Investing Petrodollars in Entrepreneurs and Building Social Capital in Fragile Democracies
Elsewhere on the website, www.jimdewilde.net , there are three pieces which provide the foundation for the following essay: (1) From Durand to Ahtisaari, the New Political Cartography, which explores the challenge for international law in dealing with the post-colonial residue for border disputes and states which cannot create the domestic social capital required for building sustainable prosperity; (2) Human Rights Jurisprudence After Darfur, which looks at the role for international politics to pursue rule-of-law based liberal interventionism by means other than those which were used in Iraq; (3) Creating Value Through Entrepreneurship in Angola and Kazakhstan, which seeks to link international business thinking with the kind of capital market reform required to produce the politically-accelerated end of poverty. This piece is intended as a broad policy statement based on the three other essays/speeches and is an ongoing part of the discussion among Canadian and American foreign policy makers who are trying to work through the routes to the new multilateralism. There is much more work required on the new capital markets, the role of remittances and economic savings, much being done in international institutions. All requires we focus on capital markets that allocated resources to talented entrepreneurs within an economy protected by the rule of law. I believe that demonstration effects work, and that the international community has to focus on Sri Lanka and Somali with the same energy devoted to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to create positive precedents. I also believe that academic institutions have to bring together case studies of proponents of human rights and the rule of law in a framework which emphasizes their interconnectedness. Reason is the universal language which trumps the cacophony of Babel.
The resurgent Taliban is financed by money obtained from the mature opium crops, now five years after the overthrow of the poppy-destroying Taliban.
The 1909 treaty between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Siam is now the cause of a crisis in the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in the southern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The treaty did not involve the participation of the ethnic Malays who were “ceded” by the colonial power to Thailand.
These problems were anticipated. There was simply no mechanism to deal with them. The framework of international politics lacked mechanisms for acting. Ad hoc coalitions either failed or succeeded in situations like Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and now Darfur, Somalia, southern Thailand. Like the great Gonalez Inarritu film, Babel, we are now living in an interconnected world and sometimes are only vaguely aware of the interconnectedness. A century-old treaty between the Siamese and the British can have ripples through the global community. The reality of opium markets in Central Asia can affect the security system on which North Americans depend and put our Canadian soldiers at greater risk in Afghanistan. This is the beginning of our new multilateralism, in an interconnected world with many players, not a superpower-organized chess game structured for strategic negotiations.
The convergence of international crises in 2006 has underlined the need for this new multilateralism in the world. The next generation of U.S. political decision-makers seems to understand that the era of unilateral action is now over. One hopes that the lessons learned include that there is no U.S. monopoly on expanding the global rule of law and that in many instances, U.S. involvement can be counterproductive. One of the great strengths of the U.S. is reflected in its economy. There is restless energy, constant innovation and capacity for self-renewal, an engineering-driven approach to problem-solving and technological solutions. These qualities do not always work in international politics. As a result, the rest of the world tends to look at a different track record, a failure to read historical patterns and a frequent confusion of nationalism with a threat to global order. The challenge for the world is how to prepare for 2008 while managing the international system until then with the lame duck Bush Presidency. Canadian foreign policy has to focus on this challenge. The discussion of what is required for a new practical and democratic multilateralism to take place needs to begin now.
There are at least four great opportunities for innovation in the international arena that can be begun while we are experiencing a long overdue renewal of ideas in London, Paris and Washington as well as in Ottawa:
(i) The new multilateralism can create global capital markets that ensure energy revenues are used to create the conditions for entrepreneurial growth in emerging markets: To ensure that oil revenues are reinvested in sustainable development and rule-of-law based entrepreneurial growth in the regions from where the oil came. It is a truism that oil has been a curse in most of the world outside of Norway and Alberta. Now is the opportunity to design a political economy of oil which transforms oil revenues in the Gulf of Guinea and Central Asia into entrepreneurial capital. If oil revenues were converted into productive capital and pensions, it would transform the African and central Asian economies. It has to be done by an innovative rule of law to create efficient long term capital market activities.
(ii) The new multilateralism can create a framework for a global rule of law which manages many of the latent disputes that impede the development of successful institutions around the world: As an outgrowth of the work being done on human rights commissions and the debate about who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter, we need to approach the issues which have been swept under many rugs for two generations – the issues of post-colonial boundaries which were implemented without the consent of the governed. A new multilateralism has to deal not only with questions of morality and international law towards Kurds and Burmese, Tamils and Afro-Sudanese but with all the unresolved disputes of colonialism which make coherent politics and dynamic growth impossible and now threaten the international system. The trials in Sierra Leone will take a significant step towards documenting this, but the future of Baluchistan, Kurdistan, Somaliland and a hundred other “border disputes” or post-colonial failed or weak states will test the international system for the next few decades. An attempt to establish a rule of law framework to correct colonial arbitrariness (the Durand line between Pakistan and Afghanistan) would go a long way towards reducing the number of future Iraqs. For those of us who would like to increase the rule-of-law based international system, there are some possible first steps. How is Somaliland different from Slovenia? Or Northern Cyprus. To make the rule of law the guiding principle for dispute resolution, we need some clarity (and debate) on these “theoretical” issues. If the answer is an invocation of realpolitik, then at least we would know where we stand.
(iii) The new multilateralism can start the redesign of the institutions of international harmonization and economic management replacing the post-1945 frameworks with management cultures and mandates appropriate to the digital age: The institutions of international governance have been in need of an overhaul for a long time. A Security Council permanent membership and a G-8 which is more reflective of the global realities of 2006 would go a long way toward creating a new dynamic in the international system. One is repeatedly struck by the quality of officials working in international agencies. The problem is threat they have few buttons to push. The more China, India, Brazil and Russia are engaged in international problem-solving, the more likely we are to have effective international institutions. In the new era, it is essential that Brazil (or Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan for that matter) be challenged to play a role in places like Darfur. It is also essential that the redesigned international institutions represent those countries with a demonstrated commitment to the rule of law. The image of human rights abusers on the UN Human Rights Commission did almost as much damage to the credibility of the UN as its demonstrated weakness in ending the killing fields of Rwanda or Darfur.
(iv) The new multilateralism can understand the “wisdom of crowds” approach to data collection and commentary on the internet is already creating new networks for political action. This is case law for the 21st Century. From the Finnish role in the resolution of the Aceh-Indonesia disputes to continuing attempts to resolve through UN mediators Cameroon-Nigerian border disputes, the Sri Lanka civil war, the Ethiopia-Eritrea border disputes, we are creating a set of precedents and prototypes. In themselves, this case law will be a building block for the next generation of political activists, increasingly conscious of the global precedents and inspirations. This gives us the chance to help the next generation explore ways to design interconnectedness and navigate interdependencies. As in so many other areas of public policy, the simple existence of the internet creates the possibility of designing new approaches to the way we view international law. Law students can collect data about individuals in Darfur and document land use, migration patterns and economic geography in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border area. Knowledge does not in itself set us free, but it does create options and amplifies the demonstration effect of shared comparative experiences. The era of web-organized information provides opportunities to pool strategies, to build collaborative networks and promote prototypes of political innovation.
For Americans, many believed in the recent past that unilateral response was required because there was no credible multilateral option. A renewed multilateralism opens the possibility that American security can be more effectively pursued by other means. By pushing the issues of global capital market reform, fixing the negative residues of colonialism and acknowledging we need serious institutional redesign in the machinery of international law, international decision-makers can set the stage for the construction of this more effective multilateralism.
For U.S. political leaders, the challenge is to create the credibility for this new multilateralism. The challenge for the next generation of U.S. Democrats, in particular, is to show that their ability to build a new multilateralism increases the real security of Americans living in Sante Fe, Denver and Cincinnati. It could allow the U.S. to step back from the need to be a global police actor, a role it has played unwillingly and poorly, simply because there was no multilateral alternative.
For Canadians, the effort to fix multilateralism has collateral . Too often, our position on international affairs involves an abstract invocation of “multilateralism” without acknowledging that there is no multilateral capacity to do anything. Our foreign policy too often looks as though we are enamored with process-oriented multilateral frameworks and have lost focus on the things they were intended to accomplish. By setting our foreign policy priority on fixing the multilateral process, we actually do something useful within our capacities. This will enhance our credibility and provide some concrete steps to “punching above our weight”.
In Canada, our multicultural framework provides us with a potential, as yet unrealized, to link with hubs in Dubai, Singapore, Taipei, Shenzhen, Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur to build a very different model of a 21st Century knowledge-intensive competitive economy. To do this, we need to become a global leader in issues like the empowerment of women, the key to economic development, astutely recognized in many of the recent Nobel Peace Prize awards. We need to earn credibility by playing a strategic and focused role in places like Somalia and Sri Lanka, the way the Finns have done in Kosovo and Aceh. This requires that we consciously tap the creative energies of those new Canadians who have adopted Canada’s democratic framework to advance global agendas. We see this next generation of multilingual, globally-oriented talent in all political parties in Canada. This strengthens our hand in building a new multilateralism. Our foreign policy agenda needs to link this talent to the practical issues of building a new multilateralism.
By refocusing Canadian foreign policy around the building of an effective multilateralism, Canadians can make a significant contribution to global security. Canadian foreign policy can play a role with other non-colonial western nations (e.g. Finland, Norway) whose perspective is different from the Americans and European powers. We are at an early stage in this new process. History will organize the calendar as: 1945-1989, the Cold War, 1989-2006, managing a globalization led by technology, the internet and satellite communication. Then the period from 2006-20xx, which will be defined by how successful we are in building a rule-of-law based multilateralism from here onwards.