How Obama Could Usher In A True World Order
How Obama Could Usher In A True World Order
Representatives from nearly a dozen nations and international organizations met recently in a private meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House. They bobbed heads as George Bush said, with supreme irony, “We are in this [economic crisis] together.”
The next day the ‘leader of the free world’ hosted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the same place, during which they again pledged their allegiance to the ‘global war on terror.’
The following week President Bush, flanked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who had in previous days been calling for a “new form of capitalism”), announced that he intends to host a summit of world leaders at Camp David in the near future (probably late November) to discuss the global financial crisis.
Let’s connect the dots. Given the last eight years, the only rational conclusion is that if the Republicans can’t defraud the American voters on November 4th, Bush is trying to make sure that the situation facing the incoming Obama Administration is hopeless. The question is: Why are so many world leaders allowing themselves to be played for patsies? Is it that they simply see no alternative to American ‘leadership?’
Not that Obama is all that different. The “fundamental change” that he promises is actually no fundamental change at all. After all, a central person in an Obama Administration is likely to be the lionized Warren Buffett, who inanely wrote recently, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” (Why operate from fear or greed at all?)
Beyond the premature celebrations of the sea change in American politics that an Obama victory in two weeks will supposedly usher in, are the shipwrecking shoals the Bush Administration has wrought for America and the world. We (and I don’t just mean Americans) are just beginning to experience the consequences of the most self-indulgent and willfully mismanaged empire since Nero.
The West is in the last stages of the Enlightenment’s premise and promise of gradual and abiding human progress. Its core idea was that given opportunity and information, people would act in their ‘enlightened self-interest.’ But it turns out that the greater the wealth of a nation, and the more the availability of information, the more self-involved people become. And it’s suddenly gotten much harder to deny that the more wealth and information there is to theoretically spread around, the greater the selfishness, ignorance, and disparity between rich and poor.
The very notion of ‘enlightened self-interest’ is an oxymoron. Enlightenment only occurs with the negation of self-interest as a ruling premise and principle. Obama may withstand the charges of socialism after his “spreading the wealth” remark. But even if he does, that still leaves the underlying rot. Nothing can stop the present world order from collapsing now.
The intellectual class in America, such as it is, clings to one last straw. Pundits now maintain that the reason we’re in this economic, social, and political mess is that ‘most people don’t have the time or expertise to make wise choices.’ If that mentality isn’t elitist, I don’t know what is.
Obama’s core philosophy is still a child of the Enlightenment ideas and ideals that infused the thinking and motives of America’s Founders. But what worked after a fashion during America’s expansion has become a tremendous impediment to adequate response and minimal international cooperation in a global society, especially with an American empire in its death throes.
An ominous sign for the future of this country, and possibly the world, is that Barack Obama still repeats ad nauseam: “I believe in you, the American people…[for] we are the United States of America.” Without an acknowledgement that a people have perished, there can be no rebirth; and without a rebirth there can be no “fundamental change.”
The international economic and political architecture could have lasted another generation with rational management rather than the “irrational exuberance” of the free market anarchists in Washington. Even so, Bush & Co. has done humankind a favor.
They have focused the mind and forced the issue that life has been increasingly forcing upon humanity. The implacable necessity now is for a new economic and political architecture.
Despite and/or because of all the economic and political Sturm und Drang, this latest storm may be releasing a real drive for radical change in people around the world.
There will be a new world order. The only question is whether it will be centralized, nationalistic, and authoritarian, or decentralized, global, and enlightened.
An Obama win could signify the latter, but America will not lead the way.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: email@example.com. The author welcomes comments.