World government is not "going to happen." It is happening, right now -- in a multitude of ways, the world is coming together, for better or for worse. As the European Union grows, and comes more completely together (as it does daily), it will shortly become the world's second, and perhaps primary, SuperPower. The IMF and WTO, separately, are weaving together the world's monetary interest into a single economic entity. The Kyoto treaty is attempting to wrap it's arms around global environmental damage, and the ICC around international atrocity. And, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, the United Nations is the focal point for almost all international exchange.
We're standing on the outside of this, in almost every instance. The EU governs itself, the IMF and WTO are governed primarily by corporate greed (this is the one area in which we are most involved, through our corporations, primarily). We refused Kyoto. We refused the ICC. We treat the United Nations with disrespect and contempt, unless politeness suits our purpose. The US, it seems, especially under the current administration, wants no part in world governance, unless "world governance" means "the rest of y'all do what we tell ya to do." As a result, we are being passed over. Passed by. Because we insist that the only role we want to play is that of ruler, we've begun to lose our voice, our potential for input and real leadership, in the global arena. I'd argue that, right now, the only thing keeping us on the table is the pure muscle of our huge economy and military might. We are the rich bully -- the "Blaine," if you will (for Pretty in Pink fans) -- of international affairs. We're invited to the party 'cause we've got the cash and the body, even though the world knows we're unlikely to come, and, if we do show up, we're more likely to pick a fight than to add to the conversation.
Our current president cannot, and, in fact, is unwilling at a fundamental level, to fix this. His stubbornness, arrogance, and disregard for the people of the world in general will not allow it. John Kerry may not be able to fix this, either -- after the past four years especially, it is a monumental task. But at least he appears willing to try. I think, with our support, he may succeed.
Tonight brings us the first Presidential debate. The subject is foreign policy, and will hinge primarily on Iraq and the War on Terror, certainly. Iraq represents more than just a war in the Middle East during this election. Iraq represents:
- deception on the part of this administration
- disregard for the opinions of the american people
- disregard for the opinions of the world population
- insensitivity to other cultures
- disregard for American lives in the face of political gain
- disregard for human life in general
- disregard for the studied opinions and, indeed, lives, of our military personnel
- lack of commitment to the actual declared "War on Terror"
- inability to admit error, and take corrective action
- the use of fear and intimidation to retain power
- a growing international anti-American sentiment
- disrespect for the UN and its members
- an inability for this administration to plan for the consequences of its actions
- and even more.
Since we're getting close, and this issue is so important, there's a lot of reading below. I encourage you to slog through all of it, if you can. What has happened with our war of choice in Iraq is almost beyond belief. It's our duty to learn about it and, whatever the outcome of this election (fingers crossed), make certain it does not happen again.
- Baghdad Year Zero ( Naomi Klein, Harper's)
- Match Iraq Policy to Reality (Jessica Mathew, Washington Post)
- The bubble boy (Sidney Blumenthal, Salon.com)
- Hell (Phillip Robertson, Salon.com)
- Red Alert (Matthew Brzezinski, Mother Jones)
- Bush's decisions defined by ideology (Walter Williams, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- The Cowardly Broadcasting System (Mary Jacoby, Salon.com)
- The Afghan effect? (James K. Galbraith, Salon.com)
- Uncle Sam is hard at work for U.S. corporations (Walter Williams, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- "Fantasy" clashes with reality over Iraq policy (Mary Jacoby, Salon.com)
- Who Kills Hostages in Iraq? (Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi, Al Zawra)
- Turning point (David J. Morris, Salon.com)
- The "war is lost" (Sidney Blumenthal, Salon.com)
- Autumn in Iraq, when death grows on trees (Stephen Farrell, the Australian)
- Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter (Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, The Guardian)
- Powell: Unlikely WMD Stocks Will Be Found in Iraq (Arshad Mohammed, Reuters)
- The Opportunity Costs of the Iraq War (Center for American Progress)
- How George Bush bankrupted the war on terror (Farhad Manjoo, Salon.com)
- The unwinnable war (James Carroll, Boston Globe)
- Bereuter: War in Iraq not justified (Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star)
- These Are Their Ends (Patrick C. Doherty, TomPaine.com)
- Asserting This War Has Made Us Safer Won't Make It So (Tom Maertens, Common Dreams)
- The Man Behind The Curtain (John Prados, TomPaine.com)
- US Removes Radioactive Material from Iraq in Secret Airlift (Greenpeace)
- Corrupted Intelligence (Ray McGovern, TomPaine.com)
- The Costs of Bush's War (Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Nation)
- Iraq: One Year Later (Craig Bridger, Clark Schpiell Productions)
- Iraq on the Record (presented by Rep. Henry Waxman)
*A note. All of these articles are availible to read for free. Salon.com articles require you sit through a 15 second advertsiement in order to receive a "Day Pass" to Salon content. Other sites may do the same. It's painless, I assure you, and worth it.