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Future Global Governance
Now that the situation in Iraq has moved from a threat of military force to a military action, public concern is moving too; shifting from the ‘war or no war’ debate toward the welfare of the coalition troops and the Iraqi civilians and getting the whole project past the all-too-photogenic bombing and killing phase and on to the rebuilding and life-after-Saddam phase as quickly as possible. This general rallying behind the coalition and the cause, while certainly appropriate, is hardly unanimous.
Like it or not, there is considerable public opposition in America and elsewhere to this war. It would be dangerously naive to dismiss it as merely left-wing craziness, although there is an obvious amount of that involved. On the other hand, it would be paranoid to imagine that the whole “War is not the Answer” movement was the invention of shadowy groups like ANSWER, whose only position is opposition. Such groups did not invent, but manipulated existing feelings to choreograph those impressive demonstrations here and in Europe. Those feelings are ambivalence, fear and hostility toward America and what it represents.
These feelings have surfaced in the debate over whether or not Saddam is really a bad man, whether or not he really has weapons of mass destruction, whether or not this war is really ‘all about oil.’ However, with troops now in action in Iraq, those questions are no longer relevant, although we will continue to hear a great deal more about all of them.
The real debate is about what form future global governance will take. This serious discussion has already begun at the highest levels among national governments and it will only emerge in a meaningful way in the public forum if we, the people, can wake up and smell the Twin Towers burning. We need to recognize the reality of the world we live in today if we hope to make a meaningful contribution to what it will look like tomorrow.
The Cold War is over, yet it has taken the world more than ten years to begin to realize that we live in one world, with only one military power capable of a global presence, with one increasingly pervasive commercial culture, with one economy, but without a unified politics and government. The military power is American; the commercial culture is capitalism; the economy is money, as old and ubiquitous as trade itself; the politics is increasingly democratic as people everywhere struggle for freedom and self-determination.
It is simplistic to say that America ‘won’ the Cold War. It is more realistic to say that free-market democracy demonstrated its superiority by surviving and thriving, while totalitarian Communist central planning collapsed under its own ineffectiveness, its un-fitness to survive. Because the enormous American military emerged as the preeminent ‘superpower,’ it is understandable that the world also tends to characterize democracy and free market commerce as ‘American.’ But, historically, this is not accurate. What is happening, world-wide, is the evolution of humanity, the slow and sometimes painful emergence of human freedom. This is not an American invention, but was simply acknowledged as ‘self-evident’ in the American Declaration of Independence.
While there still remain a few ‘tyrants’ scattered around the world (e.g. Saddam Hussein), at this stage of our evolutionary process, the most important threat to human freedom and civilization is terrorism.
Terrorism has nothing to offer humanity. It has no positive agenda, but is simply destructive. It is based on the pernicious fantasy that murder and destruction are ends in themselves. Despite the fact that the most spectacular example of terrorism was visited on thousands of innocents in the United States, it is by no means the only nation to have suffered this scourge. America is the current target of choice because it is the most blatantly successful example of the benefits of self-determination. Terrorism is a global problem which can only be effectively eliminated by a global ‘coalition of the willing.’
What we are witnessing in Iraq is the principled elimination of the regime of an old-fashioned tyrant and his weapons of mass destruction by a coalition of the willing (50 supportive nations at present, and counting). They are using conventional weaponry and practising admirable restraint to minimize harm to innocents. The success of this mission will remove one more obstacle from the path to peace and send an unmistakable message to tyrants and terrorists alike. Honorably join the worthy struggle for a future of human freedom and self-realization... or perish.
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© Copyright Peter and Helen Evans, 2003. All rights reserved.