chapter  5
22 Pages

The post-Cold War era

At the time, the end of the Cold War could reasonably have been perceived as opening up new opportunities for the cause of world federalism. Throughout the Cold War, the first and foremost reason commonly cited for disregarding the possibility of world government had always been the ideological gap between the communist and noncommunist nations. But this specific impediment to world government, if not completely eliminated, was clearly less important. Just as the end of World War I had seen the establishment of the League of Nations, and the end of World War II had seen the establishment of the stronger United Nations, it seemed to world federalists that perhaps the end of the Cold War might see a further advance toward an even stronger form of supernational organization, possibly even a full-scale, authoritative world government. History records the fact, however, that such a world government did

not in fact become a viable alternative in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War. In this chapter, we examine certain factors in the post-Cold War era bearing upon the idea of world government, factors apparently responsible for the continued rejection of the possibility by the large majority of the world’s population. Among these factors are the various remaining heterogeneities among nations (economic, political, cultural, and so on) aside from ideological differences, the “global governance” thesis that suggests that a very high degree of international harmony and cooperation can be achieved in the absence of a formal global government, and the striking development of the European Union, which

suggests that possibly an effective avenue toward eventual global political unification is increasing functional cooperation among the nations. Toward the end of the chapter, we consider some recent sympathetic assessments of world government by mainstream political scientists, assessments that suggest that perhaps full-scale, authoritative world government within the relatively proximate future is perhaps more achievable than commonly realized at the present time.