In 1991, in the immediate aftermath of the cessation of military hostilities in the Persian Gulf following the emasculation of the Iraqi Republican Guard, by an American led coalition of armed forces; President George H. W. Bush addressed his nation to inform it of America’s attainment of its military and geo-political objectives in that region. As he read from his prepared text, he did so in tones which were measuredly assured and triumphant; delivering them against the simple backdrop of the Oval Office.
Just over a decade later, his son and successor in office, bar one president in between, followed in his father’s footsteps by embarking upon a military expedition of his own in the same region. And at the point, at which he thought to be the successful culmination of his expedition; he decided to address his nation on its outcome. But in doing so, in stark and marked contrast to his father, he adopted a much more flamboyant and theatrical approach. Rather than proclaim victory from the confines of the White House, he chose instead, to do so from the flight deck of a warship carrier. Attiring himself in full fighter pilot combat gear and declaring victory against the backdrop of a huge banner proclaiming the accomplishment of America’s mission in Iraq. If nothing else, it made for good theatre and good viewing in this our increasingly televisual world.
But despite the elaborate props and theatrics of the junior Bush president, one suspects that history, in its chronicling of these episodes will take much greater notice of the content and context of the senior Bush’s speech. For in his speech, amongst other things, he made mention, to what he referred to as the prospects for a ‘New World Order.’ Now anyone acquainted – closely or remotely – with the multifarious theories/hypotheses banded about by Conspiracy Theorists, will realise that the term ‘New World Order’ and its use by a politician of stature, is akin to waving a red rag at a bull. To them, the term encapsulates the most insidious and diabolical of intentions believed to be harboured by a group of ‘suspected’ powerful individuals; who are supposedly bent and set upon reordering the world in their image and likeness, but in a manner detrimental to the mass of mankind.
For those, however, who tend to adopt a more sanguine view of life (I suspect most people) and who are not given to seeing conspiratorial shadows in everything that moves; the use of the term ‘New World Order’ by the senior Bush President, was probably viewed as innocuous, and nothing more than an attempt by a politician to spice up an otherwise dull speech. So any imputation of a sinister connotation to the term or its use is dismissed by a wave of a hand by such people. In much the same way that Conspiracy Theorists are viewed as nothing but the victims of over active imaginations.
But almost two decades after the senior Bush president first gave prominence to the term ‘New World Order’, other politicians in contemporary times, have also taken to employing the term in major speeches. So in retrospect, it does now seem that the senior Bush President’s reference may have had greater significance. Dr. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, for instance, has in recent times taken to interspersing some of his keynote speeches with references to the concept of a ‘New World Order’.
It is Dr. Brown’s view, that the current economic turmoil besetting the world is nothing but the essential birth-pangs preceding the birth of a ‘New World Order’. Given the well advertised failings of the current ‘World Order’ across a number of different levels, few nations, it seems, are likely to dispute the need for its recasting or replacing. That is, apart from, of course, the chief beneficiaries of the present system who have made something of an enterprise profiting from it with abandon and without regard to the sufferings of others.
If indeed, Dr. Brown is correct in his claim that the present economic tremors engulfing much of the world, is indicative of a birthing process; then one must ask the following question(s) – to wit; where and when did the copulation leading to this conception occur; and how representative a sample are the nations which provided its reproductive essence; and when is the due date for the delivery of this ‘New World Order’? And if, as it appears, the G8 and possibly the G20 are the main fertilising agents involved in the procreative process; it stands to reason that whatever emerges therefrom, will bear a strong resemblance to the donor nations, but not others.
Very few nations, particularly, those which have borne the brunt of the inequities and iniquities of the present ‘World Order,’ will dispute the need for a ‘New World Order; one’ built upon foundations of mutuality and fairness. The present system, has for far too long, been characterised by its lopsidedness. A lopsidedness, which has ensured an unbalanced tilt, in favour of rich and powerful nations, to the detriment of nations that are less so. None of these nations will bemoan the implosions and eruptions currently reverberating at the heart of Capitalism. They cannot be expected to mourn its loss of self-confidence or weep at its morbid prospects. Unflattering prospects which may even point to the possibility of some or all of its ugly aspects being laid to rest in a ‘shallow grave’ next to its antithetical soul mate – Communism.
So whilst there appears to be little disagreement about the need to recast the mould of the current ‘World Order’. There does, however, appear to be quite a bit of disquiet about the manner in which the crafting of this ‘New World Order’ is being brought about. Thus far, the methods employed in recasting the mould have not been representative, participative, reflective, or even mindful of the input of numerous nations of the world.
Yet again, it seems that the same old principal architects of the current declining ‘World Order’ are poised, through the auspices of the G8 and G20 and associated bodies, to create another world system. One which, from indications so far, seem set to replicate and perpetuate the inequities and iniquities of the current one. This is bad news. The G8 and G20 as presently constituted are not sufficiently representative. Every continent should be allowed the freedom of choice to nominate and depute representative countries to promote their respective cases/ideas at what a ‘New World Order’ should look and act like.
President Barack Obama, as the leader of the ‘free world’ has in recent times talked about the need for progressive change and for new partnerships around the world. He appears to recognise the need for a new template upon which the designs for a ‘New World Order’ can be etched. His recent calls for a world free of ‘nuclear arms’ buttress this ideal. Fine sentiments, though they are, they unfortunately remain just that. Sentiments which are unlikely to achieve any meaningful traction, in his or other nations, possessed of them.
But it is, nonetheless, commendable that someone of his stature is keeping the issue on the front-burner. Perhaps, while he is at it, he may also wish to cast his gaze in the direction of the enormous stockpiles of conventional weaponry and armaments, at home and abroad; all of which have the capacity to destroy human and non-human life on a mass scale.
Somehow, however, in spite of his good intentions, one is doubtful that, thus far, in our evolution as a species, we have quite reached the point whereby we are ready to ‘beat our swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks’. However, one thing is clear, above all else, and that is; i
f we do not destroy these weapons – conventional and unconventional – at some point, they will eventually destroy us!
In the face of the magnitude of the challenges which confront us and pose a common and indiscriminate threat to the wellbeing of mankind as a species; it stands to reason that we pool resources together to ensure our collective survival in any ‘New World Order’. It will take more than the wisdom of an unrepresentative few to resolve these challenges.
In the Biblical scriptures, a particular tale is told – whether literal or symbolic, it matters not, where a representation of mankind came together and spoke with one voice towards the fulfilment of one vision; the erection of a tower at Babel. Their plans were thwarted; because of they were adjudged to have had the wrong motives.
But today, perhaps more than ever before, just like the ‘Babel Collective’ we need to regain our ability to speak with one voice and act in harmony towards the pursuit and fulfilment of one vision. But this time around, it needs to be a vision which is beneficial to the mass of mankind. If we must build a ‘New World Order’, as it seems we must, let it be one which is less atmospheric, and more grounded. Let it be one whose landscape is dominated by towers of liberty, justice, equity, peace, prosperity, and progress, for all, and not just a few.
And if the architects – preferably, old and new and representative – of such a ‘New World Order’ have the presence of mind and expansiveness of heart to adhere to such a progressive and inclusive blueprint for the commonweal of all; then it is unlikely, that this time around, their plans will be thwarted by those who abide in the heavens above.