Regions / Global Commons

'Global Energy Interdependence: Strategizing for a Secure Future' by Sreemati Ganguli

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2017 - 2:31 PM

Energy has acquired a strategic dimension in the contemporary global context by virtue of its vital significance for the future of human civilization. For this reason, energy as a commodity is often associated with multi-faceted geopolitical rivalries and geo-economic calculations. With the definitions of security undergoing a fundamental change, concepts of non-traditional as well as human security have become the new paradigms of the global security framework. Energy security forms a fundamental component of these changing approaches to global security, as we grapple with complex environmental challenges such as balancing economic development with environmental sustainability and the changing nature of the global energy mix with a larger share for renewable energy resources. These are crucial problems that require collaborative approaches in order to find fundamental solutions, as reiterated by the recent Paris Climate Change Convention. This article focuses on this parallel approach to global security concerns through mechanisms of clean energy interdependence on a global scale. It discusses a number of on-going projects promoting energy cooperation among allies and competitors alike, and suggests that the concept of global energy interdependence should evolve as a strategic platform for identifying viable solutions for global security in a much more comprehensive manner. Read more...

Transport Networks, Eurasia’s Economic ‘Synchronization’, and the End of a ‘Flat’ World; Jacopo Maria Pepe

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:43 PM

The emergence of an interconnected Eurasian transport network is the most relevant – if equally challenging - development of the second decade of the 21st century. However, the current acceleration of the infrastructure re-connection of wider Eurasia dates back earlier than the initiatives such as the OBOR, the EEU or the AIIB. Indeed, its political-economic rationality is rooted in the massive geo-economic shift since the early 2000s. Using macro data on trade flows in Eurasia covering the decade 2000-2012, the author argues that far from being ‘flat’, the world economy is increasingly fragmented and de-synchronized, while economic and commercial reaggregation is still taking place at more continental and regional level. Accordingly, continental Eurasia and the Indian Ocean-Asia-Pacific Ocean nexus are emerging as a self-sustaining geo-economic space, despite the geopolitical fragmentation and potential for political-military conflicts or economic crisis. The present economic downturn across Eurasia notwithstanding, in the coming decades the development of a functioning transport network remains the true impetus for overcoming the current domestic economic difficulties in many Eurasian economies, and sustainably re-shaping the economic, industrial and commercial face of the continent. Read more...

Superpowers and International Governance: A ‘Might Is Right’ Story? Klaus Larres

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:44 PM

International governance has frequently been imposed by outright force, or more subtly by means of political, economic and military pressure. The modern world of superpowers has been no exception. In fact, their sheer overwhelming political and economic power and military might has rendered the temptation to enforce their will while ignoring or sidelining the views of other countries apparently irresistible. Nevertheless, examples from both the Cold War era and the post-Cold War world demonstrate that even superpowers cannot do as they wish. The structure of the international system as developed since 1945, along with the influence of democracy, a growing global acknowledgment of the importance of a culture of consensus and cooperation in international affairs imposes powerful constraints. This often, though not always, ensures that might is not always right. Increasingly, individual great powers do not get away with behaving like a bull in a china shop. This includes the United States (invasion of Iraq) and Russia (Crimea, Ukraine); both countries have faced significant negative consequences for their violations of international law and the conventions of global governance. Read more...

Governing the Global Commons: Geostrategic and Geoeconomic Sources of Discord in the International System; James Sperling

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:41 PM

The growing imbalance in rights and responsibilities in the international system not only strains regional security systems, but also jeopardizes the system of global economic governance, particularly as access to the global commons - maritime space, outer space, and cyberspace - entails critical policy vectors where it is increasingly difficult to differentiate security from economy. This article explores the impact of the global financial crises and redistribution of power in the international system on the geoeconomic and geopolitical systems of governance. The analysis proceeds in four stages. The first assesses the shifts that have taken place in the regional and global balances of capabilities since 1990 towards explaining the Chinese challenge to American geostrategic supremacy in the Pacific, the American response to Chinese revisionism, and the European effort to mollify the United States on military-strategic issues while currying mercantile favour with China. The second and third sections investigate, respectively, the systems of global economic and regional security governance, particularly with respect to major stakeholders’ satisfaction with the status quo. The final section considers the intersection of the economic and strategic policy vectors in the global commons. Read more...

International Cooperation Following the Economic Crisis: Where Next? Keith Boyfield

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:37 PM

This paper examines initiatives to oversee a coordinated response to the recent worldwide economic crisis. The paper highlights the manner in which the regulation of the global financial system was dangerously fragmented, triggering the collapse of leading banks such as Lehman Brothers and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). In order to address the disintegration in international confidence, world leaders were obliged to act – overtly through the G20, but more covertly via the US government’s willingness to act as the lender of last resort. Turning to the role played by key institutions established by the Bretton Woods Agreement, the paper assesses the responses of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Focusing on future challenges, this paper highlights the way in which the Eurozone has continued to suffer from spasmodic growth, with many EU members recording erratic progress and high levels of unemployment. The Euro has been a casualty, reflecting a fault line in strategy between France and Germany, clearly demonstrated in the ongoing crisis surrounding Greece. By contrast, other regions of the world have achieved impressive levels of economic growth. This has been helped by regional development banks, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Meanwhile, China has opted to create a brand new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with the support of a cluster of OECD partners. The article concludes by noting that the world’s response to the financial crisis has illustrated the shifting epicenter of global economic power. The US is losing its pre-eminence to China and a more self-confident Islamic world. The EU remains inward-looking, and the IMF’s support for continued Greek membership of the Euro has raised questions about the Fund’s future direction and leadership. Read more...

The Global Climate Has Always Been Broken: Failures of Climate Governance as Global Governmentality; Scott Hamilton

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:33 PM

International climate governance is commonly referred to as a failure, due to the inability of states to take substantive action against anthropogenic global climate change. This raises an important question: if international collective action is required so as to heal, fix, or prevent further damage to the global climate, have we ever had a concept of the global climate that was not damaged, broken, or in need of international governance? This article argues that we have not. Today’s naturalized concept of a ‘global’ climate emerged in international relations only as recently as the late- 1980s, framed from its outset as a broken or damaged global object resulting from failures of governance to steward the Earth. By combining the Foucauldian tools of governmentality and genealogy, this article traces how an implicit ‘rationality of powerlessness’ has undergirded the global climate since its international political inception; from the 1979 World Climate Conference, to its global spread in the mid- 1980s by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to its naturalized meaning today. This powerlessness, crystalizing in explicit political failures of governance, is shown to be an implicit global governmentality: a shaping, conducting, and governing of thought and action, by a concept of global climate change that is at its conceptual root always already broken, thereby engendering failure in a Sisyphean quest to fix what is conceptually unfixable. Read more...

Commentary by Simon Anglim - In the Absence of Effective Global Governance, Security Policy Based on Political Realism Makes Sense

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:29 PM

To political realists, the world is a dangerous place, anarchic and without any central body to enforce international law or any universal system of morality. Consequently, states cannot trust each other, and have a duty towards their citizens to maximise their power in order to ensure their protection. A political leader may have a strong sense of personal morality, but this must be put aside in the face of possible threats to the safety and welfare of the people who have entrusted him/her with high office. Other forms of guaranteeing state and international security, for instance through collective security, are contingent on trust and optimistic interpretations of human nature. Consequently they have flaws and loopholes where realism does not, and the current emphasis on liberal intervention could be making the world less stable, and therefore less secure. Read more...
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