Cosmopolitanism explores what democracy is and how it can be applied in local, national and the global level. Realism on the other hand is a school of International Relations theory based on the concepts of anarchy and power politics. In this article I will examine the realist’s views upon cosmopolitanism and specifically the model of federalism and I will argue that realists believe that the possibility of a future associated with a form of a global polity is a utopian idea rather than something feasible mainly due to the way the world is working.
Realists do accept the political significance of cosmopolitanism but find the proposed democratic union of states with the directly elected political representatives by the public and the political decisions with direct application to citizens not viable (Archibugi et al. 2012). In the same way they support that global polity, involving only one major actor, will fail in the contemporary world as well based on the fact that contemporary global governance has been failing in respect to accountability issues.
Democratization is considered a concept for within the States rather than outside the states. Even though there are indeed achieved successes based on democratization in the local and national level realists claim that the idea that translational conflicts cant be solved by employing democratic ways when our world is actually driven from power politics on a state of complete anarchism and with interests playing an important role in everyday politics is simple visionary. Power politics and interests rather than democratic views are the driving forces of the word indeed.
There is clearly no reference that we are heading towards a global polity, at least not in the close future. Force and interests politics are the main elements regulating the current international scene therefore the current political situation is very different from what cosmopolitanism argues as the ideal. Democracy has not yet to transform national and international politics in such a way. And there is no certainty that local or national democracy and its values can or will be migrated in the global level as well. Also, “there is no actual guarantee that the greater coordination in world politics will be informed by the values of democracy” (Archibugi 1998).
Current global politics are unstable. A world government though is more likely to instead of taking care the public rights to be driven by its own interests. Therefore the true nature of the democracy of a global polity is likely a utopian idea as well. It would highly unlikely for a government to prioritize global interests rather than national making the creation of a global polity practically inconceivable. Furthermore, would creating one authoritarian organisation enable democracy or rather destroy it? Would reducing the political actors be a democratization practice after all? We can see where the argument of not desirability enters along with non- feasibility.
- Archibugi, D., M. Koenig-Archibugi & R. Marchetti 2012. Global Democracy Normative and Empirical Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Archibugi, Daniele. 1998. “Principles Of Cosmopolitan Democracy”. In Re- Imagining Political Community: Studies In Cosmopolitan Democracy, 1st ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press.