Saturday, 21 August 2010

Quest for Democratic Global Governance

This article is inspired by an elegant, thoughtful, timely and visionary piece by Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh Ji 'Ancient Wisdom Guides India's Future' on the eve of G-8 summit.

We are very near to satisfy the thousand years old quest of the humanity to belong to one Empire, Khanate, Caliphate, Ulema, Sayuz, Government or Federation whether this quest manifested through Alexander the Great, Romans, Chengiz Khan, Tamerlane, Marx , Lenin, Rhodes,Woodrow Wilson, Nehru or F.D. Roosevelt.

The defining question of this century is how do we address the formidable challenges of global governance in a dramatically transformed world.

Humanity needs a new thinking in order to survive and prosper in an Internet driven information age. The inherent rights of nation-states to go to war in an interconnected and interdependent world are not only self defeating for the states which decide to do so but also counter-productive for the global community. What's the point of elaborate and expensive independent security arrangements if war cannot be beneficial for neither the victors nor the vanquished states? Why not to create and strengthen institutions of common security?

'The only way peace can be achieved is through world government.' These were the words of a visionary Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st prime minister of the Republic of India who had a deep understanding of the World History ,(reflected in his book 'Glimpses of World History-a great read) and knew that our history is not confined to national borders as events outside the national borders shape history as much as events happening inside national borders, and that's even more true for our internet driven world of 21st century, where we communicate everyday beyond our national borders, make friends, enter into international relationships and feel as World Citizens. (I am a proud citizen of United States and a fellow citizen of the world- Barack Obama in Berlin)

Let's look at Asia- India is a great soft-power and China a hard-power(Joseph Nye). Any confrontation between the two Asian giants over territorial or resource dispute will push the world economy into a long recessionary winter, causing incalculable losses and it will take decades for the world to come out of it. Can the world afford an India-China confrontation?

I believe that short and long term interests of soft powers (and interests of the world) lie in ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam as Shri Manmohan Singh ji emphasized in his G-8 article i.e. strengthening the institutions of global governance. I would take it to the extreme and would say taking away the rights of sovereign nation-states to go to war in an interdependent world as Bismark did for Germany or Sardar Patel did for India. Investing in global security with the creation of volunteer global army as recommended by the Our Global Neigbourhood report seems to be the best bet if the world community wants Perpetual Peace(to borrow the phrase from Kant).A Global Supreme Court, that can resolve all territory or resource related disputes among nation-states as our Supreme Court does for Cauvery water dispute between Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Imagine these states going to war to solve water disputes or Texas and California going to war over such issues?!

UN Reforms

Reforming UN system will not be enough as UN is product of World War -II bipolar industrial world and 20th century thinking (when the world was partially connected ). In information and knowledge age even the meaning of 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam' needs liberal expansion to include not only humans across the world but all living beings and life supporting systems. What our world needs is not 'United Nations' but 'United Earth'- A brand new global institution of global governance with a mandate to protect the all living beings and life supporting systems(Refer Earth Charter and Agenda 21) on the Earth from both internal(war, famine, environmental catastrophe) and external(asteroids, comets) threats.

United Earth with a 'Global Parliament' directly elected by the people through internet voting(example first global internet voting for the election of the Board of ICANN, UN agency that regulates Internet) empowered to legislate on global issues {Climate change, Common security, Space exploration, Research in alternative energy resources (oil and gas will end in 2075), international terrorism, International immigration(imagine Indian English teachers , nurses around the world), Global arms trade}.

This will not only provide an extra layer of essential democratic governance we need at the global level(against the present International undemocratic governance).

Hard powers may not gain as much as soft powers will gain from a democratic world federalism but the whole world will be a much secure and prosperous place.

Here I am leaving you with an Earth Anthem that I composed in January this year-

Earth Anthem

Our cosmic oasis in the vast Universe

Cosmic blue pearl

The most beautiful planet in the universe.

Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe

Atlantic, Arctic, Indian and Pacific

We are your children

We crave for your love

Our cosmic oasis,

The most beautiful planet in the Universe.

United we stand with all flora and fauna

United we stand as the people of one world

We are all your children

We love you, deep in our heart

Our cosmic oasis,

Cosmic blue pearl

The most beautiful planet in the vast universe.
(Views expressed are personal and does not represent views of any organization)
Originally written on 14 July 2010 and circulated among friends on e-mail.



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