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Earth discovers and contacts multiple interplanetary groups of aliens. With this discovery many on earth feel need for earth to speak with one voice in interplanetary politics.

A worldwide meeting is declared, representatives from every country on earth is invited. A planetary Council is proposed to this meeting with these parameters and powers.

  1. The council will compose of representatives from every nation.

  2. Every decision of the Council must be made with a two-thirds majority.

  3. The each nation represented must supply a equal number of troops to the council.

  4. Each member will be required to supply the council with a portion of their yearly revenue.

  5. Council has power to get involved in any conflict if it has an impact on earth interplanetary relations.

  6. The council has the power of full control over interplanetary trade.

  7. Has the power to speak for the whole of Earth in interplanetary negotiations.

  8. Power to regulate any of Earth's interplanetary colonies.

Realistically would most if not all of earths governments sign this treaty?

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I don't have an answer, but perhaps you can get some inspiration from – cobaltduck Feb 26 at 14:39
Could nations hire mercenaries? I ask this because if all nations have to bring the same number of people (disgarding the fact whether apt or even qualified isn't mentioned), several nations would have severe issues competing with some of the larger nations. I mean, Monaco doesn't even have 300. 3 hundred, not thousand. – Oak Feb 26 at 19:24
Reality-check? Your military requirement is unreasonable. – Mindwin Feb 26 at 20:04
Will they refuse to cooperate if you don't give them a satellite in time? – Milo Price Feb 26 at 20:56
1 XCOM. – cosmonaut nil Feb 27 at 2:33
up vote 9 down vote accepted

It's realistic but liable to be a technocracy or some sort of second stage democracy where nationally or locally elected representatives elect the council representatives.

Look at the EU for generalised chaos in the system and problems with building it. The first thing you're going to have is years of argument about what language(s) it should operate in. The EU is a much better model for this than the US due to the range of languages, cultures and economies involved as well as the mature nature of the existing governments.

In a universe with interplanetary travel and multiple human occupied worlds then it's possibly even inevitable rather than possible and could even grow out of negotiations over who does or does not have access to space travel and related technologies.

Some of your details need to be worked on:

Nobody gets anything done on a 2/3 majority, it's almost unheard of.

National armies are different sizes and have different regulations, for example the Germans and Japanese have very different restrictions compared to any others, some armies are bigger, better equipped, better paid, better trained, have more people, etc.

Some regions are going to need to take more out of the system than they put in. The regions putting it in are going to get upset about it and you'll need to deal with that.

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I was going to say something similar regarding the size. 5 thousand may seem few compared to 10 thousand. But if we classify them, I'd go with the 5k in a second. 5K Japanese soldiers fielding intense training and high tech against 10k Nubian Spearmen? – Oak Feb 26 at 19:26
@Oak: it's every country on earth forming a council to represent earth, it's not combining radically different tech levels. The Sudanese Army doesn't actually field Nubian spearmen. Although I suppose any country required to supply a fixed number of soldiers, will be tempted to send their worst :-) – Steve Jessop Feb 26 at 21:16
Evidently, however what I meant is that , maybe, Sudan wouldn't be able to deliver with enough weapons and might have to downgrade significantly on the weaponry.. or worse have to go to the reserves (which are in some countries civillains and children) – Oak Feb 26 at 21:26
I suppose it depends whether you see the force as being like NATO, where each country provides, trains and equips its own units complete with command structure and all bells and whistles, and then the resulting force further trains and operates together, or whether you see it more like a recruitment quota thing, where each country sends conscripts (or volunteers if it can find them) and the Earth Council trains and equips them to use space lasers it gets via interplanetary trade. But yes, there would have to be some rule to prevent each country sending a bunch of children or geriatrics. – Steve Jessop Feb 26 at 21:31
It's not realistic at all, there are tons of nations that would not comply, especially with the requirements of giving troops. – XandarTheZenon Feb 27 at 3:58

If, and that's a big if, this is going to work it's going to be incredibly slow.

  1. It'd be like the UN, but with far more power.
  2. This is going to be incredibly slow with negotiation, backroom deals, political backstabbing, actual backstabbing, filibuster, changes of loyalties on a national level and so on and so forth. This would mean it takes VERY long to get anything done, given that 2/3s of a vote is very difficult to obtain.
  3. How many is this "equal number"? The People's Liberation Army is with both its standing army and its reserves 2.8 million soldiers strong. This is more than five times the entire population of Luxembourgh, whose army is 450 strong (combining them with the enlisted and civilians would double this number). And they would have to supply an equal number? This would either mean forced conscription amongst the smaller nations, or severely stunting this number. And what about nations without an army like Costa Rica, or those that limit the mandate of their armed forces, like Japan?
  4. As above, but if this goes by percentage this might work... until America points out that they pay several times more what the Central African Republic pays and they want to pay less, which would lead to a big mess.
  5. This would require a majority vote, and given how things are going right now with the UN security council, even without the veto rights nations opposed to aggressive action would find a way to stall things.
  6. Like with the above, trading agreements are a major diplomatic pain in the butt and will take a VERY long time to get done.
  7. See the above.
  8. Do colonies get a vote on the council, or do they get voted along by their parent nation? Can countries found their own colonies, or do they have to work together?

In short, the space council would slow down Earth politics even more because the council would be used to gain leverage on Earth politics and vice versa, meaning that even less gets done. So unless the aliens give us the technology to revive the dead and we end up creating Space Zombie Otto von Bismarck from the dead to make this mess work, I don't see this really working out.

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We both picked China and Luxembourg as a representative example of big and small nations. I blame the sinister influence of Zombie von Bismarck. Great point about Costa Rica and Japan. Whether countries could wholly or partly opt out of membership would be thorny issue, as the UK's relations with the EU demonstrate. – Lostinfrance Feb 26 at 15:51
@BlackVegetable As for a variant without the contemporary political commentary: I do see the emerging of voting blocks, as in "You pay my fee to the council and I'll vote your way", meaning that you'll end up with splits between the US, EU, Russia and China, with maybe a few more based on how Brazil and India have grown at that point. – Thomas Jacobs Feb 27 at 10:30
I actually was referencing something further back in history when I wrote that, then I was thinking of Star Wars, then only thirdly did I think of something contemporary. I don't think my comment is helpful, and is a bit off-topic in hindsight. I'm sorry. I'll delete it. – BlackVegetable Feb 27 at 15:30

It could happen, but it would be a challenge. We don't like to build our councils that way.

  • Every decision of the Council must be made with a two-thirds majority. I read this requirement as "Council will never arrive at any important decision." 2/3 majorities are very hard to come by, especially between sovereign nations.
  • The each nation represented must supply a equal number of troops to the council. I read this as "The council's military will be understaffed." If we don't get more soldiers from USA, China, Russia, GBR, etc. than we get from, say Uzbekistan, we're going to find ourselves very short on manpower. (or Uzbekistan is going to run short on people)
  • Each member will be required to supply the council with a portion of their yearly revenue. Coming up with an acceptable version of this will be a nightmare. Nations are very good at twisting laws and making loopholes in order to keep more of their revenue for their own.
  • Has the power to speak for the whole of Earth in interplanetary negotiations. This is a very tricky concept for sovereign nations. You might be able to pull it off, but consider how NATO works, and all the ugly vetos we have and so forth. Unless Earth's mindset changes 180 degrees, we'll have a tough time with this.

I think you would have more luck with a council that has less teeth, so that the sovereign nations can continue to believe they are sovereign. Over time, they may be willing to give up some of their sovereignty for the convenience of better interplanetary relations, but its more likely to start small and grow to that, rather than being signed into law all at once across the world. Lead the horse to water, don't drown it trying to make it drink =)

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To be fair, the WTO works between sovereign nations on unanimous consent, never mind just 2/3. I say works: operates. But it takes a lot of backroom dealing and veiled threats to reach unanimous consent, and a WTO negotiation doesn't look a whole lot like the negotiations you'd see in a simple-majority voting chamber of some legislature. – Steve Jessop Feb 26 at 21:21

Given the terms you've listed, the answer would almost categorically be no.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. There are particular aspects of the treaty that would never be agreed to.

    • "each nation represented must supply a equal number of troops to the council." This would never be agreed to by the smaller countries as a minimal amount of troops for a large country would be crippling for a smaller population. Even if you changed this to a percentage of their armed forces, whose tech are they using? The larger more advanced countries would be unlikely to just hand over their tech without cause.
    • "Power to regulate any of Earth's interplanetary colonies." A very small subsection of the world currently has the ability to perform space flight. What reason do they have to just hand over those capabilities to the control of the world? What about the ISS? Currently there are only 4 bodies that have any say in its running. Put space in control of the Council of Earth (CoE) and those space-faring countries are now accountable to countries that have never fired a rocket, let alone funded a manned mission to space.
  2. Politics. Like user16295 said, people bicker, a lot. We have enough difficulty agreeing on small things between close neighbours that the chance that countries on opposite sides of the planet would agree on policy is minuscule. Even once we got bast the red tape regarding language and what's for lunch, you'd still have some big problems. The major ones I can think of are:

    • The aliens want to set up an embassy on the earth. Where are they going to place it? Which country is going to host the Interplanetary diplomatic centre? Said country would end up with a disproportionate influence on interplanetary communication.
    • The aliens want to sell us a cheap form of energy. This is great for everyone... except those economies that rely on oil. Yes, the whole world has a say, but such a council would still be formed of a whole lot of countries working for themselves. Interplanetary trade decisions would be a minefield.
    • How many representatives does each country get? Is it done on contribution? Then rich countries are disproportionately powerful. Is it done on population? Then some sections of the world would have a scary amount of influence. China, India and Southeast Asia as a Bloc accounts for around half the world's population. Does each country get an equal amount of representatives? Now the tiny countries in the world who contribute relatively little have a disproportionate influence.

Ultimately, the world as it is is far too fractured. There would need to be a lot more cooperation on a global scale before a unified front on an interplanetary level were remotely possible. The only thing that might fast-track that evolution of politics would be a catastrophe that forced countries to work together (like a planetary invasion). Until then, such a council would be doomed to failure, to rebellion, and likely to people ignoring what it had to say and doing their own thing anyway (just look at how often the US and Russia do their own thing regardless of what the UN says).

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One might argue that rich countries could be proportionately powerful (proportionate to the power they provide the council). If smaller countries disagree, they probably do not have much to contribute and should not join. The council should have provisions for these non-members as agreed upon by its members. – Noctis Skytower Feb 26 at 17:48

A worldwide council, quite possibly. This worldwide council, no. Most countries, particularly democratic ones, would refuse to sign up for this structure. It is at once too onerous (I assume point (3) is a typo for "supply a number of troops proportional to that nation's population", otherwise Luxembourg would have to supply an equal number of troops to that supplied by China) and too obviously toothless, assuming point (2) is taken seriously. Point (2) clashes with points (5), (6), (7) and (8).

All of the latter four are powers that define a sovereign government. For any government to surrender these powers is essentially to surrender its own existence. They might be willing to do that in the hope of being able to deal with some desperate crisis but they are most unlikely to do it in exchange for a predictable state of permanent indecision, which is what you will have if point (2) is taken seriously. A requirement for a two-thirds majority for every decision ensures there will be very few decisions made*. Additionally, if "majority" means a majority of national delegates it gives disproportionate power to smaller nations. Using the same examples as before, China isn't going to take kindly to having the same number of votes as Luxembourg. If, however, "majority" means majority by population the voices of smaller countries will be utterly drowned out.

The only way I could see the first interpretation of point (2) happening was that if the inability to come to decisions were regarded as a feature not a bug. As I said elsewhere, there might be times when the ability to draw out the decision-making process indefinitely is very useful, particularly since a feature of your scenario is that Earth has been thrown into a vastly wider society it knows nothing about. Smile nicely at everyone and delay while we find out what will and what will not get us all killed.

Putting that discussion aside, the most likely model for a world council to be structured in a way acceptable to most countries' governments is the one nearly all of them already have agreed to, the United Nations. The Security Council with its reduced "cabinet" of the most powerful nations, dominated by the five permanent members, is not particularly fair, democratic, or even effective, but it does avoid paralysis.

*Apart from the immediate and unanimous vote that all Council delegates need a $1M tax-free expense account.

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Thoughts addressed on a point-by-point basis:

  1. You cannot force nations to join the council.
  2. It is arguably better (or not) to require unanimous decisions.
  3. If one nation is composed of 1,000 people and another nation is composed of 1,000,000,000 people, should they both supply 1,000 troops?
  4. A requirement cannot be made without having sufficient provision to enforce it. Let us go back to the last two points. Let nations having voting power equivalent to a weighted value based on troops and finances contributed.
  5. Minimum and maximum provisions need to be stipulated. Example: "We will send at least 10% of our troops to fix problems," and "We will nuke all sides of the trouble makers if necessary."
  6. They have to be able to enforce this. What about pirates and smugglers?
  7. What about nations that are not part of the council?
  8. By extension, nations would be giving their own control over to the council. What are the bounds to this relationship?

Role-playing as a national leader, the council's charter would need amending before accepting it.

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The only way to get a worldwide council to work is if EVERYONE hates the aliens a lot more then they hate each other. Even then I expect that that time it took to setup a council will be so long that the aliens would have wipes us out first. Or a few large nations would have “gone it alone” to sort the aliens out.

Much more likely will be the two or three most powerful countries reaching an agreement and allowing other countries to join in if the wished. With a statement that the other counties will be “protected” if they do decide to join.

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