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The Real “Millennium Round” may turn out to be notfurther trade liberalisation by the WTO, but a fundamental restructuring of global governance to meet the complex st challenges of the 21 century. The present system of international relations is known to legal scholars as the “Westphalian World Order”. In 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia ended the long and bloody Thirty Years War in Europe. A new equilibrium was born based on the acquired“sovereignty” of 300 German princes and the corresponding contraction of the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor now reduced to a much smaller role. The Treaty was initially of interest only in the context of the organisation of power within Europe itself. However as Europe expanded in the next three centuries to encompass the whole world, the European Order became the World Order. Its basic organising principlewas the sovereignty of individual nation-states, sovereignty being defined as supreme power against which there is no possible appeal. The Westphalian World Order (WWO) probably reached its zenith in 1945 when national governments exerted maximum power in global affairs. It is our contention that the acceleration of “globalisation” in the late twentieth century has severely destabilised theWestphalian Order by weakening the authority of national governments. An increasing number of human activities are now escaping national regulation and spinning out of control. The emerging cracks in the global governance superstructure are deepening to the point where the whole system could break down within the next ten years. What are the options? The dogged defence of the status quo may prove animpossible task in the face of the overwhelming tidal wave of technological and economic change. Yet to watch helplessly the disintegration of the present order, with no ready alternative, may be even worse. Our proposed solution is to begin thinking systematically about an in-depth restructuring of the present system by eliminating its anachronisms while retaining its strong points. This objectivecould be metaphorically called “Westphalia II.” The case for such a fundamental restructuring is outlined in the following pages.
THE RISE AND DECLINE OF THE WESTPHALIAN WORLD ORDER 1648-2000
From European Treaty to World Order1648-1945
Pre-Westphalian Europe was a mixture of declining empires, retreating feudal lords and an emerging class of traders and capitalist entrepreneurs with theChurch remaining very influential as an instrument of European governance.
The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, brought to an end the Thirty Years’ War, the first pan-European war in history. Under the terms of the peace settlement, a number of countries were confirmed in their sovereignty over territories. They were empowered to contract treaties with one anotherand with foreign powers. In a nutshell the central authority of the empire was replaced almost entirely by the sovereignty of about 300 princes. The Peace Treaty was a turning point in the mutual recognition of sovereignty rights. Although the signatories of the treaty had only the peace of Europe as their ultimate objective, the unintended consequence of their efforts was to create a...
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