WALTER CRONKITE ON THE NEED
FOR DEMOCRATIC WORLD FEDERATION
“While we spend much of our time and a great deal of our treasure in preparing for war, we see no comparable effort to establish a lasting peace. Meanwhile, emphasizing the sloth in this regard, those advocates who work for world peace by urging a system of world government are called impractical dreamers. Those impractical dreamers are entitled to ask their critics what is so practical about war.
“It seems to many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government patterned after our own gov- ernment with a legislature, executive and judiciary, and police to enforce its international laws and keep the peace.
“To do that, of course, we Americans will have to yield up some of our sovereignty. That would be a bitter pill. It would take a lot of courage, a lot of faith in the new order.
“But the American colonies did it once and brought forth one of the most nearly perfect unions the world has ever seen.
“The circumstances were vastly different, obviously. While the colonies differed on many questions, at least the people of the colonies were of the same Anglo-Saxon stock. Yet just because the task appears forbiddingly hard, we should not shirk it.
“We cannot defer this responsibility to posterity. Time will not wait. Democracy, civilization itself, is at stake. Within the next few years we must change the basic structure of our global community from the present anarchic system of war and ever more destructive weaponry to a new system governed by a democratic UN federation.”
Excerpt from the October 19, 1999 speech of Walter Cronkite in New York on the occasion of his being given the Norman Cousins Award by the World Federalist Association. The whole speech as well as Hilary Clinton’s praise of Cronkite can be seen at <video.google.com/videoplay?docid=- 4576126608705279626>.
“What Happened to the Idea of World Government?”
One of the most important developments of the past year with regard to world federalism was the February 16, 2009 Presidential Address of Thomas G. Weiss to the 50th Convention of the prestigious International Studies Association in New York City. The text of the lecture was also published in INTERNATIONAL STUDIES QUARTERLY, 53: No. 2 (June 2009), 253-271. The text of the speech is at <http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:gss0YvUgz6QJ:isanet.ccit.arizona.edu>.
Another article by Weiss titled “Toward a Third Generation of International Institutions: Obama’s UN Policy” appeared in THE WASHINGTON QUARTERLY for July 2009 and can be downloaded at <http://www.twq.com/09july/docs/09jul_Weiss.pdf>.
Here are a few short excerpts from Weiss’s speech which are of special interest to Citizens for Global Solutions and other world federalists.
“Will it take a calamity on the scale of World War Two to demonstrate the abject poverty of our current thinking? Is such a disaster required to catalyze a transformation of the current feeble system of what many of us now call “global governance”– the patchwork of formal and informal arrangements among states, international agencies, and public-private partnerships–into something with at least some of the attributes of a world government? . . . . My purpose this evening is to trace what has happened to the idea of a world government . . . .
“When interdependence was less and actors were fewer and states could actually solve or attenuate most international problems, the idea of a world government was not far from the mainstream. Paradoxically, now when states visibly cannot address a growing number of threats from WMDs to climate change, from terrorism to the current financial crisis, world government is unimaginable.
“It is most useful to think of global governance at any moment as reflecting the capacity of the international system to provide government-like services in the absence of a world government.
“However, applying the notion of “governance” to the planet is fundamentally misleading. It captures the gamut of interdependent relations in the absence of any overarching political authority and with institutions that exert little or no effective control. Quite a distinction exists, then, between the national and international species of governance. Within a country, we have governance plus government which, whatever its shortcomings in Mexico or the United States, usually and predictably ensures effective authority and control. At the international level, governance is the whole story. We have governance minus government, which means virtually no capacity to ensure compliance with collective decisions.
“What Happened to the Idea of World Government? Amazingly, it once was a staple of informed debate–and as hard as it is to believe, this tendency was especially pronounced in the United States. Could there really once have been a sizable group of prominent Americans from every walk of life, including politicians who passed resolutions in 30 of 48 state legislatures, who supported pooling American sovereignty with that of other countries? One now requires unknown powers of imagination to envision a Washington, DC, where the idea of world government was a staple of public policy analysis. Yet 60 years ago, a 1949 sense of Congress resolution argued for “a fundamental objective of the foreign policy of the United States to support and strengthen the United Nations and to seek its development into a world federation.”
“Led by its president Robert M. Hutchins, the University of Chicago from 1945 to 1951 sponsored a prominent group of scholars in the Committee to Frame a World Constitution. The movement was not a fringe group of the academy. It included not only Nobel laureates and a scientific luminary like Albert Einstein but also from such visible entertainers as Ronald Reagan, E. B. White, and Oscar Hammerstein. Future Senators Alan Cranston and Harris Wofford sought to spread the message of world federalism among university students, and the Student Federalists became the largest non- partisan political organization in the country. Other prominent individuals associated with the world government idea included, at one time or another, Kurt Vonnegut, Walter Cronkite, H. G. Wells, Peter Ustinov, Supreme Court Justices William Douglas and Owen Roberts, Senator Estes Kefauver and Senator and future Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. And the list goes on.
“This all evaporated by the early 1950s, when the world government idea was hidden by the Iron Curtain, overshadowed by the Cold War, and eclipsed by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt. On the right wing, this jump-started the engines of the black helicopters that are still whirling and fostered labeling advocates for world government as communist fellow travelers; and on the left wing, the idea has encountered fears of top-down tyranny in a dystopia.
“The short answer to the question asked in the title to this lecture is: the United States became obsessed with anti-communism; Europe focused on the construction of a regional economic and political federation; the burgeoning number of post-colonial countries shifted their preoccupations toward non-alignment and Third World solidarity; and scholars got out of the business. This ancient history now seems quaint. ISA members thinking about world government are almost extinct. From time to time an international relations theorist like Alexander Wendt suggests that “a world state is inevitable,” or Dan Deudney wishes that it were because war is so dangerous, or an international lawyer like Richard Falk calls for an irrevocable transfer of sovereignty upwards. But the idea of world government has been banned in sober discussions and is absent from classrooms.
“Global governance certainly is not the continuation of traditional power politics. But it also cer- tainly does not reflect an evolutionary process leading to constructing institutional structures able to provide global public goods and to address contemporary or future global threats. Scott Barrett’s insightful book, Why Cooperate?, puts it well: global governance is ‘organized volunteerism.’ In this regard, we have definitely gone overboard in our enthusiasm for non-state actors and informal processes. Not to put too fine a point on it, NGOs and transnational networks, corporations and activists crossing borders will not eliminate poverty, reverse global warming, or halt murder in Darfur.
“My Graduate Center colleague, the American historian David Nasaw, reminded me that the weak 13 original colonies during the American Revolution were operating under a contested and awkward Articles of Confederation, but they then sought a “more perfect union” in 1787 in Philadelphia. The world and the weak confederation of 192 UN member states require a “Philadelphia moment.”
We need a big international vision from the Obama administration. In nominating his confidante Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations and by restoring the post’s cabinet status, Obama not only announced that the United States has rejoined the world and is ready to re-engage with all member states, but also he acknowledged what is evident to most people on the planet who were not in the ideological bubble of the Bush administration, namely ‘that the global challenges we face demand global institutionsthat work.’
The Millennium Development Goals: Getting Involved
By Sandra Lee
There are many ways that you personally can help in supporting the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations sponsors various projects that are accessible via their website at <http://www.un.org/ millenniumgoals/takeaction.shtml>.
The United Nations Development Programme focuses on providing developing countries with knowledge-based consulting services and on building national, regional and global programs for change. They would like to recruit a new generation of expert practitioners who want to contribute to those partnerships by offering strategic approaches to long-standing problems. They are seeking individuals who can communicate advice and new ideas across cultures and different realms of society. They have a wide range of opportunities available at various levels. Competitive salaries are offered that are commensurate with experience.
Another interesting program I researched is called the United Nations Volunteer program. Their headquarters is located in Bonn, Germany. The UN Volunteers are administered by the United Nations Development Programme and adhere to UNDP policies and procedures for recruitment and staffing. They are seeking staff who are committed to the ideals of volunteerism and can contribute to UNV’s mission in three key areas: (1) advocating for volunteerism, (2) integrating volunteerism in development and (3) mobilizing volunteers for peace and development. They offer a wide range of opportunities at various levels in different practitioner and support areas. You may also access other volunteer opportunities at the World Volunteer website at <www.worldvolunteerweb.org>.
Volunteering does not stop there. You can support the Millennium Development goals by becoming a UNV Online Volunteer. This service is available at <www.onlinevolunteering.org>. You can engage in development activities over the Internet. This program provides online support to the work of grassroot organizations, international non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies.
Lastly you can become a part of the Millennium Congregations. This project works with diverse faith communities in facilitating education, advocacy and outreach for a more sustainable world through advancing the Millennium Development Goals. The groups approach builds and integrates these three program areas to achieve results from the active engagement of congregations and other faith groups in reducing extreme poverty. Through their capital campaign Rwanda Promise, Millennium Congregations is supporting the Millennium Villages in Rwanda.
In order to make the Millennium Development Goals a success, you should contribute in a way that will be fulfilling and will give you a sense of pride knowing that you were able to make a difference in someone’s life. Whether you contribute full or part time, anything that you do will help to ensure that this goal is met by or before the year 2015.
YOU CAN VOTE FOR WORLD FEDERATION IN A GLOBAL REFERENDUM
To register your vote, all you need to do is to go to the Vote World Government website at <http://www.voteworldgovernment.org> and cast your vote. There is only one question. Do you support the creation of a directly-elected, representative and democratic world government? You can vote “Yes” or “No.”
This effort to have a global referendum has been initiated by Canadian world federalist Jim Stark. In order to generate more publicity for the effort, he has enlisted the support of those who have written books about world federalism. The list of authors with quotations from many of them in support of the global referendum is at <http://www.voteworldgovernment.org/authorscampaign.shtml>.
Vote World Government is also a member of the new WATUN coalition (World Alliance to Transform the United Nations), which will include the global referendum as one of eight campaigns it supports.
NEW ARRANGEMENTS ON CGS MEMBERSHIP
New national CGS Development Director Maureen Howard has announced that in the future all CGS memberships will expire October 1. In all cases membership expiration dates will be extended rather than shortened. That means that you can somewhat disregard any expiration date printed on your mailing label. The labels were prepared before we learned about this change.
Tax-deductible contributions to the CGS Education Fund are encouraged, but making such a contribution does not constitute a renewal of membership. To be a member of CGS you must send $25 each year for membership. This is a U.S. government legal requirement for our type of organization. Anyone who is a member of the national organization is automatically a member of our local chapter. Contributors to the CGS Education Fund will be put on the list to receive both the national and the local newsletter.
All membership renewals should be sent to the national CGS office, 418 Seventh Street SE, Washington DC 2003. Tax-deductible contributions to the CGS Education Fund should be sent to the same Washington address and should be clearly marked “for the Education Fund.” You can also indicate on your check that you would like your Education Fund contribution to be forwarded back to the St. Louis chapter.
If you wish, you can make contributions directly to our St. Louis chapter by sending a check for “CGS-St. Louis” to our chapter Treasurer David Oughton, 1130 Big Sky Drive, Fenton MO 63026, but such contributions are not tax- deductible and are not regarded as membership renewals. Contributions for those purposes must be sent to the national office in Washington.