Revision of 2009 Article for 2012:
The majority of New York’s citizens are frazzled this September 2009 by the traffic jams caused by the gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. People wished the whole crowd of dignitaries including undignified celebrity politicians and petty tyrants as well as Neocon-Neolib architects of what seemed to many as the New World Disorder would all go away to another country.
People in other cities and other countries are probably glad the U.N. is not in their town. We all need to remember, however, we may be many countries but one world, many ethnicities but one species. Our finite resources are being consumed by wars and competition between peoples rather than cooperation to address the global crises of our time.
American President Barack Obama, during his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, on 23 September 2009, noted the serious challenges confronting us all these days. He listed some of them, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, poverty, protracted wars, pandemic disease, the pursuit of peace, and the global economic recession.
Echoing similar themes of global cooperation from his Berlin Speech in May of 2008 and his Inauguration Speech in January 2009, he declared “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone. We have sought – in world and deed – a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”
President Obama went on to say to thunderous applause “The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation – one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations.” He concluded with a challenge for all there to be “honest” with each other, declaring, “If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility.”
After receiving widespread applause, the American President puzzled many by leaving the room rather than taking his place among the other leaders of squabbling, co-dependent nation-states. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who followed the President to the podium, commented on Obama’s behavior. In a long, wacky speech noted for pent-up buffoonery, Gaddafi did make certain noteworthy points. He pointed out the inequalities inherent in the U.N. Security Council, the lack of representation by the majority of nations, and the failure of the Security Council to stop war. Gaddafi mentioned “65 wars,” although there are more wars than sixty-five. Nor did he mention among the few wars he listed those that had involved Libya.
On the following day of 24 September President Obama presided over a historic session of the U.N. Security Council. This was the fifth time the Security Council met since the founding of the United Nations Organization back in 1945. Despite his criticisms of the day before, dictator Gaddafi was supposed to attend as a sitting member of the 15-chair Council. He no-showed, however, being the only head-of-state that was absent. Libya’s ambassador to the U.N. took Gaddafi’s place instead. It was, however the first time an American president actually presided over the Security Council, as the U.S. holds its rotating presidency.
In an equally historic vote, the Council members unanimously approved an American-sponsored resolution that committed all nations to work for a nuclear weapons-free planet and affirmed a worldwide effort to “lock down all vulnerable nuclear materials in four years.” The resolution combined many similar and earlier international agreements into one consolidated resolution that was in turn backed by China and Russia. Many developing nations also supported this resolution, which gave it the very global clout and strong political backing necessary to tackle this serious problem. Nuclear weapons are devices for mass murder.
President Obama, gaveling the meeting around the horseshoe-shaped table, announced after the unanimous vote that this “historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. And it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal.”
Obama went on to announce plans for a summit in April 2010 addressing issues of compliance and assistance for all nations.
The fifth U.N. Security Council gathering was unique in at least two ways. It advances the cause of world government. The U.N., however, is not itself a democratic regime. It represents nation-states, of which there are less than two hundred, while there remain many thousands of stateless-nations. A large number of those nation-states are not democratic, and of those that are, many were empires or retain remnants of empire. Not to mention the imperial and quasi-imperial nature of some of the non-democratic states.
While the U.N. is an extension of the greater, informal Euro-American Global Empire, the leader of this quasi-imperium is the democratically elected President of the United States. As the Good Emperor, he is light years ahead of his peers in the movement toward global nuclear disarmament and realizing the need for unified global action.
The Soviet-American Cold War is over. Yet nuclear weapons remain and even grow in number as a threat as they seem to proliferate. Local conflicts such as between India and Pakistan, on the Korean Peninsula, and involving Israel and Iran threaten not just mass regional slaughter but the sucking in of more countries in a nuclear bloodbath. Other countries are considering joining in the nuclear arms race, and terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda seek to get their hands on such WMD. Militarization drains resources away from resolving other serious challenges.
The quicker we move our planet to representative, democratic world government the better. We all assume creating democratic world government is going to be a long, slow, tedious slog. Politicians and diplomats can make historic agreements and momentous speeches, but the real work lies in action.
An arc of chronic war stretches from Central and East Africa across the Middle East, the Balkans, Caucasia, and South Asia, skipping over to the Koreas. Potentially explosive “volcanoes” such as Kosovo, Hezbollah, Israel, Iran, and Pakistan rumble and sputter with threats, alarms, and fears. Any eruption of all-out war in the Middle East and South Asia would most likely expand into a true world war.
With such final unleashing of long pent-up hostilities the possibility of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction remain high. Such violence will delay the establishment of a democratic world government. In fact, it may well speed up the development of a one-world dictatorship to suppress such mass destruction by force.
Democratic world government will negate this threat of war and tyranny. And as I’ve pointed out in earlier articles our choice is not between reclaiming national sovereignty versus world government but what kind of world government will we choose? World government is coming, like it or not, but will it be democratic?
Not only do we have the challenges of nuclear weapons, regional and world wars, but the additional challenges of global climate disruption and a global economic recession. Both are serious challenges not well understood and, in the case of global warming, even believed by many people. It will take a united planetary response to resolve these challenges successfully. But will it be a democratic one? My stand is that we help make it so.
One pragmatic way to advance the grass roots stand for democratic world government is to vote in and vote “Yes!” in the Global Referendum for Democratic World Parliament. It simply asks, “Do you support the creation of a directly-elected, representative, and democratic world parliament?”
American President Barack Obama, as current head of the U.N. Security Council, concluded, “This is not about singling out an individual nation. International law is not an empty promise, and treaties must be enforced.”
Let’s take this evolution of world law to the next step and help transform the United Nations into a truly democratic world body that represents all humanity among all the nations, including the stateless-nations, of Planet Earth. If this effort fails and the U.N. remains a non-democratic bureaucracy, then we must bypass it and ultimately abolish the United Nations.
We can create a unified, global cooperative from a confederation of autonomous, local regions linked together, or a united federated Earth republic with a constitution, or we can choose from other models for global democracy. We can also bypass the U.N. and its obsolete nation-states with internet-based, grassroots actions to vote for a democratic world parliament. Go to https://voteworldparliament.org/ and vote in the Global Referendum for a Democratic World Parliament. Vote your choice, of course, and I encourage all to vote “Yes!” for “the creation of a directly-elected, representative, transparent, and democratic world parliament that is authorized to legislate on global issues.”
Aftermath: Most of the U.N.’s actions so lauded above have not come into fruition. Humanity is closer to a true world war than ever before in the wake of 9/11. President Obama has retained U.S. influence over much of the U.N.
The U.S., the E.U., NATO, the Arab Gulf States, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Russian, China, Pakistan, India are all massing robust military forces against one another in the Middle East and Central and South Asia. Nuclear bunker-busting weapons are being considered for use on Iranian nuclear sites.
On 9 October, ten days after this article was first written, the Nobel Prize Committee chose to award President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. It was controversial then, especially as the humbled new president hadn’t done anything except galvanized hope he would be less warlike than President George W. Bush. While he did withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, he left Iraq in a state of labyrinthine sectarian war. Obama surged troops into Afghanistan, and attacked Pakistan more times in three years than Bush II did in two terms.
In addition, Obama continued supporting U.S. forces assisting both Indonesia and the Philippines, expanded U.S. military interventions in Yemen, Somalia, and Libya in which Col. Gaddafi was overthrown and brutally murdered. U.S. troops were sent into Central Africa to help hunt down the Lord’s Resistance Army. Massive American forces and weaponry stockpiles were inserted into Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and elsewhere for possible intervention into Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. On the American “Home Front” militarized police suppressed demonstrations first by the Tea Party then by the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as militarizing the U.S.-Mexican border.
Obama did not close Guantanamo or repeal the Patriot Act and FISA but extended them. He also recently signed the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows among many unconstitutional acts the arrest anywhere including inside the U.S.A. by the American Armed Forces with the indefinite detainment of American citizens. This was such a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution even many of Obama’s supporters considered him “a traitor.”
An arc of overlapping wars and hostile standoffs stretch from Central Africa across the Mideast to East Asia. These conflicts would converge into one hell storm of violence if the U.S. and Iran, for example, get into a major brawl and China and Russian come to the aid of Iran. Most of the Euro-American Global Empire is on a war footing. Even Russian and China are economically tethered to Empire. Such a war will be a financial and environmental catastrophe for everyone. The faster we can demonstrate the demand for a democratic world parliament the better, so please go vote. Vote now at https://voteworldparliament.org/.
William Dudley Bass
29 September 2009
Revised and reposted 26 January 2012
NOTE: This article was first published as “At the United Nations: Awareness of the Need for Global Unity…but will that unity be democratic?” on my earlier current affairs blog, At the Brink with William Dudley Bass, at http://atthebrinkwithwilliamdudleybass.blogspot.com/2009/09/at-united-nations-awareness-of-need-for.html. This was revised, rewritten, and re-published here this January 2012. Thank you.
Copyright © 2009, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.