Governance Syndrome and Global Anarchy

Governance Syndrome and Global Anarchy
Prepared By: Prof. Michel NEHME


The conceptualization of global governance is derived from the mind of scholars as a response to challenges that significantly diminish state’s governing capacity and normative precedence in the realms of national securities, economic, political, and cultural transformations in world politics. The notion of global governance and subsequent governance models are yet incapable to address that transformation from an international system of states characterized by being an organized anarchy to diversified multi-actors global system labeled as disordered anarchy. If linkage between the territorial state and the societal space of international and regional actors and societies are being challenged and transformed by globalization, then the question is whether elements of global governance could provide viable mechanisms to sustain economic and political stability in the different regions. In the area of global governance, however, the constitutive elements, such as international regimes and international organizations are on the surface created by states; and the maneuvers of global civil society can be controlled by states to a certain extent. But the influence now has become in reverse direction, namely the impact of regimes, international organization, and civil society on state preferences and policies has become undeniable phenomenon in world politics today.  The extent of this impact will depend on the effectiveness of emerging normative structures over the traditional structures.

The above statements lead us to simple questions: Who is who when it comes to running the affairs of the world? Is there a super power overlooking the process of global governance? Is the world now more civilized yet witnessing a disturbed anarchy in the sense that there exist no more international and regional centralized authorities?


Is Global Governance Hypothetical or Real?

States are not the only actors in global governance. “Global governing institutions are actors who exercise power across borders with some degree of legitimacy and continuity for purposes of affecting policy in an issue area. Governing institutions thus: create issues, set agendas, establish and implement rules or programs, and evaluate and/or adjudicate outcomes.”[1]

Governing institutions attempt to use the perspectives of “professional associations, advocacy groups, and multinational corporations. There are five bases from which governors draw authority and engender deference: institutional, delegated, expert, moral, and efficacious. Four general patterns are apparent in relations among governors: delegation, contracting, networks, and hierarchy. These governors raise questions about accountability and legitimacy in world politics.

Four changes have propelled the importance of non-state governing institutions. Globalization “has undermined the coincidence between social action and state borders… The Thatcher and Reagan-led privatization and deregulation revolution has only compounded this transfer of power to actors other than states… New technologies [have] eased communications, population flows, and the interchange of ideas… The end of the Cold War… loosened the restraints on international activity imposed by the superpower deadlock.”[2]

There are several faulty assumptions about the agents of global governance: the functionalist assumption that governance will supply “public goods” through some kind of hidden-hand mechanism; that global governance processes are instrumental acts of strategic choice whereas “action may be driven by powerful social norms of legitimate or appropriate behavior which interact with instrumental action in complex ways, highlighting unintended consequences, indeterminacy, and path dependence;” and that global governance is “a good thing” whereas, “Power, in its various forms, may make ‘cooperative action’ hard to distinguish from exploitation or domination.”

Governance in perspective of scholars is seen as “more than simple coercion” and rule enforcement. “Governance involves the creation of new issues, new interests, and new modes of action by creative agents.” Power is “a resources and a tool for governors to use to lead, dispute, and shame, coerce, cajoles and persuade.” Governors “operate in much more horizontal and ambiguous institutional contexts… More institutional fluidity might create more opportunities for diverse actors to shop for forums, shop for governors, and create new governing structures than would be possible in a more hierarchical context where laws, rules, and governing procedure are more clearly specified.”[3]

Some issues of legitimacy rise out of the agents of global governance in the sense of who benefits or is hurt and what vision of the public the governor is working for; accountability, in which “Governors often exercise great power over the lives of people far removed from them and who may have few avenues of redress or protest when they are harmed by a governor’s actions;” and examination of accountability should also include to whom governors are formally accountability, for what are they accountable, and what mechanisms exist to hold them accountable (transparency, participation, and funding are mentioned).

In as much as governance is based on authority of delegation, “Tamar Gutner examines the IMF as a governor whose authority has generally been delegated to it by member states, Alex Cooley focuses on contractors who are exercising authority in war zones delegated to them by states and international organizations and Abe Newman looks at the interaction between sub-state and supra-state ‘agents…’”[4]

Allison Danner and Erik Voeten, Mathew Potoski, and Tim Buthe, suggest various paths by which expertise joins with other bases of authority to create rules (international environmental and electrical standards) and adjudicate them (international criminal tribunals).

“In the section on morality based authority, both Charli Carpenter and Clifford Bob suggest new twists on morality based authority [hierarchies among issue networks and competing moral visions] and Karen Mundy demonstrates that agreement on principles does not necessarily translate into effective policy.”[5]  The legitimacy of global governance institutions depends upon whether there is ongoing, informed, principled contestation of their goals and terms of accountability. This process of contestation and revision depends upon activities of actors outside the institution. It is not enough for the institutions to make information available. Other agents, whose interests and commitments do not coincide too closely with those of the institution, must provide a check on the reliability of the information, integrate it, and make it available in understandable, usable form, to all who have a legitimate interest in the operations of the institution. Such activities can produce positive feedback, in which appeal to standards of legitimacy by the external epistemic actors not only increases compliance with existing standards but also leads to improvements in the quality of these standards themselves. For these reasons, in the absence of global democracy, and given the limitations of the democratic channel described earlier, legitimacy depends crucially upon not only the epistemic virtues of the institution itself but also on the activities of external epistemic actors. Effective linkage between the institution and external epistemic actors constitutes what might be called the transnational civil society channel of accountability.

The needed external expertise actors, if they are effective, will themselves be institutionally organized. Institutional legitimacy, then, is not simply a function of the institution’s characteristics; it also depends upon the broader institutional environment in which the particular institution exists. All three elements of our complex standard of legitimacy are important. First, global governance institutions should enjoy the ongoing consent of democratic states. That is, the democratic accountability channel must function reasonably well. Second, these institutions should satisfy the substantive criteria of minimal moral acceptability, comparative benefit, and institutional integrity. Third, they should possess the scholarly virtues needed to make credible judgments about whether the three substantive criteria are satisfied and to achieve the ongoing contestation and critical revision of their goals, their terms of accountability, and ultimately their role in a division of labor for the pursuit of global justice, through their interaction with effective external expertise agents.



The Complex Standard frames the legitimacy of global governance institutions as both dynamic and relational. Its emphasis on the conditions for ongoing contestation and critical revision of the most basic features of the institutions captures the exceptional moral disagreement and uncertainty that characterize the circumstances of legitimacy for this type of institution. While acknowledging the facts of moral disagreement and uncertainty, the Complex Standard includes provisions for developing more robust moral requirements for institutions over time. The Complex Standard also makes it clear that whether the institution is legitimate does not depend solely upon its own characteristics, but also upon the epistemic-deliberative relationships between the institution and epistemic actors outside it.

Achieving transparency is often touted as the proper response to worries about the legitimacy of global governance institutions.But transparency by itself is inadequate. First, if transparency means merely the availability of accurate information about how the institution works, it is insufficient even for narrow accountability—that is, for ensuring that the institution is accurately evaluated in accordance with the current terms of accountability. If information about how the institution operates is to serve the end of narrow accountability, it must be (a) accessible at reasonable cost, (b) properly integrated and interpreted, and (c) directed to the accountability holders. Furthermore, (d) the accountability holders must be adequately motivated to use it properly in evaluating the performance of the relevant institutional agents. Second, if, as we have suggested, the capacity for critically revising the terms of accountability is necessary for legitimacy, information about how the institution works must be available not only to those who are presently designated as accountability holders, but also to those who may contest the terms of accountability.

It is well known that legitimacy is the problem of moral disagreement and uncertainty. Even if there is sufficient agreement on what counts as the violation of basic human rights, there are ongoing disputes about whether some global governance institutions should meet higher moral standards. There is not only disagreement but also uncertainty as to the role that some of these institutions should play in the pursuit of global justice, chiefly because we do not have a coherent idea of what the institutional division of labor for achieving global justice would look like. Is justice to be enacted by the state, Inter-governmental institutions or private experts and judges?

Furthermore, merely requiring that global governance institutions not violate basic human rights is unresponsive to the familiar complaint that rich countries unfairly dominate them, and that even if they provide benefits to all, the richer members receive unjustifiably greater benefits. Although all parties may agree that fairness matters, however, there are likely to be disagreements about what fairness would consist of, disputes about whether fairness would suffice or whether equality is required, and about how equality is to be understood and even over what is to be made equal (welfare, opportunities, resources, and so on).[6] So, quite apart from the issue of what positive role, if any, these institutions should play in the pursuit of global justice, there is disagreement about what standards of fairness they should meet internally. There is also likely to be disagreement about how unfair an institution must be to lack legitimacy. A proposal for a public global standard of legitimacy must not gloss over these disagreements.

Most scholars argue that the proper response to both the problem of factual knowledge and the problem of moral disagreement and uncertainty is to focus on what might be called the deliberative quality of the institution, the extent to which the institution provides reliable information needed for grappling with normative disagreement and uncertainty concerning its proper functions. To lay the groundwork for that argument one has to consider two subjects that are often assumed to be obvious requirements for the legitimacy of global governance institutions: accountability and transparency.

It is misleading to say that global governance institutions are illegitimate because they lack accountability and to suggest that the key to making them legitimate is to make them accountable. Legitimacy is not derived from accountability. Most global governance institutions, including those whose legitimacy is most strenuously denied, include mechanisms for accountability[7]. The problem is that existing patterns of accountability are morally inadequate. For example, the World Bank has traditionally exhibited a high degree of accountability, but it has been accountability to the biggest donor countries, and the Bank therefore has to act in conformity with their interests, at least insofar as they agree. This kind of accountability does not ensure meaningful participation by those affected by rules or due consideration of their legitimate interests. A high degree of accountability in this case may serve to perpetuate the defects of the institution.

Accountability Critics of global governance institutions often complain that they lack accountability. To understand the strengths and limitations of accountability as a gauge of legitimacy, we start with a skeletal but serviceable analysis of accountability. Accountability includes three elements: first, standards that those who are held accountable are expected to meet; second, information available to accountability holders, who can then apply the standards in question to the performance of those who are held to account; and third, the ability of these accountability holders to impose sanctions—to attach costs to the failure to meet the standards. The need for information about whether the institution is meeting the standards accountability holders apply, means that a degree of transparency regarding the institution’s operations is essential to any form of accountability.[8]

So accountability per se is not sufficient; it must be the right sort of accountability. At the very least, this means that there must be effective provisions in the structure of the institution to hold institutional agents accountable for acting in ways that ensure satisfaction of the minimal moral acceptability and comparative benefit conditions. But accountability understood in this narrow way is not sufficiently dynamic to serve as an assurance of the legitimacy of global governance institutions, given that in some cases there is serious disagreement about what the goals of the institution should be and, more specifically, about what role if any the institution should play in the pursuit of global justice. The point is that what the terms of accountability ought to be—what standards of accountability ought to be employed, who the accountability holders should be, and whose interests the accountability holders should represent—cannot be definitively ascertained without knowing what role, if any, the institution should play in the pursuit of global justice.

Therefore, what might be called narrow accountability—accountability without provision for contestation of the terms of accountability—is insufficient for legitimacy, given the facts of moral disagreement and uncertainty. Because what constitutes appropriate accountability is itself subject to reasonable dispute, the legitimacy of global governance institutions depends in part upon whether they operate in such a way as to facilitate principled, factually informed deliberation about the terms of accountability. There must be provisions for revising existing standards of accountability and current conceptions of who the proper accountability holders are and whose interests they should represent.


The Role of State in International Politics.

Sovereignty is associated with state and protected by the United Nations charter. It is an essential ingredient of what constitute and determine an international political entity and legal social structure called the state. David Lake classified sovereignty as authority relationship which possesses both internal and external aspects. Internal sovereignty is defined as the ultimate or highest authority within a state. Through history of the development of the concept of the state, it was evident that the highest authority was the monarch, the leader or the sovereign. Today it could be the head of government or, in popular sovereignty, the people[9]. Scholars classified this sovereign attribute of state to effective control over a territory claimed by the state, without which, there can be no ultimate authority, and thus no sovereign. Therefore, by implication control over a space called territory and people is sanctified to sovereignty and a determinant of what constitute a state. Externally, sovereignty entails the recognition that this entity is “one of them” and thus, is an inherently social unit. Hence, sovereignty implies a relationship of unannounced equality among states but off course some are more equal than others.

This second aspect of sovereignty constitutes the anarchy characteristics of relations among states. Although, as Lake admitted that in technical sense, anarchy does not necessarily presupposes absence of authority[10]. The important thing here is that with the attribute of sovereignty at their disposal and other factors such - territory and people - states are important but not exclusively decisive  elements in international system because they possess the main ingredients that give them recognition to operate within the system and the they enjoy monopoly of using violence and military power. However they are being rivaled now by NGO.  However, States are still considered the main agents that could prescribe rules and impose allegiance and goods within the domestic imperative.

This, perhaps, explain the old literature of realist classical understanding of states as the main actors in the international system. State, according to realists as represented in the writings of classical philosophers and scholars like Thucydides, Machiavelli the Prince, Hobbes, Clausewitz, Carr, Morgenthau, Waltz, Wendt and others, is characterized by relations among equals in which possession and exercise of power, are defined in terms of states’ ability to use material resources (military or economic) to get others to do what otherwise they would not do.  Fundamental to their understanding of the system is the absence of central authority over and above states – the fact that differentiate domestic from that of international politics in the sense that in the former there is government while in the latter central authority is absent. As a consequence, no agency not even the United Nations exists above the individual state which possesses sovereign authority and power. States can make commitments and treaties, but no sovereign power ensured compliance and punishment for deviations. It is the absence of this central authority that underlined the position of the realists and connotes the anarchy environment of international politics which the neo-realists have admitted. The anarchic environment of international politics, then, allows every state to be the final judge of its own interests, but requires that each provide the means to attain them[11].

However, scholars of liberal international relations, which have over the years position themselves as rivals to the realists, have typically stress that many important international outcomes cannot be adequately explained with reference to power possessed by states. Instead, they posited that international outcomes are better understood by the salutary presence of democracy, particular configurations of domestic interests, liberal values, economic interdependence or international institutions. This position, as represented by classical liberals like Immanuel Kant, Richard Cobden, Joseph Schumpeter, and lately, Woodrow Wilson, Jeremey Bentham, Jean Rousseau, underscored the prominent ascribed to extra-national organizations, transnational groups in directing the course of international politics. Mainstream constructivists have also pointed to the causal significance of normative structures and process of learning and persuasions. They particularly stressed the underline effects of normative structures on actors’ identities and interests[12].

Classically, the role of states in international politics is absolute. They entered into treaties, formed alliances, determined the course of economic and market relations and reserved exclusive decisions on the issue of war and peace. This period of absolute authority of state, i.e. from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, was various referred to in literature as the era of nation-state when issue of national security took center stage in global politics. Those were the period of balance of power and bi-polarity when states, and states alone , were at the center stage and together they modulate the direction and outcomes of international system. Domestically, the role of state is equally apparent in dispensing public goods such as education, social, economic and public enterprises.

Carl Marx (1814-1883) had typically classified the role of states based on what he perceived as the system in operation – the Capitalist and Socialist systems[13]. To Marx, the Capitalist world is characterized by the dominance exercise on the public life (Proletariats) by the bourgeoisies while the Socialist world is one where state control replaced the exploitation of the bourgeoisies. Transposing this to the international system, one can postulate that while both the capitalist and the socialists theorists differed significantly in their dialectic comprehension of the underlining role of state and exiting class structure within it, both were in agreement on the central role of state in the international system. That is, states are the main determinants of the system while other identified agents, if any, should succumb to the inviolable dictates of state. Even in the contemporary times, just as there are considerable debates on the central role of states among the realists, neo-realists, liberals, structural liberalists and constructivists, most of the liberals and social constructivists that expressed wide ranging difference on the obsession of the realists with state power and authority and posited on the importance of inter-dependence among states and normative structures and processes, still equally recognized that such exists to provide salutary effects on the central role of state within the system.

Theoretically, especially prior to the demise of the former Soviet Union in 1991, state-centric paradigm in which state was considered as the dominant and only meaningful actors in world affairs dictate the pace and actions in the international system. Perhaps, the bi-polar nature of the global system, especially the contests between the United States and the Soviet Union and alliances nature of the system, gave credence to this paradigm which believed that global affairs then took place within the anarchic contest of East and West relations. This is particularly important considering the issue of national security that was the main determinant of relations. Though, other actors like the Multinational Corporations (MNCs) represented by big businesses like British Petroleum (BP), Royal Dutch Shell; Religious Group (Catholic Church);  Professional groups, like ‘Medicine San Frontiers’; Specific Group,  like Amnesty International and International Personalities, have long played one role or the other within the system, their influence were regarded as not significantly profound as to dictate pace and action in a way that could qualify them to change state policy and interests. Indeed, the profound influence of states was apparent during the Cold War.

States were the main determinants of the system. Interestingly, examination of the both the past and contemporary politics within the United Nations points to the central role of state in the international system.  States are the major recognized units. All other units owed their existence to the interest and acceptance of the participating states. This is fundamental in three respects. First, states were the only parties to the formation of the UN. For example, twenty-six nation-states were the first to affirm the principles of Atlantic Charter and agreed to create a new organization replacing the former League of Nations. When the United Nations Conference on International Organizations later convened in San Francisco on 25 April 1945, delegates from the fifty participating states modified and finalized what had already being agreed by the major powers[14]. Therefore looking at the background, nation-states are the creator of global organizations where other actors later participated.

Two, the wording of the Charter of the UN and even the League that preceded it appealed only to nation-states and not extra-state actors.  Looking at the key provisions of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) - i.e. Chapters I, VI, VII and except in chapter VIII which affirmed the creation of regional organizations, states were the only recognizable social units and actors by the Charter. For instance, Chapter I on the purposes and the principles of the body stressed in its Articles 2 (sections 3, 4, and 7) the importance of settlement of disputes by states parties through peaceful means, abstinence from the threat use of force in the conduct of international relations which are believed to be dominated by states and states only, and preclusion of the body to even interfere in matters considered to be essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states.  Also, articles VI on the pacific settlement of disputes which represented a hang-over from the pre-war experiences when alliances and counter-secret alliances resulted in the two major world wars and chapter viii on threat to peace, breaches of peace and acts of aggression also appealed profoundly to states and not extra-actors.

Third, building of consensus within the UN is only by the consent of states and not extra-actors. The legalistic provisions of the Charter which prescribed equality of all members and “one state one vote” policy are all affirmations of the importance placed on the central role of states in the international system.  As Kenneth Waltz asserts “international politics consists of like units duplicating one another’s activities”[15].

By and large, states continue to be key actors in global governance. They alone possess sovereignty which historically given them authority not only over the territory they administer and the people they ruled upon but also over power delegated to international institutions created by them.  States create IGOs and set their mandates; they create international law and norms and determine their effectiveness through their compliance and failure to comply[16]. Although there exists both small and large states within the system and the role they played is consequent upon their influence within the system. During the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union used their dominant presence to shape the course of the system at that period. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States has been playing major role in shaping world affairs. Although, its influencing role predates the end of the cold war because her dominant position after the WW II was deployed to shape much of the structures and rules of post-war international system. The Bretton woods institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund); multilateral institutions were all shaped by American ideas and value which are transferred to other states within the system.

Apart from power of the larger state within the system, smaller and medium states too exhibit some roles and have been influencing events in some ways. Just as the US was put under tremendous pressures from other less powerful states in the UN following its unilateral intervention in Iraq in 2003, which later forced it to seek the endorsement of the UN Security Council for its continued presence in the country. Also, the international economic relations are being determined in consultations with the other G-8 members of France, Britain, Russia, and Japan. 

The underpinning role of state in  global governance is fundamental, extra actors may be powerful within the contemporary international system, the fact that states still retains territorial, regulatory and legislative control means that these elements, no matter how hugely structured, could not always have their ways.       


The Role of Non- State Actors in Global Governance.

Having discussed the role of state in the international system, attention will now be shifted to discussions of other elements (Actors) in the contemporary global governance. One draws from the discussions so far that states are key element in the global system, but this central role of states are increasingly being challenges by hosts of other elements that are determining the direction of the system much the same way states have been doing. As Jessica Matthews noted “the end of the Cold War has brought a novel redistribution of power among states, markets and civil society. National governments are not simply losing autonomy in a globalizing world. They are sharing powers… with businesses, international organizations and multitude of citizen groups known as non-governmental organizations”[17]. Thus, the power-shift has gained momentum.

Kerns and Mingst (2010:222) have identified these actors and captured them in a rubric as: - International Governmental Organizations (e.g multilateral institutions including the UN itself and its multifaceted agencies), national and cross-border voluntary organizations pursuing common purposes ( e.g. NGOs/INGOs), both formal and informal linkages established by NGO/INGOs for common purposes (e.g. Transnational Networks and Coalitions), experts from government and non-governmental institutions ( e.g. Experts and Epistemic communities) on issues such as climate, environment, Seas; individually funded private NGOs (Foundations e.g. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet Turners); Profit making (e.g. Oil, Gas, Telecommunication) multinational corporations; Multi-stakeholders actors; Social Movements and Terrorist groups which they classified as those operating on the dark side).

One can argue that influence of these extra-actors is not indeed of recent value because companies like United Fruits and British East India, including the colonial Royal Niger in Africa, and even the different war mercenaries, have in the distant past guided foreign policy. Even in the waning days of the Cold War, non-governmental organs drove the move which transformed issues like human rights, environment and development into the global front. What is, perhaps, striking today is that while some of these actors collaborate intimately with states, others operate largely on their own and guided by their own rules and parochial interests that may run counter to that of their home governments. Therefore, as state-centric system retreated and the opportunity for these actors to flex their muscles emerged, a foreign policy market, which actors motivated by profits and influence are happy to fill also emerged.

With the proliferation of these extra actors, scholars have sometimes been at lost as to what proper paradigm should be employed to explain this phenomenon. Realists have long concentrate on the state-centric feature of international politics based on their sacred attachment to state sovereignty and the centrality of power. This realist perspective that advocated state centric system of the Westphalian order is now being replaced by a ‘multi-centric system’ in which non-state actors are capable of exercising influence within the global governance.

Although this development does not herald the end of sovereignty, but it does prove to show that the exclusivity and scope of competence it once enjoyed has changed substantially. Scholar like Farida Lakhany explained that a pluralist approach which combined the realist, liberalist and constructivist approach would best help us to account for arrays of participations we are witnessing within the globalizing world. Thus, as Stephen Waltz had argued, a “complete Diplomat” of the future should remain cognizant of realism’s emphasis on the inescapable role of power, keep liberalism’s awareness of domestic forces in mind, and occasionally reflect on the constructivism’s vision of change[18]. Fundamentally, three important factors could be employed to account for the change we are witnessing today.

Firstly, the end of the Cold war prompted a sense of enhanced global security, changed the security agenda of the world and subsequently encouraged the rise of transnational civil society groups, majority of whom had actually played roles in the end of Communism. Secondly, the advent of information age herald profound revolutions in communication technology which led to the rise of networks as the premier organizational form.  Hafner-Burton et. al. have described networks as a mode of organization, one that displays neither the hierarchical character of states and the conventional international organizations nor the ephemeral bargaining relationship of markets[19]. Many actors are increasingly employed networks as a veritable means of influencing state policies and build alliances.  This is because it enabled them to node into one single unit with less power and wealth. Thirdly, the globalization of the world economy and the integration of financial markets is enhancing the power of traditional multinational corporations, as well as giving rise to new kinds of corporations.

It is important to stress that while there is incredible diversity among these non-state actors, one common denominator among them is that they are now transnational in nature and has continue to operate as such -  as opposed to the appellation of multinational corporations usually ascribed to firms that cross-borders in the 1960s and 1970s. Non-state actors today are not identified or affiliated with any particular nation-state and not indeed within the control of any particular state. Some have little or no legal personality under international law (e.g. the terrorist and the pirates groups) yet operate and influence state behaviors. Therefore, the point where we could locate the change they brought into the international system is their movement from hitherto informal plane to the formal plane. There is a tremendous struggle now taking place to find ways in which many of these non-state actors, especially those on the positive side can express their views formally through participations in some international negotiations.

In terms of measuring the role of these extra-state actors, we look at their increasing role in changing foreign policy of nation-states. One notable examples of this is the celebrated and wide publicized impacts of the international coalition to ban landmines in 1997. This international coalition, involving about 1000 extra-states actors (NGOs and Civil Society groups)  from more than 60 countries,  used array of electronic media and internet messages to change the mindset of the world, thereby leading to the multilateral agreement banning landmines in 1999. One particular implication of the influence of these extra state actors is the way they reframe world issues just like the way they make landmines becomes a matter of humanitarian concerns. Nowadays, most of the relief efforts of agency like the UN High Commission for Refugees are now been left to competences of NGOs, Civil Society groups that possess better understanding of local realities and solutions. In the financial sector, credit ratings by such influential actors like Moody’s investors service (Moody’s) and Standard and Poor’s Rating Group (S&P) are increasingly dictating pace of economic performances and investors’ confidence of many nation- states.


Politics Vs Disorder in the Contemporary Global Governance.

A celebrated Egyptian novelist, Mohammed Heikhal, has written a book following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, which many Arab nations celebrated as a victory; he liked such euphoria as ‘Triumph of Illusion’. From that premise one can begin to analyze the current system of global governance where everyone is struggling to be heard. Paul Streeten has argued that the reduced power of national governments combined with the spread of world-wide free markets and technological innovation without corresponding authority to regulate them and hold them accountable has contributed to the marginalization of large regions and groups of people. … the state has become, to some extent, ungovernable while the global society is ungoverned. Unemployment, poverty inequality and alienation are increasing, partly as a result of this process. Crimes, drugs, terrorism, violence, civil wars, diseases, and environmental destruction are also becoming globalized[20].

Legitimacy can also be seen as providing a “focal point” that helps strategic actors to select one equilibrium solution among others. For the classic discussion of focal points, see Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), Ch. 3. For a critique of theories of cooperation on the basis of focal point theory, and an application to the European Union, see Geoffrey Garrett and Barry Weingast, “Ideas, Interests, and Institutions: Constructing the European Community’s Internal Market,” in Judith Goldstein and Robert O. Keohane, eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions and Political Change (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), esp. pp. 178–85.

Most contemporary analytic philosophical literature on legitimacy tends to focus exclusively on the legitimacy of the state and typically assumes a very strong understanding of legitimacy. In particular, it is assumed that legitimacy entails (1) a content-independent moral obligation to comply with all institutional rules (not just content-independent moral reasons to comply and/or a content-independent moral obligation to not interfere with others' compliance), (2) being justified in using coercion to secure compliance with rules, and (3) being justified in using coercion to exclude other actors from operating in the institution’s domain. (See, for example, Christopher Heath Wellman and A. John Simmons, Is There a Duty to Obey the Law? For and Against [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005]). It is far from obvious; however, that this very strong conception is even the only conception of legitimacy appropriate for the state, given what is sometimes referred to as the “unbundling” of sovereignty into various types of decentralized states and the existence of the European Union. Be that as it may, this state-centered conception is too strong for global governance institutions, which generally do not wield coercive power or claim such strong authority. For a more detailed development of this point, see Allen Buchanan, “The Legitimacy of International Law,” in Samantha Besson and John Tasioulas, eds., The Philosophy of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Global governance today is riddled with a host of clients both on the positive and the dark sides. The idea of what we now refer to as global governance emerged from the increasing complexity of issues on the global agenda which brings neo-liberal institutionalists to the question of global governance. Scholar like Keohane does not see global governance as it were the same world government. To him, it is merely a design that integrates “networks among agents and norms – standard of expected behaviors- that are widely accepted by the agents”[21]. He noted that increased interdependence among human beings produces discord, since self-regarding actions affects the welfare of others.[22]  

The increasing diffusion of state power and the corresponding spread of the locus of authority have produced dis-order in the international system beyond what was experienced during the period when the very locus of international authority and legitimacy to act rested purely on states. While it is apposite for scholars of international politics to point at the increasing positive influence of extra-state actors in world affairs, the operations of those classified on the dark side, especially in re-defining the concept of disorder has brought a question as to what extent is the current international system characterized by politic or disorder?

Prior to 11 September,  2001 terrorist attack in the US, the system was defined by consideration for economic integration and trade liberalization issues with the calls for a new world economic order by developing states gaining resonance. All that changed when nineteen young men with an unwavering ideological fervor changed the course of human history. Al Qaeda and its affiliates tragically transformed what is hitherto regarded as operation reserved for states “Terrorism” to global reckoning. Nowadays, al-Qaeda operates outside the state system, and its “success” is due largely to its ability to manipulate the mechanisms of global governance such as cross border travel, advanced communication technology, and the international media to its advantages[23]

Terrorism apart, international system currently characterized by disorder has rear its head in another way. Prior to the end of the Cold War, the system was dominated by inter-state conflicts with no sympathizers beyond the confines of the territorial spaces where such were being fought. Today, intra-state ethnic on jihadist conflicts of severe magnitude that shared network across borders has replaced inter-state one. This type of wars is what Oliver Rams Botham et. al. (2010:76) typically classified into three (3) - factional, revolutionary- ideology and identity-secession conflicts[24]. In factional conflict, while it does not mean that states are not involved, either overtly or covertly, or that such does not spill over across state borders or draw other states into it, it does involve coupes d’état, intra elite power struggle, brigandage, criminality and war oriented groups where ultimate aim is to usurp, seize or retain state power merely for economic or other interests. 'Example here is the current conflicts in both South Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR).

Although, fundamentally, it has become difficult to argue that issues of war and peace still dominate system relations giving the diminishing returns of inter-state conflicts. The number of death from the intra-state conflict falling either in above typology has increased exponentially. For instance, the estimated over 2 million deaths recorded in the Rwanda Civil war surpassed the combined estimates of the Somalian-Ethiopian border war (1977), Mali-Burkina-Faso (1985) or British-Argentine over Falklands in 1982, despite the sophisticated ammunitions available to these wars compared with cutlasses, axes and knives used in Rwanda.  So also is the increase in internal discontents, aided by technological innovation – social media Twitters, Facebook, Whatsup etc., - that produced destabilizing effects on regimes abroad. Arab Spring of 2011 is a classic example here.

Another level of analysis is the drain and strains imposed by this multiplicity of disorder on especially UN scope of peace keeping operations and budgets. Unlike during the Cold War, where, for instance, a UN missions like that of UN Congo Peace Keeping or the Transitional Authority in Cambodia operations were simply enough operational mechanisms for conflict areas,  in the contemporary international disorder, several of the above listed operations could combined, often indeterminately, in a single conflict area such as the situation in Iraq which featured a combination of MNF-I, NATO’s 200-strong Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I), UN 234 strong assistance (UNAMI) and the European Union’s EUJUST LEX).

Al- Qaeda and intra-state ethnic conflicts notwithstanding, the profits from the global drug trafficking now dwarf the economies of many countries. According to one estimate, the value of all the cocaine produced in Latin America in 2001 was approximately US$93 billion – an amount greater than the national income of three-quarters of the nations in the world. In the US, a total of $60 billion is estimated to be the worth of the industry. The fact here is that with such vast and limitless funds, sophisticated criminal gangs of networks that control this trade are having profound effects on the ability of some states to govern themselves. Today, armed bandits, composed mainly of sea pirates and armed dealers, control the collapsed state of Somalia. The impact that elements on the dark side is having on states is so profound that any foreign policy decision that fails to take into account of all these realities in the global world will simply be that of foreign policy in disarray. Apart from simply shaping policies, their impact is forcing many states to increase national budget on defense and security to such an extent that dwarf other social considerations like education, poverty and health.             

An additional dimension to the above is the increasing use of “mercenaries” in the name of private military contractors to prosecute war on terror. While use of war mercenaries have long being part of the system, the way they are now being directly engaged by states has brought disorder into the system. Foreign military campaigns have long been undertaken by national armies or security but the trend has shifted in favor of the use of private military contractors provided by private security companies. This trend has grown steadily since the Gulf war of 1991, with their ratio to national soldiers moving from 50:1 in 1991 to the current 7:1. The experience in Iraq, beginning from 2004, have seen the US engaging employees of a private company, Blackwater USA, to provide sundry security services in the country.  It has been estimated that at least 20,000 employees from 60 different private military companies were under contract to the US to provide security in Iraq. Special Forces handle an estimated 30% of non-essential security services, guarding reconstruction sites, escorting convoys through hostile areas and defending locations and individuals[25].

Even some head of governments in Africa and elsewhere are presently guarded by private contractors ostensibly as a result of lack of confidence in their intelligence apparatus or fact of hostile environment that overwhelm national security. President Ahmed Karzai of Afghanistan is protected by personnel from the US’s firm of DynCorp.

In Nigeria, some of the former militants in the oil rich but restive Niger-Delta are now being engaged and given multi-billion dollars’ contract to police some waterways against oil smuggling, pirating and other espionage activities. The recent use of the so-called “white Army” composed of ethnic militias from a tribe in South Sudan to prosecute the on-going conflicts in that country by one of the combatants is also one notable example of the growing disorderliness. The use of private “militias” is becoming a fastest growing sector in the defense industry.



Global institutions supply important benefits that neither states nor traditional treaty-based relationships among states can provide, but they are quite new, often fragile, and still evolving. Politically mobilized challenges to the legitimacy of these institutions jeopardize the support they need to function effectively, in spite of the fact that these challenges are typically unprincipled and possibly grounded in unrealistic demands that confuse justice with legitimacy. A principled global public standard of legitimacy could facilitate more responsible criticism while at the same time providing guidance for improvement, through a process of institutionalized, collective learning, both about what it is reasonable to expect from global governance institutions and about how to achieve it. Our hope is that the proposal offered in this paper serves these purposes.

The central argument of this essay can now be summarized. The Complex Standard provides a reasonable basis for agreement in legitimacy assessments of global governance institutions. When the comparative benefit condition is satisfied, the institution provides goods that are not readily obtainable without it. These goods, however, can be reliably provided only if coordination is achieved, and achieving coordination without excessive costs requires that the relevant agents regard the institution’s rules as presumptively binding—that is, that they take the fact that the rule is issued by the institution as a content-independent reason for compliance. The instrumental value of institutions that satisfy the comparative benefit condition also gives individuals generally a content-independent reason not to interfere with the functioning of the institutions. Satisfaction of the minimal moral acceptability condition rules out the more serious moral objections that might otherwise undercut the instrumental reasons for supporting the institution. Satisfaction of the other conditions of the Complex Standard, taken together, provides moral reasons to support or at least not interfere with the institution. Among the most important of these reasons is that the institution has epistemic virtues that facilitate the development of more demanding standards and the progressive improvement of the institution itself. Thus, when a global governance institution meets the demands of the Complex Standard, there is justification for saying that it has the right to rule, not merely that it is beneficial.

1]-   Who Governs the Globe? ed. Deborah D. Avant et al. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), 1.

[2]-   What happens after privatization? Globalization, corporate governance and adjustment. Alexander Börsch Centre for the Study of Globalization and Regionalization , University of Warwick , Coventry, UKPages 593-612 | Published online: 04 Feb 2011

[3]-   Globalization and Governance, Jon Pierre, Research Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Adjunct Professor, University of Pittsburgh, US and University of Melbourne, Australia. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015

[4]-   International Organizations in World Politics. Tamar Gutner - American University. April 2016 | 304 pages | CQ Press.

[5]-   Who Governs the Globe? edited by Deborah D. Avant, Martha Finnemore, Susan K. Sell. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

[6]-   Global governance as public authority: An introduction. Nico Krisch*. Professor of International Law, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin; ICREA Research Professor, IBEI, Barcelona. 2014.

[7]-   Ruth W. Grant and Robert O. Keohane, “Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics,”American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005), pp. 29–44. See also Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, “Redefining Accountability for Global Governance,” in Miles Kahler and David A. Lake, eds., Governance in a Global Economy: Political Authority in Transition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), pp. 386–411.

[8]-   For a discussion, see Ngaire Woods, “Holding Intergovernmental Institutions to Account,”Ethics & International Affairs 17, no. 1 (2003), pp. 69–80.

[9]-   See Lake; David, (2003), ‘The New Sovereignty In International Relations’, International Studies Review, Volume 5, Number 3, pp. 305.

[10]-  Ibid

[11]-  Art, J. Art and Jervis, Roberts, (2007), ‘International Politics: ENDURING CONCEPTS AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES’, Pearson Longmans Educational Inc, Eight Edition, pp.2-3.

[12]-  Barnett, Michael and Duvall, Raymond, (2005), ‘ Power in International Politics’, International Organization, Volume 59, Number 1, Cambridge University Press, pp 39-75.

[13]-  Issue Number 88 - April 2014 Power Sharing of Global Governance Wear Down the State Prepared By: Professor Michel NEHME - See more at:

[14]-  See Karns, M.P and Mingst, K.A, (2010); International Organizations: ‘THE POLITICS AND PROCESSES OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE’, Lynne Rienner Publishers, (2nd Edition), pp.96.

[15]-  For this quotation see Gaubatz, T. Y., (1996), ‘Democratic States and Commitment in International Relations’, International Organization, Volume 50. Number 1. pp112.

[16]-  See Karns and Mingst (2010) pp.15.

[17]-  Cohen; M.A. and Kupcu, M.F; (2005), ‘ Privatizing Foreign Policy’, World Policy Journal, Volume 22, Number 3, pp. 35.

[18]-  Lakhany, Farida, (2006) pp.38.

[19]-  Hafner-Burton, Emilie H, Kahler . M.  and Montgomery, A.H., (2009) ‘Networks Analysis for International Relations’, International Organization Foundation, Volume 63, Number 3, Cambridge University Press, pp. 559-560.

[20]-  See Streeten, Paul et. al. (1998), ‘Globalisation: Threat or Opportunity? ‘Pakistan Development Review’, Volume 37, Nomber 4, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, pp 51 -53.

[21]-  See Viotti P.R. and Kauppi M.V. (1999), ‘International Relations Theory’, Pearson Educational Inc., pp.149.

[22]-  Ibid. pp.150.

[23]-  Cohen; Michael (2005), ‘Privatizing Foreign Policy’, ‘World Policy Journal’, the IMT Press and World Policy Institute, pp 40.

[24]-  Ramsbotham; O., Woodhouse; T and Miall; H. (2011), ‘Contemporary Conflict Resolution’, Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 76- 170.

[25]-  See Cohen; pp. 41.

متلازمة الحوكمة والفوضى العالميّة

ليست الدول الجهات الفاعلة الوحيدة في الحوكمة العالميّة. فإنّ المؤسّسات الحاكمة العالميّة تعتبر جهات فاعلةً تمارس السلطة عبر الحدود متمتّعةً بدرجة ما من الشرعيّة والاستمراريّة لأغراض التأثير على السياسة في مجال معيّن. إذًا، تعمل المؤسّسات الحاكمة على ابتكار المسائل، ووضع جداول الأعمال، وإنشاء القواعد أو البرامج وتنفيذها، وتقييم النتائج و/ أو الفصل فيها، وبالتالي مراقبة الفعل عمليًّا في نطاق اختصاصها.

تحاول المؤسّسات الحاكمة استخدام وجهات نظر الجمعيّات المحترفة، والمجموعات الدفاعية والشركات المتعدّدة الجنسيّات. ثمّة خمس قواعد يستمدّ منها الحكّام السلطة والاحترام وهي قاعدة المؤسّسات، والتفويض، والخبراء، والأخلاق والفعاليّة. وتتجلّى أربعة أنماط عامّة في العلاقات بين الحكّام ألا وهي التفويض والتعاقد والشبكات والتسلسل الهرميّ. ويثير هؤلاء الحكّام أسئلةً حول المحاسبة والشرعيّة في السياسة العالميّة.

ثمّة أربعة تبدّلات عزّزت أهميّة المؤسّسات الحاكمة غير التابعة للدولة؛ العولمة، التي قامت بتقويض الصدفة بين الفعل الاجتماعيّ وحدود الدولة؛ ثورة الخصخصة وإزالة القيود التي قاداها تاتشر وريغان، قد قامت فقط بتسوية انتقال السلطة هذا إلى الجهات الفاعلة غير الدول؛ التقنيّات الجديدة سهّلت عمليّة التواصل، وتدفّق السكّان، وتبادل الأفكار؛ نهاية الحرب الباردة التي قامت بالفعل بفكّ القيود الذي يفرضه مأزق السلطات العظمى على النشاط الدوليّ.

كذلك، هناك العديد من الافتراضات الخاطئة حول عملاء الحوكمة العالميّة، من جهة، الافتراض الوظيفيّ أنّ الحوكمة ستقوم بتزويد السلع العامّة من خلال نوع من آليّة اليد المخفيّة؛ وأنّ عمليّات الحوكمة العالميّة تشكّل أفعالًا عمليّةً من الخيار الاستراتيجيّ، حيث قد يكون الفعل مدفوعًا من القواعد الاجتماعيّة النافذة للسلوك الشرعيّ أو المناسب الذي يتفاعل مع الفعل العمليّ بطرق معقّدة، وذلك عن طريق تسليط الضوء على التبعات غير المقصودة، واللاتحديد، وتبعيّة المسار؛ ومن جهةٍ أخرى، أنّ الحوكمة العالميّة أمر جيّد، حيث أنّ السلطة، بأشكالها المتعدّدة، قد تجعل الفعل التعاونيّ صعب التمييز بين الاستغلال أو الهيمنة.