World Federalism as a Catalyst for Human Evolution - part I

, by Ben Freeman

World Federalism as a Catalyst for Human Evolution - part I

The most pressing reasons for world federalism are to replace “might makes right” with international law and to help deal with transnational ecological and resource depletion issues. Only an international body can govern space and areas of the world where no nation has sovereignty. Especially when nations disagree, a global governmental type authority is also needed to deal with economic justice, trade, intellectual property, criminal, legal, terrorism related, immigration and myriad other issues that cross national boundaries.

A need for better marketing of federal ideas

International funding and control is appropriate for many types of research, development, exploration and transnational networks which benefit people from many countries. Because the importance of these types of interactions which require global governance have greatly increased in the last fifty years, the objective need for world federalism is far greater than it was forty or fifty years ago. If this is so, why is the world federalist movement no stronger than it was fifty years ago?

Not only do nationalism and the fear and distrust of foreigners continue to exist, but the big multi-national corporations are the only obvious winners in the global economy. How can those of us who see the advantages of world federalism overcome the feeling that it would not be advantageous to give international bodies more power than they already have?

Just as people sell a new product or service by demonstrating its functional value, the way to gain global interest in world federalism is to focus on its functional advantages. Creative educational and media outreach efforts should be used to suggest why many key issues can only be solved on a global level. Furthermore, we should focus on actually solving the one key issue that is amenable to a world federalist solution right now.

A reformed UN Security Council – the key to success

Since the UN Security Council was already given the power to “keep the peace” by using military force and other means, replacing "might makes right’ with international law only requires comparatively minor changes in the Security Council system.

To gain coveted positions as full or part time Security Council members, ten or more large countries that are currently not Permanent Members (such as India, Germany, Brazil, Italy etc.) would be willing to collectively provide most of the troops the UN needs to enforce Security Council decisions. Nevertheless, there is little point in creating the “ready deployment force” the UN needs if Security Council decision-making is paralyzed by the unilateral veto system.

Just as national governments and other international organizations do not use the veto system because it is a recipe for paralysis, the veto system is the fundamental reason that the Security Council cannot reliably apply international law to specific situations and problems. By allowing the UK, US, Russia, China or France to unilaterally veto any decision, this veto system prevents international law from being applied to these P-5 nations or their allies. Even when the Council is dealing with an issue which all P-5 nations see as a problem, the difficulties inherent in making any decision unanimously undermines the Council’s ability to make effective decisions in a timely manner.

How to bring the big powers onboard?

Since an empowered UN would replace the US as the center of gravity of international decisions, the US would have to be given a vote weighting to accept an empowered veto-less UN. But if other nations proposed a plan that gave the US the most votes and dealt with other secondary American concerns, the desire of the American people to shed their unwanted world policeman power could motivate most American voters to support UN empowerment. Especially now that the failures and costs of Bush’s unilaterally driven foreign policy have become evident to most American voters, the next set of Presidential candidates could find it politically opportune to agree to join the rest of the world in empowering the UN.

Russia and China would probably also need an intermediate vote weighting to accept the possibility that a Western dominated Security Council might over-rule them. However, having an extra vote in a true global decision-making body is better for Russia and China than the current situation where Western powers have repeatedly ignored their opinions by acting without UN sanction.

None of the three leading plans to expand the Council membership has sufficient support to gain adoption over the objections of those who support the other two leading plans. Therefore, all of the nations big enough to hope for some form of guaranteed representation have sufficient motivation to compromise on Security Council expansion. The common advantage that they gain from veto modification and from the requirement, that new Council members provide troops, creates a motivation for the smaller nations of the world to support a Security Council reform plan that includes a compromise on expansion and a veto modification aspect.

This article was originally published in the November 2006 edition of The Federalist Debate, Papers for Federalists in Europe and the World.

Image:

* World map, source:Wikipedia.

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