The piece below started as a comment at Op Ed News on the article "Pitiful Oz" by Richard Neville. An acquaintance of mine from his days in Britain, I thought Richard's tone less optimistic than usual, but what was intended as a short reply to both the article and Rob Kall's comment suddenly started me off on a whole chain of thought. This is the result.
As America accelerates toward its midterm elections, there are signs that the balance of power may shift away from the Republican Party, even if it amounts to a little more than a re-colouring of the administrative process. The fate of her Emperor himself is still some years away and in the sense that we can see the damage done, some have asked whether change in the American regime will have any profound effect on the behavior of her allies. I don't see any "Yes or "No" answer to this - there will be changes of government elsewhere both before and after the fall of Bush and all will undoubtedly react to the situation as it exists when that time comes. Moreover, I suspect that the future is now dependent on a more massive change to protect "Spaceship Earth" and restore some semblance of harmony to international relations. The long years of the "Cold War" had, in retrospect, a huge moderating influence on global tensions - albeit with moments of tension itself. In its aftermath, opportunists in America, but also elsewhere, have grasped the absence of any mediator to hijack the progress in planetary equilibrium to pursue their own and corporate agendas. Corruption in the institutionalized nature of governments themselves is something that arguably needs to be addressed - worldwide, but especially in nations who increasingly lay false claim to being "democracies".
A radical change in America might well bring a shift in the attitude of her so-called allies, even a few of her supposed "enemies", but cultural and economic dependency as it stands needs to be re-examined from scratch. Re-painting the edifice may have some cosmetic appeal, but it borders on folly if the landscape remains shrouded in darkness. Enlightenment is what we need! Indeed, like America, Britain and Australia in particular need a sea-change in government mindset that will see self-interest in the long-term served better by global harmony and equality rather than the present obsession with short-term opportunism. We elect leaders to be responsible managers of our heritage, well-being and legacy. They are caretakers of society who should be pursuing the local, national and global good. They should not be adopting this role as a profession in itself and they should certainly not be prostituting themselves and those they serve to corporate or military agendas.??History may remember Bush favourably for one thing - in his idiotic and intellectually-challenged approach to world affairs he has made transparent both the imperial design and dictatorial intent that America has been practising since at least the end of WW2. Sure, the mass consumers of energy, consumer trinkets and propaganda may still remain blindly unaware of this reality, but free-thinkers can increasingly see that something has gone seriously wrong with planetary organisation. Even the United Nations has succumbed to maintaining the status quo rather than seeking fairness and justice. Charity has replaced obligation and even that runs in narrow focus if not concealed self-interest. The lessons of history and the science of survival are removed from the lifestyle curriculum, whilst dissent is romanticized and then marketed as a stylistic abstraction.
In America, the very electoral process has problems of its own. Electronic voting systems, which could if implemented properly could provide a fast, ever-evolving mechanism for true democracy, have been introduced with major software failings and a built-in bias toward the incumbent administration. Even if this obstacle is overcome, the Democrats are the only party on the menu as an alternative - the question is whether its leadership will be "Neocon Lite" or one prepared to tackle corruption and help carve the brave new world we need. In Britain, there is at least a third party which could make inroads that will affect the balance of power in parliament, if not immediately compete with the two party menu for government itself. Blair's going, but not yet gone and it will be a couple of years here too before we find out whether his party perpetuates its ethical decay to the point of total un-electability. A change would be to the right - even though its doing its best to look like the left. I don't know enough about Australia, but suspect it can be diagnosed with similar symptoms. In all these countries, progressives need to seize the media - not just for the propaganda of counterpoint, but as an educational tool that can warn of the dangers in a way that articulates them for the consumerist masses. Above all, we need to stifle the resurgence in organized religion by whatever creed it goes. Faith is a matter of personal choice and has no place in affairs of state. Nor does spirituality have anything to do with subscription to belief systems engineered by others for their own, usually sinister, reasons.
In the Islamic world and elsewhere there are very different problems and solutions. Yet there are also many similarities. Modernity needs to be encouraged, but presented in such a way as to not imply adherence to "western values". Other parts of the world have their own cultures too and the variety is the spice of humanity. But here again, religion needs to be expelled from affairs of state. Look at Japan - it can live without state religion. Look at China - it can function and thrive without Democracy. It's far from our notion of the ideal, but the corrupted version of "democracy" we are exporting is itself a lie - we don't recognize elected governments unless we like the result! So long as nations work to overcome oppression and slavery, forge fair and equitable societies, it is probably not our place to decree what model it uses to run its affairs. We will trade and we will communicate, but we will not aggressively interfere in another's business or forcibly impose our will upon them. Foreign policy should be about dealing fairly for what we want based on what we can give in return. The "profit" motive cannot be allowed to endure on such a massive global scale - the disparity between winners and losers is, with the possible exception of religion, the very thing that brings us to a state of war.
We may be fortunate in that the upheavals we see today have been brought to light by very less-than-cunning management. Our saviour comes in the form of someone whose entire live has indeed been a catalogue of failed enterprise. The masquerade is over and the propaganda machine is relying on re-runs. The only audience are those still asleep. Time for the alarm clock I think - but hoping desperately that doesn't come in the form of another "false flag" operation designed to perpetrate the existing mess.
There is a place for America in the world and it would not be fitting that it return to its isolationist past. On the other hand, as a hollow shell of its former promise, there is no place on this planet for either its current administration or a future one that employs mere variations on the same policies. Were America to enter a renaissance period, where true freedom (and the social obligations that brings) to become its hallmark, then I suspect questions about the rest of the world could be answered rhetorically by saying that nations often follow others historically, especially when they set a good example. The recent emergence of new philanthropists is a sign that some are willing to move in the right direction, provided there is no hidden agenda. Or preaching! The alternative is that its so-called allies will indeed change direction of their own accord, actually enforcing a new isolationism on America. It would then have no choice but to opt for self-sustainability - something a continent its size should surely be able to handle.
?Bush has sown "the seeds of disruption". The hard work is now in realising it and engaging in a race to find a remedy for the consequences of both his actions and the corruption of purpose his behavior has revealed. If we can bring about a revolution in our perception, build a "fair" global trading system and forsake our demand for wasting resources - well, these menacing times may just prove to be the catalyst needed for a decent future.
I'll end with a quote I've always liked. It's a quote within a quote from one of Frank Herbert's "Dune" sequence novels ...