Close Enough

My name is Charles Close. I have had a background role with this site since it began. Hopefully I will find time to offer a few articles and comments of interest in due course. Football is of some interest to me. Today I read this in ‘The Telegraph.’ I will comment in due course.

Democratic peace theory holds that democracies do not wage war against one another. Two false consequences are drawn from this theory. The first is th… Posted December 13th 2019

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The Federalist Debate

Current issue – Year XXXII, No.3, November 2019

The editorial policy of the magazine is to make accessible for free only part of the contents of each issue, including the most recently published one. Fully accessible articles are distinguished by an underlined and bold title. If you would like to access the complete archive of all the published contents of the magazine, from 1999 onwards, please consider subscribing.

Year XXI, Number 1, March 2008

Will Democracy Survive in the Globalisation Era?

Will Democracy Survive in the Globalisation Era? Posted December 13th 2019

  • Editorial
  • Lucio Levi
  • Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Torino, Italy, member of WFM Executive Committee and UEF Federal Committee

Published in Year XXI, Number 1, March 2008

Democratic peace theory holds that democracies do not wage war against one another. Two false consequences are drawn from this theory. The first is that the spread of democracy to every state would in itself be sufficient to achieve universal peace. The second is that spreading democracy should then be the first foreign policy priority of all democratic states. These views ignore the fact that historical conditions may either promote or hamper the success of democracy and its stabilization. As asserted by James Madison at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, “The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home”. This law of politics explains not only the erosion of freedom in the US after 9/11, but also the collapse of democratic institutions in Italy, Germany and Spain between the World Wars, and more generally the authoritarian degeneration of political regimes caused by the political and military pressure they experienced on their borders. The lesson we can draw from historical experience is that peace, or at least international détente, is the principal prerequisite of democracy.

A more recent lesson can be learned from the setbacks in the US doctrine of bringing democracy to the Middle-East and from the experience of failed states such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Efforts to establish democracy in this region are frustrated by the climate of insecurity, violence and corruption prevailing in those countries, which worsened after the US military interventions. This experience shows that an additional preliminary condition is needed in order to pave the way to democracy: namely, a stable government that assures the rule of law. Moreover, regrettable as it may be for the idealist, there are material requirements for a democratic society, i.e. the eradication of poverty, disease and illiteracy. They enable people to become rational and intellectually aware actors in the decision-making process.

And yet, in spite of these obstacles on the road to successful democracy, past decades have seen a sweeping advance of democracy in the world since the Portuguese revolution in 1974. It has spread to Southern and Eastern Europe, the ex-Soviet Union, Asia and Latin America. For the first time in UN history a majority of member states’ governments are elected through a democratic procedure. According to the latest Freedom House Report (January 2008), there are 121 electoral democracies in the world, among which liberal democracies number 90, partly free countries 60 and only 43 not free. This extraordinary progress of democracy depends to a high degree on two parallel processes: the effect of globalization and the end of the Cold War.

Nevertheless, we should recognize that democracy has never shown such worrying signs of weakness as today. At world level there is a widening gap between the market and civil society, which have become global, and politics, which remain substantially confined within national borders. Consequently, the decisions on which the destiny of peoples depends, such as security, control of the global economy, international justice or protection of the environment, tend to shift away from representative institutions.

The feeling widely shared among citizens is that the most important decisions have migrated away from institutions under their control and towards international power centers free from any form of democratic supervision. Globalization thus brings about the crisis of democracy. In fact, seen from a global viewpoint, the decisions made at national level, where democratic powers exist, are relatively minor. At international level, on the other hand, where the most important decisions are made, there are no democratic institutions.

The danger we are facing is the depletion of democracy. More precisely we should ask ourselves how long democracy can last in a world where citizens are excluded from participating in decisions which determine their destiny. Globalization must be democratized before it destroys democracy entirely.

International relations, which are still the jousting ground for diplomatic and military rivalries among states and antagonism between non-state actors, can only be brought under popular control by international democracy. Analysis of the structures of international organizations shows that they are diplomatic machines within which governments pursue co-operation. Recently some of them have been endowed with parliamentary assemblies which represent their national parliaments’ response to the globalization process but are also an admission of the erosion of their power. In other words, they attempt to shift parliamentary control of governments to international level. Most such multinational assemblies are made up of national parliamentarians, although the European Parliament, which represents the most advanced evolution of this category of international assemblies, is directly elected.

The European Parliament is the laboratory of international democracy. Since the introduction of direct elections it has increased its legislative and control powers over the Commission – that is, over what is potentially the European government. This means that the democratization of the European Union has been a mighty tool for strengthening European institutions. It is worth recalling that the dilemma which arose during the process of European integration, namely whether to concentrate on strengthening the European Community first or to democratize it first, has been solved in favor of the second option. The same question can be formulated as regards the problem of democratizing the UN.
The plan to bring globalization under democratic control is meeting with formidable opposition not only from states with authoritarian regimes, but primarily from the US government which is unwilling to let its own freedom of action be lessened by the international organizations to which it belongs, nor by movements arising in the global civil society. This is a further demonstration of the premise that, to be a promoter of international democracy, it is not enough to have a democratic regime – a necessary, but insufficient condition. To overcome US opposition, a centre of power must emerge, capable of supporting the plan for a world democratic order. It is reasonable to believe that Europe will play such a role. For instance, the European Parliament supports the project for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. The significance of European unification lies in surpassing the nation-state, a form of political organization that develops power relations with the other states. Therefore, it is fairly safe to assume that the EU does not have hegemonic ambitions, nor will any future European Federation. Although the EU aspires to independence in its relationship with the US, its objective will not be to replace the US as the stabilizer of world order. Europe will rather pursue a policy of co-operation with the US with the prospect of joint management of the world order, open to participation of other regional groupings of states. On the other hand, Europe will hold sufficient power to relieve the United States of some of its overwhelming world responsibilities and thus have the authority to persuade it to support the democratic reform of the UN.Tweet

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Exclusive: Joe Gomez left devastated by Wembley boos as Gareth Southgate seeks out defender and his family after game to offer support November 15th 2019

Joe Gomez bites his lip
Joe Gomez was deeply hurt by the boos from England fans at Wembley Credit: epa

15 November 2019 • 10:43am

England manager Gareth Southgate sought out devastated Joe Gomez and his family late on Thursday night to offer further support after he was booed by Wembley fans in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

And Telegraph Sport understands that team-mates of Gomez believed he was first jeered when he was warming up on the Wembley touchline as a substitute, before the loud boos echoed around the stadium when he was sent on in the 70th minute.

Gomez and his team-mates were left stunned and angry by the reaction of the crowd in the aftermath of the attack by Raheem Sterling that meant the Manchester City star sat out England’s 1000th game.

Southgate publicly backed Gomez and condemned the booing immediately after the match that clinched England’s qualification, but felt it necessary to spend more time with the player after completing his media duties to check on the 22 year-old’s well-being and reiterate his backing.

England coach Chris Powell, who has known Gomez since his days as a youngster at Charlton Athletic, also spent time with the Liverpool defender after the game as the squad and coaching staff rallied around him. Joe Gomez was booed when he took to the field Credit: reuters

Gomez was booed on to the pitch by England supporters, when he was introduced as a second-half substitute, to cap what has been an incredibly difficult week for the Liverpool defender after he was attacked by team-mate Sterling.

There had been some suggestions that the booing could also have been for Sterling, as his picture was shown on the large screens when Gomez entered the pitch.

But it is understood that pockets of booing had already been heard when Gomez was warming up, which outraged his fellow substitutes at the time.

Southgate, England’s players and Football Association staff have been hugely impressed by the way Gomez put the country’s interests over his own in dealing with the incident.

The full facts of what happened at St George’s Park have been kept private by Gomez, who still has a scratch under his eye, and Sterling has apologised after being punished with a one-game ban.

The 22-year-old’s fiance Tamara was inside Wembley to witness the booing with their baby son Kyrie, who had been taken to his first England game.

Other members of his family and friends were also present and they waited for Gomez, who was said to be incredibly low and confused over why he had been scapegoated.

Sterling took to Twitter to reiterate that Gomez had done nothing wrong and that he should not have been booed, a message backed by captain Harry Kane.

England’s players would now like Southgate to start both Gomez and Sterling against Kosovo on Sunday in what has become a dead-rubber in terms of Euro 2020 qualification.

Southgate has already promised Sterling will make an immediate return to his team after serving his ban and England players now believe the ultimate show of unity would be for Gomez to start in the same team as him.

Gomez will continue to receive the support of Southgate, his coaching staff and his England team-mates over the course of the next 48 hours in the build-up to the Kosovo clash.

About the Author

Robert Cook
facebook I went to school in Buckinghamshire, where my interests were music ( I was a violinist ), art ( winning county art competitions ) athletics and cross country ( I was a county team athlete ). My father died as a result of an accident- he was an ex soldier and truck driver- when I was 11. It could be said that I grew up in poverty, but I did not see it like that. As a schoolboy, I had my interests, hobbies and bicycle, worked on a farm, delivered news papers, did a lot of training for my sport, painting, and music. I also made model aeroplanes and was in the Air Training Corps, where we had the opportunity to fly an aeroplane. I had wanted to be a pilot, but university made me anti war. At the University of East Anglia-which I also represented in cross country and athletics- I studied economics, economic history, philosophy and sociology. Over the years, I have worked in a variety of manual, office and driving jobs. My first job after univerity was with the Inland Revenue in Havant, near Portsmouth. I left Hampshire to work for the Nitrate Corporation of Chile, then lecturing, teaching and journalism - then back to driving. I play and teach various styles of guitar and used to be a regular folk club performer. I quit that after being violently assaulted in Milton Keynes pub, after singing a song I wrote about how cop got away with killing Ian Tomlinson at G7, in broad daylight and caught on camera. The police took no action, saying taht my assailant had a good job. The pub in question was, and probably still is, popular with off duty police officers.