There is domination but it is legitimated neither by the force of coercion nor by the consent of the will of the people. In international relations, trusteeship attempts to mystify the power relations at work by cloaking them in a pseudo-legal form.
William Bain (lecturer) - Wikipedia
With the development of empire, trusteeship was a way of government controlling the activities of private empire-building companies; and with the decline of empire, a way of postponing the transition towards self-government. In its first incarnation the notion of trusteeship was seen as little different to the noble mission of empire. Bain points out that trusteeship was celebrated not by conservative thinkers, but by liberal enlightened ones. James Mill, the father of utilitarian thought, appointed to the India Office in , understood poverty in India as the result of bad government and bad laws.
They all had a remedy for the ills of India that could be engineered by external administrators, whether the remedy was based on religion, law, education, or something else. The era of trusteeship reached its high point under the League of Nations mandate system in the interwar era, but 15 years after the end of World War Two the geopolitical map of the world had been transformed, with freedom and autonomy declared to be the core values of international society.
The sovereign equality of states reflected a deeper critique of trusteeship — the idea of the political equality of individuals. Bain points out that the victory of freedom and political equality in the international sphere was to be short-lived. In the s the focus shifted to state failure; the legitimacy of the states created in the post period was openly questioned, and once again trusteeship was put forward as the solution to a wide range of social, economic, political and security problems.
Non-Western states are much more likely to be subject to conditionalities for loans or aid, which are presented as for the benefit of their citizens. Wars have been fought to install trusteeships, as in Kosovo and Iraq. And states such as Bosnia have formally signed away their sovereign rights and a direct relationship of trusteeship has been instituted. Foremost among these is the breakdown of consensual processes of diplomacy and collapse of international law, making interstate war more likely and resurrecting new and old relations of domination.
In fact the space of trusteeship — with all its inherent contradictions — is fundamentally open. The contradiction between relations of domination and those of equality is continually played out in current discussions of the export of democracy, state-building, human rights promotion and post-conflict peace-building. All these concepts involve the blurring of the relations of power, where external interveners act on the basis of the perceived interests or needs of those who are seen as unable or unwilling to help themselves.
State Building: Governance and Order in the Twenty-First Century , by the US political scientist Francis Fukuyama, identifies state building as one of the most important issues for the international community in the wake of humanitarian crises and the threat of international terrorism. This short book powerfully reinforces many of the arguments forwarded by Bain. Organised in three chapters, the first considers the dimensions of state weakness, suggesting that international policy interventions have often tended to be counterproductive.
The capacity of non-Western states was undermined in the s and early s by the twin forces of IMF measures to roll back the state in order to free market forces, and international donor aid stepping in to provide basic services outside the state sector. The second chapter argues that there can be no pre-set solution to the problem of state weakness; there is no science of public administration that can be exported from Brussels or Washington. Fukuyama also usefully points to the inevitable contradiction between imposing outcomes from without and developing local capacity, and asserts that there is no purely technical solution to the management of state administration.
The third chapter is the most interesting, where Fukuyama suggests that state weakness is undermining the UN system of international law and equal reciprocal relations of sovereignty. Strong states are unlikely to be bound by the need for attaining the consensus of weaker states, posing the question of who decides whose sovereignty is violated and on what grounds.
However, he confuses cause and effect. It was the divisions among the major powers and fear of conflict that forced the compromise of the extension of sovereignty on to the agenda: the balance of power gave weaker states the capacity for independence during the Cold War period. Today, state-building reflects the end of this balance of power and the return of more open external engagement in the domestic affairs of weaker states, threatening to undermine the post UN framework of equal sovereignty.
But the greater danger identified by Fukuyama is the vacuum at the heart of the state-building project in a world of trusteeships without empire. While there is an international consensus between the USA and Europe on the need to build states, there is very little to show for the international efforts so far. In fact, Fukuyama sharply observes that the drive towards European integration is based largely on a rejection and discrediting of the state form in the West. This solution, of course, lies in relinquishing the idea of the importance political and moral equality.
Paris forwards a regulatory and authoritarian critique of liberalism, arguing that the individual freedoms of the marketplace and of liberal-democratic political processes are destablising for weak states. Instead of the market, he supports social investment to generate greater social equalities and opportunities, thereby undermining economic and social sources of conflict.
Instead of competitive democracy, which is understood as reinforcing social, economic and political inequalities, there needs to be an empowerment of those who have least say in post-conflict societies, with an emphasis on civil society, human rights, education and cross-communal cooperation. Traditional liberal conceptions of individual rights are seen as an obstacle to the development of a free and just society, rather than an indicator of its success.
Trusteeship — the relationship of empowerment, of capacity-building and of therapeutic governance — is held to be an improvement on previous conceptions of individual and state rights of freedom and autonomy. Just as individuals in the state-building process have to submit to unequal relations of tutelage and dependency, so too do the states being empowered by their trustees.
Why assert that the final goal of the process is market democracy at all? Surely there is no way of knowing when the threat of the recurrence of conflict has receded adequately, or whether the pathologies of liberalisation may re-emerge? If external administrators can solve the problems of post-conflict societies and create strong states with popular legitimacy, then surely there is no need for individual liberties or the restoration of effective sovereignty? Unfortunately, the return of relations of trusteeship does not rest on the strength of intellectual argument or the record of success of international state-building efforts, but rather on the inequalities of the current international order.
The projection of Western power and the return of relations of subordination are made easier if trusteeship is legitimised in the language of empowerment and capacity-building. David Chandler is senior lecturer in international relations, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster.
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Human rights and sovereign abolitions of slavery, c. 1885–1956
In putting forth this claim to rule he argued that the Indians could not be arbitrarily dispossessed of their lands and property: they may be barbarians, slowwitted and foolish, but they were nevertheless true masters entitled to the rights of dominion. Thus, he denied claims of universal dominion put forward on behalf of the Holy Roman Emperor and the supreme pontiff of the Latin Christendom; and he rejected the right of discovery, refusal to receive the Christian faith, and the commission of mortal sins as adequate reasons for occupying the territories of the New World.
Pagden and J.
Lawrance Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , — They were reproductions of European society, equal in status to the metropolis in the case of the former and an integral part of the metropolis in the case of the latter, which had been transported across the Atlantic Ocean. In New Spain, for example, native persons enjoyed a status equal to that of settlers; and while it was the duty of the colonial power to assimilate them—though not by force—to European religion and civilization, they did not suffer the liability of an inferior constitutional status. The idea of trusteeship that embodied this concern evinced both the best traditions of enlightened empire and the worst traditions of empire seduced by theories of racial and neoDarwinian superiority.
The most important of these developments, according to Thornton, was the fact that the architects of empire during the eighteenth century had to confront the legacies of the American and French Revolutions in a way that the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas did not. Immanuel Kant argued in his famous essay on enlightenment that true freedom comes with making public use of reason in order to 46 Ibid.
Smith attributed the origin of government to a historical process that began with nomadic society, passed through pastoral and feudal stages, and culminated in commercial society. Reiss and trans. Nisbet Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , Smith, The Wealth of Nations, ii. It is in respect of this unity that the distinctive vocabulary of trusteeship is intelligible. Indeed, the only way of making sense of the great differences that separated the European and non-European worlds, and yet sustain this claim of unity, was to make distinctions within the human family and to express those differences in terms of degrees of improvement, development, advancement, or maturity.
William Bain (lecturer)
In a world in which this sort of thinking reigned supreme, neither the conditioning effects of climate nor the absolute will of God provided an adequate account of the reasons why human beings lived as they did. Thus, not only were all men potential brothers in Christian fellowship as the Spanish scholastics would have it; they were brothers that could be perfected, that is, deliberately improved, in their temporal lives as part of a general progress of things on earth.
Societies and the peoples residing in them could be in some sense engineered; and the institution of better government, law, and economy could lift these societies and peoples to a higher stage of development. That is not to say that other European powers did not confront, as did the British, the problem of governing African and Asian populations that were very different from themselves. For instance, G. We must play the role of strong, strict, parents towards the natives, obtaining through authority what persuasion would not gain. Understand that we are different from you, and while we are assimilating the values of your civilization, we desire to remain ourselves.
We ask of you therefore an effort to understand our legitimate aspirations, and to help us to realize them. But in spite of these similarities, the British, and later the Americans, were disproportionately responsible for introducing and establishing trusteeship in international society. The proprietors of empire did not regard, at least for some time, questions of colonial administration—and thereby questions of trusteeship—as matters of international concern.
However, the abolitionist movement, a crusade underwritten disproportionately by the British exchequer and the Royal Navy, gradually resulted in the 56 Thornton, Doctrines of Imperialism, Hargreaves ed. For a general overview of Portuguese and Belgian colonial policy, see chapters 16— At the Berlin Conference the British government stressed, more than any other, the solemnity of the obligations of trusteeship undertaken in the Berlin Act.
And when things went very badly wrong in the Congo Free State, an ostensibly humanitarian venture founded by Belgium's King Leopold II, Britain stood alone in demanding scrupulous adherence to those obligations. The United States played an equally important, though very different, role in internationalizing the idea of trusteeship.
Most other European powers remained rather indifferent to these efforts or they attempted to obstruct them, as did the French in opposing the creation of the mandates system. Thus, it is the Anglo-American voice which discloses best the character of trusteeship in international society, that goes furthest in charting the space between anarchy and society. Virtue, Inequality, and Tutelage This journey through the conversation of trusteeship reveals a character that is intelligible in a particular relation of virtue, inequality, and tutelage.
Those men, Socrates continues, must possess a character that is moulded by the virtues of good memory, self-discipline, courage, morality, and a love of truth. Only men of this character are able to see the true nature of things, for it is they who are equipped with the wherewithal to distinguish true knowledge from mere belief and opinion.