Thursday, December 28, 2006

End of year report: The State of the World

by Richard K. Moore

As many others have recognized, and I have often written, we are now in the midst of a global Great Transformation. By some strange coincidence, this Great Transformation seems to be synchronized with our calendar -- coinciding more or less with the beginning of a new millennium.

'New Millennium' is not a buzzword that people use yet, but they will soon. I wonder how far we were into the 1900s before people recognized that the Twentieth Century was a very special century? World wars, relativity, air travel, radio & TV, nuclear energy, mass prosperity, computers -- the pattern of radical invention became clear soon enough, but when was it first recognized as a 'phenomenon of the century'? By comparison, those phenomena will seem insignificant compared to those that will be identified with civilization's Third Millennium.

There are many singular events that can be identified as 'signs of changing times'. In my own mind, two such events that stand out were the '98 Seattle protest, and the '01 WTC incident. I pick the Seattle protest because it symbolizes the growing and deep-seated popular rejection of the current world order. I pick the WTC incident because it symbolizes the elite reaction to that rejection. The people said: "Here's what we think of your old millennium," and the rulers answered: "Here's what we've got in store for you in the new one." Again coincidentally, these two events evenly straddle the beginning of the new millennium, each a year and some months separated from it.

There are of course many dimensions to this Great Transformation. The events I selected above reflect only one dimension: the relationship between Western citizens and their governments. I see this as the most critical dimension however, as that perspective is the one from which we can identify a path of hope. Only when the people of the West wake up and make their dreams of democracy real, can the direction of transformation be shifted toward the salvation of humanity.

In the rest of this report, I will be exploring the state of the world, and likely near-future scenarios, assuming that Western populations remain unable to rouse themselves from their current hypnotic trance, their dream that they are living in reformable democracies, their state of denial regarding elite rule and elite machinations.

* The Geopolitical Dimension

There are four significant players on the geopolitical scene.

1) The Anglo-American Block: controlled by Anglo-American banking elites, backed up by the Pentagon, seeking global hegemony, and with EU elites cooperating -- while at the same time they seek to keep their options open to the East.

2) The Sino-Russian Block: led by Sino-Russian political elites, supported by a military strategy based on asymmetry, seeking a multi-polar world, and in alliance with other SCO members.

3) The Independent Rebels (ie, all those smaller nations that Washington considers to be 'troublesome to US interests'): with leadership symbolized by Hugo Chavez, in an alliance-of-convenience with the Sino-Russian Block, and increasingly showing the courage to defy the Anglo-American Block and its imperialist system

4) The Global Insurgency: with leadership embodied in Hezbollah and in the people of Iraq, Mexico, unoccupied Palestine, and other similars.

While the Independent Rebels are picking away at Anglo-American hegemony, and the Global Insurgency is complicating the problems of imperial management, the Big Game is between the Big Blocks: the West vs. the East, Washington & London vs. Moscow & Bejing. All the major international initiatives of these Big Players amount to jockeying for position in the face of an inevitable confrontation.

The Anglo-American Block is pursuing three parallel strategies. In the short term, it focuses on domination of the Middle East, in an effort to control international petroleum markets and to maintain the dollar as a reserve currency. In a slightly longer term, it sees two options for itself: a victorious first strike on the Sino-Russian Block, or -- if a multi-polar world cannot be avoided -- a retreat into Fortress America. In pursuit of the former it is rapidly developing a space-based control-of-theater system, and in pursuit of the latter it is preparing a neoliberal-based merger of Mexico, the US, and Canada.

Time, meanwhile, is entirely on the side of the Sino-Russian Block. The longer confrontation can be postponed, the stronger that Block becomes in relation to its adversary. The ancient Chinese strategic paradigm is at work here: the wise general wins from position, avoids combat, and leaves his adversary a way out (acquiescence to multi-polarity). This Block will not intervene if the US attacks Iran, partly to delay direct confrontation, and partly because they are willing to write off the Middle East as 'Anglo-Amercian territory', in return for de facto recognition of Sino-Russian hegemony in Eurasia. That fits well with their vision of a multi-polar world.

It is the Anglo-American elites that are under the pressure of time, and that is why they are so frantically flailing for position wherever they can, sacrificing their own economies and civil societies, and flagrantly violating every standard of international law and human decency.

The psychically primitive elites of this Block follow in a direct line from the Vikings, the Crusaders, and the Conquistadors -- they understand only conquest and exploitation, and they see compromise as a fatal weakness. The more evolved chess and Go players of the East see them as cowboys, and are patiently waiting for them to exhaust their ammo in peripheral battles.

While the Anglo-American Block is managed so as to enrich an elite clique, the Sino-Russian Block is managed so as to promote national interests. While the former is desperately cannibalizing its national infrastructures, the latter is patiently strengthening theirs. This is why time is on their side.

From a geopolitical perspective the Great Transformation can have one of two outcomes: (1) Anglo-American hegemony -- in which case the entire world will for the first time be controlled by a single elite clique -- or (2) multi-polarity, whereby China will re-emerge as the world's Great Central Nation, with the five-century tide of Western Expansionism finally brought to a halt.

* The Economic Dimension

The central economic fact of the Third Millennium is the collision of an irresistible force with an unmovable object: the paradigm of industrial development and economic growth cannot be sustained in a finite world. Economically, this fact exhibits itself as a declining global economy in real terms, the flight of capital into speculative markets, the de-industrialization of the entire Western world, and the impending collapse of the US economy. Environmentally, this fact exhibits itself as deforestation, loss of topsoils and fisheries, oil depletion, species extinction, and global warming.

These economic conditions are motivating the Anglo-American grab for hegemony, and these economic conditions favor the East, with its vast land mass and its lower level of economic development -- ie, its lower level of structural economic waste. It will be much easier for Eurasia (and the third world) to move toward sustainability than it will be for the West. Again, the national focus of Eurasian elites has more survival potential than the does the greedy, self-serving focus of Western elites.

In the West it is the people who are exploring the question of sustainability, while the elite focus is on increasing the sales of automobiles, jet travel, and petroleum (despite Gore's hypocritical campaign posturing). In China, on the other hand, it is the national leadership which is beginning to understand the need for sustainability, being the first nation to require photovoltaic cells in some of its new residential construction.

It is in the economic dimension that the Great Transformation will be most pronounced. Whether we have a multi-polar or a single-empire world order will be of interest to political scientists and historians, but the necessity of sustainability (or die) will effect everyone directly.

* The Political Dimension

The Age of Enlightenment is over. The liberal mythologies that arose as an apology for capitalism have been abandoned by Western elites. In Britain and the US, the standard bearers of neoliberalism, the death of the democratic myth is all too apparent. Europe lags behind, but EU elites have no vision of an alternative future. Fortunately Europeans are considerably more politically evolved than Americans or Brits, as evidenced by the popular rejection of the neoliberal EU Constitution. In Europe there is hope for popular democratic impact, while in the heartland of the Anglo-American Block, one sees mostly sheep panicking for a path away from chaos, or distracting themselves with consumerism and television fantasies.

In the Sino-Russian Block, there is little political hope. China, the heart of the Block, is the longest standing centralized society in the history of the world (5,000 years or so). One might compare this with Germany, which until 1871 was still divided into autonomous units, or the USA, which didn't even exist until a century before that. The Chinese are so conditioned to hierarchy that there is little hope of any kind of democratic impact.

If there is to be an effective popular response to the current path of civilization, if humanity is to be saved, the initiative must come from the West. In the East the psychology of hierarchy is too deeply ingrained, and the third world cannot control the course of geopolitical events, regardless of how enlightened its leaders and people become.

It is up to us, over-coddled and over-comfortable Westerners, to begin the process of turning the Great Transformation into the Great Enlightenment, rather than the New Dark Ages. This can only happen when we wake up from our pseudo-Enlightenment trance.

SOURCE: Cyberjournal


Blogger truthorelse said...

"...It is up to us, over-coddled and over-comfortable Westerners, to begin the process of turning the Great Transformation into the Great Enlightenment, rather than the New Dark Ages. This can only happen when we wake up from our pseudo-Enlightenment trance."

I agree but where do we begin????

January 07, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger Eric Stewart said...

I think the answer to that question is different for each of us. The unique set of psychic chains that bind us as individuals requires unique approaches. Just how those chains were put on, when, and why are questions that are unique to the individual. Sure there are psychic chains that are common to most of us, like television or ego.

Radical breakthroughs require radical approaches. I suggest that deep down there are things you have always known you could do to make the changes we speak about and you probably haven't done these for a variety of reasons. We usually have no shortage of rationalizations for staying locked up in our chain sets. After all, we all know society punishes the free individual.

January 08, 2007 9:47 AM  

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