Governing the Global Commons: Geostrategic and Geoeconomic Sources of Discord in the International System

The growing imbalance in rights and responsibilities in the international system not only strains regional security systems, but also jeopardizes the system of global economic governance, particularly as access to the global commons - maritime space, outer space, and cyberspace - entails critical policy vectors where it is increasingly difficult to differentiate security from economy. This article explores the impact of the global financial crises and redistribution of power in the international system on the geoeconomic and geopolitical systems of governance. The analysis proceeds in four stages. The first assesses the shifts that have taken place in the regional and global balances of capabilities since 1990 towards explaining the Chinese challenge to American geostrategic supremacy in the Pacific, the American response to Chinese revisionism, and the European effort to mollify the United States on military-strategic issues while currying mercantile favour with China. The second and third sections investigate, respectively, the systems of global economic and regional security governance, particularly with respect to major stakeholders’ satisfaction with the status quo. The final section considers the intersection of the economic and strategic policy vectors in the global commons.

Authors: James Sperling