With the recent war situations and humanitarian tragedies in Ukraine and Palestine, the inability of the United Nations (UN) and its Security Council’s 5 permanent members (the United States, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, France, and the United Kingdom) became visible and very well understood once again by the whole world. As children and women were/are murdered, none of these militarily powerful and diplomatically influential countries’ leaders showed any sincere and real effort to solve humanitarian problems and prevent the loss of innocent lives. In fact, we have all witnessed that Western-based humanitarianism has been able to create a world system in which the barbarism of earlier ages continues. This proves the necessity of a new global governance system before the UN system and the Bretton Woods model created by Washington following the Second World War completely collapse with increasing nationalist attacks by criminal and terrorist groups as well as crimes committed by states.
At this point, before designing a new system, it might be appropriate to define what is and should be “global governance”. Global governance is a popular International Relations term in recent years which refers to “a purposeful order that emerges from institutions, processes, norms, formal agreements, and informal mechanisms that regulate action for a common good”. Ann Florini from the Brookings Institute, on the other hand, defines it as a term “that came around mostly from a bunch of academics who were looking at the world’s agenda, everything from climate change to security issues, to economic development issues, and looking at the fact that a lot of these were global-scale problems that needed to be managed on a global scale”. These definitions focus on different aspects of the same picture.
The first thing to be said is for sure the aim of creating a “common good” in global governance. So, global governance should not be created to make some people famous and powerful, but rather to solve problems to provide the common good. Secondly, Florini’s definition underlines the necessity of working on “global-scale problems” rather than national and local issues. In today’s world, starting from climate change to wars and terrorism, there are many issues that none of the mighty states can solve alone and there is absolutely a need for cooperation between states and international organizations to realize the global governance model. The third aspect of global governance is the necessity of formal institutions, processes, and agreements that could direct this process. So, in addition to already existing international organizations such as the UN, World Trade Organization, World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, and the International Criminal Court and international agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Paris Climate Deal, Istanbul Convention, and the Geneva Convention, we need to create new institutions to turn global governance into a real phenomenon. Another option might be to reform and make these institutions better and force all states to act in harmony with the international norms by binding practices.
“What is the source of the problem with the current system?” then becomes an important question. Why there are so many terrorist groups, armed conflicts, civil wars, and wars on the earth? At this point, what I observe from global politics centers around 5 main problems.
First of all, there are still territories and regions that are not under the jurisdiction of the UN system and are open to international supervision. These territories vary from unrecognized states to virgin forests. But one thing is for sure; without international supervision, we can never be sure of what has been happening in these places. So, by solving political conflicts in Palestine, Cyprus, etc., we need to make all territories open to international supervision and official investigations.
Secondly, although there are 193 official UN member states and two observer states (Vatican and Palestine), so far, we have not been able to devise a system that would be binding for states when they are repeatedly breaking the law by invading other countries’ territories and/or committing crimes against humanity. The new global governance model should come up with a solution for punishing guilty states and statesmen. Punishment for crimes against humanity will certainly have a deterrence effect on the current and future leaders of states.
Thirdly, we need to supervise, control, and limit arms trafficking in the world to prevent terrorism and wars. As 19th-century Russian author Anton Chekhov said many times for dramas, “If in the first act, you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” Wars and terrorist acts happening in Syria, Israel, the United States, France, and all other places are the results of uncontrolled and illegal arms trafficking in the world. Some rogue states and criminal groups are in charge of this process and for economic gains, they do not see any problem in arming terrorist groups who might attack civilians. That is why, we need to find a better system for controlling arms deals between groups other than states that comply with international law.
Fourthly, it is also a fact that terrorism has certain conditions for the flourishing of radical groups who are inclined to shed blood and kill innocent people. The two most important reasons for terrorism are enormous political and economic inequalities in a country and the spread of radical views and ideologies. So, what we can do, we could try to eliminate inequalities between rich and poor states as well as rich and poor groups within countries and also to encourage more democratic and peaceful ideologies instead of radical and dangerous ones. At this point, famous American political philosopher John Rawls’ justice principles might help us:
- Each person should have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.
- Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:
(a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, consistent with the just savings principle, and
(b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.
Fifthly, since the UN is the best and most internationalized system we have developed so far, we have to revise the UN by including new permanent members to the Security Council to solve political problems in the world more fairly. The representation of Muslims and unrepresented continents must be a priority in the revised UN system. The current composition of the UN unfortunately does not satisfy people’s needs in their search for justice and encourages anti-systemic and ultranationalist acts. Thus, we need to solve the problem before the whole system collapses.
The development of human history shows that we are more prone to progress, democracy, and development over the years. Especially horrific experiences of the First and Second World Wars helped us to better understand the negative consequences of selfishness, greed, and ultra-nationalism. So, we need to realize that we have to revise the current international system and create a better global governance model before the Third World War commences. Ceasefire and a political solution in Palestine could be a starting point for the whole world…
Assoc. Prof. Ozan ÖRMECİ
 ScienceDirect, “Global Governance”, Date of Accession: 09.11.2023 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/global-governance.
 Ann Florini (2009), “Global Governance and What It Means”, Brookings, 16.02.2009, Date of Accession: 09.11.2023 from https://www.brookings.edu/articles/global-governance-and-what-it-means/.
 MasterClass, “Writing 101: What Is Chekhov’s Gun? Learn How to Use Chekhov’s Gun In Your Writing”, Date of Accession: 09.11.2023 from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/writing-101-what-is-chekhovs-gun-learn-how-to-use-chekhovs-gun-in-your-writing.