Friday, 21 December 2007

Global democracy as a realistic perspective of foreign policy

Global public policies increasingly affect the lives of people around the world. From trade agreements to a new treaty on climate change, from UN sanctions against Iran's nuclear program to peacekeeping in Darfur, global public policy has become too important to bypass the democratic process. That’s the starting point of a new book by Didier Jacobs, Global Democracy: The Struggle for Political and Civil Rights in the 21st Century. The author is special advisor to the President of Oxfam America. The book's bumper-sticker version is: “One person, one vote for global public policy decisions!”

The book develops that slogan as:
* A long-term vision for foreign policy to promote peace and prosperity, with a time horizon of several decades.
* A vision that can be achieved through incremental steps; the struggle for global democracy is already under way. The book is relevant to today's foreign policy debates. For example, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, Rudy Giuliani, endorses the book's cornerstone medium-term proposal: opening NATO membership to any countries in the world that meet “minimum standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility.”
* A vision that fits the trends of shifting power in world affairs: rising power of the “global middle class” (e.g., Brazil, Russia, India, China); pressure from the so-called “anti-globalization movement” gathering those who feel disenfranchised; and the ideological dominance of the “global upper class”: global democracy is all about civil and political rights – the creed of Americans and Europeans.

The first part of the book is geared to political scientists. It challenges the “global governance” literature, which oversells the merits of “transparency, accountability and participation” to fix the “democratic deficit” of global public policy. Participatory democracy is a complement, not a substitute, of representative democracy. The book proposes a rigorous analytical framework to think of democracy in the international context. The second part of the book is geared to practitioners of international affairs – government officials, think-tank researchers, NGO activists, journalists etc. With numerous illustrations of current events, it argues that global democracy is both realistic and desirable to tackle the 21st century's global challenges in the areas of peace, human rights, economic development, and the environment. The book positions global democracy as an alternative foreign policy doctrine, superior to “realism'” “neo-conservatism”, or “internationalism”. For more information on the book click >>> here.

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