August 15, 2012
As we begin to imagine a post-Long War era, a renewed appreciation of the fundamental building blocks of world order is required, with a greater focus on the tribe and other sub-, trans- and non-state entities. Such subcomponents are not entirely unfamiliar to the student of classical realism; it was one of the earliest sub-state entities, the polis of the ancient world with its markedly tribal approach to war, that kept the Persian empire at bay despite its preponderance of military and economic power. While Alexander the Great sought to impose a broader, indeed universal order upon the fractious world of the city-state and to expand this universal order by conquest across the vast Persian empire, his effort was premature, entirely too dependent upon the military, diplomatic, and political skills of its lone philosopher-king to endure; but it planted the seed that would later become Rome, a more enduring and mature system that emerged in the Hellenized footprint of Alexander’s march, one of the first efforts by mankind to tame the anarchy of world politics. After Rome’s fall and the medieval chaos that followed, a new, more modest vision of sovereignty would arise, in smaller units that corresponded to the emergent nation-state that after Westphalia would supplant the frontier tribe and civilized city-states as the core building block of world order.
August 6, 2012
Bringing family planning back on to the global agenda will ensure that deserved attention is given to socially and economically marginalised groups of women. However, the suggested international approach also carries substantial risks: top-down, prescriptive policy may provide short-term gains but at the same time obscure wider structural deficits in domestic health and education sectors.
I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot to take over the US. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible.
March 17, 2012
A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”