From (CFR) Foreign Affairs
The Hard Road to World Order
Wed Sep 5, 2007 17:00

The Hard Road to World Order
Richard N. Gardner
From Foreign Affairs, April 1974

Article preview: first 500 of 8,040 words total.


Summary: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." What Dickens wrote of the last quarter of the 18th century fits the present period all too well. The quest for a world structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides the conditions for economic progress-for what is loosely called world order-has never seemed more frustrating but at the same time strangely hopeful.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." What Dickens wrote of the last quarter of the 18th century fits the present period all too well. The quest for a world structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides the conditions for economic progress-for what is loosely called world order-has never seemed more frustrating but at the same time strangely hopeful.

Certainly the gap has never loomed larger between the objectives and the capacities of the international organizations that were supposed to get mankind on the road to world order. We are witnessing an outbreak of shortsighted nationalism that seems oblivious to the economic, political and moral implications of interdependence. Yet never has there been such widespread recognition by the world's intellectual leadership of the necessity for co�peration and planning on a truly global basis, beyond country, beyond region, especially beyond social system. Never has there been such an extraordinary growth in the constructive potential of transnational private organizations-not just multinational corporations but international associations of every kind in which like-minded persons around the world weave effective patterns of global action. And never have we seen such an impressive array of ongoing negotiations aimed at the co�perative management of global problems. To familiar phrases like the "population explosion" and the "communications explosion" we should now add the "negotiation explosion."

What is "worst" about our times for those who wish for rapid progress toward world order is clear enough. The United Nations is very far from being able to discharge the responsibilities assigned by its Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. The willingness of U.N. members to risk their short-term interests for the good of the community seems at the level of the frontier town in High Noon, where the citizens abandoned their lawman as soon as the outlaw was released from jail. If a clear and unambiguous case of aggression came before the Security Council or General Assembly today, there would be little confidence that a majority of members would treat it as such or come to the aid of the victim. The Charter concept of collective security is obviously dead; even for consent-type "peace-keeping," little progress has been made in devising agreed constitutional and financial arrangements. Nor are the world's principal economic forums in much better shape. In contrast to the accomplishments of happier days, nobody now takes a major issue to ECOSOC, UNCTAD, GATT, IMF or OECD1 with much hope for a constructive result. Even the European Community threatens to unravel under current economic and political pressures.

In this unhappy state of affairs, few people retain much confidence in the more ambitious strategies for world order that had wide backing a generation ago-"world federalism," "charter review," and "world peace through world law." The consensus on basic values and willingness to entrust vital interests to community judgment clearly do not exist. One need only picture a world constitutional convention including Messrs. Nixon, Brezhnev, Mao, Brandt, Pompidou, Castro, Per�n, and Qaddafi, not to mention Mmes. ...

End of preview: first 500 of 8,040 words total.

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