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World International Studies Conference

Istanbul, 24-27 August 2005


Anoush Khoshkish


“Global Human Dynamics” probably better defines the academic discipline of international relations. “Nations,” which, in the classic sense of the discipline referred to “sovereign nation-states with exclusive jurisdiction over their territory and population” no longer represent the sole – and according to some, not even the major – actors on the global scene. The diversity of the actors, including IGOs, INGOs, multinational corporations, mixed courts, religious and ethnic entities – not to speak of drug cartels or arms dealers’ networks – call for an exploration of the common traits – factors – which characterize and could categorize the new players on the global scene.


 Rather than beating the dead horse of the demise of the sovereign nation-state in global human dynamics due to the emergence of other actors, I propose a different tack: that of factors. I have used the factors approach for a few decades in dealing with global human dynamics, mainly to explore the evolution of the state, while recognizing the role of non-state actors.[1]  Here, I attempt to examine whether, to what extent and with what variations, the factors approach applies to the global evolutions that have taken place since the "1990s"

Why the 1990s? : "The New World Order"

Abundant literature has been produced on events which have led many to consider the 1990s as a turning point of global human dynamics. Readers who are familiar with that literature may find what follows in this section redundant; except for the fact that here we are looking for clues to factors by identifying actors and their characteristics.[2] 

Up to 1990, the world order was still broadly assumed to be a variation on the theme of the fiction of sovereign nation-states.  The UN Charter is based on it.[3]  The super-powers and their Cold War blocks functioned along its lines and manipulated that fiction. The Soviet Union turned Byelorussia and Ukraine into sovereign states in order to get more votes in the UN General Assembly.  International arrangements, such as Nato and  Comecon were created by nation-states. The Trusteeship System was geared towards producing more sovereign nation-states.  The Cold War, crystallizing the emergence of peoples liberation fronts, accelerated that process. Colonial maps were turned into nation-state frontiers encompassing ethnicities with few characteristics in common or outright belligerence towards each other.

*          *           *

It would be rather superficial, however, to evoke the political alignment of nation-states during the Cold War within political camps without emphasizing the underlying economic patterns. Those underlying patterns predated the Cold War, beginning with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Red Scare in America, and had to do with the economic ideologies of the two camps. While both camps claimed democracy – one in terms of pluralism, the other as the representation of the working masses by the Communist party – the nation-states in the two camps were mainly distinguished by their ideological economic systems of capitalism and communist socialism. The non-aligned powers fitted within a spectrum between free enterprise capitalism and state-controlled economies tending towards socialism, with varied degrees of mixed economies in between. What  should be noted, however, is that because of the existence of the opposite economic pole, in order to be less vulnerable to the criticism of their own shortcomings when scrutinized in the light of the efficiencies of the other pole, each camp accommodated within its own economic model the strong points of the adversary. Thus, for example, the United States adopted Keynesian policies and introduced welfare state entitlements, while the USSR intermittently tolerated small private enterprises and instituted interest-bearing saving accounts.

In terms of economic ideologies, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the introduction of market economy in Russia, and the relaxation of entitlement programs in the United States can indeed be considered as a turning point in global human dynamics. As of  the1990s, free enterprise market economy capitalism was proclaimed the winning economic ideology and embraced by an ever-growing number of countries.

The Run-Up to the "1990s"

Digging deeper into the exercise of sovereignty by nation-states, we may discern the circumstances and conjunctures which eventually led to present  global patterns .  On their own, each of these developments may seem as symptoms of the exercise of sovereignty.  But looking at them in the context of the whole flux, we can see how they each triggered future events which eventually gnawed on nation-states’ exclusive jurisdiction.  Let us trace some of the landmarks:

The attempt by the Mosaddegh government in Iran in the early nineteen-fifties to nationalize the oil industry was, on the face of it, an affirmation of Iran's sovereignty. Even though it failed, it did inspire other nation-states to use nationalization as a tool to affirm their nation-statehood and use the exploitation of their national resources by foreign powers and corporations as a source of revenue for their own economy.  The nationalization of the Suez Canal by Nasser in 1956 was a landmark event.  Particularly in the light of the fact that it made gun-boat diplomacy fail.  The Mosaddegh nationalization attempt had made all those involved in international exploration and production of oil realize that the system as it stood was untenable.  It triggered deals between the extracting and oil producing corporations and the oil rich countries for the recognition of the sovereign rights of the oil-rich countries over their natural resources.  That led to the pivotal events of 1973.

The 1973 oil embargo by Arab oil producing nations and the ensuing oil price hikes did not only enrich many Moslem sovereigns and permit them to become players on the international financial markets, it permitted Saudi Wahabism to support the spread of Islam, arm Moslem fanatics in Afghanistan against the Soviets – with America's blessing – contribute to the rise of the Taliban and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a factor of global human dynamics penetrating and challenging nation-states.

*         *          *

The Helsinki Accords of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975 which, on the face of it, legitimized the post-WWII Soviet frontiers and acquisitions, and in that light, could have been construed as a consolidation of the sovereign nation-state characteristics of the USSR and its satellites, also required its signatories to respect human rights and free expression. As an international agreement, it was, in fact, encroaching on the exclusive jurisdiction rights of its signatories.  It dulled the edge of the state's prerogative for brutal public suppression of dissidents. It was a factor which eventually nudged Gorbachev towards glasnost. Of course, it should be viewed in the context of the growing corruption of the Breznev's rule, the burden of the arms race imposed on the USSR by Ronald Reagan and the economic and human hemorrhage of the Afghan war which led to Gorbachev's perestroika. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) consecrated by the Helsinki Accords oversaw the implementation of those accords and has – since the 1990s –  intervened in many trouble areas.[4]  Other international structures and arrangements such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) or the Organization of African State (OAS) are other examples of regional arrangements which sovereign nation-states have empowered to intervene on their behalf.

*        *         *

The European Union is, of course, the most eloquent attempt by sovereign nation-states to transfer parts of their sovereign prerogatives to an international institution. It presents a gamut of extra-sovereign arrangements: from The European Steel & Coal Authority, which was probably the earliest most sovereignty-independent body, the Common Agriculture policy – at once going beyond borders and yet designed as a vanguard against the vagaries of broader global interdependence – to the creation of the Euro with its constraints on nation-state monetary and fiscal policies.  As we shall soon see, the rejection of the EU draft constitution by popular votes in France and the Netherlands in the spring of 2005 points out the discrepancy between the dispositions of the different segments and strata in different cultures.

*         *         *

It is probably in the economic and financial domains that the term "fiction" best applies to the concept of nation-state sovereignty. We need not linger on the obvious impact of international economic and financial institutions such as the BIS, the OECD, the G-8, the World Bank or the IMF to emphasize the constraints –  and the benefits – that condition the nation-states' exercise of sovereignty.  For our purposes here, it is more pertinent to evoke the role of economic and financial bodies that escape international political controls but influence nation-states' economic policies and potentials. Such are multinational corporations and credit rating agencies whose verdicts on the economic health of a country and its credit worthiness influence the nation-state's access to capital markets and to foreign investment.

*         *         *

Another important economic phenomenon was the need for non-Western labor in the West after WWII. Germany, short of labor after WWII and keen on reconstruction, began importing labor, first mostly from Yugoslavia and soon thereafter from Turkey.  By the late 1950’s a wing of the Aachen cathedral (Charlemagne’s cathedral) was assigned for the Moslem Gastarbeiters to pray towards Mecca. With decolonization and economic expansion in the West after WWII immigration from non-Western countries increased. Labor shortages in the West were not only due to war demographics but also because Western people were reluctant to engage in low paying manual and unskilled labor. Much of the working class population had been used up as canon fodder.

Western labor needs coincided with the growing liberal and humanitarian tendencies to open European society to those who sought refuge from oppressive regimes and poverty in the under-developed economies.  By the 1960's the combination of the two tendencies opened the flood gates to non-Western immigration which, as we shall see in our later discussion of migration, has had a serious impact on global human dynamics.

 *          *           *

All this is obviously an incomplete inventory. But it does give us a sketch of the politico-economic patterns which led to the significant transformations of the 1990s. 

In terms of significance, however, these patterns pale in the face of the scientific and technological breakthroughs which, to a large extent, were the very cause of the transformations, and we shall soon identify as the "electronic revolution."

The bourgeois capitalism of steam engines, telegraphy and telephone had needed the frontiers of a sovereign nation-state to instill nationalism and loyalty in the masses and the work force, to protect the national industry and secure the national market.[5]  In today's age of instant global electronic transactions, air-cargos, super-tankers, and outsourcing of customer services through exotic call centers,  sovereign nation-state frontiers confine and handicap global capital.   

The confluence of politico-economic phenomena and scientific and technological breakthroughs give us a broad range of extra-sovereignty patterns that contribute to the realization of the obsolescence of nation-state frontiers and the assumption of the demise of sovereign nation-states.

The Range of Extra-Sovereignty Patterns

 - At one end of the spectrum are legal structures adhered to by nation-states, (treaties and conventions signed by sovereigns and ratified by their constituent organs – the legislature) which chip off the state's sovereignty.

- International intergovernmental economic and financial bodies, as off-shoots of conventions,  which gain a personality of their own and can impose patterns of behavior on sovereign states through their financial muscle as is the case of conditionality attached to IMF/World Bank loans.

- Multi-national economic and financial corporations which, as they expand globally, escape the sovereign control of the state, and indeed may claim global identity gnawing on the sovereignty of a state and influence the state's behavior, such as global oil companies. Or, credit-rating agencies.

- Mixed international courts, which no longer depend on the sovereign state judiciary but are composed of judges selected by business, union or non-governmental bodies.

- Cause oriented non-governmental organizations(NGOs) affiliated to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), that influence the sovereign states' policies and patterns of behavior, whether in terms of human rights, workers rights, corruption or environmental protection.

- Internal regions claiming autonomy and independence from the central control of the sovereign state, with, at times, connection with global networks challenging the identity of the controlling sovereign such as an ethnicity which overlaps sovereign states borders – Basques, Kurds, Serbs, Albanians, Zapatistas, Acehnese, Timorese, etc. – or a religion like Islam – in Chechnya, Kashmir, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, the Philippines, etc. 

- Global networks, crisscrossing sovereign states and influencing their conduct, such as religions.

- At the other end of the spectrum, outlaw networks escaping or corrupting the sovereignty of states, with their own parallel economies and hierarchies, such as drug dealers, counterfeit producers, smugglers, arms dealers, mercenaries or terrorist networks. 

Do  these patterns have traits in common?  To answer the question in the spirit of my "complex approach,"[6] we need to examine the evolution of these patterns from the anthropologic/historic perspective.

The Anthropologic / Historic Perspective

The evolution of human social organization affecting global human dynamics has corresponded to different stages of human species' interaction with its environment.

Before proceeding with different stages of temporal and spatial human evolutions let us keep in mind the thread of belief which runs through them all. It addresses the species' ever present fear of and search for the unknown and is a mighty ingredient of social organization.[7]  

The fire revolutions:  When the species learned to make and use fire. The  "social" dynamics were those of hunters and gatherers, with close "genetic collective consciousness" akin to primates, with early family and clan groupings.

The agricultural revolutions:  When the species realized that water flows downwards and began harnessing it for agriculture. The early needs for division of labor arose and led to structured clan hierarchy.

The urban revolutions: When the species began storing the products of agriculture, leading to accumulation and concentration of wealth. "Genetic collective consciousness," family, and clan evolved into what became the backbone of social organization, the tribe: the genesis of attribution, contribution, distribution, retribution, tribute, tribune, tribunal.[8]

The arms and transportation revolutions – interspersed in other revolutions:  From the discovery of the flint and the wheel, and the domestication of animals, to supersonic air travel and intercontinental missiles. At different stages, different human groupings came across more efficient ways of transportation and invented arms superior to those of other peoples they came in contact with, creating new critical masses for domination patterns.

The industrial revolution:  When the species learned to convert the steam and combustion energies for productive purposes.  It disturbed the traditional social structures which had evolved along the centuries on the basis of traditional tribal patterns –  whether feudality, kingship or guilds.  With the emergence of bourgeois capitalism the distinction between "community" and "society" became more pronounced.  The "individual" was recognized as a social unit.  Tribal consciousness in social, economic and political networks – as distinct from traditional lineage patterns – accentuated.  In the West, it happened in the context of the “nation-state,” the emergence of  the bourgeoisie, the need for the creation of national identity and nationalism.  It triggered class consciousness and the  transformation of professional guilds and the development of labor trade-unions. This social evolution led to class conflicts and  coincided with, or rather was at once the cause and consequence of, the transfer of the legitimization of power to govern from the divine right of kings to the people through the democratic process.  The sovereign nation-state was increasingly expected to assume the responsibility to provide for its nationals the care that bourgeois capitalism and the industrial revolution had dislocated from the community to the society – from Gemeinschaft  to Gesellschaft.[9]  

The electronic revolution:  We noted earlier that the electronic revolution made the national frontiers of sovereign nation-states too confining for global movement of capital.  In fact, the main features of the electronic age, namely, the enormous increase in the speed and spread of information and transportation, impacted the whole global intercourse of different social segments and strata and transformed the  primordial tribal aspects of human dynamics.[10] 


It is useful to note here one of the crucial features of the electronic revolution, namely, the fact that it changed the human species' interaction with its tools.  Ever since the agricultural revolution, the species "manipulated" its tools.  Hoes, wrenches and levers were extensions of limbs and muscles.  The electronics – the computer, the joystick, or the cruise missile  – require a much greater interaction with the brain, with greater temporal and spatial abstraction.  The species has to replace the mechanical with the mental.  It is a revolution. I wonder whether Ghengis Khan would take any pleasure being told at NORAD that the button he just pushed killed hundreds of thousands of people thousands of miles away! He would have preferred watching the tower of decapitated heads in Samarqand and Nishapour. 


Factors Approach

To proceed further, I need to evoke here the factors approach, mentioned earlier, that I have used in my teaching and studies to identify the actors and the dynamics of their encounter.[11]  Briefly, they are:

Radius of Identity: The prerequisite for the study of inter-entity dynamics is the existence of more than one entity with its own particular radius of identity.  We need at least two entities with different radii of identity, and we need their encounter.[12]  

If the encountering entities merge or overrun each other to the point of non-identifiably of distinct entities, the ensuing phenomenon will turn into one entity – granted, with power dynamic potentials that could remain of interest to our study, such as the struggle of components within an entity for autonomy and independence.

Point of Exhaustion: The existence of more than one entity implies that the encountering entities, if they attempted to overrun and absorb each other, would reach their point of exhaustion before achieving the total merger or absorption of the other.

Ordinarily Manageable Economy: That entities reach their point of exhaustion implies material limits to their capacity to advance beyond a certain point.  How far they can go will depend on their level of technological, economic and organizational development.  In its primitive sense, an ordinarily manageable economy changes with the development of new modes of production and control: from flint to semiconductors.

Understanding/Misunderstanding—Agreement/Disagreement:  While failure to overrun and absorb another entity points to limitations of material potentials, the improbability of merger implies that there are discrepancies in the radii of identity of the encountering entities.  That leads to the assumption that there are areas of understanding/ misunderstanding and agreement/disagreement which distinguish the entities from each other.

Élan: Observation of historical facts reveals instances when extraordinary dispositions within an entity have created an élan and permitted the entity to expand far beyond its ordinarily manageable economy.  These instances account for the overwhelming potentials of certain empires which, in their ebbs and flows, created networks encompassing and linking a large number of entities with different radii of identity.

Legal, Moral and Ethical Depression / Attraction:  Areas of misunderstanding and disagreement imply that each entity will perceive a relative level of depression – non-existence of legal, moral and ethical pressure on behavior and conduct – on the other side of the border.  That depression may also be conducive to the attractiveness of riches which may be perceived on the other side of the frontier.  Attraction can also be fuelled by such drives as curiosity or sense of adventure.

Circumstances and Conjunctures: Encounters between entities do not take place in a vacuum but in the context of what surrounds and influences them in time and space: circumstances; and what lays on their course: conjunctures.

Actors as Factors: From the factors perspective, actors are undeniably crucial components of global human dynamics.  As factors, actors are molded by and mould other factors.  But who are the actors?  Entities or the "decision makers"?  Does the entity create decision makers or do the decision makers drag the entity into a given direction?  It is in the complexity of factors as they flow, their flux, that we should look for answers.

*        *        *

Before applying the factors approach to the electronic age phenomena we need to add the parameters of "segments" and "strata" to our formula.

Segments and Strata

By segments and strata I refer to differentiations and stratifications within a culture that shape its radius of identity, and influence its global human dynamics.

By segments, I refer to different occupations, professions or social affiliations such as business, agriculture, labor unions, media, military establishment, educational system, or different bureaucracies within a culture, each with further ramifications.

By strata, I refer to the relative hierarchical power and influence of certain strata in relation to others within the segments in different cultures and the concomitant interests and values which emerge and mould the legal, moral and ethical norms of the entity. Social organizations and regimes of different entities may be more or less comparable, compatible or conflicting.  The degree of conscious involvement of different strata and segments of a culture in global dynamics will be different from one entity to another.[13] 

*      *      *

The factors reviewed above, which brought about the modern sovereign nation-state in the context of bourgeois capitalism and the industrial revolution, can have more pronounced functional and affectional attributes. Radius of identity or understanding/misunderstanding – agreement/disagreement imply affective elements, while point of exhaustion or ordinary manageable economy depend more on the functional aspects of the entity. The affectional and functional characteristics of factors gain particular plasticity when applied to the global "tribal" evolution of segments and strata in the electronic age.

"Sovereign" nationhood was affectional for the masses. It was, as referred to earlier, developed in terms of radius of identity, transforming patriotism into nationalism. For bourgeois capitalism it was functional. It secured, as noted earlier, national labor, production and market.  Much of the functional and affectional fibers holding the sovereign nation-state together are now dispersed in the global setting.  Are capitalists still willing to pay taxes to finance the workers' health care or are they more likely to move their capital and production to where they can get cheaper labor and lower taxes?  The U. S. capitalist may have his legal residence in Ireland,  his business incorporated in the Cayman Islands, his suppliers in China, his markets across the world and his lobbies in major political and economic nerve centers safeguarding and promoting his global interests, 

Testing the phenomena of the electronic age against the enumerated factors and their affectional and functional nature, we observe a modification of the "tribal" patterns of segments and strata on the global scale. Compatible and comparable segments and strata in different cultures find affinities with each other across the border, compromising their belonging to the radius of identity of their own respective entity.  Bankers may find bankers across the border more compatible than the farmers within their own entity.  A synergy of interests and values (a tribal affinity) may develop globally among the bankers. Inversely, rivalries and grudges between comparable but competing segments or strata may handicap relations between the entities.  Farmers engaging in trade wars across the border may pressure the ruling strata to adopt adversarial stands against each other which they would not have done otherwise.

Broadly, we could schematize the affectional's two dimensions into that of:

- The masses, the middle and the working class attached to national identity and structures, and,

- Strata finding affinities and bonding amongst themselves across the globe, such as professionals issue of similar academic background and milieu; as well as families, clans and tribes of peoples moving across borders in great numbers such as Moslems of different origins in the West.

The functional could also be schematized into:

- The middle and the working classes, the wage earners, holding onto national educational plans, health care, unemployment, and retirement plans instituted in the context of the nation-state, and,

- Capital and financial flows across borders, seeking efficient cheap labor, profitable resources, lenient laws and lucrative markets.

The confluence of these dimensions give rise to global activism of some such as the NGOs pressuring governments and corporations on human rights and environmental issues, the camouflage of others such as the multinational corporations bribing governments and employing private armies, or global affinities feeding the terrorist ranks.

*       *       *

It is the factor of "Legal and Moral Depression/ Attraction" that gains particular significance in the current global context and requires a review of some of the current political, legal, social, economic and cultural parameters under its light.


Even though I shall attempt to identify some of these parameters separately, it should be born in mind that they are intertwined phenomena of the global flux and the sections below overlap.

Political / Legal / Illegal:

We can look at global human dynamics in terms of power politics or legal structures.[14]   

In terms of power politics, at different stages of their emergence, particularly during their periods of élan, powers – military/political – may not behave according to “conventional” behavioral patterns recognized by established powers. They may, for example – and most probably do – break the rules of warfare as did the Germanic tribes attacking the Roman Empire, the Arab Moslem warriors overwhelming Byzantium and the Persian Empire, or the Mongols sweeping into China and across Asia and Europe.  Indeed, it is the political dimension of global human dynamics that tends to dictate its legal aspects.  As balance of power changes, the weightier parts modify the legal structures and nuances of global human dynamics. A recent example is the attitude of the present American administration, inspired by its "primacy" policy, towards international institutions and conventions  – notably in its attacking Iraq without a UN mandate, giving cold shoulder to the Kyoto Environmental Protection convention or International Criminal Court.[15] 

We can conceive of  different layers of legal limits on the sovereign actors, within and without, reflecting legal aspects of segments and strata variations.  Take the case of the constitution drawn up in 2005 by EU organs empowered by European political and economic elites to provide for the accession of new members and increased cross border economic fluidity that was rejected by the strata composed of the majority of the masses in certain countries when submitted to them in referenda.  While nation-states are becoming more dependent on global economy, nationalism remains strong among their broader masses.

The electronic age flux has also contributed to evolutions in the application of  jus cogens, and the right of intervention gnawing on foreign state immunity, which constituted the cornerstone of mutual recognition of sovereignty.[16]  The NGOs can mobilize the public opinion and multinational corporations can lobby governments, to intervene in the internal affairs of other states in defense of human rights. Jus cogens is, however, practiced hypocritically: It was not exercised by the global community in the case of Hutu/Tutsi massacres in Rwanda. The intervention in the Ituri region in the Congo has been undertaken to make the efficient exploitation of the natural resources of the area possible. The Western intervention in different conflicts in former Yugoslavia had pronounced human rights components due to their implications for European identity.

*        *        *

And then there are those actors who, by the very nature of their activities perennially remain outside of the conventional legal framework. Their modus operandi  for gaining more means and power is to exploit the weaknesses of the established order and corrupt it.  Perennial in the sense that they are recurrent features of global human dynamics and are, by definition, “illegal”, such as roaming mercenaries, smugglers or drug cartels.

They would cease to be illegal as and when they penetrate the "legal" systems  and gain respectability and legitimacy.  But then, if they do not altogether overthrow and replace the legal powers that be, they become “subjects” of the laws, no longer able to decide and implement their course independent of the established order, unless they use their “legal” branch as a tool for their independent actions outside of the law.  Such would be the case, for example, of a drug cartel acquiring a banking network to facilitate its money laundering operations.

In order to advance their goals and operate within the legal framework outlaw actors may create legal fronts. This has been the case of independence movements with an accepted political fronts but using terrorism to affirm their resolve, such as the Irish Republican Army, the Basque ETA or Moslem terrorist organizations using mosques as recruiting centers.[17]    


We noted earlier the economic factors which contributed to the massive movement of the people across frontiers since WWII. They engendered, of course, political, social and cultural consequences. Schematically, they can fit in a spectrum going from:

1. Those who seek to move in search of a better life. They move, per force,  into "other people's domains," because there are no longer open spaces and places to explore and populate, as was the case of massive migrations in past centuries from Europe to "unexplored" lands –  America, Australia or New Zealand. The move now takes place with the acquiescence of the host cultures, or clandestinely. 

2.  Those who are sought after by certain economies: "Invited" to fill in certain economic positions – ranging from the Gastarbeiter  in Germany or South-East Asian maids in the Gulf Emirates' households, to computer experts imported into the Silicon Valley from India.[18]

These two perspectives of migration lead us to the two important dimensions of assimilation and integration of immigrants that the Western cultures in particular have mismanaged and are now grappling with. 

Mention was made earlier of the post WWII flood of non-western migration into the West. Traditionally, Western cultures assumed that the few non-Western people who came to their shores, while enriching the Western cultures with some exotic aspects of their own culture, would be, over time, assimilated into the superior, more advanced and civilized Western culture.

The new dynamics and volume of immigration changed Western cultures’ approach to the absorption of non-Western immigrants. Not only the volume and the speed of the flow impeded assimilation, so did the reassertion and universalization of human rights as a reaction to the Nazi experience.  Cultures, traditions and beliefs of different ethnicities acquired equal values and had to be respected in their own right.

In America, the phenomenon coincided with civil rights movement and affirmative action and eventually turned the formula for national identity from the “melting pot” into the “tossed salad”.

Prejudice, for that matter, did not disappear. But the displayed tolerance and the avidity for the exotic softened the West towards non-Western cultures.  Among the prevailing prejudices was the assumption that the non-Western was not capable to plan, organize and execute systematic technical processes – an assumption which was demolished by the meticulous planning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Those belonging to the non-Western cultures migrating to the West gained a new awareness about the reduced pressure to assimilate. Large urban and suburban areas in the West grew into ethnic pockets, with their own prejudices towards the Western culture surrounding them. Those prejudices arose from a combination of disapproval of Western cultural excesses, reaction to the Western superiority complex towards them and frustrated national aspirations. Insofar as Moslem nations were concerned, the creation of Israel which they considered as an extension of the West was an additional source of frustration.

The Fiction and Pitfalls of Global Free Market Economy:

The hinges of "Open Door" policy, long cherished by the United States, and now upheld as the motto of globalization, mostly swing towards the outside depression. I mentioned earlier the European Common Agriculture Policy as an example of extra-sovereign arrangements by nation-states, but I added that it was also designed to provide self-sufficiency for the European nations and protect them from the vagaries of dependence on foreign suppliers of agricultural products. Presently, that policy is maintained through subsidies that distort global price mechanisms to the detriment of developing countries. The United States also secures the viability of its agriculture through different government programs.     

In their embrace of market economy and global free trade, nation-states, caught in the vortex of convoluted affectional and functional paradigms, manifest schizophrenic patterns of behavior. At times, their avidity to attract foreign capital comes into conflict with their drive to safeguard their national economic patrimony in order to keep control of their corporations and retain jobs. Two recent cross border takeover attempts illustrate the point.  In June 2004, at French government's instigation, The French chemical company Aventis had to abandon its plans to merge with the Swiss company Novartis and was taken over by the French chemical company Sanofi-Synthélabo. In July 2005, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) faced with the U. S. Congress's hostility towards its bid to acquire the U.S. oil company Unocal withdrew its higher offer leaving the U.S. oil company Chevron as sole contestant.

Global free flow of capital is presently taking place with few legal frameworks regulating it. The manipulation of European bonds by Citigroup eloquently demonstrated the pitfall.  On August 2, 2004, Citigroup flooded  the Eurozone bond market by selling about €12bn of the paper within seconds, only to buy back €4bn of it at lower prices slightly later.[19]   Eurozone governments awakened to the fact that their embrace of free capital markets was not supported by adequate regulatory mechanisms.

The free flow of capital can have serious disruptive consequences for the economic process in different countries, as in the case of strong currency exchange fluctuations due to speculation: such was the 1997 South-East Asian currency crisis.  Global investment and hedge funds, by controlling the shares of national economic institutions, can dictate the latters' course of action and policies beyond what the national government deems appropriate, as was recently experienced by the Deutsche Börse.  Franz Müntefering, chairman of the ruling Social Democrat party and a close ally of chancellor Gerhard Schröder, denounced financial investors as "locusts" that "destroy everything and move on".[20]  

Corporate “global” social responsibility:

We noted earlier that with the industrial revolution the sovereign nation-state was expected to provide for the welfare of its national masses. The 19th century capitalist bourgeoisie became conscious of the need to combat disease and illiteracy in the framework of the nation-state to produce fit and literate work force.  That scenario is now distorted by globalization.  Governments of nation-states are reducing taxation and divesting themselves of social responsibilities in order to attract foreign capital.

Corporate “global” social responsibility is one of the current hot issues of globalization. It seems to reflect new global assignments for the multinational corporation.  After all, during the extractive and colonial phases of imperialism, the corporations were to exploit foreign natural and human resources as best they could for the benefit of their metropolitan nation-state. At times, they even served as instruments for the corruption of  the peoples that colonial imperialism aimed to conquer, as was the case, for example, of the Opium Wars between Great Britain and China. If any attention was to be paid to the lot of the non-Western masses, it was in terms of the “white man's burden.”  And that was mostly accomplished by converting non-Western cultures into Western faiths and making them useful and coherent for the colonial power's administration.

Why would multinational corporations now care for the people and the environment they were supposed to exploit?  A corporate executive's job is to create value for the shareholders, not to be a bleeding heart for the exploited workers in far away lands. It may be argued that as globalization has spread the "shareholders' interests" beyond national interests, it has triggered the consciousness of the capitalist to the need for fit a and educated work force globally.  In reality, however, in the globalized economy with dislocated functional and affectional dimensions of factors mentioned earlier, that may not be an accurate evaluation of the evolution that is taking place. As noted earlier, capital can presently leap frog globally and go where conditions are most favorable.

The present concern for corporate social responsibility has more to do with public perception enhanced by NGOs, and the pressure of the domestic labor force to make the cheap labor of the developing economies more expensive for the corporations in order to keep jobs at home. Global media exposes the middle class homes in the West to the plight and poverty of the underdeveloped societies. Bleeding hearts have to be appeased in order to engage in guilt free consumption. The drum beating of corporations for global social and ecological responsibility is more inspired by marketers than executives' human rights concerns.  Statistics support this statement. The global poverty ratio has worsened dramatically since the introduction of market economy as the global model.

*          *          *

The reverse of this coin, however, is even more disturbing. Poverty is not going away. We mentioned earlier the growing access of Islamic movements to international finance and the frustration of non-Western people in relation to Western culture. The financial muscle of Islamic fundamentalism is now filling the vacuum in the war against poverty by providing religious education, child care and health care facilities for the poor and serving as breeding ground for anti-Western discontent and terrorism.



The image that emerges out of these parameters is that of a global "order" with its legal premises in flux. Reflecting on their dynamics, we come up with some pernicious underlying patterns. Patterns which, granted, are part and parcel of human reality but which, in the context of present global flux, have gained major significance. They notably include:  


Corruption is a relative term.[21]  Besides outright bribery, it can imply behavior considered corrupt by some, under certain circumstances, at certain times, and not by others. A  case dramatically illustrating this point in the context of the shifts that are presently taking place in the national and global standards of behavior is developing as these lines are being written. It is the case of the wiretap of Antonio Fazio, the governor of the Bank of Italy, who allegedly advised the chief executive of Banca Populare Italiana how to outmaneuver ABN Amro, the Dutch bank, for the acquisition of the Italian Banca Antonveneta. Traditionally, the role of the national central bank governor was to defend national interests and keep financial institutions under national control.  But in the European Union context, Mr. Fazio's action is deemed as corruption of the process of free mergers and acquisitions.[22]  That is, at the stratum of those in Brussels who further the policy of unhindered free flow of capital.  That view which is not shared by many in the Italian political strata.  Indeed, they are more concerned about the fact that telephone conversations can be so easily wiretapped.[23]

The classic sovereign nation-state implied an inviolate national patrimony and inculcated and expected a sense of loyalty. The Soviet Union, in its heydays of dictatorship of the proletariat, punished embezzlement of state property by capital punishment. But the relative dilution of national economies in the global context has now diluted the perception of national, personal and corporate interests.

No longer responsible towards a strict national social order and patrimony, those in control may use personal and corporate yardsticks. This observation reflects the evolution of behavior in countries which did have a strong national identity.  In many newly concocted "sovereign nation states" of developing countries, where the sense of national identity, responsibility and loyalty is thinly rooted, the dominant tribe behaves "tribally" as exploiter towards the country it dominates and corruption prevails.

In terms of global political economy, corruption can be perceived as the oil for the cogwheels of corporate transactions and interactions.  International organizations and NGOs do press corporations and governments to combat corruption.[24]   But its reality cannot be ignored.  Just the bribery side of it – as distinct from exchange of favors – is an approximately one trillion dollar annual blotch on the world economy. The phenomenon is hard to combat when it is woven into the fabric of an economy.  And, in a world where the allure and privileges of wealth and the misery of poverty are constantly broadcasted by the media, when opportunities for personal gain present themselves to those who can "get away with it," the temptation is hard to resist.


Terror is the process of creating fear in order to achieve a goal.  It transcends human species and is biologically woven into and practiced by most organisms. Closer to home, it is what law enforcement does. It is elemental to the basic factors of power. For the purposes of our essay here, in order to reflect on the Western quandary to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism in the electronic age, we need to examine the complex as an amalgam of the assassins of Hassan Sabbah of Mount Alamut in the twelfth century Persia, the present masses of non-Western youth growing in poverty stricken, ill educated and indignant populations cum internet – the networking tool that the earlier generations of terrorists could not have dreamed of.  And, of course, we should add the effect of the media, and the fact of the rise in the blood pressure of the adolescent who witnesses the infidel soldiers kick in the doors of their homes and humiliate their families and community.

The motivation of classical terrorists in the modern West was "ideological."  Ideology is supposed to be based on rational premises. The anarchist terrorists did not blow themselves up to go to heaven. Ideology loses its impact when its rationales are distorted and no longer correspond to socio-economic realities. And the ideologies which did breed terrorism in the West were systematically combated and discredited  through socio-political structures.

The present Moslem terrorism is not based on rational ideology but on non-rational belief.  The Western handicap in dealing with the present Moslem fundamentalist terrorism is the West's reluctance and inability to combat the Moslem fundaments that breed terrorism.  Those fundaments glorify the "Shaheed," – those who offer their lives to the Moslem faith, fight the infidels,  and are promised rewards in heaven.[25]  

It is unlikely that the West would engage in frontal combat to weaken the premises of those fundaments. The West itself lost the battle of rational thought against religious obscurantism back in the seventeenth century and is fearful of antagonizing the masses of Moslem believers by criticizing the premises of their faith.  Islamic fervor is spreading through spasmodic cycles of terrorist threats, penetration, indignation, and recognition.  In order to be able to combat Moslem fundamentalist terror, the West needs to seriously promote global secularization of education and alleviation of poverty through massive development programs permitting equitable redistribution of wealth. But that is a tall order which does not fit the present contradictory currents of global human dynamics discussed above.


Conspiracy is used here as a broad terminology – that of its Latin origin of "breathing together!"  In that sense, it is an extension of corruption, because in terms of social life and order it is an undercurrent. The purpose here is not to sustain or refute conspirational theories but to reflect on the part of the phenomenon that is observable. It is a reality that without some degree of conspiracy, Karadzic, Meladic, Zwahiri or Bin Laden would not be still running loose.

"Breathing together" can have different effects at different levels of social life.

The masses "breath together" in the open and depending on their number, organization and staying power, have an open effect. The anti-globalization meeting in Porto Alegre chanted slogans together, the students in Qoranic madresas sway and recite the Qor'an together. Their effect is what those who organize them draw out of their "breathing together."  Conspiracy is a dimension of the exercise of power at the decision-making strata. It is the dimension that manipulates and surreptitiously influences social life and structures. There are those who are more impressed and honored to be participants in the Davos Annual World Economic Summit, and there are those who impress and set the tone of the meeting. It is the mix that cues the attendees to move in certain directions. Trilateral Commission, Free Masonry or the Moslem Brotherhood do leave their imprints on the course of events; as do illegal actors – arms dealers, private armies and others – in collusion with governments and corporations.

Privatized Security / Public Scrutiny:

"Privatized security" covers a wide range, going from guarded compounds and body-guards safeguarding the members of certain social strata to mercenaries and private armies used by multinational corporation and governments.

The phenomenon's evolution parallels the parameters reviewed above. From the sacrifice of one's life for the glory and defense of the nation, Western cultures have moved to the emphasis on the "value" of human life.  Conscription has ended in most Western countries, and massive soldiery has been replaced by advanced weapons' technology.  That does not permit nation-state armies to intervene in all of the messy cases of multinational corporate interests.  

The availability of arms on the global market, the reduction in numbers in the armies, leaving many professional soldiers and military organizers idle, the availability of funds for creation of offshore corporations recruiting and organizing, have made the creation of private armies possible.  Recent cases of private armies' involvement in global affairs include that of the attempt to overthrow Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of  Equatorial Guinea, organized by "Executive Outcome," [26]  "Sandline International's" intervention in Sierra Leone and presently, "Aegis Defence Services" role in Iraq. [27]

The emerging role of private armies, and security forces is in the field of protection against terrorism. They fill a the vacuum that armies and the police forces cannot fill. Presently, there are some thirty thousand "private security personnel" engaged in Iraq.

The need for private protection leads to reflection on another aspect of security which, even though not directly pertinent to our present topic, has repercussions on the global scene. It is that of the increasing public scrutiny by nation-states in order to protect the people from terrorism.  More and more people are resigned  to be checked, searched, monitored and observed, for their own good – a  phenomenon which, in the hands of unscrupulous office holders could lead to police states handicapping the development of global legal structures towards respect for human rights.


In the epilogue to my essay on The Socio-Political Complex, I discuss the human phenomenon of "Ideal/Real/Hypocritical Loop." [28]   Briefly, it is the human tendency to overshoot the critical approach to reality into the two apparently opposite ideological and hypocritical extremes – which, on the reverse side of the loop, meet and are confounded.

I am using hypocrisy here not in a pejorative sense, but as a factor of global human dynamics in the broad sense of the term. In traditional parlance some hypocrisy was assumed in the conduct of diplomacy. But in classical contexts such as that of the Westphalian world order, diplomatic hypocrisy was part of a choreographed ballet. The present lack of clear orchestration of global human dynamics has lent itself to its unabashed practice. In the context of a world order claiming free flow of information, conflicting interests and values of different segments and strata are not easily reconcilable and are juggled by "spins" distorting reality in the fast and furious spread of information fed by the media to the masses. The spins, however, also often spin the spinners into believing in the veracity of their own spins. Such was the case of the existence/non-existence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.     

This essay is peppered with instances of hypocritical behavior: Clamoring for free trade yet erecting protective barriers, etc.  Hypocrisy includes,  at times, selective use of information for self-deception and "head in the sand" policies – looking the other way in the abuse of human rights by a friendly authoritarian regime, or paying lip service to a threat to appease.


The "new world order" is in flux, i.e., it is in disorder. It lacks clear legal premises. The dislocation of the functional and affectional attributes of factors enumerated earlier, caused by the electronic age globalization, has left us only with the very primitive stages of the factors for identifying the actors in the present global human dynamics.  Indeed what is left approaches the elemental sources of power.[29]  In a nutshell, they are: 

Independent decision-making potentials:  Basically, whatever the actor can get away with:  Whether the Moslem terrorist cells planning an attack;  the present United States' administration interpreting the Geneva Agreements to fit its exercise of habeas corpus in Guantanamo Bay; or foreign exchange speculation manipulating South-East Asian countries' currencies into a major economic crisis. 

Network and organization:  The globalized radius of identity of strata across nation-state frontiers: Whether the global investment funds' collusion in concerted action to influence the leadership of the Deutsche Börse;  the Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations' support and supply to the multitude of pockets of their dedicated adherents; or the Trilateral Commission's inspiration for the course of action to be taken by the strata identifying with it.

Implementation:  The capacity to have decisions implemented, i.e., having the means to carry them out – or having access to the means through the network (although that could reduce the independent decision-making potentials):  It is the amassing of troops in the Persian Gulf by the United States in view of attacking Iraq – which at some point reached the point of no return – with no serious questioning or objection on the part of international institutions or neighboring countries; or the facility of procuring and activating explosives by terrorist groups.

Sphere of control:  The extent and depth of the area and the population over which the decision for action can be effectively implemented: The U.S. Congress dissuading the Chinese oil company to acquire Unocal; Al-Qaeda instigating Moslem youth in England to below themselves up in terrorist acts; or Exxon hiring military support to protect its operations in Aceh.

Recognition:  It is the factor entitling the actor to operate within the network of other actors, whether “legal” or “illegal” according to certain standards set down by some of the actors.  The legal spheres may vary and be particular to a group of cultures and not others.  Such is, for example, the case of hawaleh, which is a widespread method of transfer of funds and credit among Moslem communities. Among the recognized "illegal" actors are smuggling networks – arms dealers, cigarette traffickers – or mercenaries, that are linked with governments and corporations.

Spheres of competence, responsibility, accountability:   Not necessarily in the legal sense, but in the sense of being beholden to the word given and being able to deliver: The issuers of hawaleh are trusted and deliver, as do banks by electronic transfers; the 9/11 terrorists were funded and they delivered;  Aegis Defence Services is competent in providing mercenaries and delivers.

*       *        *

These factors can serve as measuring rods for reflection on the future course of global human dynamics, the shape of the new world order to come, and the plausibility of different scenarios, whether viewed under the prism of clash of cultures, global civil society, American "primacy" or an emerging multipolar complex.

© 2005 Anoush Khoshkish
Akim Inc.
New York. 

[2] Some of the literatures since 1990 include: Saskia Sassen, Losing Control? Sovereignty in an Age of Globalization, New York, Columbia University Press, 1996,    Globalization and its Discontents, New York, New Press, 1998; Stephen D. Krasner, "Westphalia and All That" in Ideas and Foreign Policy, Judith Goldstein & Robert O. Keohane (eds), Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1993, –  "Compromising Westphalia" in International Security, 20(3). 1995, – Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1999; Susan Strange, "Wake up, Krasner! The World Has Changes, in Review of International Political Economy, 1, 1994; Andreas Osiander, "Sovereignty, International Relations and the Westphalian Myth, in International Organization, 55, 2001. For earlier references see the notes of the article mentioned in 1.

[3] UN Charter, Ch.I, Art.2, Para.1.

[4] For the list of the areas and domains in which OSCE has intervened see

[5] See A. Khoshkish, The Socio-political Complex: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Social Life, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1979. Ch. 2 et seq. Also at:

[7]The Socio-Political Complex, op. cit., ch. 2, also at

[8]The Socio-Political Complex, op. cit., ch. 3; also at

[9] Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1936), Community & society, New Brunswick, Transaction Books, 1957.

[10] Note that up to the industrial revolution I have qualified revolutions as plural. I have done so because anthropologic and historic indices point to the fact that earlier revolutions took place independently in different human groupings. It is important to keep this in mind, both for the realization of the development of distinct cultures and the different stages of the clash of cultures. On the early human revolutions see: - Charles J. Lumsden & Edward O. Wilson, Genes, Mind, and Culture, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1981. Also Charles J. Lumsden & Edward O. Wilson, Promethean Fire: Reflections on the Origin of Mind, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1983.

[11] For a detailed treatment of factors see

[12] To avoid the straight jacket of the fiction of sovereign nation-state, I identify the actors as "entities."

[14] A. Khoshkish, Power or Authority :The Entelechy of Power, Lanham, University Press of America, 1991

[15] Nicholas Lemann, “The Next World Order,” in The New Yorker, 1 April 2002, pp.43-48;  Zalmay M. Khalilzad, From Containment to Global Leadership: America & the World After the Cold War, The Rand Corporation pamphlet, October 1995.

[16] Lee M. Caplan "State Immunity, Human Rights, and jus cogens : A Critique of the Normative Hierarchy Theory" in American Journal of International Law, Vol. 97, pp.741-781, 2003

[17] See "The Dawn of the Dark Ages" at

[18] Wayne Cornelius et al. (eds), Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2004.  Martin L. Philip, "Germany: Managing Migration in the Twenty-First Century"; Christian Joppke, Immigration and the Nation State, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999; Christopher Rudolph, "Security and the Political Economy of International Migration" in American Political Science Review, 97, pp.603-620, 2003.

[19] Financial Times of February 5, 2005 reported an internal Citigroup memorandum, which was dated two weeks before the August trades. It outlined an aggressive strategy to increase the bank's profits by destabilizing the Eurozone government bond futures market and "killing off" smaller rivals.

[20] Financial Times of May 10 2005

[22] Financial Times, July 28, 2005, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2005, and following issues.

[23] International Herald Tribune,  August  6, 2005, "Italy is set to revamp wiretap law"

[24] Notably, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and OECD Antibribery convention of 1997. See also: Transparency International, at;  R.T. De George, Competing with Integrity in International Business, 1993;  P.W.F. Davies (ed.), Current Issues in Business Ethics, London, 1997; and M.M. Jennings, Business: Its Legal, Ethical and Global Environment, 5th ed. , Mason, Ohio, 2005.   In the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline project, partially financed by the World Bank, the pipeline has been operating since 2003 under Chad's Petroleum Revenue Management Program which was created to oversee the proper use of the oil revenues to reduce poverty in Chad. Under that program most oil revenues are to be allocated to key sectors generating growth and helping most disadvantaged people. Under that program, an oversight body, the Collège de Contrôle et de Surveillance des Revenues Pétrolières (Committee of Control and Oversight of Petroleum Revenues), monitors spending and ensures transparency. It is a first!

[25] Qor'an, Surah 56.

[29] Power or Authority, op. cit.  Also at