Global Governance vs. Liberal Democracy? We are going to have to choose
I want to thank Peter for inviting me to participate in this discussion. It has been very useful and clarifying. I will close with a few thoughts. Peter’s book addresses what will become the major issue of world politics in the 21st century and I’m grateful for his efforts. He has made a strong descriptive case (as has Alex and others), but, in the end, we are all moral human beings interested in the normative.
What we are talking about is the ultimate normative question of politics going back to Plato and Aristotle: who shall govern? For many among Western elites the big idea of the coming century will be how do go beyond the nation-state and national citizenship and create some new form of global governance. In my view (and I realize I’m in a minority in this discussion) global governance (as it has been articulated to date) presents a direct challenge to the legitimacy and authority of the liberal democratic nation-state in general and to American constitutional sovereignty in particular. It is not possible, in my view, to have the new forms of post-national global governance (that have been described in our exchanges) and have, at the same time, constitutional democratic government. At the end of the day, we must choose global governance or liberal democracy?
I choose liberal democracy and its only real historical home, the liberal democratic nation-state as the highest political authority, above any international institution or laws. This is a universal principle and American foreign policy should apply this universally, speaking not simply for American democratic sovereignty, but for the democratic sovereignty of other liberal democratic states as well in arguments over, for example, the International Criminal Court (ICC). Particularly, we should speak up for and protect those democratic nation-states that are under pressure from transnational institutions and forces such as Israel and the Czech Republic (non-ratifiers of the ICC). I will be addressing these issues in my forthcoming (2009) book, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? (Encounter Books). Thanks Peter.