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

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - Muhit­tin Demi­ray

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.

Global gov­er­nance

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


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

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