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Behind all speechmaking at U.N. lies a basic, unspoken question: Is the world governable?

24 Comments
By TED ANTHONY

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Is the world governable?

Yes, as long as you control the nuclear umbrella! As they say, too many cooks makes a bad soup...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Minimally, as the guy in the email said, yes.

Otherwise no and wouldn’t have it any other way. Decentralized decision making is hands-down better.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As long as the UN makes resolutions and then makes no effort to enforce them (Russian aggression, Iran's nukes, DORK's everything) then, no. It is not.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Is the world governable?

Of course not, as this would require enormous power and pressure. And as we all know already from our first physics lessons, every power or pressure generates a similar power or pressure with opposite direction vectors.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Its all words....blah blah blah. These grand meetings are just an excuse for all the leaders, and their hangers on, to travel the world, stay in luxury hotels, eat luxury meals ponce around in luxury cars, and guess who pays for it? Well, its not much of a guess really. There will always be countries who think they are to powerful listen to any world leadership council. Humans love fighting and killing each other to much, it has always been that way.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Have we considered explicitly allowing the largest nations to take chunks out of smaller countries at their leisure? There are a lot of people on this forum that would be in favor of that, so maybe this is representative of how the world at large thinks?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Nope!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The UN is a joke.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

That truth becomes evident listening to the first two days of leaders' speeches at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

The question is not whether these "leaders" can govern the squabbling masses.

The reality is even the leaders of the leading nations of the quote unquote "free world" sit atop a hyper-capitalist plutocratic oligarchical kakistocratic kleptocratic gerontocratic theocratic corporatocracy.

With leadership of even the most advanced nations crafting neo-feudal societies that benefit few and creating existential dangers in the pursuit of staggering sums.

https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/richest-are-getting-richer-1-will-own-more-than-all-the-rest-by-next-year/

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The UN is a joke.

Yet Kish Kun is begging for a seat on the Permanent Security Council.

So what does that make him?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Is the world governable? I hope not, and especially not by the UN and its minions across the globe.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It's not governable when great powers are in conflict, no.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think some in the comments are conflating "governance" with "being ruled". The two aren't the same.

I agree that there is basically zero chance that the world is ever going to end up with some kind of "world government" in my lifetime or even further into the future.

The question the article is asking isn't about that though. We've got almost 200 countries in the world and we've got a crapload of problems that cross borders (threat of nuclear war, climate change, whatever AI is going to do to screw us all over, etc) which no country on its own can solve. So we need to find some way of cooperating to at least try to manage some of these issues. I think that is what "governance" at the global level means.

But countries, like humans, have different and often conflicting interests and don't always trust each other so the kind of cooperation we need from them often fails to materialize.

So the best it seems we can hope for is for them to keep muddling along and not doing anything, or inadvertently letting something happen, that does irreparable damage to human civilization.

Its not a comforting thought - especially in an era where the most accurate visual metaphor for the state of international relations is the cafeteria brawl scene from Blazing Saddles - but its kind of where we find ourselves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Supra-national problems require supra-national solutions. I wonder what the smug snipers of the UN consider as a good forum for that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Aly RustomToday  01:29 pm JST

The UN is a joke.

Yet Kish Kun is begging for a seat on the Permanent Security Council.

So what does that make him?

Expanding the PUNSC has been advocated by many nations, and they have always advocated Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. None of these nations are "begging" for anything. Your perpetual insults towards Japan are really puerile.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Russians are illegally occupying a permanent seat on the Security Counsel.

That seat was granted to the Soviet Union which no longer exists. Russia was the largest, but only 1 of the confederation. It has no inherent right to that seat.

Given its behavior, it should be given the boot. What is it going to do, nuke the entire world?

As long as we are on the subject, the PRC was not granted the seat that China was given either, but at least it is still the same country. Russia isn't even that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An even better solution to discouraging Russia’s warmongering behavior is to take the $300 million in hard currency reserves frozen in US accounts and unilaterally transfer it to the central bank of Ukraine a down payment on rebuilding the damage done by Russia in its unprovoked aggression.

It would help the Ukrainians. It would deter the Russians. And it would send a message about the reverse spoils of war.

It would also have the side effect of deterring companies from investing in Russia as their assets will surely be seized. But that’s not US taxpayers money. It’s investor capital. As the man said, you pay your money and you take your chances. Don’t like having your investments frozen? Don’t blithely dump money into a totalitarian regime.

And what are or can the Russians going to do (beyond seizing foreign assets of course), nuke us?

I think not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The concept of Global Governance is primitive, ancient, and has lost its spark. Mightily tested human beings and their companion species are come a long way from that antiquated pipe dream of a handful of fellow mortals. Planet Earth is sympathetically looking at all those guys posing as saviors sitting in conference halls.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That should be 300 BILLION USD.

Apologies for the typo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An even better solution to discouraging Russia’s warmongering behavior is to take the $300 million in hard currency reserves frozen in US accounts and unilaterally transfer it to the central bank of Ukraine a down payment on rebuilding the damage done by Russia in its unprovoked aggression.

And that action would solidify global opinion that the U.S. is an untrustworthy steward to handle a global reserve currency. Want to destabilize the dollar, drive more nations toward BRICS, and lead even more to arrange bilateral exchanges independent of the dollar? Seizing billions is the way to do it. If there is even a small chance of falling afoul U.S. foreign policy, no nation is going to put reserves in the dollar in the future on the risk of losing it all.

The Swiss understood this and maintained neutrality in the 20th century. It turned Switzerland from landlocked pastures into a global financial powerhouse. Even the Nazi threat wasn’t enough to make the Swiss abandon economic neutrality. America bartered and won financial supremacy at Breton Woods. Is America dumb enough to throw that all away over Ukraine?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As Martinson said in the article, minimally.

The more that the UN tries to pass binding resolutions and treaties, the more its toothlessness is exposed. Governing is only practical and feasible locally. Globally, interests are far too diverse.

America since the early 1990s has come closer than any empire in history at enforcing a global order. It’s done so with a powerful currency that the rest of the world desperately needs and a massive military to keep in line anyone who challenges the dollar or the political order.

But even America can’t govern other nations. Even with tens of thousands of troops policing Iraq and Afghanistan, those nations made themselves ungovernable. Loose influence—lots of carrots and light use of the stick—that’s all America has globally. The UN cannot achieve even that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Expanding the PUNSC has been advocated by many nations, and they have always advocated Germany, Japan, India and Brazil.

None of these nations are "begging" for anything.

Kishi used the war in Ukraine to beg for a seat at the SC. It was a sneaky way to promote the above.

Your perpetual insults towards Japan are really puerile.

And your perpetual right wing apologist posts and personal attacks are really pathetic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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