The Foreign Service Journal, September 2006

The San Francisco Charter itself, in its very first sen- tence, states that its principal purpose is “to save suc- ceeding generations from the scourge of war.” Perhaps we might permit ourselves the intellectual freedom to believe that we might one day live up to that noble call- ing. The Pragmatism of Idealism Few of these global governance reform proposals, admittedly, are likely to be politically realistic in the near term. The veto, for example, might be the single most intractable feature of global governance, because — as The Economist magazine put it so pithily several years ago — “the vetoers can veto a veto of the veto.” But how will we ever get rid of the veto if no one even says that we ought to do so? How can we ever change the political realities of the near term if we don’t even discuss what might be desirable in the long term? If politics, as every undergraduate knows, is the art of the possible, then this kind of conversation can serve as a catalyst for expanding the parameters of political pos- sibility. We began this article with a visit to Muir Woods. Now get back on the Golden Gate Bridge, cross back into San Francisco, turn left at the Bay Bridge to Oakland, then continue east until you reach the National Mall in Washington, D.C. At the Jefferson Memorial you will find these words: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institu- tions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized soci- ety to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” The time has come for us to weave a new coat for a third-generation world organization. We must seize the opportunity to invent a garment of our own, one designed not for our ancestors, but for weathering the storms, exploring the vistas, and reaching for the promise of the uncharted 21st century. F O C U S S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 6 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 39 Home Suite Home The next time you’re going to be in DC for an extended stay, make yourself at home at Georgetown Suites. With our discounted monthly rates and large, comfortable suites, you’ll feel right at home. Plus we’re near the State Department. Call today! Georgetown Suites the fun place to stay in DC 1-800-348-7203