A few years ago when the Berlin Wall was breached and the Soviet Union disintegrated, the President of the United States at the time spoke of a “New World Order”, which was a set of thinking very much in tune with neo-conservative triumphalism.
However, when you see the gathering at the G20 this week, I think it’s a very different and rather more benevolent “New World Order” taking shape and one much more in tune with the artwork of Mattahan or Paul Davey whose picture I’ve linked to.
We’ve all witnessed the embarrassing and rather undignified ways in which the leaders of the richest nations whose legacy is most dominated by a recent history of empire, in particular the French, the British and the Americans, are again trying to coerce the world and their own war-weary citizens towards some utterly pointless exercise in remote-distance muscle-flexing in the supposed interests of the very people American bombs will soon pulverise, annihilate and exterminate (but still relatively civilised because it isn’t by means of an array of chemical or biological weapons like, I don’t know, napalm).
We’ve also seen how Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and others are being persecuted for causing embarrassment to the political establishment represented by the same would-be world leaders by revealing the extent to which they don’t trust the people they apparently represent in the supposed persecution of a ludicrously small proportion of individuals whose combined impact on the West by acts of terrorism is rather less than that of America’s bombing of Pakistan by drones, the massacre of school-children by gun-crazy Americans and one unhinged right-wing Norwegian, and by the many poorly reported acts of atrocity in distant parts of the world that supply us with diamonds, gold and other luxuries.
And in amidst all that, it seems to be the Latin American countries, some of the newer European nations, even some of the African nations that seem to be showing the way by being rather more liberal than the West, certainly more open to new ideas, and flexing their growing economic muscle in other ways than trying to bomb distant nations. Witness India’s plan to feed the poor of its nation and to enshrine the right to food. Witness the Latin American countries that are advocating legalisation as a solution to their drugs problems. Witness the level of debate in the Arabic nations about democracy and freedom.
And witness on the other hand, a supposedly liberal American president behaving towards the rest of the world like the world’s stern godfather, the unfettered freedom of Western-based companies to screw the world while paying no taxes, and the mindset that now blames the poor for their own poverty (rather than the bankers whose hands were found in the till).
It now seems that it’s the West that’s very much in the rearguard of progress in the Twenty-First Century.