Global Governance: Nominal, Real and Alternative Structures
On November 19-20, 2014 HSE hosted a conference on Global Governance: Nominal, Real and Alternative Structures. The conference was largely focused on the paradigm shift in geopolitical and geoeconomic structures of the modern world, as well as the underlying causes and long-term implications of such changes. In his opening address, HSE Professor Maxim Bratersky stressed that the conference would certainly address tactical issues in the form of specific political situations, but mainly deal with global strategic vision and understanding of the situation. The conference included sessions on Global governance systemic challenges, regional and quasi-global governance schemes and such governance vehicles as trade, investment and development. A special session was devoted to a case study of global governance in the energy sphere.
Among speakers at the conference were international experts from Europe and the US, Alan Cafruny (Hamilton College, USA), Adrian Pabst (University of Kent, UK), Anton Bebler (Lyubliana University, Slovenia) and Piotr Dutkiewicz (Carleton University, Canada). Participants from HSE included Maxim Bratersky, Leonid Grigoriev, and Dmitry Suslov.
Much of the discussion was about the serious changes currently challenging the world order that was established after the end of the Cold War. HSE’s Dmitri Suslov argued in his paper that the Ukraine crisis is a symptom rather than a cause of the paradigm shift in global politics because the old rules of the game for super powers no longer apply. And Russia, along with the BRICS countries, is playing not an insignificant role. Rather than a mono- or multi-polar picture of the world we are seeing a more fragmented and polarised model, with Europe following US policy more often and Russia forming a new Eurasian power axis with China. Global transnational alliances are relinquishing their positions while alternative regional associations are gaining influence, particularly in the asia-pacific region.
These changes may have far-reaching consequences, particularly for international security and the fight against crime and terrorism. Fewer countries are involved in the anti-islamic state coalition, cooperation in the fight against drug-trafficking is undermined, there is no internationally agreed policy towards Afghanistan. The reinforcement of regional economic ties is weakening institutions of global governance.
Adrian Pabst argued that many of the root causes of the current problems lie in issues of legitimacy in contemporary western systems of government which can hardly be called democratic. Another important factor is the collapse of the western model of world order in which the rules of the game were dictated from above with no redress or room for discussion of universal values. The internal contradictions between ideas of state sovereignty and the rights of national minorities to self-determination also play a significant role.
Maxim Bratersky said that Russia’s strategic interests have led her to focus on new partnerships in Asia and strengthening cooperation through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and to make other associations with BRICs countries. Political events are changing the configuration of world markets and revealing new economic opportunities.
Piotr Dutkiewicz drew attention to the changes to political institutions resulting from global events. In particular how individual countries cannot carry out internal policies because they depend economically and politically on other countries who impose their point of view. In other words, we need to devise alternative patterns for interaction between countries outside existing models.
Leonid Grigoriev and Alexander Kurdin delivered a paper on the changes in specification of property and territorial rights, governance structures and models for the behaviour of states under the new circumstances. They classified different types of global governance, mainly hybrid, bi- or tri-lateral state and superstate organisations or coalitions. These hybrid governance structures create an inevitable increase in transaction costs to prevent conflicts. They reduce effectiveness in government and complicate the process of solving global issues. Furthermore, questions of the sovereign rights of a state and the possibilities of foreign intervention remain ambiguous.