Author: Professor Max Hilaire, PH.D.

Position: Lecturer, Empire State College, State University of New York, USA and Associate Professor and

Chairperson, Morgan State University, USA.

The world faces some unprecedented crises that no one state can solve unilaterally and no global institutions exist to address them adequately.

The world faces some unprecedented crises that no one state can solve unilaterally and no global institutions exist to address them adequately. Among the many problems plaguing the international community are: international and non-international armed conflicts, poverty, youth unemployment, terrorism, global warming and climate change, human trafficking, unfair trade practices, global inequity, illegal migration, refugees and displaced persons, public health epidemics, humanitarian disasters and gross human rights abuse. Although states are responsible for managing their own affairs, and the United Nations is prohibited under Article 2 (7) of the Charter from intervening in the affairs of states unless the issue poses a threat to international peace and security, the scale of these crises necessitate global coordinated action that requires global leadership from the United States and the European Union, but also regional organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The current legal order, which has its roots in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, remains the basic regime governing relations among states, Westphalia is not capable of addressing today’s global problems. Current world problems are global in scope and transcend state boundaries. Individual states and international organizations lack the capacity and resources to respond to these problems. In fact, these global crises are overwhelming the ability of the international community to respond, and new mandates and greater authority will be necessary if international organizations are to address these challenges.

Response to international crises have been ad hoc and piecemeal; states and international organizations respond only in the aftermath of the outbreak of these crises, as there is no infrastructure or a legal framework to address these  challenges in a consistent and coordinated manner. There is a perception of a double standard in the way the international community and individual states respond to certain international crises. When the crises are isolated or do not pose a threat to the national security interests of the United States, the United Kingdom and France there is a lack of a robust response by the international community. There is also a feeling that the populations of the three countries are exhausted with international crises and oppose further intervening in conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Other potential conflicts require a long term international commitment and are difficult to resolve. Military intervene cannot solve all international crises, and some crises are beyond the ability of individual states. These conflicts have deep religious, social, ethnic and political roots cannot be resolved by the parties themselves.

The world has changed and we need new institutions and a new approach to respond to current global challenges. Globalization and new information technology is internationalizing international crises. No state is immune from international crises and no one state can solve these crises alone. The Westphalian legal order and the United Nations legal order have outlived their relevance and cannot address 21st century problems that were not anticipated when these systems were established..

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