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Alternatives For Political And Economic Organisation In The New Century

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Various authors have noticed that while nation-states, some of them quite recent, are fighting the dominant trend of globalization and world federalism in order to keep their hard won liberties, there is a revival of some of the age-old empires that ruled most parts of the world in previous centuries. In China, the USA, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and India the two notions: nation and empire, are almost inseparable due to historic and geographic realities, such as size and physical, ethnic and cultural diversity but those continental states are threatened by fissiparous tendencies in regions that claim to have a distinct national identity justifying independence.

 

Other powers, such as Germany, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria and Egypt have inherited imperial legacies which are getting a new lease of life from present geostrategic factors, often at the expense of weaker neighbouring states. For instance, Turkey, with a large population, dynamic economy and an assertive foreign policy founded on national pride is extending its influence over smaller nations which it ruled during centuries, from Bulgaria, Bosnia and Albania to Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, the Caspian region and the Central Asian Turkic republics. Likewise Iran benefits from the destruction of Iraq and subjection of its Gulf Arab neighbours to the USA as well as from the disintegration of Afghanistan  and eclipse of Pakistan to project its power over the Middle East, West and Central Asia.

 

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There is little doubt that the USA is a not-so-original sort of empire with a global outreach and an increasingly heterogenous population, though it mainly extends to the North and Central American "homeland" and to Latin American where it is however receding. The ethnic plurality of this formerly mainly Anglo-Germanic Imperium enables it to send "proconsuls" and military commanders ancestrally hailing from the areas where they are deployed (such as Indians in South Asia, Chinese and Japanese Americans in the Far East, Slavic Americans in formerly Soviet lands and Latinos in South and Central America) as most Caesarian states (i.e. Ancient Persia, Rome, Russia, Germany and Spain) did in the past.

 

As for the European Union under German-French leadership, it tends to assume the shape of a post-modern, neo-medieval empire if we are to hear Adrian Pabst in an as yet unpublished 2010 article, with ""overlapping jurisdictions, horizontally diffuse sovereignty and vertically arranged, concentric circles of integration".

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Thus those ancient empires are renascent, though in a modern form which Pabst defines as marked by --more or less -bureaucratic capitalism and authoritarian plutocracy. The independent or more or less autonomous nations or states which are either outside or within those empires are in turn struggling to enforce their writ, no less centralized and bureaucratic (we can think at random of Croatia, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay or Honduras) on territories and people which they regard as inalienably theirs.

 

In both empires and nations there is a strong archaic component which is not on the wane but rather threatens to trigger many long-term or recurrent, low or high intensity wars, of the kind recently or currently seen in Georgia, North Western Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Turkish Kurdistan, to name only a few.

 

 

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2-Ideological Frameworks and Political Utopias

 

Political and economic projects and blueprints that hark back to old models are multiplying and at least some are gaining strength. In particular the vision of an Islamic Khalifate embracing much if not most of the Muslim majority areas is providing a powerful incentive for hundreds if not thousands to take up arms in a "holy war" while countless others provide active or passive support. More limited and realistic is the campaign behind the spread of Islamic financing and banking from Europe to the Americas and East Asia.

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Come Carpentier is a French writer, traveller, editor, consultant and researcher born in the Canary Islands, who lives and works in India and in Europe (France, Italy.Switzerland), helping manage a private foundation and contributing to various (more...)
 

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