In recent decades, the process of Globalization has been changing the very theoretical premise, upon which the concept of international relations was based, throughout the course of the last three centuries. Whereas, before the advent of Globalization and the rise of neoLiberalism, only the independent states were considered legitimate actors on the geopolitical arena, such a situation has now effectively came to an end, with formally independent countries being increasingly deprived of their factual independence. This explains why nowadays, such international organizations as U.N., E.U., NATO and WTO, continue to acquire more and more executive powers, as time goes by. The same can be said about many Western transnational corporations, which now strive to actively meddle in international politics. In this paper, we will aim at substantiating the validity of earlier suggestions even further.
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One of the most obvious examples of how international organizations transform their operational agenda is the process of E.U. acquiring a status of geopolitical entity. At the time of its founding in 1957, European Economic Community was expected to function as a solely consultative body, with the main purpose of its existence being assumed to be the standardization of trade tariffs between Community’s members. However, as of today, E.U. has been turn into nothing short of a quasi-state of its own – it now has its own flag, its own currency, its own Parliament, its own President. Moreover, it is just a matter of very short time before it will have its own armed forces and police (Europol). Nowadays, “euro-ministers” are being put in position of designing socio-economic policies for member countries-members. They actually appoint themselves to the organization’s offices, with ordinary Europeans being deprived of any opportunity to hold these bureaucrats responsible for their actions, whatsoever. Yet, even today, E.U. continues to be considered as a non-state international organization de jure.
The same can be said about another international organization – WTO. Despite the fact that it lacks formal attributes of quasi-independence, it is namely this organization which now dictates national governments what economic policies they should pursue in their countries. For example, in 2008, WTO granted a large financial tranche to Ukraine, while requiring from Ukrainian government to cut subsidies to state-owned sectors of the country’s economy and reduce elder people’s pensions by half. And, this is exactly what the Ukrainian government did. At the same time, WTO meetings usually begin with its delegates philosophizing as to what should be done to eliminate “poverty” and “inequality” in Third World countries, which now rapidly regress back into primeval savagery, despite being officially referred to by WTO as “developing”.
In 1999, American and British planes were bombing Yugoslavian military and civilian targets at will, and yet, throughout the course of hostilities, the U.S. and Britain have never declared war on Yugoslavia. In the same year, a substantial part of Yugoslavia’s territory – Kosovo, has been cut off from this country in the similar matter with Sudetenland being cut off from Czechoslovakia by Hitler in 1938. Yet; whereas, Hitler is now being regarded by an international community as the embodiment of evil, former American President Bill Clinton, who had instigated a military aggression against the independent state of Yugoslavia, in order to divert people’s attention from Lewinsky scandal, is now being regarded as a peacemaker. How was it possible? This is because the war against Yugoslavia has been conducted by NATO – an international organization, which cannot be considered as a fully independent player in the field of international politics de jure. Yet, this does not change the fact that NATO does act as such a player de facto.
However, it is namely the continuous existence of U.N., which better then anything else supports the validity of our suggestion as to the fact that the traditional notions of geopolitics are now being deprived of their practical significance, due to the process of Globalization. Nowadays, only very few people remember that originally, U.N. was founded as the instrument of enforcement of 1648 Treaty of Westphalia on a global scale. According to this Treaty, which was signed between European countries that participated in the Thirty Years War, every country’s sovereign right to define its form of government and its state religion, without the involvement of a third party, represents the legal foundation of an international law. Ever since the Peace of Westphalia was signed, it became possible for the members of international community to base their attitude towards the participants of just about every military conflict on absolutely rational principles.
However, today’s objective realities indicate the fact that U.N. has actually been transformed into something opposite from what it used to be originally – namely, the tool of Globalization, the ultimate goal of which is being declared the creation of World Government, because the existence of such government automatically implies the elimination of the notion of national sovereignty out of international body politics. This is the reason why U.N. supported NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 and America’s war against Iraq in 2003, which were nothing but blatant violations of the most fundamental principles of Peace of Westphalia. In other words, U.N. acted against the declared purpose of its own existence as an enforcer of peace and protector of countries’ national sovereignty.
Ever since 1999, the notion of national sovereignty had ceased to represent metaphysical value, in the eyes of international community’s members. This is the reason why recent years saw the dramatic increase in the number of international conflicts, with U.N. proving its utter impotence as an arbiter, while addressing these conflicts. For example, after Russia had invaded Georgia in 2008, U.N. Security Council has been called four times, without being able to come up with a resolution, which would address the issue. While people were being killed by hundreds on daily basis, U.N. bureaucrats were engaging each other in verbal duels, on whether Russia’s invasion should be considered as the act of war or not.
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Yet, this does not prevent U.N. from continuing to accumulate wealth and from exerting its influence in the areas beyond its operational authority. Just as it is the case with international organizations mentioned earlier, today’s U.N. should be discussed in terms of being a quasi-state, because it represents the biggest bureaucratic apparatus on the face of the Earth. And, as history shows – the only thing bureaucracy can be genuinely concerned about is retaining its power. It has become a common practice for even the lowest-ranking U.N. officials to use private jets, while travelling internationally. These people spend millions of dollars to hold a variety of meaningless conferences and symposiums, simply to socialize with each other, while eventually growing to believe in their own importance. They never experience any shortage of money – U.S. alone contributes $3.5 billion to U.N. on an annual basis.
Nevertheless, it would be wrong to think that it is only powerful international organizations, which are now capable of determining international outcomes, despite their non-state status. And, the reason for this is simple – during the course of last twenty years, the share of Western transnational corporations in the world’s GNP had risen dramatically. Whereas; in 1960, this share would amount to only 17%, by the year 2005, it amounted to 45%, while continuing to increase in exponential progression to the flow of time. Nowadays, the combined annual profit, generated by world’s ten largest transnational corporations, exceeds the total worth of all African countries’ annual GNP by two. Therefore, the political developments on African continent, for example, cannot even be discussed as thing in itself – all of Africa’s “presidents”, “prime ministers”, “kings” and “emperors” are nothing but lowly puppets, who act on behalf on Western corporations in their countries. When any of them become overly independent in how they proceed with executing their duties – they get to be instantly deposed by the mean of a military coup, financed by Western transnational corporations. In its turn, this helps us to understand the actual essence of Globalization as the process that is being primarily concerned with financial elites’ strive to freely move capital from one corner of the globe to another, without being required to observe nationally-based rules and regulations.
Thus, the ultimate conclusion of this paper can be formulated as follows: It is not only that today’s geopolitical realities are being increasingly defined by non-state agents’ growing political power, but that there are many good reasons to believe that, in very near future, the very concept of a nation-state will become a thing of the past. The representatives of powerful international organizations, on one hand, and the representatives of transnational corporations, on the other, have a common agenda – turning the whole world into a “global village” and prompting the world’s population to think of neoLiberalism as the only acceptable political ideology. We can discuss long and hard whether such their agenda is being moral or immoral, but there can be no doubt that the process of Globalization does correspond to the laws of historical dialectics.
Flynn, Stephen “America the Resilient”. Foreign Affairs 87.2, (2008): 2-8.
Sen, Amartya “How to Judge Globalism”. The American Prospect 13 (2002).