January 8, 2005


New world disorder (GERALD WARNER, 1/09/05, The Scotsman)

THE New World Order: is it just another piece of Gorbieguff, like Glasnost and Perestroika, or are we experiencing the birth of a reoriented geopolitical alignment? Such phenomena do, occasionally, occur. The Congress of Vienna, which liquidated the Napoleonic Empire and initiated the European settlement of which Metternich was the custodian until 1848, was one such instance. Is something similar happening today?

When that question is posed to bien-pensant commentators, their knee-jerk reaction is to babble about the United Nations, international development, the European Union, NGOs and all the usual suspects whose kleptomaniac instincts dwarf their philanthropic grandstanding. Only mal-pensant commentators, such as you are currently reading, are prepared to proclaim that the enduring motor of world diplomacy is realpolitik and that all institutions of a supranational character are either tyrannical or effete.

This reality is gaining currency. The American conservatives - and not just of the ‘neo’ variety - have the United Nations in their sights. It is even rumoured that the G8 nations, when they gather at Gleneagles Hotel this summer, intend to cut the UN down to size, perhaps even to emasculate it completely. That would be a welcome development. The UN is a gross excrescence. The efficiency of its response to the tsunami disaster is a question on which the jury is still out; but no serious observer would dispute that its creaking, top-heavy bureaucracy is a totally unsuitable mechanism for organising emergency relief work. [...]

Nor can we look to the European Union - the UN’s twin kleptocracy - as the foundation of a New World Order. When Jacques Chirac praised Kofi Annan last week as "a man of integrity", it was like the Artful Dodger acting as a character witness in a pick-pocketing case. The EU is a sclerotic, dirigiste, anti-free market cartel that increasingly threatens to subvert Europe’s ability to catch up with America. The G8 nations, too, are a cartel; but their union is pragmatic, rather than institutionalised, and they represent real power.

The one, irreducible geopolitical reality today is the economic and military hegemony of the United States.

It's one of those realities that the Realists deny.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 8, 2005 11:01 PM

--It is true that the Iraq war has exposed weaknesses in the US military. In strategic terms, they are losing the war, the elections are a farce, there is no prospect of a credible exit; but the same applied in Vietnam, yet here is Uncle Sam bestriding the world again. It is Americas vast wealth, its successful capitalist system and its political and cultural cohesion that give it staying power.

Those last elements may implode during the course of a generation, with massive Hispanic immigration and bitter political polarisation threatening the traditional ethos of American identity....--

Maybe, maybe not. He needs to start reading blogs.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 9, 2005 1:27 AM

I was just going to quote and comment on the same passage. I don' t get where this guy is coming from. At best, he sounds like a Leftist who has realized that his fantasy world is never going to come true, and past attempts have made a mess of things. But he just can't bring himself to start with reality and see where logic leads him, because he knows he won't like where he's going to end up.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 9, 2005 1:37 AM

He does have the EU and the UN just about pegged though.

Posted by: Bart at January 9, 2005 6:11 AM

The writer is making mostly good observations, but, as the previous comments correctly point out, doesn't know what to make of them. That's because he doesn't know his Roman history, and therefore doesn't recognize the nature of American power.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 9, 2005 10:11 PM