Monday, September 16, 2002

Good piece by Kofi Annan in this month's Foreign Policy. It's part of a series that attempts to answer the question "what, exactly, is the international community?" Annan is actually fairly expansive about the whole thing:

What makes a community? What binds it together? For some it is faith. For others it is the defense of an idea, such as democracy. Some communities are homogeneous, others multicultural. Some are as small as schools and villages, others as large as continents. Today, of course, more and more communities are virtual, as people, even in the remotest locations on earth, discover and promote their shared values through the latest communications and information technologies.

But what binds us into an international community? In the broadest sense, there is a shared vision of a better world for all people as set out, for example, in the founding charter of the United Nations. There is a sense of common vulnerability in the face of global warming and the threat posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction. There is the framework of international law, treaties, and human rights conventions. There is equally a sense of shared opportunity, which is why we build common markets and joint institutions such as the United Nations. Together, we are stronger.
Well put, and the article is a refreshing reminder of the necessity of an international community, especially in this current environment of nascent American colonialism and a sea of "there's no such thing as international law" self-serving wankery.

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