Saturday, October 28, 2006

REGIMES 1997-2006: Which is more Decisive? POWER vs. KNOWLEDGE vs. INTEREST

This is draft of an article that was published this past summer by Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery

For four decades now regime theories have dominated the political landscape of the world of international political economics, especially environmental economics. Regime theory has served realists, neo-liberals, and cognitivists well while providing a multipurpose framework for studying political economic power and stability on our planet, which is increasingly filled with international actors and organizations. Yet, frustratingly, according to Roberge (2003), “regime theory is not a unified theory.” This paper explores the nexus of the three major philosophical positions supporting regime theory: realism, liberalism and cognitivism. More importantly it provides a perspective to making regime theory more unified. This paper offers a hybrid theory that seeks to unify most facets of these three regime schools function more robustly than any single theoretical position has been able to.


To date, the most commonly cited definition of a regime dates to early Stephen Krasner (1983), who states: “International regimes are defined as principles, norms, rules . . . , and procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in a given issue area.” Later, with an expanded definition, Krasner explains that a regime consists of:

“implicit or explicit norms, principles, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors converge in a given area of international relations. Principles are beliefs of fact, causation, and rectitude. Norms are standards of behavior defined in terms of rights and obligation. Rules are specific prescriptions or proscriptions for action. Decision-making procedures are prevailing practices for making and implementing collective choice.” (Hasenclever, Mayer, Rittberger, Schimmelfennig, & Schrade, 1997)

Finally, most of the liberal and realist schools of regime theory fall-back on game theoretical perspectives.

Using metaphor from game theory, a relatively long shadow of history is thus viewed by actors who first (a) help determine the creation of and then (b) become members of a regime. Game theory hypothesizes that if there is only a short-shadow of history, e.g. only one interaction among players of a game, everyone would play or participate to win as much for themselves as they could in the one short round. However, under the shadow of a much longer game or interaction, i.e., a game which might last into eternity, a regime develops consisting of rules and behaviors common among all participants. Therefore, a regime is neither an organization, a treaty, nor an institution by itself.

Organizations, treaties and institutions are created for helping regimes to function better. Finally, some theories of regimes, especially cognitive and certain neo-liberal ones, say that a regime also consists of actors involved both inside and outside institutional frameworks, but who are playing along with or by the rules and norms of the regime. The realist school is notable for its emphasis on the power arrangement among actors. The liberal school has traditionally focused on the interests of these actors to a far greater degree than the realists. Meanwhile, the cognitivists emphasize the knowledge these actors bring to bear on the system which international regimes are embedded.

Later in this article, after I summarize in more detail the three schools of regime theory, I both propound and test a hybrid regime theory which I had first developed in the 1990s (Stoda, 1998). After reviewing the process that led to the original framework agreement on global warming at Kyoto and the first steps to test this hybrid theory in the late1990s, this article includes a look at the most recent nine years in the history of that global climate regime. A significant part of this hybrid theory is also in tune with rational choice theories. This is because in rational choice theory both liberal and realist schools of political economy have converged in recent decades, especially in the area of public choice theory. It is from these convergent philosophies in describing the games of risk and repeated plays where the terms neo-liberal and neo-realist have stemmed and developed in the political-economic tradition.

Further, the hybrid theory now tested throughout nine-years since Kyoto was signed also integrates most facets of the epistemic and interdependency models of the cognitive school theories--as well as the neo-Marxist schools of theories. In addition, a more generalized used of this model, focusing on the nexus of power-, knowledge-, and interest-relationships of global actors is advocated for further evaluation and testing. This final analysis in the article looks at the inability of neo-liberal and neo-conservative (neo-realist) leadership to function well without applying the thoughtful lessons or insights of regime theory, especially as the more unified hybrid theory encompasses great explanatory power for their international failures in taking on and trying to collapse older international regimes.


The neo-realist perspective comes fairly directly out of realist or statist school traditions. These theories date to the mercantilist period of history at the beginning of the modern state system created, nearly 5 centuries ago. These neo-realists, like Keohane (1983), tended to agree with neo-liberals that any regime that is formed finds power among the benefits accrued to member states. The search for power and a greater sense of control over one’s destiny leads to the creation of a particular international regime. In contrast to other theoretical schools, a neo realist will tend to see a regime as consisting of state actors—momentarily entwined in the creation of some international organization.

So, one of the first corollaries of the neo realist perspective is that state actors are provided benefits of power and a sense of control over their destiny through their participation in the regime. Importantly, these participating state actors are not likely to be able to maintain stably such practices acting as individual state actors, i.e. by simply pursuing their own self-interest. Another corollary of the neo realist theory of regimes is that many international regimes are observed as fairly weak since individual states depend on other state actors (with their own individual state or national interests) to continue to hold common perceptions of their world for both the present and in the future for regime membership and operational practices to remain stable. Only anticipated stability in norms enable regime members as a group to reduce by other key states defection from the regime.

Naturally, some neorealist understandings verge on neo-liberalism, and they include the idea that long-term interests in this world are managed through regimes. Moreover, these long-term interests are seen as more important than many short term gains. If this were not the case, then defection from the regime would be ever immanent. This is why, in order for parties in any regime to remain cooperative, certain common long-term assumptions are essential to creating and maintaining the regime.

Examples of such regime creation during the early Cold War years included a great variety of weapons control regimes, especially those regimes leading up to the Détente Era of the early 1970s. One such regime, which came in the first part of the 1960s under Kennedy, was the one which banned above-ground testing of nuclear weapons. There were also agreements banning nuclear weapons in outer space, in Antarctica, and in South America. This positive trend in cooperation among many states eventually facilitated the creation of a ballistic (nuclear) missile-cap regime coming into existence involving the Soviet-U.S. superpowers in the early 1970s.

One further significant common corollary among most of the various neorealist theoretical positions on regimes has been that a hegemonic or supra-dominate state actor will need to hold a vested interest in the regime for that regime to have any reasonable expectation of maintaining its existence over a long period of time. In contrast, in this paper this particular portion of neo-liberal theory has been fully rejected in developing the hybrid model for regimes in the 1990s.

This mistaken corollary of realism concerning in the essential need of a hegemonic actor to spearhead a regime’s creation through its own will and manipulation is what led realists in the 1990s to incorrectly predict that the Framework Regime on Global Warming would collapse once a major hegemonic power, like the United States, chose not to directly participate. However, so far this lack of U.S. participation in a number of other international regimes created over the last half century has not stopped that and many other important regimes from being created (Betts, 2004). Despite all these facts to the contrary, this faulty corollary concerning the centrality of a hegemonic power continues to play a main role in neorealist and neo-conservative theories of regimes.


Regimes are seen by neo-liberals as places where state actors and other important international actors come together to create, collaborate or cooperate organizations to oversee continually those projects that bring benefits to all members. In this, they are partially in agreement with neo-realism. However, while neo-realists see regimes as being held together almost solely by the will of the individual state actors who have come together to cooperate in the creation of any regime, neoliberals view regimes from a quite different perspective. Neo-liberals focus more intently on the interests of the actors than on the power arrangement.
Due to their different foci, neo-liberals are more concerned with absolute gains rather than relative gains when they observe states participating in a regime. For example, from a liberal perspective, when the Western Alliance was formed after WWII, liberal state leaders involved saw the creation of NATO as an absolute gain for individual states involved.

It allowed states within NATO to share costs, and, particularly in Europe, governments were able to keep overall spending on military expenses down for in the first time in nearly two centuries. However, from a realist perspective, each NATO state’s leader would perceive the alliance as simply a relative increase in power capability for the individual states in terms of what they saw at that time in the 1940s and 1950s or feared from communist expansion in Eastern Europe.

This distinction between relative and absolute gains may seem superfluous within such a scenario, but it is the liberals interest in absolute gains which in the coming decades continuously led many individual states, to participate in arms races and incur dangerous confrontations during the Cold War. This certainly contrasts with the more traditional realist position, which is often more isolationist, e.g. a go-it-alone position , satisfied with relative gains, but preferring the stabilizing of the status-quo wherever possible. Such an approach had led, in fact, to détente under the Nixon administration.

Nonetheless, in the case of a feared loss of the status-quo, e.g. relative losses in power relationships, the realists (even those with normally isolationist tendencies) could also quickly choose the route of confrontation and threats while carrying out an arms build-up. This occurred in the U.S.A. under the Carter-Reagan U.S. military build-up, which started in the late 1970s.

This change of course in seeking absolute dominance over ones rivals occurred after (1) the collapse of détente, (2)the loss of political control over one of America’s oil-suppliers and traditional allies , Iran, and following (3) the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

The tragedy of the commons is a game theoretical model dating back to medieval times, whereby over-grazing of common lands by the various individual shepherds and farmers would often lead overgrazing, erosion and sometimes a decades long depletion of the publicly used ecosystem. An important corollary of the neo-liberal perspective includes a belief that all parties can work together to avoid “the tragedy of the commons”, whereby individual state actors working on their own could not avoid the worst scenarios from coming to pass. This sort of modeling led to and supported Keynesian and other cooperative economic models coming into vogue in the 1940s, following the colossal failure of the realist inspired “bugger-thy-neighbor” economic policies of the 1920s and 1930s.

Those realist attacks on laise faire capitalism had paved the way to fascism and WWII. Therefore, by the 1940s and 1950s numerous international organizations were being created to seek long-term peace and renewable development of the global common economy. These international organizations created immediately after WWII included the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and World Bank.

Meanwhile, other types of regimes are simply being run through intra-governmental cooperation. These regimes function with no organization specifically set up to manage them. This variety of regime includes the Antarctic Treaty system (Brahm, 2005), which has been maintaining ecological and fishing standards in the Antarctic region since the late 1950s. Another example of intra-governmental agency cooperation has been the aforementioned Intra-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in the last decades has been a great disseminator of up-to-date information on climate research.

It should be noted that this panel of 2000-plus scientific researchers also functions as what cognitivists would call an epistemic community across the globe. Such epistemic communities function in various corners of the globe, such as the Mediterranean Sea to help manage pollution and fishing in that three continent area. The IPCC community, too, includes private researchers, educators and government officials who have built a very sound case for creating and maintaining the global climate control regime since the early 1990s.

According to several neo-liberal theories, along-side nation state actors, regimes may include either private-for-profit companies or organizations as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs have significant effects on regimes and regime-creation through directly meetings with regime leaders or by lobbying leaders of political organizations and institutions with other member states in a regime. For example, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund have impacted and strengthened global environmental regimes. Meanwhile, no one can doubt the clout that a for-profit group like the American Automobile Association has also been able to mobilize through constituents in individual states or by lobbying in or outside of parliaments.

Finally, depending on the situation, neo-liberal regime theorists might either agree or disagree that a hegemonic power is necessary to keep any particular community of collaborating regime of actors together. This is because from the neo-liberal perspective, the more important element is that regimes create a strong institution or framework to promote a particular public good, especially in the international arena. In contrast, with or without the strong participation of a single dominant (hegemonic) actor, the level of robustness that such a regime comes to display is not necessarily essential to many liberal theories of regimes. What is significant for these theorists is that a variety of interested actors actually form a functioning regime, regardless as to whether this is done at the behest of (or neutrality of) a hegemonic power.

On the other hand, neoliberals do agree that it is certainly beneficial for any regime if the hegemonic actors in principle abide by the rules of the regime. For example, over many decades now , the U.S. has continuously abided by much of the letter of the International Law of the Seas Treaty, i.e. the oceans and sea law regime. This has been the case without the U.S. Senate ever actually signing on to that agreement.

Meanwhile, the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rounds carried out over nearly five decades are an example of a sort of liberal economic formation, and these rounds were sponsored by the hegemonic U.S.A. Membership in this liberal economic tariff and trade regime was expanded to include more and more state actors as the decades of the 20th century marched on. These GATT rounds culminated with the one in Uruguay, which subsequently led to the creation of the more influentialWorld Trade Organization (WTO) in the 1990s. Liberal theorists explain that both the GATT/WTO’s success and its expansion as a regime can be simply explained in terms of the important benefits they come to offer individual state actors in the form of long term benefits of growth, development, and future stability. In short, unlike their realist and anti-imperialist critics, neo-liberals do not see the Trade and Tariff regime in terms of a power play by any western hegemony to take over the globe.


Finally, during the late 20th Century, both cognitivists and some of the later neo-Marxist writers began explicitly to claim that from the perspective of good social scientific analysis, the nation state should not be the main focus of any regime. Instead, these theorists noted that the key elements for all regimes are the rules and norms that underlie agreements, cooperation, or collaborations within any one regime. In addition, these theories stress how the rules and norms promote or discourage defection from such a regime.

In short, both the knowledge of and ability to manipulate the workings of the network within which the regime is embedded is essential to well-functioning regimes. This heavy emphasis on knowledge and the timely or appropriate usage of information distinguishes the cognitive perspective from (a) realism and its focus on power and (2) neo-liberalism which focuses on ongoing or anticipated benefits. More importantly, cognitivist regime theory is a centrist position, existing in a domain between and among the older neo-realist, neo-liberal and even Marxist realms of political economic theory.

Most importantly, in their writings these cognitive theorists quickly break down the barrier between domestic politics and official state-centered foreign policy interests in explaining what is occuring on the global political-economic stage. Further, in contrast to other schools of political economy, the cognitivists always identify key roles for private organizations, NGOs, and individual actors in the creation of the international norms leading to regime building and regime expansion. This educational emphasis of the cognitivists has led one of the prime theories in the area of environmental regimes to be called epistemic community model. From the cognitive worldview, a nest enabling any regime to exist is created first from outside to inwards. That is, a regime is formed after the conditions and normative framework for making a regime are in existence, for example, through the building of common educational training, research, propagating knowledge, and developing data concerning a great variety of global actors. Thus, the global context for a regime is often shaped by non-state actors, including scientists and issues-oriented educators, as well as through acts of traditional state- or government actors. Simply put, before key state actors become more officially involved, many other levels of society and governance are busy laying the ground work for regimes.

From this cognitive perspective, neo-realism has been criticized by Alexander Betts (2003) who argues that after WWII and following the creation of the United Nations, the U.S. had quickly become more and more isolationist. Specifically, Betts (2003) notes that by the 1950s the U.S. had became fairly lax on issues of human rights and genocide, and he adds that it remained so for a greater part of the Cold-War era. He cites the fact that the U.S. took forty years to sign the Convention against Genocide and twenty-six years to sign the International Covenant on Political Rights. Despite this lack of direct U.S. participation over many decades, by the 1990s an important global human rights regime had been formed.

Similarly in that same decade, under the banner of human rights, armed forces around the world began to cross the sovereign boundaries of states. A new set of norms and principles had become acceptable, such as in the cases of sending multinational troops to Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. In short, non-governmental actors like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medicin Sans Frontieres, and other representatives of civil society, were more powerful internationally than the U.S. superstate had been in spreading the normative groundwork for a global regime (on human rights) in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

More specifically, concerning environmental regulation and the destruction of the commons, Betts (2003) also admits that neo-liberals are indeed correct in saying “that the USA’s ‘benevolent’ hegemonic support for banning Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons has generated the highly stable and effective regime structure adapted from the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which reduced emissions from 1.1 million tonnes of CFCs in 1986 to 150,000 tonnes in 1999.”

Nonetheless, Betts (2003) criticizes res-realists who support the claim that “the failure of the USA to ratify the 1998 Kyoto Protocol is said to have destroyed the hope that CO2 levels can be reduced by even the 7 % below 1990 levels by 2012 that the Protocol envisages.” This is because event though the hegemonic United States, the world’s biggest-emission producer, has not officially joined this global warming control regime, the regime is still functioning. Betts has also noted that is due to great part that many smaller states, especially those in the European Union (EU), have played in stepping up and offering leadership that includes the decisions by several states to reduce their emissions by higher than the 7% target agreed on at Kyoto.

In addition, cognitivists, like Betts (2003) also argue that the original goal of the global climate regime starting with the Rio Declaration as set out in the early 1990s was specifically to create “a new and equitable partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation, among states, key sectors of society and people”. Nevertheless, due to pressure in the early 1990s led by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the Rio Declaration on Global Warming was created without teeth. Since that time, however, several European states have shown leadership redistributed to support the climate control regime in many new ways.

In turn, in the case of the signing the Bonn Accord in 2001, agenda-setting was promoted greatly by NGOs, like Greenpeace, and by various epistemic communities on the continent and other non-state around the globe. This occurred only months after the Bush administration had said the Kyoto treaty was dead. The counter response from around the globe saw thousands of NGOs and nearly 200 states meet at Bonn successfully pushing Kyoto arrangements forward.

This shifting of norms and authority is what in his book , Global Civil Society and Global Environmental Governance, Lipschutz (1996) calls “socio-cultural reconstruction of the commons”. Roberge (2003) refers to the current juncture of history of the international political economic development as the period where federalist theory and international relations theory are required to cross over into each other’s domains. In this, Roberge’s theory of multi-level governance dovetails with the hybrid theory espoused in and reported on throughout this paper. In short, both the multilevel governance model and the hybrid theory of regimes are not mutually exclusive and bridge quite well the traditional barriers between domains of international political theory and domestic political theory.
According to one other cognitivist view, one important corollary of cognitivist regime theory concerns leadership and knowledge.

Young (1991) says that leadership among regimes has to do with the three forms they take in achieving success. Specifically, concerning both knowledge and leadership, these forms manifest themselves (1) structurally, (2) entrepreneurially, and (3) intellectually. These three aspects affect all the regimes significantly. In short, the form of the structure of the regime includes the entrepreneurship involved as well as the educational or common intellectual learning taking shape among the regime’s membership. This appropriately leads either to success or failure—that is, to some sort of important collaboration or trend towards collapse of a regime.


The proposed hybrid model of regimes has been reviewed after a nine-year interval, following the signing of the Framework Agreement at Kyoto. The hybrid theory has these four core elements:

(1)Most all elements of cognitive theory, especially the concept that regimes come together
and are maintained because the structure, leadership, political entrepreneurs, and knowledge are included in supportive roles in this hybrid model.

(2) In contrast to the neo-realist and many neo-liberal schools, this hybrid theory does not necessarily accept the postulate that a regime is formed because one hegemonic actor dominates or because benefits are relatively justly or equally balanced among all participants.

(3) By placing the cognitivist position in the center of various neo-liberal and neo-realist positions, it is important to understand that many of the elements of both rational choice or game theoretical models as well as aspects of regime theories from both neo-realist and neo-liberalist schools are still present in this model.

(4) On the other hand, neo-realist and neo-liberalist explanations are nested or embedded within a greater global framework or network of actors who are growing or building the norms that become the basis for forming a regime and maintaining it.

In addition, specifically absorbed into this hybrid theory from the liberal perspective are also these two elements:

(a) The need for some sort of mutual benefits for all members, especially for state actors, and
(b) A common realization among participating actors that in the long-term the communities

involved in building any regime can fare much better in terms of stability, safety or growth as part of this regime.

That is to say, that collaboration or cooperation is preferred and that not all states nor other significant actors consistently proceed from a worldview that one state actor can or should occasionally act as a selfish individual member state and gain more benefits for itself by randomly defecting from the regime in order to gain a short term advantage. This is because intermediate term and in the long term, some state actors working in a regime gain and prefer the benefits of being a global team player. This position avoids tit-for-tat retaliations from many others in the regime, who would otherwise note the selfishness of the defecting regime member and seek to punishment for its deviation from the norms.

Hegemonic theoretical elements of realist schools are certainly rejected as non-explanatory in terms of the creation of many regimes, such as exemplified in the case of the 2002 decision by the Bush administration not to allow the U.S. to accede to the International Criminal Court (ICC, 2006). This court is already certainly currently functional, has ninety member states, and is operating with jurisdictions around the globe. Meanwhile, the ratification process of the Kyoto Framework Agreement on Global Warming, which began in 1998, went into effect early in this decade after the ratification of most of those nations who had originally hammered out the agreement in Japan. The major exception again was the U.S., which is still formally absent from this regime, but this was certainly the case in the development of a variety of international regimes formed over the last sixty years.

Nonetheless, both the U.S. government and U.S. based actors have been participating, initially by giving input at Kyoto in 1997-1998. Later, at the Bonn Accord in 2001, the U.S. negotiators pleasantly made no blocking moves. Further, private organizations and non-profit organizations also weighed in, affecting and negotiating the final form of the framework treaty on global warming.

The next section recaps the activities and interests of the primary and secondary actors in the climate control regime created over the last two decades, focusing on how negotiations proceeded between the signing of the Rio Conference in 1992 through the final Kyoto Protocol in 1997. This is also followed by a review of the Kyoto Treaty Era through the 2006--with decisions and commitments by nations all over the globe to find alternative energy sources.


The Kyoto Protocol, or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was completed on December 10, 1997. This new document expanded the original regime from Rio 1992 by increasing the commitment of the Annex I parties, which includes developed nations that had approved the original convention at Rio through requiring quantified national emissions limits to promote sustainable global development. These Annex I parties consist of Japan, Western Europe, the former Soviet bloc nations, the U.S.A, Australia, and other advanced economically developed nations.

After the Rio Treaty had been signed, systems analysts, like Eismont and Welsch (1996), focused on "uncertainty models” concerning (a) the parameters of increasing damage to the world’s ecosystems and economies posed by global warming and (b) the anticipated results of any governmental actions to intervene in this global development. Through computer modeling, these two analysts came to the conclusion that there are so many potential losses involved in global warming that the risks involved in not-taking-action-at-all would be far heavier and costly than taking most any preemptory action involving economies of scale. In other words, from the perspective of industrial, scientific, and economic analysis, all concerned global actors should take action to control the situation because regardless of modeling type, the risks for inaction are seen as being far too high.
In addition, Peck and Teisberg (1993), too, have evaluated various major policy instruments available to governments, and they concluded that several key economic policy instruments would work equally well if used separately. For example, one could use either

(1) taxes on emissions or
(2) monetary incentives

to industries and societies in order to achieve the same targeted reductions of greenhouse damaging gases. However, Peck and Teisberg warned that if both policies were to be used simultaneously over the the same period of time, the effectiveness of the global warming reduction regime would be less efficiently reduced.

However, going into the Kyoto negotiations in 1997, usage of both instruments simultaneously seemed to provide the best political solution, i.e. such a combined approach or variety of incentives would satisfy most all of governments and peoples involved. This was reflected in the decision that along with providing incentives to switch to alternative energy sources, Europeans would be prepared to choose negative tax instruments to cut down on greenhouse gases while the U.S. would advocate trying to avoid negative tax instruments, instead focusing on promoting emission limits through emissions trading markets, especially with participation of the underdeveloped world.

Throughout most of the 1990s, the political climate in Washington, D.C. had negated the possibility of its own U.S. Senate agreeing to use negative tax instruments to reduce emissions. This was certainly one reason that the Clinton Administration at Kyoto had advocated the trading of emissions credits among parties and said that it intended to target emission changes only through tax incentives. Further resistance in the U.S. to a creating a stronger treaty at Kyoto was pushed by a handful of conflicting (and mostly unfounded claims) by some Senators that the need for global action to reduce global climate change had still yet to be proven scientifically (Freedman, 1997).

Arriving at Kyoto, Europe and Japan as well as the Clinton administration responded to these senators by stating that they would stand behind the findings of scientists, including the 2000-plus member Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC had clearly found evidence that climatic impacts were increasing along with growing green house gas emissions. Subsequently, they warned that adaptations in the global economy and development practices around the world were needed to mitigate the coming negative environmental responses and economic stresses due to the process of global warming. This process had been set in motion centuries ago with the dawning of the Age of Industrialization by the planet-wide high energy consumption path to modern development. Meanwhile, global leadership from all corners of the planet had come to terms with the fact that new paths had to be forged due to global environmental limits to absorbing green house gas emissions.

By 1997, climatic researchers had specifically highlighted the following factors as being of major concern and in need of greater international focus in the near and the immediate future:

1. Those Scientific Findings included:
o Global temperatures have increased about 0.5 to 1.0 degrees [Fahrenheit] in the last century
o Human activities are changing the atmospheric concentrations of and distributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols
o Mid-range scenarios project an increase of 3.7F degrees by the year 2100
o Sea level is projected to rise due to the thermal expansion of oceans and melting of glaciers by 20 inches by 2100
o Even after the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures would continue to increase for several decades, and sea level would rise for centuries

2. Areas of Vulnerability, Likely Impacts, and Possible Responses included:
o Climate changes are likely to have mostly adverse affects on health; direct and indirect effects can be expected to lead to increased mortality
o Coastal infrastructure is expected to become more and more vulnerable.
o Natural and managed ecosystems-forests, agriculture, aquatic and marine areas-are at risk
o Significant reductions in greenhouse gases are technically and economically feasible using an array of policy measures, technologies, and technology transfers

3. Socioeconomic Issues
o Early mitigation may increase flexibility in moving toward a stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Economic the rapid abatements of advancements must be balanced against risks of delay.
o Next steps must recognize equity considerations.
o Costs of stabilization of emissions at 1990 levels in OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries could range considerably over the next decades from a gain of $60 billion to a loss of about $240 billion.
(Climate Action Report, 1997)

In short, even though the majority of U.S Senators did not believe this report by the great majority of scientific researchers, most insurance companies and their risk analysts certainly did by the time the Kyoto agreement rolled around (Collins, 1996). Over the last decade since Kyoto, the world-wide concern of insurers and other long-term planners has not decreased at all (Osgood, 2005).

In short, concerned insurance company representatives, concerned Europeans, Japanese and NGOs attended the Kyoto Conference in 1997, and they asked that the U.S. be prepared to take more drastic action than its Senators would allow. At that point, Japan specifically asked that the U.S be willing to join the world in committing itself to a minimum of at least 5% reduction below 1990-levels by the year 2010. Ritt Bjerregard, the Environmental Commissioner for the European Union, stated that even a 15% reduction below 1990 levels wouldn't solve the greenhouse gases issue, but the U.S should certainly seek such a target as a minimum (Hileman, 1997). She maintained that the EU was prepared to use all policy instruments available, including energy taxes, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Crucially important for the long-term stability of the continent, EU officials at Kyoto claimed that the implementation of such policies did not mean increased job losses to the degree properly claimed by U.S. auto manufacturers. Europe predicted that implementing the appropriate instruments and policies would create 475,000 jobs by the year 2005 in Europe alone (EU Keeps Pressure On, 1997). Meanwhile, the EU aimed to double its proportion of energy derived from solar, wind, water, and biomass--as well as negotiate with EU automakers to set voluntary targets to cut CO2 output. Bjerregaard threatened that if no voluntary targets were negotiable at Kyoto, she planned on her continent to introduce a bill to the European Commission prohibiting the production of any cars which burned more than five liters of fuel per 75 miles.

Besides the struggle between the U.S. and European nations over the extent of the cut-backs in global warming emissions to be required by OECD nations in the subsequent 15 years, one other major battleground for the conference participants in Kyoto was the extent to which the developing nations were to be included in a final treaty. From a polluter's-pay-perspective, President Fernando Henrique Cardosa of Brazil arrived at Kyoto and warned, "Now, the developed countries must assume their share of the responsibility and not ask us to pay for the destruction they have caused, not leave us to shoulder the costs of repairing the damage caused by a lack of ecological awareness in the past" (Christie, 1997).

Eventually, Brazil along with China and India (the largest growing Asian economies of the last decade) all chose not to join Kyoto in any substantial way in 1997. On the other hand, American negotiators at the conference did open an opportunity for these and other developing nations to come to participate in Kyoto through the transfer and the implementation of new technology to these nations with a promise that they reduce climate changing gas emissions. Further, through U.S. advocacy at Kyoto, all non-OECD nations were encouraged to participate in the process through their planting of forests, maintaining forests, and creating of other new oxygen sinks for the planet.


On February 15, 2005 the Kyoto Protocol went into effect. Over 140 nations had entered the pact with 39 of these agreeing to cut emissions by the targets set. Even the World Bank had shown great leadership in helping organize a global emissions trading system, which are the:

“Protocol’s flexible market mechanisms which allows rich countries to meet some of their commitments through the purchase of project-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from developing countries through: the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in countries with economies in transition; the Joint Implementation (JI); or through International Emissions Trading (EIT). These market mechanisms are [seen as] absolutely essential to the long-term engagement of the global community and offer cost-effective solutions to combat climate change.” (Kyoto Enters, 2005)

By January of 2006, France had already achieved its pre-set Kyoto targets-eight years ahead of schedule. All over Europe emissions prices were also already trading at three and a half times their value of a year earlier. Further, Britain, Germany, and Sweden also all claimed to be on target to make their Protocol targets. Meanwhile, in December 2005 at the Montreal Conference was able to produce “’a broadened and deepened’ commitment to combat global warming with the goal of greater participation in the effort by developed and developing nations alike. Furthermore, this agreement solidified the principle that tackling climate change is best accomplished by broad multilateral talks with mandatory instruments under the auspices of the UN.” (Kyoto First Anniversary, 2006)

At Montreal, a unified accounting systems for measuring or counting emissions and reductions was also established. An auditing process will begin in 2008 to ensure the smooth completion of the first leg of the emissions reduction process-hopefully by the time an extended protocol goes into effect fivc years later. Finally, Brazil, Costa Rica, and other lands are now eligible to receive credits and technological transfers in lieu of not destroying forests and environmental sinks. “The decision to "monetize" and award value to efforts to avoid the destruction of rainforests will be crucial. By some estimates, deforestation accounts for 25% of annual global CO2 emissions” (Kyoto Montreal, 2005).

Finally, a commitment was made to have a new binding treaty in place by 2013, when the Kyoto Round on Climate Warming is anticipated to be replaced by a more effective set of treaties and practices.

Despite its many small successes as a functioning regime, one explanation now as to why no one would yet call the climate warming control regime extremely robust in character is the continued absence of the federal U.S. government’s participation. Worse still, is the fact that by 2004, under the negligence and hostility of the U.S. Senate and the Bush Administration towards a regulatory energy policy, the U.S. had created the highest recorded levels of greenhouse gases in its history.

Nonetheless, multi-level governance in continental North America is not leaving itself out of the process of limiting greenhouse emissions. As early as August 2001, a conference of New England Governor's joined Eastern Canadian Premiers in agreeing to a Climate Change Action program that “calls for each governor and premier to develop and implement a plan that reduces state-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, and 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.” This particular project calls for

(1) identifying measures to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions”,
(2) promoting “long-term environmental and economic sustainability by reducing emissions through activities that help the economy”, and
(3) working closely “with the two federal governments to seek additional solutions that can be addressed at the national and international level” (International Efforts, 2005).

As well, later in 2003, governors of New York and nine other states in the Northeast “announced their agreement to work together in developing a flexible, multi-state cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants. The initiative will build on the success of market-based programs, such as the Clean Air Act's acid rain program. To implement the program, each state would need to adopt a cap on carbon emissions from electric generators in its state and then agree to permit interstate trading with sources in other participating states” (International Efforts, 2005).

Despite U.S. federal opposition to Kyoto, emissions trading is becoming possible in North America throughout the ten-state region in America’s Northeast. Moreover, half a continent away, California, Oregon and Washington governors and legislators are also committing their states to follow suit. Finally, despite federal Republican party opposition, the state of California has continued to implement laws which promote low and zero greenhouse gas emissions in new vehicles.


In the first part of this article, a summary of each of the three major schools of political theory was made. In the second section, the hybrid model with cognitive theory at the center of its overlapping models was introduced. The hybrid theory’s explanatory power was first tested and demonstrated in terms of the events and practices that had developed over the period leading up to the Kyoto-framed Global Climate Control Regime in the 1990s. In this concluding section, a further evaluation of the neo-conservative (neo-realist) backlashes to the trends provided by this regime and other more formidable regimes in this new millennium need now to be reflected upon. Finally, further testing and hypotheses are advocated along with hope for future research, testing and development of this particular hybrid regime theory. Namely, neo-liberal and neo-realist thinkers and policy makers are actually cocooned within a cognitive theoretical frame.

In the aftermath of the disputed election of George W. Bush in 2000, many non-hegemonic theories of regimes around the globe were challenged. In other words, that means that this paper’s hybrid regime theory’s explanatory power was severely tested. The W. Bush Administration, with its hegemonic-oriented neo-conservative bent, occupies theoretical space between and among neo-realist and neo-liberal schools. The international political economic approaches manifested by this new (post-Kyoto) administration is fairly easily juxtaposed to a greater degree than with the more cognitive-based hybrid (interdependency) regime model advocated in this paper.

Examples of the challenges to regime theories by the Bush Administration includes attacks on some of the oldest regimes, such as the Just War Theory and its rules concerning war-making. This current Bush Administration has also attacked newer regimes, such as the Geneva Convention on treatment of combatants as well as the Global Warming regime under study for testing the theory discussed in this paper.

Theoretically, the W. Bush administration’s behaviors have fallen back again and again to 1960s- era neo-liberal and neo-realist models of regime theory, which envisioned that hegemonic power and its interest are at the center of both regime formation and regime maintenance. Similarly, in the early and middle cold war years saw neo-Marxists, too, often framing dependency theories which centered upon a relationship among hegemonic governments and those dependent governments and peoples who needed to break their chains of dependency. Such a bipolarized framework was common during much of the Cold War era among most all government leadership around the globe, but it failed miserably in the interdependent world we now witness before us today. This is why by the 1980s and 1990s interdependency or global models of regimes were far more prevalent.

With the end of the Cold War, most of the neo-realist and neo-liberal views of the Cold War-era had to adapt from bipolar models of the globe to the globalized models that were in vogue by the 1980s and 1990s. Naturally, this was also the case for leadership models as a whole. It should be noted that even starting in the 1940s and 1950s poly-centered models of governance and international relations had been present. This is because everywhere in those early cold war decades asymmetries were observed in the so-called hegemonic regions. For example, in the late 1940s, there was the rift between the Soviet Union and Tito’s Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, through the earl 1950s, a civil war in Lithuania continued. Similarly, the Chinese and Soviet rift led to the development of non-aligned states pointed. In short, multipolar power arrangements in the international political sphere were more than evident by the 1960s.

Finally, by the 1970s, (1) the collapse of American leadership in Southeast Asia and (2) two oil price shocks severely damaged U.S. hegemonic power as an explanatory power in many regions of international relations. This pushed most theorists to abandon hegemonic theories of regimes and regions.

Nevertheless, starting in 2000 the W. Bush Administration, through its heavy reliance on social cognitive programming developed by the CIA in the area of mass psychological manipulation and through Madison Avenue advertising techniques chose typically to use media, advertising, and black operation, to persuade Americans and the rest of the globe that a hegemonic U.S. was back and could single-handedly try to drive the entire 21st Century. These techniques are outlined in James Bamford’s (2006) article, “The Man Who Sold the War.” However, this sort of advertising approach to the world was simply a manifestation of image over reality. In other words, image is not enough to destroy a regime, Bush’s propaganda machine rarely worked well outside of the continental U.S. for most of the first half of this decade—leaving many peoples all over the globe disappointed and even hating the U.S. (Hale, 2002). In the last two years, this propaganda machine has begun to be fairly ineffective, even in the U.S. where more and more Americans are now calling on the administration to work better with other nations around the globe to solve common problems (Sloan, Sutter, Yost, 2004) .

By avoiding the concept of regimes or ever really supporting many regimes, the W. Bush Administration has been attempting to scuttle entangling treaties and international regimes--including the regime behind the International Court of Justice, the one supporting Climate Control, and the sixty year- old American politico-economic solidarity with western European states. Further, the W. Bush Administration’s actions as a whole have indirectly attacked the hybrid theory of a regime whose utility is presented and espoused in this paper. The bottom-line is that the superficial elements of media cognitivism and advertising campaigns favoring 1960s-era cold war game theory by the neo-conservative schools is simply not enough. Even in the wake of 9-11, cognitive propaganda cannot easily overturn global realities and commonly accepted rules of regimes affecting state and individual behaviors that have taken decades to be formed.

In short, simply using cognitivism as a propaganda tool among many other instruments of power politics will seldom change for very long substantively a regime’s framework. Such regimes are not only created over generations but are supported by educators and scientists who in turn affect generations of thinkers. More importantly, regime frameworks are cognitively nested within more authentic (less transitional) norms and principles than those proposed by, for example, the authors of the PATRIOT Act or PATRIOT Act II in the U.S.

In 2006, examples of the failures of neo-conservative game-theory and regime- theory practices are to be found currently scattered from Bonn to Iraq and from South America to Afghanistan. The failures were forged by the Bush Administrations (1) lack of realism on the ground as to the existence of such regimes, its (2) lack of comprehension of how durable, cognitively speaking, certain regimes are, and (3) the neo-conservatism’s mistaken belief that ideals and propaganda are enough by themselves to transform any existing regime.

Simply put: The neo-con school has fallen in love with democratic peace theories and the visions of an “end of history” triumph of liberal democracies at the end of the Cold War, without actually believing in or taking seriously those same principles and norms of behavior around the globe. The W. Bush Administration should have followed—rather than fought or ignored--rules and norms, like the tradition of theories on “just war” common to well over half the states on the planet. Neo-cons clearly have assumed too much. They felt U.S. hegemony could just declare that a new day or zero-hour had dawned after 9-11 and expect that the world would simply march with the hegemonic U.S. and its manipulations, regardless as to the fact that in doing so they were often asking not only the American people, but the whole world, to scrap norms and rules that had taken their forefathers centuries in America to develop.

According to almost all good regime theory, regimes are not built in a day nor are they destroyed by the single waive of a presidential veto or abstention by the U.S. Senate. Regimes, whether they are led by conservative or liberal leaders, are still embedded in international networks of norms, rules of behavior and principles that take time to develop and cultivate. Until U.S. politicians go back to school and learn basic regime theory and of the importance of knowledge in and of the whole system, administrations- after-administrations in the U.S. will fall on its face simply by wielding individual state power, i.e. focusing on weapons or wealth over knowledge.

Whether or not the regime is focused on democratic renewal, reform of a global trade system, or interested in improving the global climate control regime, based on the review and testing of the theory presented in this article, this final caveat is certainly valid. The U.S., and the other currently up-and-coming-super power states, will stay off course in playing positive roles in regime formation and stability in the 21st Century if they don’t recognize the fact that knowledge of the whole system and of multilevels of governance in the long term trump both individual power and individual state interest.


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