THE TIDE IS TURNING
Joe Schwartzberg, national CGS Board Member from Minneapolis (reprinted from the May 2009 newsletter of CGS of Minnesota)
I’m struck by the many changes for the better— some subtle, others obvious— that the past year has brought. The biggest, of course, is the sense of hope generated by the election of President Barack Obama, in regard to international affairs in general and our relationship with the United Nations in particular. It looks as if the United States will, at last, ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS), likely pay up its arrears in UN dues, and try to address the economic chasm separating the global North from the global South.
Change is also evident in non-governmental circles. Last month I took part in an excellent conference on United Nations reform at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC organized by the UN Nations Association, with the co-sponsorship of a number of other prestigious NGOs. Previously, the UNA steered clear of serious discussions of UN reform because (in my view) it had all it could do to muster support for the UN in its present highly imperfect form.
Equally encouraging was Thomas Weiss’ 2009 Presidential address this February before the International Studies Association titled “What Happened to the Idea of World Government?”
Until recently, speaking approvingly of the prospect of world government in the political science and international relations communities of academia was a sure way of getting oneself labeled as “hopelessly naïve;” but Weiss bravely cited much of the literature on the subject that animated the World Federalist movement prior to its being undermined by the likes off Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Weiss reminded his audience that the worldwide movement until then was led by the United States.
He noted that in 1949 111 members of Congress, including future presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford and a host of other eminent political leaders, put forward a “sense of Congress” resolution that stated that “a fundamental objective of the foreign policy of the United States [is] to support and strengthen the United Nations and to seek its development into a world federation.” Additionally, resolutions were passed in 30 of 48 state legislatures supporting the “pooling of American sover- eignty with that of other countries.”
We have a long way to go before we recapture the exciting spirit of the early World Federalist movement; but we are, at last, moving in the right direction.
2009 HIROSHIMA DAY OBSERVANCE ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 9
The annual Hiroshima Day observance organized by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom will be held on Sunday, August 9 at the traditional site of Lewis Park in University City, just north of Delmar and west of Yale Avenue. At 6:00 enjoy your picnic lunch. After that, listen to relevant presentations and watch the traditional lantern boats float on the lagoon. For more information call the World Community Center, 314/862-5735.
NEXT CGS/STL BOARD MEETING SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 12
The next meeting of the CGS/STL Board of Officers and Directors will be 10:15 a.m. Saturday, September 12, 2009 at the World Community Center, 438 N. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis MO 63130. The always informative national one-hour teleconference call for Partners for Global Change (PGC) will take place at noon that day. All members and interested parties are invited to attend both the board meeting and the PGC call. (Earlier the board meeting had been scheduled for September 19, but instead it will be held on September 12, the usual second Saturday of the month, because Chair Ron Glossop has learned that he will be able to be back in town sooner than previously anticipated.)
UNITED NATIONS DAY (OCTOBER 24) EVENTS
“How to Make the U.N. More Effective” is the theme to be discussed at the our 2009 United Nations Day celebration by speakers from the various local co-sponsoring organizations. For example, Ron Glossop will be talking about the Responsibility to Protect Principle and how to implement it (which will also get us into the International Criminal Court and weighted voting). The speaker from the League of Women Voters will be speaking about the Millenium Development Goals, what has happened so far to advance them, and what should be done to advance them further.
Other co-sponsoring organizations are expected to be the United Nations Association of St. Louis, the Ethical Action Committee of the Ethical Soci- ety, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Institute for Peace and Justice.
The meeting will be held 2:00-4:00 p.m. Saturday, October 24 at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117. There is no charge. Come and join us for this informative event.
Another U.N. Day-event (sponsored by the UNA of St. Louis) will be held two days earlier on Thursday, October 22 at 12:30 at the Millenium Center of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The speaker will be popular author, TV personality, and photographer Helena Mulkerns from Ireland. She spent a year and a half living in Central America working for MINUGUA, the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala and then moved to Africa in 2000, work- ing for UNMEE, the UN Peace- keeping Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea. She has written a film script on land mines and their impact on children.
“The abolition of war is no longer an ethical question to be pondered solely by learned philosophers and ecclesiastics, but a hard core one for the decision of the masses whose survival is the issue. Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can only be a dream – that it is the vague imagining of a visionary. But we must go on or we will go under … We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts. We must break out of the straightjacket of the past. We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate the universal wish for peace—which is rapidly becoming a neces- sity—into actuality.”
-General Douglas MacArthur, July 5, 1961
REPORT FROM CGS NATIONAL MEETING IN WASHINGTON DC (March 19-21, 2009)
2009 has been a long anticipated year for me as it is full of travels to Turkey, Aruba, and Costa Rica. To kick-off the list of destinations though, I began by traveling to the annual conference of Citizens for Global Solutions in Washington D.C. In March, when I returned from spring break, as I prepared for the trip I had a number of anticipations and curiosity about how the organization works with members of Congress to make changes and progress in the international community. Despite the fact that such action requires mass amounts of cooperation with international organizations and foreign nations, the key to US involvement lies with people such as those in CGS. My experience with the people in the organization as well as the guest speakers, panelists, and legislators, was highly beneficial to my own growth in the field of international relations as well as political science.
The members of CGS come from all different backgrounds and studies, but share the passion and drive for advancing the status of the US in world affairs. I was very happy to be treated so well by people whom I had never even met before, and I learned a great deal from the diverse groups who were so willing to discuss what they knew as well as to hear what people like myself thought. My knowledge about current situations with the UN and the ICC, nuclear non-proliferation, Darfur, and the environment greatly increased due to the informative speakers as well as the people present at the convention. Becoming a part of CGS for the weekend and being able to have an impact on legislation by visiting with legislators made me feel as though every person really does have a voice. The way in which members go out and push for their goals and believe in something so much instills a feeling of accomplishment and importance in me.
One of the most important issues for me is genocide and the involvement of the US and other nations against governments such as Al-Bashir’s in Sudan. The videos of the disaster there were impressive and are beneficial for people who do not know much about the circumstances of people living in Darfur. Solutions are difficult, for genocides are due to the fact that countries want to preserve their “state sovereignty.” The ICC can make a difference, however, by holding dictators accountable for their behavior. A warrant for the arrest of Al-Bashir was a positive step for the ICC in setting an example for others as well as stabilizing the legitimacy of the organization. Darfur was a hot topic in the 2008 elections and hopefully President Obama will stay true to his word and bring an end to the genocide.
Along the same lines, I very much enjoyed the speech of Gillian Sorenson from the UN. She clearly has a great amount of experience with the international community and really believes in the actions taken by the organization. Her discussion of the UN’s relationship with the US really put into perspective the damage that has been done and what the US must now do to regain its status.
The “Treaties in Limbo” discussion was also very interesting because it explained how the US has failed in recent years to ratify certain treaties which are crucial to our role in the international community. Some examples of these include the Convention to Eliminate All forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) and the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. The fear has been that these treaties would abrogate the sovereignty of the US. Since we are currently the hegemonic power, the government has been reluctant to give up sectors of supremacy. As the world continues to shift in the direction of a multipolar system though, the US will face increasing roadblocks to dominance due to its self-isolation from the international community.
Progress in the world now focuses on cooperation with other nations because of the way in which states are so interdependent. Educating the population is of great importance as we enter a world where competition is not only among US citizens but also among people across the globe. The future of the US depends on how willing citizens are to become active in making changes to expand our role in the world. With people such as those of CGS, the potential for the US to make positive changes for other nations and people is encouraging.
Thanks again to CGS of St. Louis for the opportunity to travel to your great organization’s national convention and to be a part of something that I will remember for the rest of my life!
The Millennium Development Goals: Eight Keys to a Better World
By Sandra Lee, junior at Washington University
The Millennium Development Goals were adopted when 189 Heads of State and Government met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in September, 2000. They agreed to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declarations committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of eight measurable time bound targets for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. World leaders have agreed to achieve the goals by the year 2015.
The Millennium Development Goals and their measurable targets are:
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger
Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.
Target 2: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all including women and young people.
Target 3: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Target 1: Ensure that, by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Target 1: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, prefer- ably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Target 1: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Target 1: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
Target 2: Achieve universal access to reproductive health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
Target 1: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS Target 2: Achieve by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all who need it.
Target 3: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Target 1: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
Target 2: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.
Target 3: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Target 4: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at Least 100 million slum dwellers.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Target 1: Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states.
Target 2: Develop further an open, rule- based predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.
Target 3: Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt
Target 4: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
Target 5: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.
It is important to understand why the Millennium Goals are unique in many powerful ways:
They represent a compact between all the world’s major economic players. Poorer countries pledged to improve policies and governance and increase accountability to their own citizens; wealthy countries pledged to provide the resources. Since the commitment to achieve goals comes from the highest political levels, for the first time entire governments are committed to their achievement–including the trade and finance ministers who hold the world’s purse strings. Major international financial institutions, the World Bank, the IMF, the regional development banks and increasingly, the membership of the World Trade Organization have made explicit that they will be accountable for achieving the Goals too.
The world has never before seen so much prosperity. The hundreds of billions that are being spent in Iraq have put things in perspective. We might not need more than about $50 billion of additional aid per year to meet the Goals. About $900 billion was invested in arms by governments in 2003 alone; and rich countries grant large support to their domestic agricultural producers, totaling $300 billion each year. Financially, in the grand scheme of things, we’re talking about relatively small change.
These are not just lofty statements of intent; precise monitoring mechanisms have been put in place, in the form of national Millennium Goals reports and the Secretary General’s reports to the General Assembly. Civil society organizations around the world are creating their own set of reports as well, to ensure that governments are held to the highest possible standards of performance. Over 60 country reports have already produced at the national level.
The goals are clearly achievable. Some have even argued that they are not in fact millennium, but “minimum” development goals. Summit leaders believe that to set the bar any lower than this would be morally unacceptable. Individual Goals have already been achieved by many countries in the space of only 10-15 years.
The United Nations Millennium Campaign supports and inspires people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
In the next issue of this newsletter I will discuss ways you can join the growing global movement of people who are taking action to find ways to help make the Millennium Development Goals a success.
Performance against the goals is being monitored.
THE GLOBAL COMMONWEALTH OF CITIZENS: TOWARD COSMOPOLITAN DEMOCRACY
by Daniele Archibugi [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008]
(Book review by Ronald J. Glossop—April 29, 2009)
Democracy is needed at the global level, not just within nations. That is the thesis of this book directed mainly to Western thinkers, especially in the United States. The governance of the world community should be in the hands of all its inhabitants, not just the small proportion found in earlier industrialized, earlier democratized richer countries.
The first chapter, “A Queen for the World,” directs the reader to an idea put forth in 1840 by American William Ladd, the idea that world public opinion (what he called “the Queen of the World”) rather than military or economic power should govern the world . Ladd’s ideas on how to implement his vision were primitive compared with institutions that now exist such as the U.N. General Assembly and the International Court of Justice. Archibugi notes that this book aims to explore “the chances of increasing the legitimacy of world politics by introducing the germs of democracy and subjecting world politics to the citizens’ scrutiny. Under what conditions could public opinion become the queen of the world?” (p. 2) The goal is to develop institutions where the public controls the actions of national governments, international organizations, and multinational corporations.
Archibugi is concerned that the world is dominated by a small group of countries which contains less than a sixth of the world’s population. Archibugi points to the “democratic schizophrenia” of the West which aims to promote democracy in other countries but which is by no means ready to apply the principles of democracy to the management of global affairs. The present challenge for the world community is to meld the lofty Western Enlightenment ideals of cosmopolitanism and democracy.
Part I focuses on “The Theory of Cosmopolitan Democracy.” Its third chapter explores the tensions between democracy and the present global system while the fourth chapter addresses the “institutional architecture of cosmopolitan democracy.” HereArchibugi discusses confederations and federations and then raises the question at the base of his own view, namely, whether there might be a third type of structure “more cohesive and demanding than a confederation but less rigid than a federation.”(p.11 and pp. 101-112) That third type would be something like the ever-evolving U.N. and the current European Union if they just don’t move on to become centralized federations.(p. 110) Archibugi’s model for a federation is a strong federation that has existed over a period of time and one strengthened by wars with external enemies: the United States of today, not as it was when first created. The result is that the third type of structure which he champions is virtually the same as the limited federation that most world federalists support.
Part II, “The Practice of Cosmopolitan Democracy,” focuses on what needs to be done to promote cosmopolitan democracy in particular cases, such as how to make the U.N. and other international organizations more democratic. Military actions for humanitarian purposes should be based on cosmopolitan democratic principles rather than just the interests of a few dominant countries. Decisions on how best to spread democracy into new areas, how to advance ethnic self-determination, and how to protect the rights of linguistic minorities require democratic decision-making at the global level. Ultimately global democracy requires a global language that is accessible to all, and on page 260 he says that “democratic politics must be in Esperanto.”
Archibugi admits that there are other issues that he has not discussed which need to be addressed by a global commonwealth of citizens rather than the oligarchy of rich countries which now exists. But he has discussed the central issues and has made his main point in a cogent way. The democratic nation-states which are so dominant in the world must apply their democratic principles of universal inclusion, responsibility to the governed, and rigorous impartiality beyond their national borders to the whole global community.
Ronald J. Glossop is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Peace Studies at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and author of Philosophy: An Introduction to Its Problems & Vocabulary (1974), World Federation? (1993) and Confronting War (4th ed., 2001).
ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 19, PREVIOUS PARTNERS FOR GLOBAL CHANGE CALL FOCUSED ON UNCLOS
JOIN US FOR ANOTHER DISCUSSION
Consequently, on Saturday, Sept. 19 we are scheduling a similar session to view and discuss other DVDs from the GREAT DECISION series, this time on “Energy & the Global Economy” and “The Arctic Age” (result of global warming)
The meeting will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Cape Albeon retirement home, 3380 Lake Bend Road, Valley Park MO 63088, phone 636/861-3200.
DIRECTIONS: At the intersection of I-270 and Dougherty Ferry Road, go west on Dougherty Ferry past Big Bend Boulevard. Turn left (south) at the next street (Lake Bend Road) and go to the first building on the left. The meeting will be on the third floor.
On May 9, 2009 Partners for Global Change participated in a conference phone call arranged by our national CGS office in Washington. It was a very informative report and discussion on the Law of the Sea Treaty (officially the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea – UNCLOS). The treaty has been recommended for Senate ratification by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations twice in the last six years, and is now again on the desk of Senator Kerry, chair of the committee. The administration hasn’t yet taken a position (and needs to do so). Hearings are to be held next month. The Committee will probably support ratification. To be sure that is comes to a vote,we in CGS need to support our Democratic Senators as well as Republican Senator Richard Lugar. He is supporting ratification despite opposition from some Republicans and our old “friends,” the John Birch Society and the Heritage Foundation, who automatically oppose any kind of international regulation of anything.
The European Union plus 157 other nations are now governed by the Law of the Sea Treaty. As a non-ratifier the U.S. cannot have any say on important legal issues being discussed like rules about offshore drilling, about factory ships, about ocean pollution, about mining of seabed minerals, about depletion of fisheries, and so on.
Don Kraus, our national CEO, asks us to help push this important treaty on the Oceans over the finish line. We can use the CGS web-site as well as contacting the President and Senators by phone or letters or faxes. He also suggests making a contribution to CGS to assist in carrying out the battle. Kraus said, “If the Senate will not accede to this convention now, how can we expect them to support ratification of the backlog of other multilateral treaties waiting for a vote including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Women’s Convention (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Biodiversity Treaty, the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, and many others?”
“A world government with powers adequate to guarantee security is not a remote ideal for the distant future. It is an urgent necessity if our civilization is to survive.”
– Albert Einstein
“World federalists hold before us the vision of a unified mankind living in peace under a just world order. The heart of their program – a world under law – is realistic and attainable.”
– U.N. Secretary General U Thant
“Any scientist can testify that a dead ocean means a dead planet . . . The ocean, more than any other part of our planet, … is a classic example of the absolute need for international global action.”
– Thor Hyerdahl
ARE YOU A CITIZEN OF THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY?
On Monday, June 8, while speaking to an audience at a meeting of the Senate and House Republican Campaign Committees, Newt Gingrich proclaimed himself “not a citizen of the world.”The question is, Are you?
Mr. Gingrich stated that global citizenship, as a concept, is, “intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous.”
Well, we respectfully disagree. Citizens for Global Solutions believes that global citizenship is not “intellectual nonsense,” but means recognizing the interconnectedness of humanity, protecting the rights of all human beings, and working together to solve the problems that affect us all. We believe that it is not global citizenship that is “stunningly dangerous” but instead isolationism, focusing on our differences rather than our connections, and being short-sighted with regard to dealing with global problems.
One way to show that you are an involved citizen of the global community is to make an additional contribution to Citizens for Global Solutions, either through the website at < http:// http://www.globalsolutions.org> or by sending a check to Citizens for Global Solutions, 418 Seventh Street SE, Washington DC 20003. The main limitation on our present efforts is the lack of financial resources, and every little bit or big bit makes a big difference.