So Art has now clarified his thinking on the unilatreral/multilateral disjuncture.  It is clear that Art avoids looking just at acting alone in the case of unilateral.  So the distinction - or in otherwords legitimate action -  is embedded in  the absence of disapproval by other states rather than the number of countries that join in and/or how much these states contributed to the action.  In this view then legitimacy is the “critical” states not opposing (this is actually a  form of consent where parties are not willing to stand in the way even where they are unhappy with the action) presumably Gulf War I and where states will stand in the way of action e.g. France and Germany standing in the way of the second resolution and American action in Iraq - Gulf War II this is then unilateralism. Now if unilateralism concerns state action in the face of ’significant’ disapproval and multilateralism is action without disapproval what then is the distinction as the disapproval of one or is unclear. Also would more than one’s states action in the face of mutiple opposition be unilateralism or multilateralism. That of course brings us back to the question - whose disapproval is significant?

Meanwhile back at the reform agenda.  Prime Minister Blair has been speaking out recently on international reform.  For Blair the algorithm of current interational relations is now: “Globalization begets interdependence.  Interdependence begets the necessity of a common value system to make it work .  In other words, the idealism becomes the realpolitik.“   For him this suggests progressive pre-emption.  Now does global governance  ultimately come down to common values  and if it does are we challenged by questions over differing values from large actors including possibly China and/or Russia.

In any case Blair suggest that there is the need for reform  in the following areas:

  • Significant Security Council Reform - new SC with enhanced legitmacy;
  • Reform for the World Bank and the IMF - improved relationship with developing nations and more representation for the emerging economies;
  • A reformed NPT system - a multilateral system for “safe enrichment” for nuclear energy;
  • create permanently G8 plus 5; and
  • reform to the UN Environment program - it must match the importance put on environment in the international agenda by states.

Is this the golden list or are we (GIR) suggesting something else?  I assume something else but ….

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