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- Category: World News
The focus on national problems has caused countries to forget - or even abandon - what merely fifteen or ten years ago seemed to be a healthy, growing commitment to international cooperation. But, history tells us that states that have entered the global arena cannot simply back out of that situation at whim to focus inward on insulated ideas and concerns. Look at what happened to the international community after World War I. The war had tied the participating nations together, linking their economies and political spheres. But, the isolationist aftermath of that global event and the refusal to truly take the League of Nations seriously helped to create the chaos of the Great Depression. Had there been a greater concern for the international relationships and connections between the nations, they may have staved off a deeper crisis.
The truth is that globalization is a reality of our modern age, but even the status quo can crumble. Turning our backs on our relationships with other states is inevitably fatalist. Sadly, history repeats itself, and it looks like many of the powerful nations today are blind to their membership in the larger community. But despite all of the negative examples of poor global diplomacy this year, there are still many states that are working to improve the global community, and realize the importance of working with other nations.
Nowhere is this more noticeable than in Africa. Although the continent is still plagued by corruption and violence, many states are working together. The African Union has its issues, but its focus on international cooperation to boost GDP and work to fight communal issues such as desert expansion and the malaria epidemic show promise. They’ve discovered that their cooperative effort has been more effective than flying solo.
They’ve also shown progress in working together to mediate the peace talks in Sudan and the possible secession of the southern party of the country. The AU has been shaky in its peace keeping efforts on the continent, but it is putting the political pressure of its many nations on Sudan, and that could be the leverage needed for stability.
What can Europe and the rest of the world learn from the African Union? Lately, Turkey seems to be thinking far more globally than the members of the European Union, the same global organization Turkey wishes to join. Instead of growing isolationist as Europe has, it has done the opposite, pursuing greater foreign interaction. It has taken on a position of influence in the Middle East, and seems to be living up to its role as a mediator between Europe and Asia. Its influence was one of the key reasons a number of South American nations recently recognized a Palestinian state.
These nations are benefiting from a global perspective and a strong, international presence through soft power- something the rest of the world could learn from at the moment. Many of the traditional leaders in the global community – the United States, Germany, Britain, for instance – need to regain their perspectives. The global community is now threatened far more than any one single nation. With the global economy suffering, free trade taking a turn towards isolationism, and security issues that involve transnational and postnational militants with little interest in sticking to one nation- not to mention global environmental issues that remind us daily we all share one planet- isolationism is not only ludicrous, it’s in no way a viable option.
If 2010 was a year where commitments to global communities were tested, then 2011 needs to be the year when those commitments are reaffirmed.*By Nicholas Slayton, Aslan Media Contributor
*Photo Credit: United Nations Photo
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