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Archive for May, 2007

By RA Sprinkle

Globalization: A Catalyst for Terrorism and Global Destabilization?

The object here is not to blame globalization for hostilities between cultures, nor to excuse hostile or malevolent reactions between cultures which are being exacerbated by the convergence of civilizations. The correlation between global conflict and convergence is, however, worthy of consideration, not only to understand the source of tension and global instability today, but also to consider globalization as a catalyst setting off certain forces into an aggressive-defensive mode. It is for this purpose I propose the questions: First, is an increase in terrorism and the radicalization of Islam over the past few decades a reaction to globalization? Furthermore, are many other tensions between nations today related to the transition of nations from self dependent sovereign states, to a world of interdependent nations converging into a multipolar global society? For the current demand is for international consensus by a majority of nations before action, and nations acting unilaterally in their own defense or best interests are increasingly viewed as pariahs.

While globalization is not the source of Islamic violence – for an inherent nature in certain tenets of Islam has supported violence and suppression from inception – globalization has served as a catalyst by bringing together heterogeneous cultural elements which when mingled are exceedingly volatile. This is in part evidenced by the upsurge in terrorism and increased radicalization of Islam over the past few decades, which corresponds with the global trend towards world socialization.

The fear factor

As nations immerse themselves in modern technologies, global communications, and international commerce, the world transcends further into a global society. With this change all cultures face conflict within as well as without. Societies fear change, not only for the upheaval it may cause, but cultures tend to fear different cultures that are spreading. This discord is particularly evident between tightly controlled collectivist societies vis a vis free democratic societies since in some instances ideologies diametrically oppose each other creating suspicions and conflicts.

The current system of nation-states based upon the preservation of national sovereignty, distinct cultures, ideologies and beliefs, has in the past to an extent served to diffuse some conflicts between civilizations by allowing each his own. As global synthesis takes place, however, cultures and ideologies clash resulting in two basic reactions:

The first reaction common in western democracies is to accept diversity, even embrace and promote it. This has resulted in the concept of muliticulturalism where different ideologies, cultures, orientations, and nationalities are all to melt together as one, but yet keep their own group identity. All are granted status as “equals,” even if it is felt that special favor and additional advantages need be given to minority groups to make them “equal.” At the same time, majorities are often socially demoted in preference to minority or special advocacy groups and actions are taken to sacrifice anything that might inconvenience or offend minority groups, including laws, culture, principles and values.

The other common reaction to globalization is typical of totalitarian societies where freedoms are suppressed. These societies now feel threatened with a loss of power. For while international commerce increases wealth and prosperity, at the same time, dictators, oligarchies, totalitarian regimes, and theo-politicians fear open societies and free markets to the extent it may effect their control by breaking their monopolies of power and the dependency of their people upon them.

There arises therefore, a love-hate relationship with globalization in these totalitarian regimes. For instance, the Saudis embrace and are economically dependent upon the global trade of oil; at the same time they spend vast amounts of their profits to promote Wahabbism which threatens globalization and the oil trade. This seems paradoxical.

The contradiction arises as the result of a clash between interests and ideology, of which, they will surrender neither. They find themselves therefore fighting to retain both. Their ideology is embedded, but on the other hand, it is profitable as well as it is necessary to participate in an evolving world system which they cannot stop, and which also empowers them economically.

For if globalization is inevitable, totalitarians have no intention of melting into one multicultural global society as western elitists imagine to do, but rather, they seek to establish themselves as dominate forces in world affairs in order to preserve their cultures and expand power. The crux of their reaction is, “conquer or be conquered.” For while Islamic teachings have always expressed ambitions of global domination, the spread of modern cultural influences and western ideas has created a formidable competitor which they feel threatens their traditions and culture, thus, provoking a violently aggressive-defensive response.

But Islam is not alone in the global struggle for domination; all nations perceive the trend to internationalization and even those anticipating it to varying degrees feel threatened by it. Most do not, however, desire to stop globalization, or if they do, they feel powerless to stop it. It is therefore, that they seek to be the controlling force behind change in an attempt to mold the shape of things to come. Furthermore, the aspiration to mold the world which is driving Islamic nations is also driving other powers including the US, UK, EU, Russia, China, and everyone else who has any global influence. For all are concerned with the final outcome of globalization and wrestle for the greatest degree of power they can obtain in any coming international system.

It was this desire to dominate and compete globally that spawned the creation of the European Union, the modern US-UK alliance, as well as formations of other alliances in the East and Middle-East which now reach even unto South America. These alliances are brought about by fear and uncertainty, as well, the opportunities created by globalization, and they are motivating forces underlying world tensions today. For even as nations come together, they are fiercely competing one with another and for power.

Multipolarity and stability

In a 1983 essay on “multipolarity and stability” nuclear strategist Herman Kahn hypothesized that there would arise seven economic giants — the United States, Japan, the Soviet Union, China, Germany, France and Brazil — and that these would eventually work out rules for a world system of order. Although Kahn recognized an inherent stability in the current system of unilateral nation-states where the consequences of nuclear war were so great discipline was the only sane option, he also believed a multipolar system could also be stable, if you could ever get there safely.

The problem was the transition. The moment of maximum danger, Kahn theorized, would occur during the movement of nations from unilateralism to a multipolar world. We are now in that transition, and as Kahn predicted, there are growing tensions and volatilities. For while East and West have both expressed interest in a world order, they are divided by ideological differences, the West, insisting on a universal set of values and human rights as a prerequisite for the foundation of a global society, but the Russians and others holding that common global interests form a sufficient basis upon which to establish a system of international order.

The transition

On the other hand, you do have parties who desire no part at all in a world order unless it is based upon absolute submission to their ideology — Enter Islamic extremists.

Globalization threatens the destruction of Islamic culture and beliefs through modernization. Westernization being viewed as a direct attack upon their civilization has created panic and served as an incendiary to ignite many adherents of Islam into action, not only to defend their cultures and beliefs, but to become the supreme power of any coming world order.

As high-minded as this may seem, Islam is but one contender for world supremacy; there is also still the danger of an even greater clash of civilizations between those whose ideologies have Marxist underpinnings and those who hold inalienable rights and freedoms of individuals higher than an arbitrary ruling authority.

For as the cultural conflict between the West and Islam intensifies, there is another struggle taking place for the control of resources and the global economy. It was for this purpose the European Union was created to be a competitor. Now however, “former” communist countries have joined the fray having been empowered by the US dollar, open global markets, and a growing share of control of energy supplies.

The opportunity to gain wealth and power has enticed Russia, China, Venezuela, and others to participate in global markets and profits, but, at the same time, they are recoiling internally in an attempt to balance free trade with controlled societies in an effort to achieve both. I would argue that you cannot have both but for the short term, for in the long term the two are incompatible. The only reason closed societies prosper is that they were built by and thrive off of the enterprise of free open societies, but this is temporal; they cannot sustain themselves. However, as these totalitarian societies are empowered economically, they will struggle with and eventually unite to supersede the free nations from which they have derived their wealth and power.

On the other hand, the nation which has empowered totalitarian governments the most in an effort to establish a new world order has been the United States. No nation has done more to bring it into being, nor has it been done without design or manipulation of politicians and financial powers, for it has been contemplated, planned, and worked towards for decades. Unfortunately, the ideology driving the establishment of free trade with totalitarian nations was built upon the misconception that globalization and free trade by themselves would eventually break down barriers and bring about a global democracy. The fallacy of this concept was discussed in the previous article A World off Axis where it is argued the reverse is more likely and the eventual product is the spread of socialism, a loss of freedoms, and eventual global tyranny.

A Global hive of “killer bees”

For decades elitists drones have realized the power and wealth that could be created through globalization and have set about to establish international controls to make it feasible. In so doing they have discounted the importance of individual freedoms and moral principles essential to the foundation and stability of any free system — for although you can have stability in a system absent a foundation comprised of these, it requires totalitarianism. When the overriding goal of government is to achieve peace, stability and the unity of nations at any price, at the end of the road is either war against, or surrender to a tyranny.

Because the United States opened the door to prosperity for other nations whose values are contrary, these nations, many of them totalitarian, are now becoming powerful enough, if not alone then confederate one with another, to challenge the US on many fronts. Thus, by empowering these totalitarian states, the US became a global prostitute who agreed to “put out” now for payment later and is now in jeopardy having already put out.

If the US should reject many aspects of a global system proposed by the totalitarian parties it has empowered, US dependency for oil and goods is so great it faces isolation and the possibility of future military conflict. If, however, the US capitulates and agrees to a system that is based upon common interests rather than values, as these nations gain enough leverage they will be able to manipulate the US diplomatically, or collapse the US economically — This is already occurring to a degree as is evident in the capitulation of US foreign policy internationally. It is unwise to focus upon the threat of radical Islam while ignoring the such emerging powers as Russia and China which pose a greater threat. Islamic nations would have little wherewithal without any support from more modernized powers.

If America, as Abraham Lincoln stated, is the “best hope last hope of mankind” it will only be so by the underlying principles which made America. Forsaking or compromising those principles in order to create a multicultural global society for the “common good” will produce a corrupt global hive indeed. For the eventual result of a world order built on shared interests alone will be the loss of liberty, global conflict, and eventually, total breakdown and chaos — For interests and loyalties shift, sound principles do not.

Now consider a parable: In 1956 Brazilian scientists were attempting to create a new hybrid bee in the hopes of creating improved honey production when African bees were accidentally introduced into the wild in the Americas. The new hybrid, known as the “Africanized” or “killer bee,” took many years to establish colonies, as it did, it began to radicalize, taking over and corrupting the hives of domestic bees. This Africanized bee is extremely aggressive-defensive, easily agitated by anything deemed foreign, and it produces little honey. Thus, the result is that it is unprofitable for the Keeper and a threat to all others.

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Global Synthesis:

A synopsis of world history paints a dark picture of humanity, or rather, of mankind’s inhumanity. The weak have never been secure, insomuch, that survival in the animal kingdom is a suitable allegory for what takes place among men – The strong prevail.

Nonetheless, strength alone does not ensure peace. To the contrary, more often than not, strength has been used as an oppressive force to conquer and subdue, to kill, spoil and plunder.

Whatever peace the world will know will only come by way of strength with principles, not by an equilibrium of shared power among nations, nor by agreement upon common interests. World stability is dependent upon the power of a greater power, which, guided by principles and values, exerts the proper degree of force as a counter weight to arrest hostile and aggressive forces.

Powers that lack virtuous principles by nature become aggressive, that, or either they become weak and fearful and are overcome.

Presently we live in a world is that is quickly changing, and with change, the balance of world power is shifting. This current shift of global power, however, is not happenstance, it is by the design and manipulation of global social engineers.

These agents of change have disregarded the dangers of empowering totalitarian systems in favor of international commerce and a global economic system. They have also overestimated their own power and influence to control and manipulate rogue powers once they have been empowered with enough wealth and strength to exercise independence. On the other hand, what they have underestimated is the role of moral principles as an essential component in the foundation of world stability; this has been the case for Western hegemony.

An inherent flaw in the current system of international relations, is the attempt to create an equilibrium among the various participants, by equal recognition of opposing ideologies. The idea that all deserve equal power or an equal say in world affairs is a fallacy. To believe that achieving this will promote global stability is foolhardy; for without common values, equality of nations is a recipe for global disaster.

But Western power has waned; currently world stability rests upon interdependence of nations and compatible or shared interests. Even nations that despise and hate each other sell to, trade with, and depend upon the resources and revenues from their trade ’partners’ to kept their countries afloat economically – But the marriage of nations in a global economic system is more like a shotgun wedding where everyone holds a gun to his own head as well as everyone else’s.

American wealth has been exported to build a global system which has given birth to new world powers, but what will these children grow into as they become of age?

U.S. – Sino Relations

The US, is in large, responsible for the rise and empowerment of China. A key figure responsible for opening the door of globalization to China is former US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger. During a recent speech at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kissinger stated that the future of the United States and China “depends on our capability to create an international system never seen before”. To this end, Kissinger said, “the US and China should dedicate themselves to building an international system of cooperation”.

Kissinger stated the growing political and economic prominence of China was irreversible and China’s rise as a global power is inevitable; “unless Beijing and Washington can cooperate to create a new global order”, he said, “it raises the specter of war.”

“When friends and colleagues in the United States talk about the rise of China and the problems it presents to us, I say the rise is inevitable. There is nothing we can do to prevent it, there is nothing we should do to prevent it…..,” he added, “When the center of gravity moves from one region to another, and another country becomes suddenly very powerful, what history teaches you is that conflict is inevitable. What we have to learn is that cooperation is essential”

There is however, a problem with this “cooperation” which Kissinger himself had once noted when commenting on an international system for which peace is the highest priority;

“[That system he said, is ]….at the mercy of the most ruthless, since there [is] a maximum incentive to mollify the most aggressive state and to accept its demands, even when they [are] unreasonable.” The inevitable result: “massive instability and insecurity.”

Be careful who you empower, they may become your enemy or master, or someday both – But does this detour the global social engineers?

At the World Affairs Council Press Conference, held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on April 19th 1994″ Kissenger stated,

[The New World Order] cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change it’s perceptions.”

Kissenger’s call for a “new global order” orchestrated by the world’s most powerful nations is not a new ambition. His work as an architect of a world system spans decades as affirmed in an address before the General Assembly of the United Nations in October of 1975 when he stated,

“My country’s history, Mr. President, tells us that it is possible to fashion unity while cherishing diversity, that common action is possible despite the variety of races, interests, and beliefs we see here in this chamber. Progress and peace and justice are attainable. So we say to all peoples and governments: Let us fashion together a new world order.”

Words reminiscent: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” — And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech, but the system, totalitarian.

Rise of the Dragon

A recent article by John J. Tkacik which appeared in the Washington Times under the heading China Alarms Ringing draws attention to the rise of China, both as an emerging economic powerhouse and a military power.

Among other things he notes:

In January, the PLA brought down a satellite with an ultra-sophisticated “kinetic kill vehicle” weapon…..….In the last five years, China has brought 20 state-of-the-art, super-quiet, diesel-electric submarines on line, increasing its fleet of modern subs to 55. Now there is speculation the Chinese are developing Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells that allow their subs to stay submerged far longer and eliminate any detectable mechanical noise. This would explain how a Chinese submarine was able to surprise the USS Kitty Hawk battle group last October by popping up in its midst and immediately disappearing without a trace….

…America cut its defense budget by more than 10 percent during the Clinton years while China boosted arms spending by 10 percent to 20 percent every year since 1992. The Central Intelligence Agency calculates Beijing now spends 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product on the military. China’s military sectors will get about $430 billion — in purchasing power parity terms — this year.

Now consider this, Beijing is running a trade surplus with the United States that Washington last year put at $230 billion, while helping to keep its western rival afloat by buying vast amounts of U.S. debt.

America has turned China into a supplier nation while the US runs a consumer based economy. Both are economically dependent upon the other, however, the supplier holds greater advantage, particularly as other nations profit from globalization and become wealthier then in turn are able to help sustain industry driven supplier nations such as China. A supplier has more power in a global economic collapse than a consumer whose currency becomes virtually worthless.

Return of the Bear

Recent actions by the Russian government have drawn international attention and raised concerns, but not without cause.

Not only has Russia been clamping down on dissent (dissident voices are meeting tragic ends), but Russia is becoming more forceful and aggressive internationally; not only politically, but in terms of control of resources and global economics.

One reason the Soviets lost the “Cold War” was because they could not compete economically, however, is it possible that the “Cold War” was not a war, but rather a battle? Was collapse merely a reorganization and a change in strategy?

Russia is currently involved in forming alliances and cornering the markets of global energy supplies. Carola Hoyos wrote in the Financial Times in this regard in his article The new Seven Sisters: oil and gas giants dwarf western rivals:

….The “new seven sisters”, or the most influential energy companies from countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have been identified by the Financial Times in consultation with numerous industry executives. They are Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, CNPC of China, NIOC of Iran, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras and Petronas of Malaysia.Overwhelmingly state-owned, they control almost one-third of the world’s oil and gas production and more than one-third of its total oil and gas reserves…… ….Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, an industry consultancy, says: “The reason the original seven sisters [western companies] were so important was that they were the rule makers; they controlled the industry and the markets. Now, these new seven sisters are the rule makers and the international oil companies are the rule takers.”

A much more in depth analysis of the global economic system and the threat posed to America is contained in an article by Gary Dorsch, editor of Global Money Trends newsletter. The article – Can the “Axis of Oil” Topple the US Dollar? – clearly demonstrates the precarious posture of the US dollar and how the global economy is being manipulated,

The “Axis of Oil” led by Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, is slowly chipping away at the US dollar’s status as the world’s “reserve currency.” Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter demands rubles in exchange for its Urals crude oil, and Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter is earning most of its revenues in the Euro. Venezuela’s central bank began shifting its FX reserves to Euros in 2005. The “Axis of Oil” seeks to draw China into its sphere…….

If orchestrated properly, nations hostile to the US may be able to create a financial crisis for America without totally destroying their own economies; a shift to the euro from the dollar for international oil transactions and expansion of global markets outside of the US plays a major role in this.

Having lost the arms race, Russia, along with other confederate states, is waging a global economic war against the west in general, and the US in particular. There is a great incentive for the Europeans in this financially because the Euro will continue to rise as the dollar declines and can eventually replace the dollar as the world’s main currency for exchange if they will only capitulate to the “Axis of Oil”.

Moreover, Russia is putting Europe over a barrel (of oil) as Europe has become dependent upon Russian imports of natural gas and petroleum for energy. This became obvious recently when Putin put the squeeze on gas export supplies and prices, and the Europeans started squealing.

The ramifications of globalization may not be as the western elitists intended when they decided they could export democracy by creating “free” global markets which include totalitarian states in hopes that capitalism would induce freedom.

In fact, the reverse may be happening as these authoritarian societies become wealthier and more powerful while continuing to exercise more and more control over their own nations and people while exerting pressure internationally.

Global Fascism

There are similarities between Russia and China and both share more in common with each other than they do with the West. Besides certain philosophical ideologies with totalitarian underpinnings, both are currently practicing, not free trade capitalism as widely propagated , but fascism, much like that espoused by Mussolini.

The so called ‘fall’ of communism may have been, as Mark Twain remarked about rumors of his death, greatly exaggerated; there was a shift, yes, but in many ways the shift which took place was similar to a bankruptcy reorganization. Russia made some cuts and let go of some satellite countries the same way a giant corporation downsizes and sells off some of its divisions and restructures. Necessary concessions were made to the west, which are greatly resented, but the basic philosophical underpinnings remained.

The step from communism to fascism as Hitler observed and noted is not a large one, many of the most adherent fascists were former communists; Himmler was himself a converted Communist. Furthermore, communism was never practiced by the Communist either, it was an end goal to be achieved at some later time and socialism was the in term system for transition until communism was eventually achieved. The Soviet Union (USSR) stood for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Nazis real name was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). They were merely two varieties of socialists which embraced totalitarian state control by either direct or indirect means. The true conflict between communism and fascism was a power struggle between competitors with similar aspirations as much as it was over differences, for the dichotomy which separates the two as opposites is a false one.

Both the Russians and Chinese came to realize they could adjust their means in order to become economically viable and their basic aspirations and ideologies could remain in tact. But then, Mussolini was also a devout Marxist before making modifications to form the ideology he would term fascism.

There is also another aspect to all of this; that is, America by basing its power and wealth on globalization has not only become dependent on despotic countries, but has created mammoth corporations with international interests. The wealth and power of these corporations is derived from globalism, thus, loyalties are often to a global rather than national agenda.

As power is consolidated into the hands of the global giants, and as regulations are legislated into law to control them, what you have is fascist economics. So, not only have the Russians and Chinese turned to global fascism, but western nations too are headed more in the direction of Mussolini’s economic plan of the 1930’s. This however, would not be the first time American power became intrigued with the philosophies of fascism; Franklin D. Roosevelt was impressed with Mussolini during those years before the war and incorporated a number of Mussolini’s policies into his “New Deal.”

Conclusion:

The agenda of world powers today is an international agenda aimed at power sharing. Some promote it to increase their own power and others believing they are acting for the benefit of the global community; whatever the intentions, the result will be the same.

This current political trend to internationalism and a multi-polar global society has found support in both major political parties in the US as it has in virtually all nations of considerable power.

A main obstacle up to this point preventing formation of a world order has been the participants different visions of it and disagreement over the foundations it is to be established upon.

A recent Russian study concluded that, while Russia believes relations should be based upon shared interests, the west insists that any global system be based upon values and human rights. This has been a source of tensions and division.

It stands to reason that whatever the foundations for a system of a global society of nations, there must be a common ground to base it upon. Unfortunately, neither human rights, moral principles, nor values are present to the degree necessary in many participant nations to sustain an international society.

That leaves only shared interests as the basis for relations – And therein lies the fatal flaw that destines a global order to crisis and ruin.

For if a relationship is built upon values, then principles dictate behavior, and one may endure suffering on the basis of principle. However, shared interests are only shared as long as nothing changes. This is not the case in an ever changing world where one may benefit at the demise of another, or gain at the expense of another. Moreover, suffering in itself may constitute a change in interests.

Any system built upon interests alone without guiding principles as a foundation, can only come to capitulation and servitude, or a great dividing conflict.

Henry Kissenger, one of the chief architects of this brewing crisis, was correct in his warning – but it applies to those like him, for whom the establishment of an international system, for the purpose obtaining peace, is the highest priority.

“The inevitable result: massive instability and insecurity.”

For it is not the grandness of the structure, but the solidity of the foundation it rests upon which determines whether it will stand or fall.

America was first founded upon values and principles, the democratic process followed as a product, it hardly happens the other way around.

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