Networking Governments

Author: Gary Hart

National FlagsA good deal of attention is being given recently to the notion of creating networks among sovereign governments.  This basically involves linking government functions of a number of governments to make the performance of each of them more effective.

For example, effectively every government on earth are threatened by viruses such as swine flu.  Most developed and developing nations have a public health service of one kind or another.  No single public health service, including that of the United States, can adequately prevent threats to its citizens without international cooperation.  Thus, an international network of public health services could prepare to isolate viral outbreaks, quarantine victims, stockpile immunizations in strategic locations, develop a common data base and instant communication system, and train medical swat teams to quickly contain threats.

We already share important intelligence with selected allies, a form of networking.  We have an international nuclear inspection regime, IAEA, but it needs to be strengthened and empowered.  Space exploration is becoming internationalized with potential savings to the American taxpayer.  Human disaster relief increasingly involves international networking.  NATO is fighting in Afghanistan. 

More can be done not only in preventing and controlling pandemics but also in linking national research laboratories to cooperate on expensive research, networking financial regulatory regimes to prevent banking collapse, linking universities using remote learning technologies, networking environmental protection efforts to implement climate control treaties, and the list goes on.

We created a range of new international institutions between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, basically 1945-49, and they helped stabilize a turbulent world and prevent World War III.  Those institutions are now 60 to 65 years old and not designed to address the new realities of the 21st century.  We need the leadership of Truman, Marshall, Acheson, Kennan, and others to renew that spirit of international cooperation.

Most nations, including the U.S., resist surrender of national sovereignty to international institutions.  That is why the idea of networking, that does not require any erosion of national sovereignty, seems to hold such promise in this new age and century.

12 Responses to “Networking Governments”

  1. Konstantin Says:

    Universities, laboratories, and other instituions will network themselves. Politicians’ job is to remove barriers that impede networking and communications. Other than that politicians are redundant and mostly cause problems for citizens by giving certain companies and institutions special privileges at the expense and impoverishment of citizens.

  2. Gary Hart Says:

    Ah, how nice the world with be without those pesky politicians. Problem is, no one, including America’s founders, has discovered how to run a democracy without elected officials (i.e., politicians). The concept of national sovereignty, not politicians, is the traditional barrier against greater inter-governmental cooperation. Private institutions, such as universities, laboratories, corporations, etc, of course “network” all the time. I’m proposing something different: close cooperation, still under each nation’s individual sovereignty, of governmental institutions, as my original blog proposes. That isn’t being done nearly enough yet to address new international realities.

  3. C. Kasey Kitterman Says:

    What a great and practical approach! Undoubtedly networking will become fodder for talk radio, but it’s all about reaction time these days. We’ve had close calls with the Ebola virus, and who knows what the future portends. We live in a global community for better and worse. Time to make responsible efforts, to suit the new realities.

  4. MJR Montoya Says:

    One of the problems that emerges in the 21st century is that these institutions, particularly those designed to deal with infectious diseases, natural disaster, space exploration, etc., have emerged as distinctly global communities. It is important for us to recognize that as we proceed in addressing questions of global importance that the process of internationalization is in part the recognition of global forces beyond the control of the nation-state, as Sen. Hart rightly addresses. The call for internationalization is in part the recognition of salient and crystallized global forces, and national politics would do well to understand this more deeply.

  5. Tom Gee Says:

    Senator Hart is right, as usual. What Konstantin failed to recognize in his broadside against “politicians” is that it was, indeed, politicians who created the best examples of “networking” in its day. As just one example, President Truman was very much a politician, and he did plenty to help create and make good use of institutions of international cooperation.

  6. Michael Says:

    This kind of thing, like the UN, would only work well in certain instances. You mentioned fighting pandemics, and idea which would probably find very little resistance, on the other hand, financial regimes would not be so easy (Switzerland-US current case in point). And think of the opportunity for espionage, real or imagined, and what those nasty politicians (or Glenn Beck) would concoct to get attention.

  7. Gary Hart Says:

    MJR Montoya rightly recognizes that what I call networking is well on its way under the pressure of necessity. Whether we do or do not cooperate with sister agencies in foreign governments, it will happen anyway. Too many challenges simply require international cooperation. Truman, in the 1945-49 period, is a great example, as Tom Gee points out. In response to Michael, we are well on our way to informal and unofficial networking of central banks and finance ministries to counter the global recession. Policies in major economies are constantly being coordinated now. And the Swiss have finally cooperated with us in tracking down US tax avoiders.

  8. Bula Mcdonalds Says:

    I am smitten by the way you embraced this topic. It is not often I come across a blog with attractive articles like yours. I will make a note of your feed to stay up to date with your succeeding updates.Just stunning and do preserve up the effective work.

  9. Elma Coventon Says:

    Kicking off 2010’s mixed martial arts is the brilliant UFC 108. It’s bound going to be a great event with the main match being Evans vs Silva going head to head. You can watch ufc 108 live for FREE in full HD without paying that grotty $55.95 PPV cost.

  10. Martin Says:

    how do you use the rss feed for your blog?

  11. Tagesgeld Uebersicht Says:

    That is a very brilliant blog. But one question remains How do you deal with the increasing number of Spam in blog comments? I do not like it at all, It steals lots of my time and I really hate dealing with this every day.

  12. Sophia Ridpath Says:

    Very Interesting Read! Looking forward to more Bookmarked the blog. Was also wondering if anybody here could point me to some related material. Thanks in advance.

Leave a Reply

All comments are reviewed by a moderator prior to approval and are subject to the UCD blog use policy.