Global governance is a relatively novel concept that has managed to attract the attention of both international relations scholars and practitioners. The primary purpose of such a phenomenon is considered by many to be international cooperation in an effort to address a variety of current issues, which appear to be more dynamic and unpredictable in an ever-evolving political climate of the 21st century. Collective action in global governance is executed not only by states, but by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), “multinational corporations (MNCs), scientific experts, civil society groups, international credit-renting agencies, think tanks,”1 and many others. Despite a number of successes of global governance, it has proven to be rather ineffective in some scenarios. Liberal theorists emphasize the role of international organizations and collective initiatives in the expansion of human freedoms, while realists agree that national interests remain the main incentives for any form of structured global cooperation.
The belief that global governance is rooted in an idea of world peace, stability, and human rights protection can be easily justified. Some opponents of this proposition argue that collective efforts of states and non-governmental institutions usually reflect the existing power dynamics2 on a global arena. However, it is important to acknowledge that modern realities of international politics result in growing interdependence among states, which leads to them having mutual interests. Thus, they can and often do cooperate to exercise compulsory power over other states and non-state actors through “the use of material resources such as debt relief, food, money, guns, and sanctions, as well as normative resources”3. For instance, the United States and the European Union have agreed on enforcing sanctions against Russia due to the military conflict between Russian Federation and Ukraine4. Apart from targeting Vladimir Putin himself, the aforementioned states exercised influence over the powerful elite around the President as well as business moguls with ties to the Russian government.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to take a critical look at the system of global governance that has developed over the last couple of decades. Preferences and interests of the U.S. and Western Europe have shaped5 key elements of international cooperation mechanisms. Realists claim that the sole purpose of any global collective initiatives is maximizing power and security. Therefore, when a state sees no gain in cooperation, it disregards the liberal idea of human rights protection and ignores a problem occurring in another country. However, when national interests are at stake, some states often abuse their influence in international organizations such as the United Nations. An example of the true intent behind cooperation is the failure of UN peacekeepers in Rwanda6. Neither Europe, nor the US had national interests at stake in the Rwandan genocide, which explains their inaction in the face of thousands of innocent Tutsis being killed. It is evident that there is no shortage in mechanisms of global cooperation; instead, states choose to overlook global issues that have no benefits for them.
There is certainly one acceptable position Christians should hold regarding global governance. Although each scenario is unique, with a variety of circumstances dictating people’s attitudes towards international cooperation, it is undeniable that Christianity affirms that every nation is equal in the eyes of the Lord. Christians worldwide have a common commitment7 to ensure justice, which goes beyond ethnic or national origin. As a belief system, Christianity does not acknowledge absolute sovereignty of states8 since all of them inevitably answer to one higher power. Thus, Christians should support globalization and the creation of international organizations as a reflection of people putting Biblical commandments into practice such as loving thy neighbor.
Center for Public Justice. “Globalization and the Kingdom of God: A Christian Perspective on International Relations.” Shared Justice. 2017. Web.
Chiacu, Doina, and Susan Heavey. “U.S., EU, Canada Impose Sanctions on Russians over Ukraine.” Reuters, 2019. Web.
Karns, Margaret P., Mingst, Karen A., and Kendall W. Stiles. International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2015. VitalSource.
Lakin, Samantha. “Lessons from the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda, 25 Years after the Genocide It Failed to Stop.” The Conversation, 2019. Web.
Novosad, Paul, and Eric Werker. “Who Runs the International System? Nationality and Leadership in the United Nations Secretariat.” The Review of International Organizations 14 (2019): 1-33. Web.
- Margaret P. Karns, Karen A. Mingst, and Kendall W. Stiles, International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2015), 8. VitalSource.
- Ibid., 45.
- Ibid., 36.
- Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey, “U.S., EU, Canada Impose Sanctions on Russians over Ukraine,” Reuters, 2019. Web.
- Paul Novosad and Eric Werker, “Who Runs the International System? Nationality and Leadership in the United Nations Secretariat,” The Review of International Organizations 14 (2019): 4. Web.
- Samantha Lakin, “Lessons from the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda, 25 Years after the Genocide It Failed to Stop,” The Conversation. 2019. Web.
- Center for Public Justice, “Globalization and the Kingdom of God: A Christian Perspective on International Relations,” Shared Justice, 2017. Web.