The Prospects for Global Civil Society
In the decades following the end of the Cold War, civil society theorists have heralded the international power of civil society not only to support democratic nations, but also to bring down corrupt police states and regenerate effective government for failing states.1 The international dimension is critical, these theorists argue. International NGOs, such as democracybuilding groups, humanitarian aid organizations, and religious associations, can supply the leadership, training, funding, and other resources that local peoples require in order to establish their own free democracies. Projecting into the future, these civil society theorists believe that the work of international organizations and associations, together with the decline of the superpowers and an increase in the power and legitimacy of the United Nations, African Union, and other umbrella political organizations, can usher in a new age of peace, democracy, and stability. We are witnessing “the end of history,”2 in which a global ethic of cosmopolitanism will transcend local, regional, and cultural differences.