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Briefing Paper Series

Bernt Pölling-Vocke (

Master of International Relations

Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand

All state leaders are not globalist. Why?

For the purpose of answering the question why all state leaders are not globalists, the concept of being and acting  „globalistic“ has to be defined. Globalists belief that mankind should live in ways that unite all people, which would result in the eradication of all differences between the local and the global. A world full of self-identification along the lines of “us” and “them” would be become a world of “we”. Analogous, all units of today’s world system, the nation-states, would cease to be: when the only “us” there is is mankind, than “we” need world government. State-leaders worldwide would be browsing the job market section of the New World Times. Of course the now unemployed ex-state-leaders of the finally truly free people, at least according to Karl Marx, would not mind, as he or she, just as all other humans, have left a “fragmented, broken up, crumbled” and lost world behind. Today’s interpretation of the world’s supposed fragmentation would be its make-up into different states with different, sometimes shared, hated, envied or ignored cultures and equally different lifestyles.

Would it be realistic to envision the dismantling of a nation state through the actions of its leader?  Of course, some would argue, because the politico-economic sphere of our world has long been marching towards globalization and is pulling “the rest” along. The “spirit of commerce” has given birth to a globally governed economy, highly decentralized, relatively westernized and either praised for its deliverance of ever-growing global prosperity or the systematic spread of economic exploitation, depending on the analytical language applied

Of course not, others would argue. Without a doubt, actions of state-leaders are based to a lesser degree on autarky than in the past. The strength and sovereignty of nation-states has weakened in many regards, but this has happened as part of the nation’s necessary, rational adaption to the changed rules of survival, which grounds the whole process in realism. Or internationalism, if internationalism is not understood as nothing but realism in disguise, as some argue and others don’t. But no matter whether we analyse the predominating style of state-leading as realistic or internationalistic, it is by no means globalistic.

As the rules of survival have changed and our state-leaders have to admit that there is grass on the other side, a lot of it (no matter whether its greener or not), and that our own grass can only remain or become green if we get together with the other masters of their respective lawns in order to preserve the sunshine and clean rain we all depend upon, our realistic state-leader could not be expected to take part in a general unification of all grasslands. Also we, the inhabitants, would not support such actions, as we have spend too much time reading and learning about the common myths of our patch of grass, myths we are rather proud about. We expect our state-leader to set us up as suitable as possible in the globalized economy known to exist for better or worse, as we all share the human passion for wealth and peace. We do not expect him to do away with those cosy nights in front of the family television when our “All Greens” take on whoever else. In the end, we also happen to elect our state leaders – at least most of the “us”ses in the world do – and those who do not are often ruled by those who are even less inclined to care about other greens. 

What this does not imply is that state-leaders will never become globalists. So far, the global spread of capitalism has not resulted in dramatic state-failures. But if one or several patches of grass around the world would be devastated by the ungovernable forces of global capital, if a state-maker would truly fail in his task to protect his people from the harm an unleashed, global “spirit of commerce” can cause, could the answer to the “now what?”-question bring along the kind of revolution Marxism describes? Would the ultimate failure of our world as we know it result in far more dramatic changes than the selected aspects of internationalism, cloaked as realism in disguise, we can witness these days? Would any number of those state-leaders dismantle their own position and join their people for a united singing of “This world is your world, this world is my world”, resounding from all the yet to be build Freedom Towers, Mount Cooks or Burj al Arabs there are? 

Probably, the answer is “yes”. Throughout mankind’s history the units structuring the world have eventually merged and grown. Adam and Eve did what, if we buy into Genesis, no other humans had done before, people became tribes, tribes became cities, empires came and went, States became United States and so forth. It is therefore not unrealistic to assume that a state-made world will cease to be when the state is no longer able to survive. In a way one just has to cast an eye onto the global economy, itself the result of endless mergers and takeovers, each the result of a wish for survival and prosperity. If a company fails, the drive of capitalism does not loose its steam; the fittest survive, the others do not. One day, we either shop at New World or we do not shop at all. The failed companies need no “there after”. If a country or a region would truly fail, a “there after” is required. When that happens, this paper is part of the answer of “Some state leaders are globalists. Why?” Until that happens, of course, no state-leader could be classified as a globalist. Some aspects of national survival might demand an internationalistic or even globalistic approach or cloaking, but at the end of the day any closer analysis will unwrap the neatly packaged realistic core.