Global governance is here--but not where most people think. This book presents the far-reaching argument that not only should we have a new world order but that we already do. Anne-Marie Slaughter asks us to completely rethink how we view the political world. It's not a collection of nation states that communicate through presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and the United Nations. Nor is it a clique of NGOs. It is governance through a complex global web of "government networks."
Slaughter provides the most compelling and authoritative description to date of a world in which government officials--police investigators, financial regulators, even judges and legislators--exchange information and coordinate activity across national borders to tackle crime, terrorism, and the routine daily grind of international interactions. National and international judges and regulators can also work closely together to enforce international agreements more effectively than ever before. These networks, which can range from a group of constitutional judges exchanging opinions across borders to more established organizations such as the G8 or the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, make things happen--and they frequently make good things happen. But they are underappreciated and, worse, underused to address the challenges facing the world today.
The modern political world, then, consists of states whose component parts are fast becoming as important as their central leadership. Slaughter not only describes these networks but also sets forth a blueprint for how they can better the world. Despite questions of democratic accountability, this new world order is not one in which some "world government" enforces global dictates. The governments we already have at home are our best hope for tackling the problems we face abroad, in a networked world order.
Breaking new ground in international relations theory, Slaughter urges readers to lose their "conceptual blind spot" and see how the world really works. Scholars, pundits and policymakers, she writes, have traditionally seen nations as "unitary" that is, as single entities that "articulate and pursue a single national interest." In fact, she says, we would do better to focus on government networks, both horizontal and vertical. Horizontal networks link counterpart national officials across borders, such as police investigators or financial regulators. Vertical networks are relationships between a nation's officials and some supranational organization to which they have ceded authority, such as the European Court of Justice. Networks, she says, are the solution to the "globalization paradox": The world needs global governance to combat problems that jump borders, like crime and environmental degradation, and yet most people fear rightly, Slaughter implies the idea of a centralized, all-powerful world government. The book both describes the here and now and plots a course for the future: Strengthening existing networks and developing new ones "could create a genuine global rule of law without centralized global institutions." The author, who is the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton as well as president of the American Society of International Law, is steeped in these issues and offers genuinely original thinking. Written in dense academic language, this book will not pick up many casual readers, but it will likely attain instant textbook status and generate much discussion about foreign policy and whether, as Slaughter believes, the U.S. should welcome such networks in a globalized world.