Global Governance and the War in Ukraine

Friday, March 24, 2023 10:40 am EST

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Mendoza College of Business signature lecture series, Ten Years Hence. We invite you to join with us to see and hear a variety of experts talk about this year’s topic, framed around a question: “Is Globalism Dead?”

Some of our speakers will say the answer is “yes,” while others will say, “definitely not.” Still others aren’t so sure, offering a qualified, “perhaps.” Friday, March 24, 2023 at 10:40am ET, David Cortright will join us to speak on “Global Governance: Creating a More Peaceful and Prosperous Future.” Experience the series virtually with 75 current Notre Dame students in Jordan Auditorium for a session that promises to be engaging, informative, and fun.

Join us on select Friday mornings throughout the spring semester to learn more about the global economy and a range of related issues such as global health concerns, migration, global governance, and the intersection of public policy and the public good. 

Register Here


David Cortright, Professor Emeritus, The Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

The fourth event in the 2023 Ten Years Hence lecture series Is Globalism Dead on ThinkND featured David Cortright, Professor Emeritus and Former Director, Peace Accords Matrix, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame. In this talk, Cortright discussed what global governance means for international peace and security, particularly regarding its relevance to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Cortright began by recounting his own experience in the military during the Vietnam War. Similarly to many young people at the time, Cortright opposed the war in Vietnam but was forced to participate in it after being drafted. Following his time in service and dismissal from his duty, Cortright studied and researched global governance and possible peaceful alternatives. While not a “pure pacifist,” Cortright finds understanding alternatives to war, and its negative consequences crucial in managing international affairs. He believes that deliberation between peaceful and aggressive strategies in global affairs is one of the most patriotic acts an American can carry out, considering the value of American resources and the value of human life. Cortright also referenced the Catholic Church’s stance on war, and when “just war” requirements might be met to make war acceptable. Pope Francis has been passionate about seeking out nonviolent approaches to solve global problems, but certain situations warrant a need to respond with force.

To maintain positive economic development and a peaceful environment, countries must prioritize equity, inclusion and accountability. Referencing Kant, Cortright explained how a system of free and democratic states, engaged in open trade and hospitality, can help preserve peace internationally. Intergovernmental organizations help countries interact peacefully and create change that can be felt across nations, social classes and industries. Civil and private organizations must play a role in advocacy as part of the larger goal of creating a multilateral world. Working intergovernmentally will help changemakers tackle global problems like migration, climate change, nuclear proliferation and trade. 

Cortright also considered our duty as Christians to work for peace and strategize the termination of war. In terms of the Russia-Ukraine War, Cortright asks if military victory of either country is the only way to end the conflict, or if there are realistic, peaceful means to stop the fighting. Some possibilities for minimizing the longevity of the violent war are the imposition of sanctions, financial barriers and limited resource access. These sanctions will not put a stop to the war, but they do make the war more costly and will hopefully lead leaders to question the necessity of the war. Cortright has also found in his research that third-party dispute resolution mechanisms have a higher chance of success compared to cease-fires and resolutions concerning just the nations involved. The UN Peacekeepers and EU Security Police Force have been able to carve paths for negotiations. 

The power of cooperation and partnership between countries during peacetime is also essential in maintaining peace and preventing global violence in the future. Cortright discussed the importance of a strong relationship between the United States and China economically as a foundation for a potential alliance should Russia ever use force against another world power. Cortright responded to a question concerning the balance of cooperation and criticism when working with countries with human rights abuses and policies that the United States does not agree with, clarifying that these are issues the United States needs to grapple with but, finding a balance of leading by example while also maintaining certain standards. To conclude, Cortright continued to answer questions from the audience about other countries’ roles in the Russia-Ukraine War, the empirical evidence supporting sanctions as a peacemaking strategy, China’s power in a variety of intergovernmental issues and anti-war sentiment in the United States.

Visit the event page for more.

  • Countries should consider key principles in determining what works in governance to best maintain their prospects for peace, economic growth, and overall prosperity. These principles are inclusion, equity and accountability. (13:30)
  • Cortright predicts that the process of multilateralism and the development of international organizations will continue to increase, and he hopes that those initiatives will improve in efficiency. (18:45)
  • Sanctions can have financial implications for countries involved in war, which depletes their resources. Thus, other nations can impact the duration and overall impact of war by considering different scenarios that may lead parties involved in war to consider more peaceful alternatives to resolving conflict. (39:20)
  • The United States likely needs to work with China economically to prevent potential violence from ensuing between the two world powers and to have them as a partner against Russia. (50:10)
  • Sanctions, when executed at the right time and involving the right parties, can have major implications for the war, while also benefiting the countries that may impose or experience the effects of the sanctions. (1:03:30)

  • “I became part of the anti-war movement, and all through that experience, I found myself increasingly having a sense of purpose and direction, working to prevent war, working to stop the Vietnam War, and maybe trying to work in my life– my career– to prevent war in general to try to understand and build peace.” (David Cortright, 7:20)
  • “I’m not a pacifist– a pure pacifist– in the sense of opposing all war. And I don’t oppose the military; I was part of the military. I believe in an approach that’s pragmatic, that is oriented towards policy. I think we have to be realistic as peace advocates, just as military planners need to understand history, and the causes of armed conflict, and the fact that aggression sometimes does occur… I’ve always believed that peace is patriotic.” (David Cortright, 10:40)
  • “Governance is important as an analytic framework that helps us understand the functioning of different systems of governance, not just by the government itself, but by the private sector, by civil society organizations, and by international agencies.” (David Cortright, 13:15)
  • “Our obligation as Christians, as Catholics, is to work for peace, even in the midst of armed conflict.” (David Cortright, 31:25)
  • “We are making a significant mistake to increasingly isolate and develop a policy of confrontation with China. I don’t see what possible benefit that could come from that. And any kind of military action against China would be a disaster of monumental proportions, and it has to be avoided at all cost.” (David Cortright, 48:45)

BusinessDavid CortrightGlobalismJim O'RourkeKeough School of Global AffairsMendoza College of BusinessUniversity of Notre Dame