Many argue today that global governance is ‘in crisis’. This reflects an undue emphasis on the fate of multilateral institutions: if they are deadlocked, global governance does not appear to be progressing. This is misplaced. Today, global governance is increasingly being pursued not by erecting supranational institutions empowered to govern issue areas directly, but by transforming states' internal governance to enact international disciplines domestically. In many policy domains, efforts are underway to reshape state institutions, laws and governance processes in accordance with global priorities, regulatory standards and action plans. However, because these moves privilege certain interests and ideologies over others, this is a heavily contested process. The politics of global governance thus occurs not just at the global level, but at the local level too. The argument in this article is illustrated using examples from maritime security and anti-money laundering governance.