From Free Life, Issue 21, November 1994
ISSN: 0260 5112
Editorial: Beware the New World Order
by Sean Gabb
My readers will surely have noticed how active the United Nations has of late become in discharging its duties. It has directed one war against Iraq, and may soon direct another. It is involved in the Yugoslav and Somalian civil wars. There are many other less famous interventions in world affairs, both actual and prospective.
Cynics may observe that most of these are not truly international missions, but that the United Nations has since the end of the Cold War become merely a fig leaf for American Imperialism. This so far has largely been the case. We may search in vain for any American national interest, as reasonably defined, for the vendetta against Saddam Husain. Even so, it is notorious that both the Israeli and Saudi Arabian Governments have reason to fear him, and that both have much influence in Washington. As a citizen of a country that itself has had a determining influence on American foreign policy this century – without which, indeed, I should be living in a much worse country than I do – I cannot without hypocrisy complain about this. It is a problem for the American taxpayer, and for those countries that have lacked the good sense to establish any influence of their own.
Of course, there are instances where the use of American power has been harmful to mankind as a whole. The war against drugs, for example, pursued by or at the bidding of American Governments during much of this century, has reduced large parts of the world to chaos, and has led to something like social collapse in all the great cities of the West. But if history teaches anything, it is that a dominant country will use an abuse its power in what it believes to be its own interests.
Yet, whether we celebrate or denounce the effects of American power, I suggest that we should all greatly fear the means by which that power has increasingly been used. The cynics are right when they expose the reality behind the rhetoric of the United Nations. But they are wrong to suppose that this is the whole story. Words are seldom an entirely detachable shield for actions. Unless they are purely formulaic utterances – as were the guarantees in the old soviet socialist constitutions – they have a habit of determining actions to their own ends.
And what are these words behind which the United States now finds it convenient to behave like any other great power in the past? They are all about “the international community”, “the maintenance of world order”, the beating down of local despotisms, and the suppression of whatever fashionable opinion regards as foolish or wicked.
We are, I suggest, moving gradually towards a world government. The immemorial anarchy of states is being replaced by one coordinating authority. This tendency was for a long time frustrated by the Soviet Union. Today, however, the international bodies set up after the Second World War are at last coming to life. The United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs – these and many others are becoming the institutions of a world government.
Any nationalist objections to this tendency have already been muted. The leading nations of the world are either in or setting up local trading blocs, in which sovereignty is increasingly ceded by national governments to multi-national institutions. Most Britons in 1960 would have laughed at the notion of replacing the Queen-in-Parliament with a committee dominated by foreigners. If pressed, they might have considered a defensive war. But it has already happened. The transfer of power from London to Brussels has had to happen cautiously, at all stages lubricated by a smooth stream of lies; and it has yet to be completed. A future transfer of power from Brussels to some larger federation will be by far the smaller of the two steps, and will be greeted by most people with all the indifference of slaves long used to being bought and sold.
© 1994 – 2017, seangabb.
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