U.S. View Point On Global Governance

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U.S. view point on Global Governance

U.S. view point on Global Governance.


Global governance is a new and much contested area of scholarly enquiry. Situated principally in the discipline of international relations, global governance is broadly understood to be a term of reference for the various and collected ways in which life on this planet is managed. The absence of a world state (or other overarching political body) ensures that global governance is currently concerned with a host of actors—states, international and regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations, and financial markets, to name the most obvious—and the impact of their actions on the global environment, world economy, the international political system, and the social and cultural orders therein. The study of global governance also has a distinctly normative quality—that is, it is concerned with how the globe is governed and how it might be governed.

Instead, Obama envisions—indeed, insists—that other global powers assume new responsibilities. Notwithstanding its multilateral instincts, the Obama administration is limited in its practical ability to promote and embrace sweeping reforms to global governance. Rather than casting its lot entirely with universal organizations like the United Nations, the United States will adopt a more pragmatic approach to international cooperation, relying on a combination of formal institutions and more flexible partnerships to achieve US national interests. The balance sheet for Obama's first year in office underscores both the opportunities for, and the constraints on, global governance reform in the current geopolitical environment (Cox, 2009).

The United States helped replace the Group of Eight (G-8) with the Group of Twenty (G-20) as the apex steering group for the world economy. At the same time, Washington has left an opening for a continued role for the G-8, particularly in political and security matters. The Obama administration has also supported modest reforms to the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including an expanded mandate for the International Monetary Fund and structural shifts in The World Bank. The details of such adjustments, however, remain to be negotiated.

At the same time, the United States has remained notably reticent when it comes to any expansion of the United Nations Security Council to accommodate rising nations. Finally, the Obama administration has offered new US leadership on both nuclear proliferation and climate change, but without significant governance breakthroughs in the multilateral regimes governing either arena (Hewson, 2009).

Discussion and Analysis

Unsurprisingly, the apparently catch-all quality of global governance has ensured that it has been widely criticized. For instance, global governance has been criticized as a catch-all phrase for “virtually everything,” a synonym for anything “post-Cold War,” and shorthand for what has emerged that we can concisely and coherently explain. Questions have also been raised about the need for yet another addition to the vocabulary of international relations, as well as the value of adding “global” as a prefix to the word governance. Indeed, concerns have been raised that global governance is simply old wine in a new bottle, and a few scholars have commented that international ...
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