Thursday, October 07, 2004

One for international democracy

The European Union recently agreed to begin negotiating with Turkey for membership in the EU, a move that credited Turkey with significant improvements in human rights and the democratic process. A major reason and impetus within Turkey for improving its record was to get the chance to join the EU.

I think this shows the advantage of bringing democracy to international institutions. I've been a long-time supporter of international federalism, the idea of transforming or creating international institutions like the EU on a broader scale. Many years ago I was heavily involved with a group called the Association to Unite the Democracies. They've worked for exactly this idea - international democracy, an end to war, no more armies. Their history goes back to the 1930s, when they advocated a federation of America with the European democracies to stop Hitler from taking over the world. The group was also interesting in how its support cut across traditional left-right divisions. And on a personal level, both my grandfather and father were involved with the group over the decades.

I still think it's the right idea, but I just don't see it happening anytime soon. The EU could be a model, something that's far more democratic and hopeful than what many broader institutions like the World Trade Organization have become. Maybe someday they'll learn...

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