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Democracy at the United Nations

UN Reform in the Age of Globalisation


Edited By Giovanni Finizio and Ernesto Gallo

What role should the United Nations play in a globalising world? How can it support and embody international democracy? The decline of state sovereignty, an effect of globalisation, is bringing about a crisis both in politics, as a tool to pursue the common good, and in democracy, as the key instrument by which we can control our destinies. The UN, the only organisation with broad political goals and worldwide jurisdiction, has the potential to manage globalisation democratically and promote the common good of humanity. However, it is still controlled by nation states and operates according to power relations typical of the pre-globalisation era. UN reform is therefore crucial, today more than ever.
This book examines two areas of reform: first, the creation of a democratic assembly in which world citizens are represented, in order to adapt democracy to meet the challenges of globalisation; and second, the strengthening of the Security Council through democratisation and regionalisation, in order to ensure world security, whose characteristics have evolved significantly in the global age. The contributors come from a wide variety of different backgrounds, including political science, sociology, economics, law, philosophy and history, providing a multifaceted and multidisciplinary debate on this important topic.


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Introduction (Giovanni FINIZIO and Ernesto GALLO)


13 Introduction Giovanni FINIZIO and Ernesto GALLO 1. The United States and the Redistribution of World Power America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity. And we are ready to lead once more. Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convic- tions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and re- straint. President Barack Obama1 A year before Obama’s passionate inaugural address, his election to the White House was hardly predictable. Just four decades after Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, an Afro-American became President of the United States; this fact constitutes per se an extraordi- nary novelty. Furthermore, his rise to power has taken place amidst the turbulence of a worldwide financial and economic crisis, growing unemployment and the severe international troubles engendered by US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s message of “hope” and call for “change” has progressively gained support in America and way beyond, as his Berlin speech on 24 July 2008 in front of a 200,000- strong crowd testifies. Since the end of World War II few other “west- ern” leaders have achieved widespread...

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