on Nationalism, Internationalism and Cosmopolitanism
Deakin University Melbourne, Australia
I hope that you understand that I am not a philosopher who can
use allocated time at this roundtable discussion and present you
with a vision of current and future correlation of all these three
phenomena. I consider myself to be a practical man, a diplomat
having had a great opportunity to serve his country as the Foreign
Minister and now to have even a greater honor to serve the international
community as the President of the Fifty-seven session of the General
Assembly of the United Nations.
I will, therefore, try to share with you some of my practical
experience and to concentrate particularly on my work at the United
Nations. By no means do I expect my report to give you a whole
picture of the problems under discussion. Rather, I will try to
present you with some recent ideas and developments which are,
in my view, closely connected with the question of nationalism,
internationalism and cosmopolitanism and which can add some new
optics on this important topic.
start with the United Nations asking some questions about this
organization. What is the place of this organization in world
politics today? What is the effect of the United Nations on the
state behavior today? Can we consider this organization on its
way towards a cosmopolitan governance of word?
can also generalize all these questions and simply ask if the
state's foreign policy behavior would change if the United Nations
were, imagined out of existence?
I doubt that even the most stalwart critic of the United Nations
or the most loyal disciple of realism would desire to dismantle
the United Nations or defend the idea of a world in which norms
do not effect outcomes. The United Nations can be judged effective
to the extent that states change their behavior as a consequence
of its existence.
Taking into account the most recent example of the USA and Iraq
we can say that for the international community it is not only
important that the United States or other big powers seek the
support of the United Nations but also that Iraq and similar countries
fully respect the United Nations' decisions. In short, norms matter
for producing a more stable security order, and the United Nations,
as an articulator and transmitter of these norms, contributes
to peace and security.
my view one of the most striking features of the post-Cold War
period is how even the most powerful states appear to be seeking
the United Nations' seal of approval with greater frequency and
how many less powerful countries appear to be trying to defy the
United Nations' decisions. Although there are many possible explanations
for this development, perhaps the most provocative is that a growing
cosmopolitanism is causing major powers to seek the United Nations'
authorization. Power is increasingly conferred on those who demonstrate
adherence to the community's values and norms, and leadership
is not only about having military power but also about projecting
a moral purpose.
and influence, in this respect, are not a function solely of military
might and economic wealth but also of perception. In my view,
the main cause of current difficult debate in the Security Council
on Iraq between the supporters of the United States and its opponents
is that the United States underestimated the reality that their
power in the international system derives not only from its economic
and military might but also from its relationship to the international
community's dominant norms.
If a state's influence and power is shaped by its ability to abide
by and be identified with these norms, then the norms will have
a powerful effect on state behavior. Can you agree with me that
behind the huge international protests against the war in Iraq
where several million people in more than 600 cities participated
were not a reaction on this disaccord between the military power,
influence and the dominant norms in the international community?
state, which derives its authority and legitimacy not only from
its citizens but also from the community of states, is embedded
in an increasingly dense normative web that constrains its foreign
policy in general and its use of military force in particular.
While states will continue to act unilaterally when their national
interests are at stake, changing the definitions of security,
growing interdependence, and expanded community boundaries are
causing the military actions of many states to be legitimated
not only by their citizens but also by the international community.
From this point of view, we can only welcome that U.S. officials
are seeking the United Nations' authority.
fact, the first significant post-Cold War instance of this phenomenon
was Bush's decision in the fall of 1990 to turn to the United
Nations to legitimate his forthcoming war against Iraq. While
many in the United States criticized him for asking the United
Nations to approve an action that they viewed as a prerogative
of a great power and a sovereign state (including Kuwait's right
to request assistance in its self-defense), it is highly debatable
whether or not Congress would have supported Bush's decision to
initiate war against Iraq without the United Nations' "stamp
of approval". We witnessed a very similar situation last
August/September with this US administration.
general, major powers want to be viewed as acting on behalf of,
and in a manner that is consistent with, the norms of the international
community - a perception that is increasingly based on UN approval.
This acknowledged search for legitimacy and UN accreditation is
also driven by other political considerations. One of them is
the fact that prospective coalition partners, however, are increasingly
demanding that the United Nations approve the multilateral operation
before they will join (look how many European countries prefer
the UN approval in case of war against Iraq). In other words,
even when the most powerful states search for coalition partners,
they are discovering that such partners are demanding that the
operation receive accreditation from the United Nations because
of its legitimacy function.
Until very recently some people suggested that the United Nations
is little more than a "cover" for the great powers and
that neither it nor its norms have much effect on state actions.
This view can be easily countered. The very decision to seek Security
Council approval provides major and minor powers alike with an
important opportunity to alter the actions of, and to hold accountable,
even the largest members (see later negotiations concerning Iraq
in the Security Council). While the most powerful countries have
the greatest influence, even the less powerful ones have some
say over the outcome (which, of course, gives the organization
its collective legitimacy).
past ten to twelve years demonstrated another important phenomenon
in the history of the United Nations - the tendency to use the
United Nations as an agent of peace enforcement. This task, however,
without the proper conditions on the ground, did immense harm
to both the organization and the very people it was supposed to
help. Indeed the United Nations' involvement in enforcement activities,
particularly in Haiti, Somalia and Bosnia has dangerously eroded
its reputation and legitimacy, the prime sources of its ability
to encourage states to abide by its norms. There is growing recognition
that the United Nations cannot always help others at all times
and that to do so can make matters worse and undermine the organization's
distinct contribution to international security.
is particularly instructive here is a diminishing interest in
seeing the United Nations involved in peace enforcement; a continuing
interest in using the United Nations as a forum for establishing
cooperative security arrangements; the attempt to further develop
the mechanisms of transparency, including peacekeeping, that encourage
states to resolve their conflicts and adopt more cooperative arrangements;
a greater recognition that peacekeepers should be used as symbols
only when the conditions are ripe and the UN obtains the consent
of the parties; and a growing awareness that the United Nations
represents a highly valuable forum for articulating the norms
of acceptable behavior in the community of states. The United
Nations, therefore, can make an important contribution to security
even if it never develops robust enforcement capacities.
The UN's influence derives not from power but from the values
it represents, its role in helping to set and sustain global norms,
its ability to stimulate global concern and action, and the trust
inspired by its practical work to improve people's lives. We must
build on those strengths, especially by insisting on the importance
of the rule of law.
strengthening the UN depends on governments and especially on
their willingness to work with others - the private sector, non-governmental
organizations and multilateral agencies - to find consensus solutions.
The UN must act as a catalyst to stimulate action by others. But
we also need to adapt the UN itself, notably by reforming the
Security Council and to revitalize the General Assembly so it
can work effectively and at the same time enjoy unquestioned legitimacy.
the end of my report I would like to mention certain fundamental
values, which are considered by the United Nations Organization
to be essential to international relations in the twenty-first
century. These include:
Freedom. Men and women have the right to live their lives
and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from
the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and
participatory governance based on the will of the people best
assures these rights.
Equality. No individual and no nation must be denied the
opportunity to benefit from development. The equal rights and
opportunities of women and men must be assured.
Solidarity. Global challenges must be managed in a way
that distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with
basic principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer
or who benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.
Tolerance. Human beings must respect one other in all their
diversities of belief, culture and language. Differences within
and between societies should be neither feared nor repressed,
but cherished as a precious asset of humanity. A culture of peace
and dialogue among all civilizations should be actively promoted.
Respect for nature. Prudence must be shown in the management
of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with
the precepts of sustainable development. Only in this way can
the immeasurable riches provided to us by nature be preserved
and passed on to our descendants. The current unsustainable patterns
of production and consumption must be changed in the interest
of our future welfare and that of our descendants.
Shared responsibility. Responsibility for managing worldwide
economic and social development, as well as threats to international
peace and security, must be shared among the nations of the world
and should be exercised multilaterally. As the most universal
and most representative organization in the world, the United
Nations must play the central role.
Ladies and gentlemen,
we need to specify separately key fundamental values of cosmopolitanism,
where should they differ according to your point of view? The
answer to my view is clear - they will be identical.
we try to specify separately key fundamental values of internationalism,
we will probably agree on the majority of the above- mentioned
UN values. However, if we try to specify separately key fundamental
values of nationalism, I am not so sure how many responding values
we will find.