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In this essay, I address some preliminary considerations surrounding different notions of “peace” and peacebuilding and the appropriate methodologies to study the same. I place emphasis on the adoption of a moral epistemology that is overtly value-oriented and normatively ambitious without being oblivious to the structural characteristics of collective political behavior that tend to privilege the self at the expense of the other, such as that used by the World Order Models Project (WOMP). Rather than relying on one standard definition of “cosmopolitanism,” I advocate for a pluralistic conception that acknowledges different cosmopolitanisms. I provide a framework for peacebuilding assessment that frames inquiry around different “horizons” of aspirations (feasibility, necessity, desperation, desire), and I lay out my version of cosmopolitanism, which centers on the importance of peacebuilding objectives that are necessary and desirable. In so doing, I compare my perspective to other paradigmatic perspectives, concluding that cosmopolitanism is concerned with reconciling unity with difference, through mutual understanding of otherness.
We are living in an anguishing historical period. From one direction come dire warnings about humans’ future if the challenges posed by climate change and ecological instability are not addressed within a rather tiny window of less than twelve years. From another direction come depressing indications that peoples around the world are choosing by their own free will, extremist autocrats, even demagogues, who are extinguishing fires of freedom, building walls to keep the unwanted out and stigmatizing the stranger. In such an atmosphere, human rights are in retreat, empathy for the suffering of others is repudiated, international law is all but forgotten in the annals of diplomacy and the United Nations is often reduced to the bickering of irresponsible governments seeking nothing grander than maximum national advantage, and in the process, let the common public good of humanity be damned. Facing such reality with eyes wide open is a challenge that few acknowledge, and even fewer have the stamina, insight, compassion, wisdom and imagination needed to discern a brighter alternative future for humanity.
Stuart Rees is such an exception. His Cruelty or Humanity has the courage to portray reality in all its degrading ugliness without taking refuge in some specious bromide. His book addresses the range of cruelties that befall those most vulnerable among us in myriad specific circumstances. With an astonishing command over the global and historical landscapes of cruelty, Rees leads us through the wilderness of the most evil happenings, which have been enacted individually and collectively. And yet, through it all he manages to guide us toward the light of hope without indulging sentimentality or embracing false optimism.
What gives this perilous journey its defining originality is the degree to which Rees brings to bear the knowledge and timeless wisdom of poets both to depict the intensities of the darkness but also to instruct readers that the disciplined and lyrical insight of a poet can better than the rest of us find shafts of light that illuminate paths leading to empowerment, transcendence and liberation.
Chapter 2 argues that given the residual power of national elites protecting the status quo and the ideological agenda of the international state-based order a ‘liberal transition’ – transition without transformation – currently constitutes the ‘outer limit of feasibility.’ To reach this conclusion highlighting world order constraints on transformative change the chapter draws on historical examples (the Marshall Plan, Iran) as well as more contemporary case studies (the Arab Spring, Palestine/Israel). The author argues that the pre-conditions for transformative justice rarely exist in contemporary transitions – these include state capture or building, external support, a strong ideological vision, and top down leadership. The chapter introduces concepts to illuminate this argument, including contrasting transformation-from-without and transformation-from-within.
Forty years after the defeat of the United States in Vietnam, the central lessons of that war remain unlearned. Even worse, the mistakes made and crimes committed in Vietnam have been repeated at great human, material, and strategic cost in a variety of subsequent national settings. The central unlearned lesson in Vietnam is that the collapse of the European colonial order fundamentally changed the effective balance of power in a variety of North/South conflict situations that reduce the agency of military superiority in a variety of ways.
What makes this change elusive is that it reflected developments that fall outside the policy parameters influential in the leadership circles of most governments for a cluster of reasons. Most fundamentally, governmental geopolitical calculations relating to world order continue to be based on attributing a decisive causal influence to relative military capabilities, an understanding at the core of “realist” thinking and behavior. Within this paradigm, military superiority is regarded as the main driver of conflict resolution, and the winners in wars are thought to reflect the advantages of hard-power differentials. The efficiency and rewards of military conquest in the colonial era vindicated this kind of realist thinking. Europe with its dominant military technology was able to control the political life and exploit the resources of populous countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America with a minimum of expenditure and casualties, encountering manageable resistance, while reaping the rewards of empire. The outcomes of World War I and II further vindicated the wider orbit of the realist way of thinking and acting, with military superiority based on technological innovation, quantitative measures, and doctrinal adaptation to new circumstances of conflict receiving most of the credit for achieving political victories.
The Vietnam War was a dramatic and radical challenge to the realist consensus on how the world works, continuing a pattern already evident in nationalist victories in several earlier colonial wars, which were won – against expectations – by anti-colonial forces. Despite these illuminating results of colonial wars after World War II, the American defeat in Vietnam came as a shock. The candid acknowledgment of this defeat has been twisted out of recognition to this day by the interpretive spins placed upon the Vietnam experience by the American political establishment.
The aim of this paper is to give a simple, introductory presentation of the extension of the Virtual Element Method to the discretization of H(div)-conforming vector fields (or, more generally, of (n − 1) − Cochains). As we shall see, the methods presented here can be seen as extensions of the so-called BDM family to deal with more general element geometries (such as polygons with an almost arbitrary geometry). For the sake of simplicity, we limit ourselves to the 2-dimensional case, with the aim of making the basic philosophy clear. However, we consider an arbitrary degree of accuracy k (the Virtual Element analogue of dealing with polynomials of arbitrary order in the Finite Element Framework).
New constitutionalism is the complex framework that systemizes the norms, prevailing practices and institutional procedures designed to produce order favoured and generated by dominant economic and political elites, whether presiding over governmental structures or administering a range of non-state actors, especially those that are market based. Stephen Gill articulates this innovative and prescriptive orientation towards constitutionalism with a primary reference to the operational logic of the world economy in this era of neo-liberal globalization (1998b, 2008: 161–76). Here I propose extending the scope of new constitutionalism to encompass security, criminal accountability and environment, especially as policy and behaviour of others are impacted by the global domination project of the United States in the early twenty-first century. I regard these issue areas to be organically linked, as an extension of global economic disciplinary policies, procedures and institutional arrangements designed to liberalize trade, facilitate investment, encourage resource exploitation and take advantage of commodity markets. These initiatives would have a secondary objective of diverting public attention from environmental deterioration, and containing mounting opposition to political moves that diminish prospects for profitability and capital accumulation.
Indeed, new constitutionalism depends heavily on the selective application of global norms and procedures and the adaptation of the institutional arrangements set up after the Second World War under the sway of the old constitutionalism, e.g. as associated with the UN Charter. New constitutionalism operates on the basis of double standards that exempt geopolitical actors from many mechanisms of accountability for wrongful and criminal acts. As such, world order structures combine states, markets and the geopolitical control mechanisms with a pervasive bias toward privatization to underpin the new constitutionalism. Nonetheless, these top-heavy features of globalization are being challenged mainly from below by rising popular forces dedicated to a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic development, a more or less regulated world order in relation to political violence, and a visionary endorsement of global democracy as necessary and attainable.
A deepening global crisis centers on efforts of Western countries led by the United States and spearheaded by Israel to thwart Iran’s alleged efforts to acquire nuclear weaponry. On the one side is Iran’s insistence that its nuclear program is devoted to exercising its rights under international law to develop and acquire the means to produce nuclear energy, coupled with assurances that it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. On the other side are most influential governments, backed by United Nations sanctions and International Atomic Energy Agency suspicions, that contend that steps must be taken to dissuade Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by all necessary means and with a sense of urgency. Israel quite openly announces its intention and capabilities to mount an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the event that Iran does not provide convincing reassurance of the non-military character of its nuclear program. Israel’s threat is made against the background of its 1981 attack on the Iraqi reactor at Osirak that supposedly succeeded in derailing Saddam Hussein’s plans to become a nuclear weapons state. The United States has used a more subtle language than Israel, but with a similar resonance, leading the effort to stiffen sanctions, repeatedly indicating its refusal “to take the military option off the table,” and backing up its warning with threatening naval deployments. It is intriguing and revealing that all of the international discussion so far has been focused on how to meet this emerging Iranian threat, and almost no attention has been given to the legality and propriety of the military threats directed at Iran, a sovereign state that is a member of the United Nations and entitled to the protection of international law.
Reading the chapters comprising this volume filled me with admiration for the conceptual and social science rigour, conceptual clarity and sophistication of the individual undertakings, for the illuminating depictions of several ways to frame global democracy as goal, process and vision, and, finally, for the attention given to transition pathways seeking to bridge the gap between global governance as of 2011 and some realization of global democracy at an undetermined, and undeterminable, future date. As such, these authors have delivered a superb intellectual tool with which to study present and future international relations from a normative standpoint specified by their shared preoccupations with global democracy. This is a notable pedagogic achievement as it lays claim to an alternative paradigm for study and research that is not completely state-centric, and yet at the same time cannot be dismissed as utopian or mere advocacy. In this respect, the orientation of this global democracy scholarly gathering can be described as proceeding from a post-Westphalian consensus that is fully sensitive to the resilience of sovereign states, and to their continuing prominence in almost any achievable global democratic polity.
As reader and sympathizer I believe there is a significant, and likely illuminating, issue present that does not seem to be raised: why has this interest in global democracy flourished now in the early twenty-first century, and rarely earlier except in the marginal literature of utopian critics of a politically fragmented world order that built security and national interests on the foundations of an ever more menacing and expensive war system. World federalists, dreamers and proponents of world government, were the most notable antecedents to the sort of less structurally and constitutionally driven models of global democracy found in the various chapters. Unlike these authors, world federalists were typically amateurs with regard to social science, and almost totally Western in outlook and prescription. Quite often world federalists were unabashedly seeking a world order that generalized the American experience with domestic federalism, relying for persuasion on an argumentative logic that was unduly confident about the mobilizing potential of common sense and rationality. It seems only slightly unfair to characterize such advocacy as a legacy of the Enlightenment, culturally provincial and lacking in mass appeal even in the West, and indifferent to the political obstacles that beset any path from the ‘here’ of war and sovereign states to the promised land of ‘there’.
This chapter focuses on climate change, a key part of the global crisis that exemplifies failures of global leadership. It explores the implications of climate change for democracy and human security. The context for the argument is that the current global crisis poses unprecedented challenges because of its severity and multidimensional character, as well as the absence of either an ideological consensus or effective hegemonic management of global policy formulation and implementation. Global history during the last several centuries has been dominated by Eurocentricism, short-term security and political economy challenges, and violent geopolitics that caused devastation and massive suffering but did not undermine fundamental world order structures.
This comparatively simple framework is being increasingly drawn into question. The real new world order has substantially eroded Eurocentric dominance of the policy agenda, the emergence of global warming as potential catastrophic threat has underlined the importance of long-range planning and investment, and the intensifying contradictions of neoliberal forms of capitalism appear to be generating a systemic crisis of adjustment, although market forces and government leaders are focused on viewing the current deep world recession as cyclical and thus to be corrected by restoring normalcy. Even if this cyclical interpretation seems convincing in the period immediately ahead, it will soon have to acknowledge the increasing displacement of neoliberal modes of production and investment by various forms of state capitalism, as epitomized by China. Also problematic in an original manner is the extent to which the economistic preoccupations of leaders with the woes of profit-seeking businesses and financial entities and anguished workers has made it almost impossible to give appropriate parallel attention to the multiple effects of the growing ecological challenges associated with climate change, growing water scarcities and the prospects of peak oil. Beyond this, it is already evident that the most marginal and vulnerable peoples are destined to have their present ordeals ignored and, in all likelihood, to be subject to disproportionately great harms and burdens in the future.
The somewhat surprising majority view in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) assessing Kosovo's declaration of independence has some bearingon prospects for an eventual end to the bitter conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. It may also have some relevance for a variety of political movements around the world whose leaders might be more inclined than previously to tempt fate by declaring their people and territory to be internationally independent of the sovereign state within which they are now geographically located. Significantly,the ICJ majority sidestepped the question put to it by the General Assembly, in a move objectionable to the four dissenting judges,recasting it in such a way as to limit its response to whether Kosovo's declaration of independence, issued on February 17,2008, was “in accordance with international law” to the rather bland assertion that the declaration did not violate international law. The Court did not say, and explicitly ruled out any interpretation suggesting, that Kosovo's declaration was acceptable under international law, although by Lotus reasoning, what a state is not expressly prohibited from doing is permitted.3 The majority also expressed its view that the declaration was not to be viewed as decidingupon Kosovo's final status in world diplomacy.
We study the approximation properties of some finite element subspaces of
H(div;Ω) and H(curl;Ω) defined on hexahedral meshes in three dimensions. This
work extends results previously obtained for quadrilateral H(div;Ω) finite
elements and for quadrilateral scalar finite element spaces. The finite
element spaces we consider are constructed starting from a given finite
dimensional space of vector fields on the reference cube, which is then
transformed to a space of vector fields on a hexahedron using the appropriate
transform (e.g., the Piola transform) associated to a trilinear isomorphism of
the cube onto the hexahedron. After determining what vector fields are needed
on the reference element to insure O(h) approximation in L2(Ω) and
in H(div;Ω) and H(curl;Ω) on the physical element, we study the properties of
the resulting finite element spaces.
Ecological urgency and environmental justice: two views
There has for several years existed a growing consensus among experts that a circumstance of ecological urgency on a global scale exists. What is new and potentially hopeful, is the rapidly increasing public acceptance of the reality of this urgency, at least with respect to climate change, and a resulting willingness of politicians across the political spectrum to put environmental protection high on their agenda. Encouraging as this is from the perspective of prospects for action, it could still produce a variety of regressive results if the impacts of policy adjustment fall heavily on the poor and vulnerable, and even more invisibly on future generations. It is crucial to bring environmental justice concerns in from the shadow lands of concern where they have long been consigned.
Without assessing the substantive character of ecological urgency on which there exists some divergence of opinion, Gus Speth and Peter Haas in their book Global Environmental Governance formulate a three-part conclusion that seems beyond controversy: (1) the conditions relating to the global environment are worsening; (2) current responses to address these conditions are grossly insufficient; and (3) major new initiatives are needed that address the root causes.
The identification of root causes remains, although to a diminishing degree, somewhat contested, at least as far as selecting the primary explanation of this set of disturbing circumstances, and what to do about it.