On February 15th 2003, peace loving people all over the world flooded the main streets of their respective countries to protest the planned war against Iraq by a determined Anglo-American leadership. The massive outcry (that was not orchestrated by the states themselves) was unprecedented, both in its number and studied synchronization. It also terrified the global power that be. See Bennis’ article next column. Immediately thereafter, establishment pundits labeled the increasingly harmonizing force of global civil society the ‘new superpower.’ At the time the other UN Security Council members, including France took a surprisingly strong stand against the whole political/military machination of the US-UK duo. On the account of this, angry congressmen (in the US) childishly renamed the old french fries ‘freedom fries’, talk about newspeak! No doubt, the global popular opposition that enabled the largest mass demonstration ever witnessed on the face of the earth, helped fortify the Council’s just position against the war!
The proposal presented by the warmongers to the UN Security Council was intended to effectively declare war on Iraq, of course based on concocted phony intelligence. The intelligence presented, amateurishly and very stupidly, tried to portray the complex business of ‘making bomb (nuclear)’ on a back of an envelope kind of sketch. It also included satellite pictures that have no relevance to WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction.) That Saddam Hussein was a certified buffoon and a tyrant on his own right also didn’t help matters. That Iraq had no WMD was repeatedly confirmed by Hans Blix, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commissioner, but nothing doing; no matter the evidence, the US and its allies were determined to wage a war of aggression against Iraq! Ten years later and after a whole lot of evidence supporting the absolute nonexistence of WMD, the perpetrators of this war are still at large! According to the Nuremburg Principle, which the US insisted on establishing after WWII, stipulates; a war that is not declared by the UN Security Council is considered a ‘war of aggression’ and offenders will be indicted and tried for crimes against humanity! Given the evidence, what did institutions like the ICC (International Criminal Court) do? See the article on page 51. More importantly, what did this obvious failure of global justice entail?
For a start, it accelerated the demise of the post war (WWII) accord. The underlying ideology of peaceful coexistence between nation states that pervaded post war globalization is now visibly crumbling. Preemptive wars, war on terror, regime change, rogue states, currency wars, etc are the new political/economic lexicon. Unfortunately, the UN Security Council is increasingly sharing bed with NATO. The Bretton Woods institutions (IMF & World Bank) have become as irrelevant as those sharks (money lenders) that used to roam our city. The ascending East as well as the coming age of South America, are increasingly rendering the IMF and the WB, the economic pillars of post war reconstruction and development, almost unimportant.
May be those who sit at the pinnacle of empire might not see it, but because of their criminal action in Iraq,based on blatant lies, the individuals involved as well as their states have lost, (probably for good) a chunk of their global legitimacy! Moreover, the resultant opprobrium global humanity developed towards the powerful status quo will not only remain embedded inside global civil society, the other superpower, but will also inspire mass movements to challenge the prevailing distorted system. Entrenched interests that aggressively pushed the war agenda, hiding behind the veil of secrecy, (oil companies and kingdoms, military-industrial complex, global financial institutions, etc) are now more than suspect. The regular activities of these powerful operators (which leave a lot to be desired), henceforth will be progressively scrutinized by the beast (human mass) on a direct and day-to-day basis.
The nation-states, which have been effectively in cahoots with these economic entities, are also in the process of losing their legitimacy. In fact, some are being disowned outright, by their very own people (North Africa, etc.) Some forward looking states/nations, on the other hand, are trying to connect with their people at a deeper level (more that mere economic development a la neo-liberalism) than is the case elsewhere. Their attempt at development is becoming more comprehensive, sustainable and equitable. In the process, they are contributing to the deconstruction of the prevailing modern world system, (which has been around for over half a millennium) both in theory and praxis. The current going-ons in South America is the leading example of such initiatives and probably will end up becoming the precursor of things to come, particularly in the regions of Eastern/Southern Europe, Africa and South East Asia! See Milne’s article on page 50.
Naturally Empire is not going to take all these new developments lying down. Counter offensives, legal or otherwise, are being implemented aggressively. As a result, the ascending global grass root democracy will encounter serious difficulties in the years to come. In the developed West, the likes of WikiLeaks, Anonymous, etc have already seen empire’s wrath. See Sassen’s article on page 51. Nonetheless, resistance against the global status quo will definitely continue to grow across the world and of course, under different guises. For example: Islam Fundamentalism/Arab Springs in North Africa/Middle East; Occupy Movements and its likes, in the West and beyond; post election disturbances, ethnic strife leading to cessation in Africa, etc, all belong to this genre. As we advance into the 21st century, there will be violent confrontations between the old entrenched system that blindly rejects changes on one hand and those bent on bringing economic and environmental sanity to human life on the other (to say nothing about other issues like justice, etc.) See Mc Kibben’s article on page 51.
After an estimated death of 1,445,590 Iraqis and 4,891 western combatants, (US soldiers’ suicide rate is higher than casualties on the war fronts!) the four star general who presented the false intelligence to the UN Security Council had regrets that only concerns the petty business of self esteem: “Making that presentation to the UN was the lowest point in my life and a lasting blot on my record.” Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State. Good Day!