After two years of covering the topic of global governance, the Global Journal is just beginning to do justice to the intricacies of the subject. As the concept of international relations is now part and parcel of the old lexicon of the twentieth century, that does not mean that the new one, ‘global governance’, has yielded up all its secrets or potential.
The implications of an interconnected world were the subject of a speech given by Hillary Rodham Clinton during the recent Time 100 Gala: “Today, a flu in Canton can become an epidemic in Chicago. Or a protest in Cairo can reverberate in Calcutta causing economic and political shockwaves. And we know too well the destruction that an extremist cell in Karachi or Kandahar can cause. The world has changed – technology and globalization have made nearly every country and community inter-dependent and interconnected; citizens and non-state actors like NGOs, corporations, cartels are increasingly influencing international a.airs for good or for ill. And the challenges we face have become so complex, so fast-moving, so cross-cutting that no one nation can hope to solve them alone. So how we practice foreign policy needs to change as well.”
All well and good, but consider the question that prompted it: “Is America still up to the job of leading this rapidly changing world?” This simple question reveals that the United States – like many other countries - has not yet taken on board the full measure of the changes they recount so lucidly. Most countries move from national governance to global governance only to preserve their national interests. How to define common goals – and establish the appropriate methods of governance – is the real challenge of the century. Those who judge their neighboring nations – looking to place them lower in the rank of nations – are out of date and missing the point.
If your neighbor collapses, there is no question that you will suffer some consequences: how can you let someone starve outside your door and not intervene? Clearly, solidarity must be the first step in the redefinition of governance. Without a consensual basis, how can we collectively progress? Solidarity, fair play, justice... and then, finally, implementation. These are themes dear to Jürgen Habermas in his latest book that paints a picture of a Europe shaken to the roots of its political and cultural foundations. We couldn’t resist the temptation of entrusting the role of the interviewer to Francis Fukuyama who recently questioned in our pages the future of European identity. Their discussion has exceptional clarity and inspiration. “Clarity” and “inspiration” are two words that also define five exceptional women who have made a mark on their own times and whom we invite you to meet in this issue: five individuals who risked living their lives on the edge, in order to inject profound changes into their world; five individuals who deserve our deepest admiration.
Meanwhile, expatriates in China are becoming intoxicated with an excitement that has long fled Western shores – like a youth who feels his wings spreading (in contrast to Westerners stunned by economic crises and fears about the future). The Shanghai Bund has become an unstaunched artery of globalization, populated by individuals who never sleep, who run from club to club, meeting an ever-changing sequence of strangers, and dancing on tables before possibly ending up in the arms of some wide boy, who will provide the lucky one with a soft landing. Pamplona, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, New York, London, Rome, Rio…each party rings with the same laughter and produces the same hangovers the morning after. Yet the nightlife of the Shanghai Bund is already a legend. Here, drinking champagne by the magnum has not gone out of fashion. Tim Franco will be our guide for you.
May 2012, Jean-Christophe Nothias, Editor-in-Chief