The crumbling world order

It should be clear even to the most diehard capitalists that the present world order is no longer tenable. Thanks to America’s two wars of aggression and the unbridled greed of Wall Street gangsters, the temple of capitalism has come crashing down on its practitioners, causing massive devastation. Millions of people are not only without jobs but countless others have lost their life’s savings. In the US, one in eight homeowners faces foreclosure because they cannot meet their debt obligations. At the same time, wealth has accumulated in the hands of an increasingly tiny minority –” the top one percent control 95 percent of US wealth, according to filmmaker, Michael Moore. Last year’s turmoil on Wall Street wiped out trillions of dollars in assets, many of them paper assets built on such ponzi schemes as “derivatives.”

The crash of Wall Street confirmed the rot that had set in much earlier. The two wars –” in Iraq and Afghanistan –” had already set in motion a chain of irreversible events. Neither was going according to plan; wars often make nonsense of the best-layed plans. Resistance in both theatres turned out to be much fiercer than anticipated. The US defeat in Iraq has been camouflaged under the rubric of troop redeployment. The West never loses; it always “redeploys” its troops. The Israelis had used the same ploy after their defeat at the hands of Hizbullah in South Lebanon. The US and its allies are on the verge of total defeat in Afghanistan as well. General Stanley McChrystal, the new US and NATO commander has asked for an additional 500,000 troops and a five-year deployment to avoid total defeat. There are not even 50,000 additional troops available. McChrystal has essentially said defeat is inevitable because he cannot get the troops he wants.

It is, however, at the political level that the world order created by the victors of the Second World War is coming unhinged. Demands for change in the present political architecture, especially built around the United Nations are increasing. The very notion of five countries wielding veto power is unjust. The veto-wielding countries can no longer justify this brazen disregard for world opinion while claiming to uphold democratic principles. How democratic is it for five countries, essentially only three –” the US, Britain and France –” to decide for the rest of the world? To deflect criticism, the Western trio has come up with another ploy: the G-20 forum. This Group of 20 countries is an enlargement of the previous G-7 in order to give a small number of new players a say in how the world economic order should be shaped. For decades, the G-7 countries –” the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan –” decided global economic policies. Following last year’s economic collapse of the West, new emerging powers among them China, India, Brazil, Russia, Australia and Mexico, have been brought in.

Even US President Barack Obama, Wall Street’s most ardent supporter –” that had financed his presidential bid –” was forced to concede, “We can no longer meet the challenges of the 21st century with 20th century approaches,” while speaking in Pittsburgh on September 25. “That’s why the G-20 will take the lead in building a new approach to cooperation.” Even the expanded G-20 group is no substitute for effective representation in world affairs. This is an attempt to bypass and blunt demands for UN reform. Obama, like the presidents that preceded him, is very good at doublespeak. The entire UN structure is built on 20th century thinking. The victors of the Second World War did not wish to lose control of global affairs hence they created such institutions as the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and later followed with the World Trade Organization. All of these are institutionalized Western control and hegemony of the world’s political and economic affairs.

The myth of independence of many countries in Asia and Africa in the 1950s and 1960s merely reinforced the West’s hegemonic stranglehold. It was only with the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran that an effective challenge to the West’s hegemony was mounted. This also explains the extreme hostility of the West and its surrogates towards Islamic Iran. At the other end of the spectrum, many countries and players have been inspired and emboldened by Tehran’s example and are standing up to the West’s bullying. At last month’s new session of the UN General Assembly, not only Iran but a number of other countries called for changes in the outmoded UN system. Such demands have escalated, hence the West’s attempt to placate them by creating the G-20. This may hoodwink some countries –” India and Russia, for instance –” but the G-20 is no substitute for meaningful change in world affairs. It merely brings a few additional countries into the inner circle while the West continues to exercise effective control over most decision-making processes.

This must be rejected. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the outmoded UN system would do, starting with the abolition of veto power. No country should be privileged in terms of decision-making. Due to the manner in which the world has been messed up and the degree of suffering inflicted on innocent people as a result of Western policies, their leaders should be put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, not rewarded with veto power and decision-making authority for the rest of the world.