Regional governance: reaping the rewards of globalization By Muhittin Demiray
Globalization has necessitated new paradigms in understanding and defining international relations. The first steps toward generating a practical, positive post-Cold War paradigm came with the evolution of global governance: This in turn spawned new, smal
An analysis of the potential role of regional governance in Turkey’s redefined foreign policy.
Whenever the state of political affairs in Turkey becomes uncertain or the government is at a loss to provide a solution, “What is the country coming to?” is always the first question on everyone’s lips. The developments following the Cold War and actors’ failure to come up with answers to international uncertainties prompts us to ask this question on a global scale: “What is the world coming to?” After all, aren’t we living in a global village?
Ideas emerging at critical points in history are responsible for political, economic, social and cultural transformation; they also have an impact on fundamental reference points and conclusions in the interpretation of events and occurrences. Everything is defined on the basis of these ideas. Thomas Kuhn termed this the “paradigm.” Myriad theories are being hatched in international think tanks and universities as the search continues for a paradigm to define the post-Cold War international order.
In the 20th century, calls for the freedom of all peoples under a communist -- as opposed to a capitalist -- regime and the proletarian ideal of paradise on earth were the leading topic of political, economic and scientific theses. The end of World War II saw international relations being defined on the basis of a realist ideal, whereas the Cold War period was viewed within the context of an ideologically bipolar world system. During the Cold War, when a “balance of terror” was established by ideological dichotomies and the arms race, it was not the means states had at their disposal but rather their military allegiances and the economic system they subscribed to that delineated their national interests.
Many answers have been sought in relation to questions about the central motivations of a post-Cold War order and the paradigm around which the international order would be built. In an article from 1989, Francis Fukuyama argued that we have reached the end of history. Fukuyama claimed that monarchial regimes, fascism and finally communism had collapsed in the face of democratic liberalism and that,
as such, the liberal democratic system constituted “the final ideological chapter in human history.” According to Fukuyama, the democratic liberal system in its current form was humanity’s ultimate political system. Before Fukuyama’s ideas could be thoroughly discussed, however, Samuel Huntington declared that the basic structure of international relations in the 21st century would be shaped by what he termed a “clash of civilizations.” Huntington later elaborated on this thesis in a book bearing the same title, where he argued that in the post-Cold War world the most important values had become cultural identities expressed through symbols such as the flag, cross, crescent and headscarf1. This marked a rediscovery of old identities and a mobilization around these rediscovered traditional symbols, he claimed.
Huntington asserted that these searches for identity depended on discovering an external enemy to rally against. Therefore, the most dangerous flashpoints in this process would occur at the fault lines of major civilizations. This framed cultural identity as the key variable in post-Cold War international relations, cleavages and conflicts.
Linked to globalization, neo-liberalism found political support in the US and UK in the early 1980s. At first, this movement was labeled “Reaganomics” or “Thatcherism” to emphasize its centers of political support. Later, with the end of the Cold War, this movement gained new dimensions and came to encompass a number of disparate views. Thus, globalization is a far from homogenous entity. Rather, it comprises a variety of complex, ambivalent, even conflicting values. However, as M. Kemal Öke noted in his 2001 book2, globalization presupposes recognition of a fundamental process driving greater global homogenization.
Globalization not only encompasses the integration of economies, politics, finance and technology. It also brings with it negative forces such as terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking. In other words, globalization spreads more than just universal democratic rights and freedoms, pluralistic societal models, and free market economies; negative trends are also globalizing. These challenges threaten the material security of individuals, societal harmony and economic stability.
Under the initiative of German politician Willy Brandt, a 28-member “Commission on Global Governance” met in 1992 to discuss how best to
bring order to the post-Cold War environment, which was already displaying signs of uncertainty and dysfunction. The commission authored a report that aimed “to develop a common vision of the way forward for the world in making the transition from the Cold War and in managing humanity’s journey into the twenty-first century.” In the 1995 report, “Our Global Neighborhood,” the commission is careful to note that global governance does not amount to a sovereign global government3. Such a “world government” would be problematic from a democratic standpoint. However, this does not make it permissible to condone the diametric opposite of world government -- such a system would end in utter chaos. The real challenge is, as the commission notes, “to strike the balance in such a way that the management of global affairs is responsive to the interests of all people in a sustainable future, that it is guided by basic human values, and that it makes global organization conform to the reality of global diversity”. Based on the notion that with respect to technological, economic and social relations, the world is becoming a global village, there is widespread consensus that only action on the global level can confront challenges like the weapons trade, nuclear proliferation, security, hunger, global warming and pollution. In some sense this is based on the need for global mechanisms to confront global challenges, particularly given that today’s global order seems comparatively more fragile than that of previous periods. After all, it is not just the “good guys” who can exploit the new technological, psychological and political opportunities that globalization brings. In this respect, as Franz Nuscheler stated in 20024, global governance means developing the structures, mechanisms and rules for cooperation on issues that transcend borders. Global governance means taking preventative measures to secure international peace and security. When these measures prove insufficient, global governance requires timely and effective implementation of international legal means for intervention.
Global governance’s goals include promoting an international system grounded in law, intensifying international cooperation, and establishing the UN as the center for efforts targeting world peace. As Nuscheler noted in 20005, this paradigm envisions a cooperative culture based on common values and goals in which civil society plays an effective role.
This paradigm maintains that global cooperation can address economic inequality at a global level. In order for these values to take hold, all nations must recognize the rule of law and the role of democratic principles at a global level. A global governance paradigm depends on processes that facilitate cooperation, coordination and conciliation in an international context characterized by complexity and high levels of integration.
A call for global governance
Not everyone welcomes the concept of globalization with all of its accompanying implications. What is more, globalization has emerged alongside a new trend, one largely dismissed previously as passé: localization. Alongside their opposition to globalization, various groups previously considered bound by legal bonds of citizenship began to voice opposition to the assimilation processes of their governments. As post-Soviet states embarked on their nation-building projects, Yugoslavia was unable to maintain its integrity, breaking along the fault lines created by local ethnic and religious distinctions. In
much the same manner, Iraq split along ethnic and religious divides following the US invasion. Arab-Spring inspired events in Syria today follow a similar thread, representing the insurrection of a majority group against the coercive sovereignty of a minority.
It is also clear that in today’s international context, competition and conflicts of interest between neighbors are more prominent than in the past. These competitions will produce outcomes that are detrimental overall to the players involved. Expending energy on competition and conflict rather than on cooperation leads to wasteful appropriation of resources needed to raise levels of welfare and security. For this reason, cooperation needs to replace competition in international affairs. The EU represents the best example of this principle. Deepseated historical competition in continental Europe -- exemplified by Franco-German enmity -constituted the greatest obstacle to European integration. Yet the seeds for today’s EU were sown following World War II, when France and Germany resolved to bury their past antagonism and focus on economic development through cooperation in the strategic coal and steel industries. Germany’s rise to economic power in the EU, especially in the Eurozone, was made possible by the EU umbrella. Without this political body, Germany would be wholly unable to exercise these policies. This includes the re-unification of Germany, which would not have been palatable for the other European nations, were it not for the EU.
The Commission on Global Governance report argues that regional economic groups can use economic cooperation to resolve historical enmities and that these efforts can evolve into ever deeper processes of integration. Commission on Global Governance Co-chair Ingvar Carlsson emphasized the importance of including publics in these efforts and argued that efforts on the global level are insufficient to ensure global security. Writing in 2000, Carlsson stressed that global governance must incorporate the development and renovation of both regional and international institutions6. When regional states create opportunities for cooperation on many different levels, they enable civil society to increase cross-border interaction. This translates into opportunities for publics to forge an atmosphere of mutual trust. Taking the UN Charter as the basis for regional integration gives states an increased capacity to anticipate and minimize the possibility of future conflict.
Regional governance and Turkey’s vision
Post-Cold War developments have shown that efforts on the international level are insufficient to ensure worldwide peace and security. Meanwhile, globalization has opened new possibilities for states to cooperate within a regional framework. This need for cooperation emanates from both economic and security imperatives. First, globalization’s economic paradigm necessitates increasing trade between nations. These relationships foster the development of ever deeper trade ties between nations of similar economic development.
A notable example of this dynamic was observed during Turgut Özal’s presidency when, despite political tensions, Turkey allowed Greek citizens to trade freely with Turkey by lifting visa restrictions in 1984. In 1985 Turkey, Iran and Pakistan formed the Economic Cooperation Organization for the same purpose. Turkey’s initiative was also behind the foundation of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), a post- Cold War mechanism for resolving outstanding disagreements between
WHEN PREVENTATIVE MEASURES TO SECURE INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY PROVE INSUFFICIENT, GLOBAL GOVERNANCE REQUIRES TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL MEANS FOR INTERVENTION
members and fostering greater cooperation. Greece is a member of this group, alongside other Black Sea states.
These organizations do more than just talk. For example, the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have resolved to work toward ending violence in Syria, even dispatching a delegation to the conflict zone. This approach makes sense given that such conflicts do not affect only the combatants; they have regional implications. As Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made clear in a Nov. 2, 2011, statement during a visit to the US, the Israel-Palestine issue involves more than just the Israelis and Palestinians. It is an intractable conflict that directly affects the entire region. Iraq’s division along sectarian lines is similar, in that it carries severe implications for the entire region -- Iran and Turkey in particular.
Turkey has been adjusting its domestic and international priorities to adapt to the changing post-Cold War international system. This transformation began during Özal’s presidency and gained additional dimensions with the new foreign policy of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), based on recognizing the responsibilities that come with Turkey’s geopolitical location and the region’s historical contingencies. Developing this foreign policy vision is impossible without transforming Turkey’s societal structure and mentality. Turkey’s vision reflects the Commission on Global Governance’s awareness that “there is a fine line between the degree of exclusivity needed to create a regional identity and that which creates division.” Turkey’s prospects for economic welfare and security are inextricably tied to formulation of a foreign policy that embraces its neighbors in an effort to secure regional peace. Ultimately Turkey cannot ensure its security by fortifying its borders. Only by implementing a peaceful, cooperative, humane and just foreign policy will Turkey win over the people of the region. This mandates policies that will forge bonds of trust with all the ethnicities and religions of the region. This is the impetus behind Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” approach, which aims to develop mutual bonds of trust with governments and publics throughout the region. This approach resists definition within a single package of technical policies. Rather, it envisions comprehensive cooperation that evolves over the long term. It is easy to forget that today’s paradigmatic example of regional integration, the EU, is the product of 55 years of effort and two world wars.
Global governance refers to the notion that in our global village, characterized by pervasive processes of globalization, new challenges are emerging with global implications. Confronting these challenges requires cooperative action on a global level. This paradigm does not call for a world government. Rather, global governance calls for cooperation among state and non-state actors, without coercion from superpowers. This entails establishing new policies and norms based on common interests and shared responsibilities. In some sense, this thesis envisions cooperation based on the “global neighborhood” concept, elaborating on the recommendations of the Commission on Global Governance.
Turkey’s redefined foreign policy is linked to the concept of regional governance. Domestic and international factors have necessitated a total reformulation of Turkey’s 20th century foreign policy of exclusion and separation. The architect of the AK Party’s foreign policy, Davutoğlu, argues for replacing paradigms based on competition with a new approach, one emphasizing cooperation in the economic, political and cultural arenas. Such a policy would benefit all actors by ensuring greater economic welfare and political stability. This is the foundation to Davutoğlu’s promotion of concepts such as “strategic common sense”, “zero-problems with neighbors,” “history with a just memory” and “common interests.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emphasized the interactive dynamics in the region during his famous “balcony speech” following his party’s victory in the June 12, 2011, general election. In this speech, Erdoğan listed the capitals of the region and declared that the election result represented a victory for all these nations as well as for Turkey. Al Jazeera broadcast an Arabic translation of this speech, a telling example of Turkey’s prestige in the Middle East.
Regional governance seeks to implement at a regional level the universal norms formulated for global governance. By instituting a policy based on regional governance, Turkey can bypass its critics and promote greater regional cooperation.
FM Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks in İstanbul at the Turkey-GCC HighLevel Strategic Dialogue Fourth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Jan. 28, 2012
The BSEC is a successful example of regional governance -- one that overcomes political divides for the greater good. April 17, 2009