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Return to: The Daito Bunka 2000 Lectures

The G8 and Global Governance:
The Role of Canada, Japan and the United States

Daito Bunka University
Lecture #2
July 10th, 2000

Let me start with some administrative details. For the next few days you'll be busy reading the core texts. So I would like everyone, starting tonight if you can, to start at the beginning of Jun Takase's book Summit and in the coming days read through it. This is a brand new treatment of the summit, from the beginning to now. It's a nice, historical overview, one that emphasizes the role of Japan and, of course, is focused on the Okinawa summit to come. And then, we also start with the North Pacific Triangle book, with the introduction, which is very short, and then with the chapter I have written .

Later on, if you would like more readings, we can give you those. There are some extra sources in the syllabus, but we can give you more. Most of these are in English, so you may need some time to absorb them.

Secondly, sometimes my English can be a little difficult to understand my students at home tell me this. So to help, after each lecture Madeline will be preparing a written copy of my lecture in English, and we will give you each a copy.

Let's start by asking the question of what is global governance, and then look at the very different forms of global governance in the world over the past many years, and then come to the G7 and ask why it is particularly effective as a form of global governance, and in particular how the United States, Japan and Canada behave as principal power within the G7 to make the G7/G8 work effectively.

First, global governance. What is governance? It's a relatively new world for students of international politics. It means, quite literally, from its Latin origins, steering, as one would steer a sailboat. We can also think of governance as shaping, shaping the values that prevail that world, that dominate what we call international order, the basic principles that govern the behaviour and other actors as they deal across international boundaries in the world. Governance, then, is steering and shaping the outcomes, the results so that some countries win, some communities win and so some values, rather than others, prevail. This is thus consistent with what we have long understood politics to be about at the core. Do you remember take your mind way back to your first course in politics what is politics? Politics, said David Easton, is the authoritative allocation of values. Or we can think about Harold Laskwell, writing even before David Easton for him, politics is about who gets what, when, where and how. Or simply, who wins, who loses. That's what politics is governance, steering behaviour toward particular outcomes, values, particular countries, communities and their values. That's what governance is all about.

But there's one important difference. When David Easton gave us his classic definition of politics being the authoritative alolcationallocation of values, he used the word "authoritative." He was thinking of domestic government. Within Japan, as within Canada or the United States, there is a process of interest groups, political parties, elections, but at the end of the day someone wins, and their views become law, and that is authoritative. It is enforced by the police authorities and in the courts, and no one else is allowed to challenge them, not domestic criminal organizations, and not forces or actors from the outside, such as AT&T. Domestic politics is a self-contained sphere, a sovereign state. Sovereignty means indivisibility of command: one law across the whole law. It is authoritative what values prevail within the state. That definition is still good when we look at politics within a single country. In fact, when we look at governance within a single country, we can think about authoritative allocations.

But when we become students of international politics, when our attention turns to global governance, there is no single source of authority or authoritative allocations in the world.

So if we were to look at domestic politics we could speak about authority but when we look at global politics and governments, there is no single source of authority. That's why we can only think of shaping or steering outcomes, rather than authoritatively allocating values. The United Nations would like to be the authoritative centre of global governance, but it is not. Some would like to believe that international law would have binding force on countries and on citizens. Many Canadians would hope that the recently created convention to ban the use of anti-personnel land mines would xxx take hold and be accepted even by the government of the United States. Bbut in the world as a whole, in the world of global governance, neither the United Nations nor international law can shape outcomes with authority.

Why is that? Well, it's because the international system can was created a long time ago to give a premium to the prerogatives of something called sovereign nation-states. Sovereign nation-states like Japan, Canada, the United States they keep the authority themselves and will not give it to any intergovernmental organization such as the United Nations.

This basic arrangement of a world dominated by sovereign nation-states came into being a very long time ago. In fact, the usual date of when this world was created is 1648. It was then that in Europe the authorities of the time came together and signed the Treaty of Westphalia, which said that they all agreed that they wanted to live in a world of sovereign nation-states, not one in which feudal lords within a state had the authority, both in their own territorial domain and in others, nor in a world where religious authority for example, the pope had authority over subjects wherever they were. Rather, they wanted a world of sovereign nation-states, a nation-state like Japan, within its own territory, its government exercises authority and can allocate values within. So 1648 was the big bang, the creation of the modern inter-state system that exists still today.

In a world of sovereign territorial nation-states, how would they agree to govern or manage relations with each other? The answer to that question has varied widely over time. Leaders of countries of the world started a long, slow process of learning. For the first 170 years, their answer was the balance-of-power system, which dominated from 1848 through to 1817. The balance-of-power system said that if one was faced in the world with one very powerful country that wished to expand through war to control the world as a whole, that country would be dealt with much as a schoolyard bully would be dealt with.

The balance-of-power system said that whenever a large, expansionist state emerged, like a schoolyard bully, all of the other countries, like classmates, would join together to balance the bully. If necessary, in the international system, they would combine their power and fight a war against a large state before it could dominate the world.

After a hundred and seventy years, it seemed that the balance-of-power system as the dominant form of global governance worked badly. Why? You had to fight a lot of wars against bully, and it almost failed in 1817, when Napoleon's France almost made it to Moscow and became a country that would dominate the world.

So, in 1818, a second system began: the Concert of Europe. The leaders of the major powers that had finally beaten Napoleon gathered for the Congress of Vienna in 1818 to bring into being a new form of global governance to create a world restored. This concert system, this Concert of Europe, included all the major powers and worked very well indeed. For one hundred years, there was no major war in the international system no war in which many of the major powers were engaged, none of the most deadly kinds of war that exist.

But mistakes were made toward the end of the period, perhaps because of the complacency bred by the long peace and the increase in prosperity that peace brought forth. So the system broke down and the First World War took place from 1914 to 1918, and at the end of that war a third approach to global governance, a new system, was put in place.

That third approach to global governance was a system of collective security, not concert governance. This system was enforced by a new international organization, the League of Nations. This system of collective security was a spectacular failure. Within fewer than fifteen years it led to a great global depression, which helped tyrants, such as Adolph Hitler, to power in Germany. In the Asia-Pacific region it forced some countries to take desperate actions, and as a result in September 1939 another world war broke out. That war, the worst ever, brought untold horrors including genocide, the extermination of seven million Jews in Europe, and at the end it brought the use of the most destructive weapon ever, the first use of nuclear weapons.

When the leaders of the victorious powers in the Second World War met for a new peace conference in San Francisco in 1945, one might have thought that they would have agreed that this whole system of collective security was fundamentally flawed and should be replaced. But this they did not do. What they did instead was put in place a new sysemsystem of collective security based in the new United Nations, but a system that still had the fundamental flaws of the original collective security system created by the Treaty of Versailles in France in 18181918. France in 19181818, San Francisco 1945. Whether France in 1918 or, the United States in 1945, xxx the victorious powers of the last war took the same the same approach of to international institutions to implement a set of concepts and ideals about global governance that was fundamentally flawed.

There are many differences between a concert system of global governance and a collective security approach to global governance, but I will identify only one now. In 1818, in the concert system, those major powers that had lost the war France were instantly admitted as equals to the new centre of global governance, to the Concert of Europe. Even though they had lost the war, the other major powers said, "You are a major power, we will treat you as a principal power and you will join with us to help govern the world. In 1945, at San Francisco, following the logic of collective security, they looked at defeated Germany and Japan, and they said, "We are going to keep you out, we are going to freeze you out. You will not be a member of the permanent five of the United Nations Security Council. In Europe we choose China and freeze Japan out, and in Europe we choose France and freeze Germany out." Just to make sure everyone got the message, they included the clause "in perpetuity" Germany and Japan will be treated as enemy states forever.

Those are part of the values of the collective security of system of global governance encoded to this day in the United Nations. Those are the values. If you believe in the United Nations, if you believe in the collective security approach to global governance, you as a citizen of Canada or the United States are told to look across the Pacific at Japan and across the Atlantic to Germany and treat the citizens of those countries, or their ancestors, as citizens of enemy states. Almost no one in Canada believes that. The values of that system are badly out of touch with the values of people of the United States and Canada, and I'm sure with the citizens of Germany, Italy and Britain as well.

In 1975, however, a fourth phase to the approach to global governance started, That year saw the birth of the modern, democratic, now global, concert, with the G7 at its core, much like the old Concert of Europe, but with some different features. This new approach to global governance, G7 concert governance, as with the United Nations, claimed to shape outcomes in the entire world for the international community as a whole. But to do so it took a profoundly different approach. The G7 concert said to Germany and Japan, "Come in to the inner core as a full member. You are one of us and we will collectively govern the world." Before it had finished its first twenty-five years, in 1998, the G7 said to Russia, "You are now a democratic country. You can join our democratic concert."

We are now approaching the fifty-second anniversary we are in the second half-century of the United Nations charter, of those permanent five on the Security Council. How many members have been added? China, added xxx The United Nations has added, after fifty years, not a single one. Not Japan, not Germany, despite their vast power in the world.

Membership makes a difference. Reflect on the differences. What do the United Nations, with its permanent five (P5) members of the Security Council, have in common, and what the members of the G8, because of its members who are members only of the G8 and not the permament fiveP5, and what values do they share. Think of those difference and ask what values would you like to prevail, as we launch into the twenty-first century,.

Let me just take a moment to start the reflection and give you some of imy thoughtsanswers. The permanent five P5 members of th e UN Security Council, who after 52 years will admit no other country. They are the U.S., Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the People's Republic of China, France and ZBritain. One thing they have in common , and they are almost alone amongst the 200 countries in this respect , sis that they have all chosent to spend their taxpayers' dollars money to create and maintain independent nuclear weapon capacity. In fact, one of those countries ahs has actually initiated nuclear war. The other members of the G8 that are not members of the P5 are Japan, Canada, Germany and Italy. None of those has independent nuclear weapons; they are very different in that respect. After 50 years, the UN Security Council seems to be saying, "All of our members have nuclear weapons." Implicitly, if anyone else wants into the club, do they have to have nuclear weapon too? The G8, because of Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada and is forwarding a very different set of values within the G8 and in the international community, because you can become full members of the G8 as those four countries are without nuclear weapons and all the other traditional legacies of the classic national security state.

One final thought. Collective security, the United Nations, the P5, versus concert, the G8 very different values in their approach to global governance. But a very different performance as well. Differences in performance: At San Francisco, 1945, the victorious powers, soon to become nuclear weapon powers, the Soviet Union and the United States were put into the inner club and told to govern the world. But within two short years, in 1947, the cold war began. That form of governance was unable to prevent that advent of the cold war, with all the horrible legacy it left Vietnam, the Taiwan straits, and the Korean peninsula today. In 1975, governance through the modern democratic concert of the G7 with civilian and democratic Japan and Germany brought in as full members, and not very many years later, the result: the end of the cold war in Europe, the spread of democratic principles to many countries of the world, including Russia, the great success story that almost no one thought possible a decade or so ago, the peaceful transformation of the old Soviet Union of the cold war into a democratic Russia, which is now, actively, as a fellow member of the G7 supporting democratic principles around the world.

So G7 governance works in bringing into being the world we want. But it does not work equally well every single year. To find out when it works well, and why it works well, look at those handouts I gave you. Look at the records and evidence, and the grades we give for good summits and bad summits, and come back tomorrow to see why some summits work very well indeed and sometimes they fail quite badly. We need to know that so we can predict whether Okinawa will be successful.


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