, who is responsible for dealing with abuses of power by a government vis a vis its people.  This is tricky, since before the creation of the U.N., there was no real answer to that.  Somehow, it was expected that having states and governments was enough.   However, much of the history of the world since the democratic revolutions of the mid 19th century, shows that this is clearly not enough.  You don’t even have to go into questions of rights or humanitarian concerns.  There are simple practical issues.  If a government is brutal, people will leave that territory (if they can) and that creates all sorts of problems for the country’s neighbors.  Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of thousands of refugees.  Still, if you start intervening in countries even if only when there is a mass exodus of refugees, you have to be concerned that you are establishing a precedent and that you might one day be on the receiving end of such an intervention.  Nobody wants that either.  In short there is a sort of dilemma here.

The U.N. has at least helped to resolve some of the conceptual problems.  The Charter makes it clear that the Security Council can act in any situation it deems to be a threat to international peace and security; and over the years they have decided that internal issues that create external problems can indeed constitute such threats.  This, of course, does not get around all the political issues about who might or might not want to intervene in which countries.  Still, at the end of the day, a rudimentary (and not very efficient) legal framework does (sort of) exist to handle these matters.  It could, and probably should, be more efficient and have more resources at its disposal.  There are a number of reasons why it doesn’t, but they would take too long to explain.

So,  what I’m getting at is that one way or another, the current crises will probably push the process of Global Governance further along its evolutionary path–and this despite the fact that many would like to stop and even reverse the process.  However, it seems that you can’t do that:  crises that transcend borders just keep coming along.  It is increasingly difficult to cope with these and would seem that the few existing structures will have to be overhauled and strengthened sooner rather than later since nobody likes the idea that chaos is at the door (or even already in the hallway).

Should be interesting.

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March 30, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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