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Global Democracy Versus Global Bullying: Who Wins?

Global Democracy Versus Global Bullying – Who Wins?


By Helena McMullin

We are facing another war, or rather the peoples in the Middle East are, and liberals in the West are upset on their behalf. Millions have marched in their democratic homelands, far away from the impending war scene.

Most touching effort to date must be the human shields movement: people willing and able to travel across the world to put their life at stake for another culture. A culture these volunteers no doubt know to varying degree and some not at all. Nonetheless they are ready to bus across borders and die for the sake of humanity to make the point that war is wrong.

Why are we going to war? Well, this has to be the million-dollar question even without the million actually being up for grabs – or million copies sold, perhaps, judging by the frenzy surrounding the whole thing.

For once, the media is doing its job thoroughly, even tracking down poor Mr Blix’s crew in Iraq, as they slowly work their way through the country in search of weapons their own countries not only have stockpiled themselves but probably invented and sold to Iraq in the first place.

The irony of it all! More irony: Germany, once a war-monger herself, is now the peaceful diplomat working together with France, a country it once occupied by force, to dissuade the US - which generally sees itself as the saviour of humanity in the aftermath of World War II - from attacking a country they all harbour refugees and migrants from.

The victims of one war having learnt from their experiences are now trying to share this with the “winner” of that same war, a nation which now thinks itself invincible.

In saying that, the UK would appear not to have learnt its lesson then. Or maybe it is just pure strategic alignment in play, in light of the battle being across the world and Britannia's weapons industry needing greater market share? Has anyone asked Mr Blair about weapon industry lobbying?

Why are we going to war? Well, it’s of course all about the money. It’s always about the money, and when it comes to our culture going to another culture, it’s all about us making money off them. Want a historic example?

How about European colonialism of pretty much the entire rest of the world? What we are about to bring into our history now is simply a modern example of western capitalist colonialism at its most aggressive.

We are going to save the Arabs, because they are obviously not capable of saving themselves, living as they are under a dangerous dictator and completely deprived of a decent life. We will bring them civilisation through democratic elections and an Internet-driven economic infrastructure, equality through TV channel access and social welfare.

We will do to them what we do to ourselves. We will do this while we exercise our right as a culture to defend ourselves in advance, that is attack what we think is an intending attacker (but cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt to be an intending or even a capable attacker). It’s all very logical: the strongest and most arrogant will survive. Darwin rules. Show me the money.

Who makes the war money? The weapons industry is the only business utterly and completely dependent on war. If there is no threat, or at least an opportunity to use up some of the destructive mechanisms and monstrosities they have created, then there is no weapons industry. And there is the obvious marketing perspective: what better than a war to show off the products, and encourage others to buy? It’s just not the same to have to do it in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, where there is nothing to destroy but the environment.

The oil industry also stands to make a buck or two, while the average taxpayer struggles with increased petrol prices and heating costs. Investors - you know, those people who generally are pretty wealthy to begin with – will make some dosh too. The US will have expanded its markets yet again and gained some new cheap labour for its global corporations under the banner of bringing liberalisation and freedom to the oppressed.

Will there be a war? There is very clearly an intention to have one. And most probably there will be one. Does anyone seriously believe that the most indebted country in the world – (i.e. the USA) – would mobilise billions of dollars worth of war equipment and thousands of soldiers if it were not intending to go to war? But hope springs eternal.

What can we do about it? Well, most democracies in the world are looking to the United Nations, the closest we have to a global parliament and house of an international rule of law If the majority of the world’s countries represented there condemn an attack in the General Assembly, the US and the UK would no doubt be repulsively arrogant to go ahead anyway. In rejecting the wishes of the General Assembly, they are rejecting the very basis of democracy, the foundation of their own country's fast failing virtue.

And if an attack is vetoed by the UN Security Council, and the US and UK proceed nonetheless, the future of global governance is seriously under threat.

In light of the aggressive and unconditionally belligerent behaviour by Mr George Walker Bush - the leader of our current superpower - countries would do well to put their faith in the democratic powers of the UN as supported by themselves.

They may also want to consider aligning themselves with a country or body of countries capable of defending itself against the US. If the US and UK are quite happy to attack Iraq against the wishes of the majority of the rest of the world, then what is there to say that one day they will not turn against us?

The Independent's Mr Fisk noted in the Dominion-Post on Wednesday 20 February that the Arabs are not mobilising for public demonstrations to the extent we are. Why, he wonders? I wondered, too. Maybe they are too oppressed, hungry and uneducated? Or maybe they are waiting for us to live up to the international standards we set together: not to attack unless attacked. Maybe they realise that nothing they can do can stop this, only we in the West can stop this.

Is it worth protesting against this war? Of course it is. To say that it is not worth protesting would be the same as saying it is not worth voting, or believing in democracy. Because that is what this is all about: testing the true boundaries of the powers of democracy.

This is about believing that together we are not only right, but also strong. And we know we are. Now we just need to prove it to Mr Bush and Mr Blair without resorting to the very thing we are trying to prevent – violence.

The world’s countries must unite with their peoples against global bullying. Global democracy as expressed through the United Nations must now establish itself once and for all, prove it is what it was set up to be and not an “irrelevant” body, or window-dressing for the masses.

To support and maintain peace and security, we must rely on the rule we globally agreed: we will not attack unless in self-defence. Pre-emptive strike is not self-defence. United Nations – governments everywhere - our hope now lies with you.

************

- Helena McMullin is a writer and activist living in Wellington New Zealand.

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