The dollar is everywhere. In Latin America, three countries have adopted the dollar as their national currency. Panama, Ecuador, and most recently El Salvador have abolished their former currencies in favor of using the dollar.
In Western Europe much of the same is happening. The Euro was instituted last year and all but two members of the European Union accepted it as their national currency. The British did not accept the Euro because of the belief that it would devalue their strong currency and have adverse affects on their economy.
This question of the use of fewer currencies brings us to a larger question: Is there a need for an international government that can get a handle on international issues? We have seen this debate within the United Nations, with the need to deal with economics as well as terrorism.
However, Bush and many more Americans would be far from saying that an international government to sanction economic agreements and leadership needs to be created. The United States would not be willing to give up its position as the dominant voice in world politics to an international government.
But how can we have progress? Is it in this move toward globalization that has been the tendency? Is it remaining nation-states with our own rights to govern? Is it creating and international government that handles international issues? Is it allowing regional and world organizations and agreements to be formed (such as NAFTA, IMF, U.N., etc.)? Will nations choose to be part of a world government and therefore abide by the rules?
But there are numerous cases when countries chose not to abide by the rules. They have other fish to fry and problems to solve. The powerful countries in the world have the ability to choose what they want and do not want to take part in.
For example, the Bush administration’s argument with the U.N. over how to handle Iraq. The United States has the power to pressure other countries to follow its lead, no matter what the U.N. decides. While the United States has recognized the U.N., in the past it has ignored it, because following the U.N.’s orders thwarts U.S. power.
Another example of a country that does not want to lose its power is Britain. It has a strong currency and strong relationship with the United States, so accepting certain European Union policies, such as the Euro is in its power to decide. The British have remained powerful leaders in the European community, and are not at this point willing to cede this power to the European Union.
Countries that may not be seen as powerful also have chosen not to follow the norms in the international community. Poorer countries feel that they are left out of the decisions, so why abide by the rules? For example, some African countries have not followed IMF procedures and have lost loans from the international community because of it. However, these countries argue that they must decide how to use the money, and that the rules of the IMF are not the best for promoting social change and improvement in their countries. Countries like Egypt may be expected to follow IMF suggestions, but they also need to build a strong social infrastructure; where people can get food, education, and healthcare to participate in a democracy.
It seems that there are more and more articles about world consensus and discussion being needed on certain issues. The power of international disagreements was felt around the world last year. In a world that speaks fewer languages, pays with fewer currencies and participates in one massive economy, there are still disputes about how to govern that need to be resolved.