Redux: Vision of a Safer World

To continue the thoughts from yesterday, here’s a little more to digest.


(Audio Podcast Available)

David Billington said in the Comments:
But the ability of these groupings to enforce conduct on other nations is limited to non-violent sanctions, except in the case of NATO where a consensus is necessary for the alliance to act. These groupings are definitely better than nothing but they don’t really solve the problem of what to do when key members disagree over war and peace.

You are absolutely correct, however, my thought process is that the more NATO expands, the less likely its’ members, or those bordering it’s members are to cause trouble. The Commonwealth and Francophonie especially need to be far more persuasive of their membership. Between the two, they cover huge swaths of the Old World, from India, to Lebanon, to Ivory Coast.

The “better” countries must use these fora to spread the message, and show the benefits of free and democratic societies. I’m no diplomat, so I don’t really know how that would work… but it seems to me that these two traditional groupings are far too much pomp and ceremony and not much substance.

As for NATO.

Here’s a good quote:

U.S. security today requires us to look closely at NATO, which is already the strongest security Alliance in history, and find ways to make it even stronger. To confront and eliminate such global threats as terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we must ally with countries that share our values and act effectively with us. Since the end of the Cold War, Europe’s newest democracies have proven themselves as able partners, whether securing stability in the Balkans or fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. The enlargement of NATO will cement these benefits for the United States and its Allies, making the whole of NATO much stronger than the sum of the capabilities of individual members. NATO enlargement will help to enhance the political and economic stability for all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area. By helping Europe’s newer democracies as they strengthen good governance, rule of law, and human rights, NATO will also facilitate a better long-term environment for American trade and investment.

That from The State Department

Membership in NATO has certain requirements and responsibilities… one of the biggest being stability and peace with countries bordering the “NATO” sphere.

Russia and Turkey are currently “partners” of NATO… which likely means that they a) have a chance at membership and b) likely already fulfill some of the requirements, if not all, of membership.

I see expansion of NATO as a possible road to permanent resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian issue and the constant tension in the Middle East.

Could Israel perhaps be a member one day? Politically and militarily they certainly qualify… but they currently lack the stable relationship with it’s neighbours that would be required.

This article is a good one on why Israel might, and might not, join NATO.

David then asks:

Assuming we limit the right of appeal to cases where the behavior of a national government, and not its jurisdiction, is at issue, could Tibetans still sue for an end to human rights violations in Tibet?

Absolutely. The right of citizens to appeal their extraordinary conditions to an International body would trump the nations jurisdiction over them. There would of course be standards that would have to be met in order for the International Court to hear the case. It must differentiate between cases like the Tibetans vs. seperatists in Quebec for example. This court would only be allowed to take a case in which the domestic government was either clearly incapable or actively blocking efforts to hear the case domestically and fairly.

The more I think of this, the more I see it as a natural extension of globalisation. The problem with globalisation so far has been its’ perceived control by the richest nations and people.. to the detriment of the poor and middle classes.

This International Judiaciary could at some point give rise to an ever growing world governing body. A Super-EU of sorts. While there is no such effort currently in the Americas or Asia to create an EU-like body, and I’m not entirely clear on the African Unions’ mandate, I believe that should be the ultimate goal, in 75, 100, 150 years? While the EU has had it’s problems as it has grown and evolved it has also shown that its’ mere presence encourages other countries, large and small, to emulate and join the group.

Canada and the United States are conspicuously adsent from this group, and even though we share basically the same values, will remain to be due to our geographic location. Thus the EU, Canada and the United States, need to push for similar blocks of economic and political strength. Not as direct competition to the EU (though, no doubt that will be a factor economically), but rather as a compliment to it on the other side of the globe… with the ultimate goal that at some point, far down the road, the vast majority of countries in the world will be under the same political umbrella of democratic and economic freedom and respect.


Please read this article from Thomas PM Barnett. It was published in Esquire in March 2003 and speaks to many of the issues I raise.

Though we differ slightly on the opinion that the US must use its’ hyper-power ability to advance security in the world (even suggesting that NK should be next after Iraq) his general ideas about the effect of globalization on the world mirror mine somewhat and he goes into greater detail as to what certain countries are facing in their struggle to become part of the Global “Core”.

(Cheers: SMASH in the comments)

6 replies on “Redux: Vision of a Safer World”

  1. Chris,

    You are absolutely correct, however, my thought process is that the more NATO expands, the less likely its’ members, or those bordering it’s members are to cause trouble. The Commonwealth and Francophonie especially need to be far more persuasive of their membership. Between the two, they cover huge swaths of the Old World, from India, to Lebanon, to Ivory Coast.

    Agreed. The best way to remove disagreements with key allies is to transform the peripheral countries that give rise to the disagreements in the first place. Progressive absorption of peripheral areas into the security and economic system of the Euro-Atlantic might do this.

    I’m not sure the Commonwealth can take a more political and military character but a sub-group might be a way for Pakistan and India to work together with South Africa and Australia to create a zone of security and development in the Indian Ocean littoral. The United States could then take a less prominent role and other outside powers would face more of a barrier if they try to substitute their own influence for America’s. Right now China is trying to export its model of authoritarian modernization to Africa in what amounts to a direct challenge to the Harare Declaration adopted by the Commonwealth in 1991, which coupled the goal of development with the goal of greater democracy.

    Incidently, is another Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs public website discussion likely this summer?

    India is going to take a larger role in Indian Ocean security and the question is whether it does so unilaterally (at the risk of conflict with Pakistan and maybe China) or through some multilateral grouping. The United States should encourage the multilateral option if it is possible.

  2. Incidently, is another Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs public website discussion likely this summer?

    Looks like their last discussion ended in early May. They don’t indicate when their next one will be. Hopefully soon.

  3. I’m glad you read and enjoyed the Barnett article. I just finished his book myself, and while he’s somewhat of a dreamer, he also has some good, solid ideas on how to unite the world, rather than tear it apart.

    Globalization (or ‘globalisation’ if you prefer) is the answer. But it requires more than just economic liberaliz(s)ation. There must be democratic reform, and an environment of security to make it work.

    I differ strongly with you on the role of International Law, however. But that’s a seperate discussion.

    Follow up assignment: read this more recent article by Barnett. I’m sure you’ll like this even better than the first one.

    I don’t agree with everything Barnett writes, but he has a good grasp on the global strategic situation.

    Every nation has a role to play. Even Canada.

  4. SMASH,

    Thomas Barnett’s two articles are provocative. We need more thinking about the big picture. But before saying where I think he is right, let me observe what seem to me to be the difficulties in what he proposes. In his second article, he argues for the United States (1) to normalize relations with Iran in the way that Nixon did with China, (2) to withdraw our protection of Taiwan in order (3) to get China to topple the regime in North Korea. The difficulties I see are:

    1. China has resisted putting pressure on North Korea because (a) regime change to remove a Communist one-party state there would isolate China’s own form of government and would encourage people in China to overthrow it, and (b) a unified Korea could conceivably pose a stronger challenge to Chinese dominance in the region than a divided one. North Korea is a useful political and strategic buffer for Beijing.

    2. China thinks it can get back Taiwan anyway given enough time. America is a relatively declining power in east Asia, China is a rising one.

    3. Iran has no strategic incentive to make a deal with America. China in the late 1960s and early 1970s feared Russia and welcomed American support. Iran has no larger enemy against which the support of the United States would be useful.

    4. The United States may also be a declining threat to Iran because: (a) America probably cannot prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and (b) America may be on the way out of the whole region if things in Iraq don’t improve.

    A tilt toward Iran could also exacerbate Sunni-Shia tensions throughout the Islamic world. Four-fifths of all Muslims are Sunni and I don’t think we want to drive Indonesians and other moderate Sunnis into radical arms by taking sides in the Shia-Sunni controversy.

    Where Barnett is right is in his view that what he calls “the gap” (that part of the world that has rejected the full spectrum of modernization) has to shrink. He is also right to argue that fundamentalism will only be defeated when it loses the hope that modern civilization can be reversed. For the perception of irreversibility to take hold, modern civilization will need to demonstrate its staying power and will need to absorb more and more of the world. I guess the question is how far we can usefully go to accelerate this process. But I agree that this long-run outcome could be more strongly emphasized by focusing on the best ways peripheral countries can be drawn into the modern core.

  5. Just to correct a mistake: Turkey IS a member of NATO. But not yet, if ever, a member of the EU.


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