International Institutions and Globalization

Mark Leonard is Executive Director of the first pan-European think-tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations. It was launched in late 2007 with backing from the Soros Foundations Network, Fride, the Communitas Foundation, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and the Unicredit Group.

His first book, Why Europe will run the 21st Century, published in the UK by 4th Estate in February 2005, has been translated into 17 languages. His second book What does China think? will be published later in the year.

Mark writes and broadcasts regularly on international affairs – assignments which have led him to seek out barbecues in Texas, prisoners in Egypt and cutting-edge architecture in China. His work has appeared in publications including The Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Prospect, The Spectator, New Statesman, Foreign Policy, The Washington Quarterly, Country Life, Arena, The Mirror, The Express, and The Sun.

Mark also acts an adviser to companies and governments on China, Middle East Reform, the future of Europe and Public Diplomacy; occassionally collaborating with the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to produce work for clients ranging from the European Commission to Prada.

  • Transcript


Question : Are International Institutions up to the challenge of Globalization?

Mark Leonard:  I think that’s maybe the most interesting difference between the institutions which the U.S. created after the Second World War, which have been absolutely central to the peace and prosperity in the late 20th century, and the new institutions, which have been developed since the end of the Cold War, which will be central to dealing with a globalized world.  There’s a big difference between the United Nations and the other Britain world institutions, which were largely about protecting the sovereignty of states, protecting them from external interference in their affairs, to stop war between countries largely.  And then newer institutions, like the World Trade Organization, the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Treaty, and the Emissions Trading Scheme, which the European Union developed, which are not about trying to protect countries from external interference, but are, in fact, trying to regulate the behavior of countries very much by interfering with how they run themselves.  And those new institutions are modeled and inspired by the experience which European countries have had within their own continent.  And I think that those are the sort of institutions which capture the future.  We are going to need to create a whole series of new institutions to deal with the problems that we’re facing now, to deal with nuclear proliferation, to deal with environmental catastrophe, and I think that the older institutions created after World War II are either going to have to be dramatically reformed so that they look more like this new wave of institutions, or they will kind of collapse and be superseded by
entirely new institutions.