Overcoming the danger of a single story of space actors: Introducing the Cosmopolitan Approaches to International Law (CAIL) Lens to Analyze Global Space Governance

Research paper by Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 30 Dec '15Published in: Space Policy


Third World Approaches to International Law or TWAIL is a useful starting point to assess space governance issues from the perspective of emerging or aspirant space actors and users because it helps to highlight imbalances and asymmetry around the “legal right” to space benefit under Article I(1) of the Outer Space Treaty. However, a new analytical lens focused on Cosmopolitan Approaches to International Law or CAIL is proposed that can deconstruct the existing agenda in light of it obscuring the idea of shared benefits without attributing blame, scepticism or negativity. In the quest to ensure fairness to all, including aspirant emerging space actors, largely from developing States, this paper asks what does one learn from the space law context that prompts us to reorient the frame of analysis that Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) perspective brings to bear and focus on a CAILian perspective? Primarily that a TWAILian approach is too one sided and polarized. A CAILian approach however acknowledges reciprocal responsibilities. In conclusion, I am not making a claim here that my CAILian concept has never been articulated before. However, the way I link the concept of Cosmopolitanism with a school of thought that I am sympathetic to (TWAIL) is where this paper provides a novel idea. My specific version of Cosmopolitanism bears in mind the importance of collective ideas. While CAIL will not be free from power asymmetry's because there will always be polarity; it still chooses to focus on the middle ground and not to focus on extremes.