A shocking prescription to protect our world from conflict and disorder
By Jeff Koopersmith, Editor Emeritus – American Politics Journal – for my son
7 January 2016
“The fourth and broadest shift in the international order flows from the transition from a U.S.- dominated system toward a non polar world, one in which the leading political and economic institutions no longer reflect the true balance of global power” – Ian Bremmer, The Eurasia Group
WASHINGTON DC 7 JANUARY 2016
Ian Bremmer seems to me to be one of the canniest minds in the United States, but now and then he allows his prior work to get in the way of today’s reality.
For instance, the quote above and more seems to advocate that without a U.S. controlled system of world order (and I assume he believes the other “pole” was made of the former Soviet Union, or perhaps China) we are now entering either a nonpolar world – which I dispute – or a multipolar world – a notion that I find more convincing.
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Bremmer. I never miss his appearances on Charlie Rose or at other forums if possible – even when I have to put up the second and/or third part of Rose’s program and Charlie’s noticeable but disturbing adoration for actors and directors – all of whom seem to be high up in the intellectual atmosphere, yet, alas, perhaps.
As a kind of academic hobbyist after attending twenty-seven years of educational modules from the ABC’s to analysis of semantic differentials, I find it helpful to bounce my own designs against those of minds like Bremmer’s, and I must say that his worry about non-polarization has me tickled as it appears it must be true or reflective of Bremmer’s own concern about state-owned capitalism that for me has more sidelines than a Rubric Cube as well as being uncontrollable which appears obvious in Beijing.
Prof. Bremmer has appreciable disquiet over the lack of transparency by such players as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. While these giants, filled with donated currency from other colossi, do impact our world, many of the programs each sponsors are thorough disasters for the nations in receipt of this largesse. Instead, just like in the United States the money somehow makes it way to leadership pocketbooks and makes them, not the nation, wealthier and more-essential – and of course, in today’s world Splendid.
Bremmer’s underpinning – his view of our planet and guests thereon – seems almost totally grounded in a necessity for “order”. Yet we all know in our core of souls that there is nothing more disorderly than the human being – even when compared with most animals. Even the lion himself does not control the Masai Mara any more than Eisenhower controlled our post WWII earth much to his disappointment.
While the 2016 opening acts in scattered financial circuses worldwide bodes ill, it seems to me that the very lack of American domination, if it be true, is and was caused by our unfettered craving to control the order of “all stuff” – which is caused by what I named our “Colonialization Gene” – passed to us over more than a dozen centuries – Sixty generations of visceral need to have whatever we can get.
Nations, and corporations are not individuals nor are their governments.
When Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations publically – he does not say “I, the United States” … (I must admit though I love his freshness and his background – Barack Obama uses the word “my” almost constantly which ticks me off. Rarely do you hear him speak of “we” when referring to his tens of thousands staff or much of anything else including we peons)
“We” is generally used to define a national population even though, of course, that is deceptive, much as “Democracy” can be and is seen as overprized.
“The people” do run nor manage large governments. Perhaps at the village level this is true, but in the end it’s the best, the brightest, and the wealthiest who are this “We” – the rulers if you will. This is fodder for further discussion than called for here – except to point out that in the entire world there are probably fewer than twenty thousand men and women who control, absolutely, the planet – and not symphonically.
I have told my son and grandsons more than once. that, if possible, the best form of government is the “Benevolent Dictatorship” – The problem is finding one, and then replacing him or her with another when they depart.
The United States believes, especially at the lower but still canny echelons of intelligence, that essentially strength crafts truth (aka might is right). For this reason – and our history of being dominated for 400 years by other earlier “mighty” nations. we continually struggle to dominate, but always beneath the justification of biblical rationale.
There is one component of Barack Obama that turns its back on this genetic truth even when his own back is to the wall as his popularity wanes.
Yet Barack Obama did not cause what could be an awful period ahead.
A group of would-be and were leaders from the first days of recorded and oral history did this.
These, mostly men. were smart, but not smart enough to realize that Mr. Bremmer’s international order could only be controlled, if ever, by a single government that by some miracle could reflect the generally-accepted resolve of ten billion people without killing so many of us, or forcing us to adopt whichever form of governance the strongest require.
How absurd was it to believe that dictators AND their people would accept American (or Western) Democratic ideals?
The proof of this, of course, is our own miscarriage to think we could transplant more or less a French ideal, which is not idyllic at all, to Iraq, or Syria; Russia, or China; Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Gibberish. We have failed in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan – and yes Russia. Are the captains of those nations morons, or are we simply too full of ourselves to understand what should be simple – Different folks need different strokes.
In fact, most “democracies” I have studied, regurgitated and re-studied seem to be harbors of gluttony, acquisitiveness, and a dash of generosity to conceal the worst of it.
Do voters in reality have confidence they can change the impeller of unfettered capitalism? Of course not. They believe, however that someone or some elite group can – so we watch advertisements and pick the best liar to lead us (as long as they are photogenic)
What Mr. Bremmer fears is that this someone is or becomes “the State”. Yet that dread, if present, is unfounded and worse implies that the United States form of government is the best without question. I certainly believe that – but I do not believe governing practice is transferable.
Is Bremmer afraid of the muscle of the state or simply the state’s unpreparedness?
A look at those nations who now stay away from conflict as demonstrated by France, Iceland and many others demonstrates that this is wrong. All these countries and more have had their entire governments resign simply from disgrace and sometimes for minor reasons.
For one reason or another the United States President and Congress nor any state I can recall after the civil war has resigned because the let down their population.
However, my definition of a state – can only be a universal in one capacity and that is stopping war and even civil war on this earth.
This would be demonstrated to all other nations in regions where elected, appointed, or kleptomaniacal leaders cannot control alone or with help from others without due fairness to all and without retribution.
My own theses are founded on the idea of the now mired-in-technicality United Nations – much as our country is founded on united states. Frankly the United Nations cannot perform in all the arenas they have adopted. The world is too large and far too complex to do so in the 21st Century.
Nevertheless, another form of all nations united must begin, not as an excuse to have lunch everyday at La Grenouilles in Manhattan, but instead to machete any hint of warfare – either physical or financial – swiftly and without mercy.
What Mr. Dick Cheney, once an allied buddy of Saddam Hussein against Iran, accomplished proves my point. A people who live between borders that are merely a blunder of geographic happenstance or foolhardiness cannot be allowed to attack or be attacked.
Yet the powerful – anywhere – believe that it is reasonable to kill men women and children who threaten “our” way of life – not in any specific way – but in ANY way. What an empty and false notion.
It is only reasonable to use force or arms or financial ruin if a nation threatens “a way of life” by killing or causing death via other means.
This interference with others for merely monetary gain has to end, and ergo Mr. Bremmer’s idea to maintain some puerile balance between the one, two, three out of 200 poles is unmanageable and absurd today.
When it comes to killing or causing poverty we, all the nation states, must agree that the threat from the target illicit state is unlawful and those that put out that fire must come from a unified nationhood, unified under at least this one rule.
Why is it impossible to once again mirror the British Empire, the Spanish Kingdom, The French Empire, The Roman Domains?
In the main, this is because of one wonderful and cancerous element – Communication.
Almost all people – even those living 100 miles up the Amazon River, are aware of what is possible to have, not to have, or be destroyed by. This is a very new and very dangerously superb gift from the minds of Nerds.
I am reminded of a nine-year old boy who daily piloted his tiny sailboat on the Nile in Egypt navigating me back and forth between appointments and amusements in that superlative country.
That boy had no idea what the world was like. If he had known, he would not have clung to one imbecilic dream – to kill all Jews. He told me that one afternoon on the river. “That will make everything good” he said.
This boy was nine years old, yet after a week or so and upon visiting his family hovel on the “bad” side of the river occupied by no less than 11 adults and children. He called it home and I realized then that we “rich people” from the West were only so dazzling because we then were able to hide our gildededness from most of the rest of the world.
This family fed and watered me, laughed with me, and along the way I began sending bits of money to them to assure the boy’s education.
He was educated, and today he has a workstation that continues to teach him – even without his realizing it; He knows how the world indeed works.
As he matures he will realize that most everything of tangible and pecuniary value is owned by the strongest, not the weakest; that children in at least 30 nations have their own bathrooms and skateboards, bikes, and books – That some automobiles cost as much as the annual salary of 500 of his neighbors and their 1.8 million hours of toil for those 500 – 1.8 million!
My little friend has not maintained his hatred of Jews. He did maintain his loathing, his fear and loathing, of “the west”.
The nonsense you see on the television and hear on the radio as to these so-called religious wars is just that – nonsense. It is not really Islam against the world, or Sunni vs. Shia – it is the have nots erupting in disgust and led by those who may be “haves” but are humiliated by that.
My own wonderful country – America – now has nearly 50 million people living under the poverty line mostly because we spent several trillion dollars on destroying an entire region – perhaps an entire continent – for nothing but visceral need.
The reason that more than half the earth is at war with each other is KNOWLEDGE. It is a shock to realize what happens when you educate the poorest among us – The British and all the Empires believed this untrue for centuries until the people they educated rose up and pitched them out.
There is no war between Sunni and Shia – there are wars between fictional “nations” whose borders were conceived in this century by the Western privileged – the Victors.
The Saudis are afraid of Iran – not because they are Shia, but because they recently made a covenant with the U.S. and its allies netting Iran a couple hundred billion dollars (their own confiscated money) which the Kingdom worries harkens the end of the America-Gulf love affair.
It does not.
So. Let’s begin by making it a universal international crime, punishable by international shunning and even death to take up arms within or between people’s or nations.
How we do that is up for grabs and quite possible. Quite simple really.
Once we stop living in fear foisted on us by the CEO’s of NBC, BBC, CBC, Pravda, et al – there will be a chance to make additional wise and fair decisions that impact all of us “earthlings” not just the ones we target.
So in the end Bremmer is correct.
We need, at least, to form a world-board of directors whose members pass muster – not beauty contests; who must be judicious, not wise-guys – and who cannot buy each other or threaten to gain some device.
And yes, if may take military power to stop those who choose to kill each other including innocent, but “collateral” bodies and damage. Horrible but necessary because today diplomacy works only among the most privileged and educated.
When is has come to today’s wars – it is too late to progressive.
Our new Nations united against war must be amalgamated at least in that one direction, and very soon – and no nation will have a veto power – that which corrupts the U.N. today. When a war begins the rest of us end it.
This is a call, therefore, for a colossal step toward orderliness.
Pandora’s Box is wide open thanks to brilliant on-the-spot communication at all levels. That peculiar promise holds a veritable snakes-nest of pending horror should we continue to run about the earth – all of us – willy-nilly trying to gain the upper hand with power or punishment.
We must stop and now.
I believe that there would never have been another war after Korea had all the people of the earth been party to the giant conversation we see as everyday life.
I watched almost 60,000 or my peers die in Vietnam – for nothing but insatiability. Zilch.
It is near one hundred years after the first roiling of World War I.
Enough is enough.
Getting the upper hand is the broadest of alliances in peace willing to stop all war not just war that impacts a particular nation or group of the powerful.
Even if Rupert Murdoch’s repugnant Fox News or The Economist tells you that seeking wealth and power is the best prescription.
This does not mean that none will be wealthier than others – it simply means that none will live in dirt eating flies unless they choose to so after a decent education and a good look around.
Yes, only a first step – but one we must see to.
[Thanks to Ian Bremmer for prompting me to write.] – JMK