Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Possible vs. Feasible vs. Practicable

Is it possible for sovereign states to reach global agreements? In order to determine this we must first determine a definition of a global agreement. Is it an agreement between all sovereign states on the globe, regardless of economic status? Is at an agreement between the world's current super powers? How about an agreement among the members of the United Nations? I personally consider a global agreement to be between all of the world's nations.

The question is of course, whether or not such an agreement is possible in today's world.

While there are certainly a great number of issues in today's world that would require such an agreement in order to be solved, the fact of the matter is that some form of compromise must be reached among the states. Unfortunately this act is easier said than done, for even if it is only one or two that are unwilling to accept a proposal, the vote still is not unanimous.
Some examples that can be used to explain the situation are the international human rights treaties established by United Nations. "Every member state of the United Nations (UN) has ratified at least one of the seven international human rights treaties, and over 81% of member states have ratified four" ( )
However, we should take into account that this proposal for reform was made over ten years prior to the date on which the article was written. Further ahead the article shows that none of the 7 treaty bodies have been completed ratified. The proposal reads " Although no treaty has achieved universal ratification, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all but two member states". If we step outside this example for a moment it is clear to see how absurdly difficult it is to reach an agreement between the members of the United Nations, let alone between all of the sovereign states. Even on an issue such as the Rights of a Child, it has taken over ten years to get all but two of the votes, but that is two votes too few.

It certainly is possible that sovereign states could reach a global agreement; I've personally been taught that anything is possible (within reason of course). Such an agreement may even be feasible, it would take heaps of hard work and probably take a number of years but it could be reached. However, if we really examine the odds is it really practicable?

The definitions of these three words bear only a slight difference.
possible - that may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used, etc
feasible - capable of being done, effected, or accomplished
practicable - capable of being done, effected, or put into practice, with the available means
( )

Though these words are listed as synonyms, the definitions become increasingly specific and more concrete. In a question such as this, these differences draw a line between a yes and no answer. I consider the "available means" to be the mentality and ideals held by each sovereign state throughout the world, unless these change I do not believe that a global agreement is truly possible.


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