C) Political Globalization – a) Theory and Practice
When we talk about Political Globalization today, we naturally mean American Political Globalization, since the United States of America is the sole and undisputed Political, Economic and Military Superpower in the world presently; playing out this “hegemonic historical role” since the end of World War II.
The U.S.S.R during the 20th century , had attempted to become a Political, Economic and Military Superpower after World War II, constructing its own Political Globalization as the most prominent and well organized geopolitical center of International Communism. It affected directly the socio-political and the socio-economic makeup and evolution of many Central and Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Hungary and East Germany, while also influencing indirectly the socio-political and the socio-economic foundations and development of non-Western countries such as China, Vietnam , North Korea and Egypt. This Communist Globalization scheme initiated by the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1919,eventually did not succeed because of the political rise of Communist China after World War II as the Soviet Union’s non-Western “alter ego” and also through the political and economic dismantling of the U.S.S.R after 1990.
Our text on the Political Globalization created and promoted by the United States of America after World War II, is made up of 3 sections.
The first section describes the political evolution of that country from its foundation in 1776 . It demonstrates historically how the United States had functioned as a Western Imperialistic Power, not as a Western Republic, since it did not conform practically and actively to the 3 main tenets of liberal ideology, which is Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, on an individual and on a societal level.
The second section of our analysis on Political Globalization deals with the early stages of American Imperialism in relation to the American government’s policy of subjugation, domination and exploitation of the First Indian Nations of North America and the Afro-American slaves under its administration.
The third section of our text on American Political Globalization historically begins after World War II until the present day, enumerating and defining the political tools, the policies and the strategies of the American government which legitimized , maintained and reinforced America’s “international hegemonic status” as the only Global Superpower, politically, militarily, economically and culturally.
I shall begin this section of my essay in a somewhat unorthodox way, briefly recounting two historical narratives whose existential essence is directly related to today’s Globalization, whose goal is for a few number of individuals to secure absolute and total control of all of the world’s resources, both human and material. It also aims at manipulating the minds and the hearts of all human beings, installing a Totalitarian World Order, similar to that described in George Orwell’s book “1984” or in Hollywood’s science-fiction movie “Matrix I”, produced by the Wachowski brothers in 1999.
Our first historical narrative is a well-known ancient Greek myth, which talks about King Midas and his “golden touch”. This ancient fable explains the “human madness” and the “human tragedy” resulting from “human greed” and “human avarice”. It is “human materialism” that undermines true human happiness and human contentment, which should be free and universal , “with no price tags”!!!
This ancient Greek myth goes as follows:
’ Midas was the powerful and rich king of Phrygia, an affluent state in Asia Minor. He lived in a luxurious palace with his daughter, who he loved immensely, being his only child. Even though Midas was a very powerful and very wealthy monarch, he believed that human happiness stemmed solely from the acquisition and the accumulation of material wealth, especially gold. Gold was his life’s obsession!!!
One day , Dionysus , one of the most influential of the Greek Olympian gods, was passing through the kingdom on his journey in Asia Minor, his native homeland. Dionysus was the god of wine and revelry. One of Dionysus favourite semi-divine companions, the satyr Silenus, was left behind in the long journey. As a consequence, Silenus decided to sleep it off in one of the famous rose gardens of Midas. The next day, King Midas found Silenus sleeping in his rose garden and immediately recognized him. He then invited him to spend a few days in his palace.
Eventually, King Midas accompanied Silenus back to Dionysus, safe and sound. Dionysus felt very grateful towards Midas for his hospitality to his loved companion, promising him to grant him any wish. After thinking for a while, Midas asked Dionysus to give him the power “to turn into gold” anything he touched. Dionysus suggested to Midas to think carefully about what his wish could entail, but King Midas remained adamant. Dionysus had no other choice but to grant him his wish, telling him that from the next day, everything he touched would turn into gold.
The following day, when Midas woke up, he was curious to see if his wish had been granted by the Olympian god. So, he went and touched his table which immediately turned into gold. He was so thrilled, that he went around his palace touching every object he could find. After all this ecstatic activity, he sat at his table to eat his breakfast, cutting a rose to smell it. The rose turned into gold and there was no fragrance. Midas then thought that he could smell the roses without touching them. The next moment , he took a grape from his plate to eat it, but it also turned into gold and he couldn’t taste it or eat it. The same thing happened with a slice of bread he wanted to eat and a glass of water that he wanted to drink from. Midas was terrified and he started to cry in desperation. His only daughter heard all the commotion and entered his room to console him. When Midas took her in his arms, she was metamorphosed into a lifeless golden statue. Midas very distraught raised his arms to the heavens and prayed to Dionysus to take back his wish , since it had become a “terrible curse”!!!
Dionysus felt sorry for Midas and told him to go to a nearby river, Pactolus, and wash his hands in it. Midas followed the god’s instructions and returned to his palace. Now, everything he touched turned back to its natural state. He instantly went and hugged his daughter , bringing her “back to life”!!! Midas was now truly happy!!!
From this “terrifying experience”, Midas became a better man and a more generous person. He was thankful for the good things life offered, especially the “simple” and “precious” ones, like the love of his daughter, the fragrance of a rose or a refreshing glass of water!!!(https://www.greeka.com)
The second historical narrative which is also biographical, takes place in the 20th century, in North America, and more specifically in Canada. It concerns a real everyday personality who was considered maybe the richest businessman in Canada and one of the wealthiest people in the world. His name is Paul Desmarais(1927-2013), a French Canadian, raised and based in the province of Ontario in Sudbury.
Paul Desmarais came from a wealthy French Canadian family, whose father, Jean-Noel Desmarais was a successful lawyer and businessman. After attending exclusive private schools and prestigious universities in North America and Europe, he began a very successful career in the private sector. He eventually founded his own company, Power Corporation of Canada, a giant transnational enterprise which dealt with transportation, banking, communication , and the lumber and paper industries. He owned large house properties in Canada, in Florida, in California, in New York and in southern France. In 2007, he was classed as the 4th richest person in Canada, and one of the richest entrepreneurs in the world. His personal fortune was estimated then at approximately 6 billion American dollars!!!(http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/).
In the early 1980s , when I was still living in Montreal, Canada, Paul Desmarais gave a personal interview to a French Canadian TV reporter, who worked for Radio Canada, the French version of the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The hour long interview of Paul Desmarais was in French ,and I watched the entire program , being curious about what this famous French Canadian magnate would confide to the woman reporter.
The woman , who was very experienced and successful in her craft, presented her questions in a very direct and forceful way, but simply and gracefully. She inquired about every aspect of his life, from economics to politics, from his family upbringing and his family, to his business ventures and his vast empire, which involved transnational commercial and financial interests. Paul Desmarais answered all the questions the woman reporter put to him , in a calm , clear and direct manner.
Near the very end of this interview, the woman reporter asked him a final question on a very personal level. She said to him, ‘You sir, were raised in a very affluent family environment, you had the best education money can buy, you have a happy and healthy family, you have travelled around the world many times, you have houses in many places and you are a very successful international businessman and one of the richest persons not only in Canada but in the world. What else do you want?’ Paul Desmarais replied very quickly, in a very calm and sincere way by saying, ‘I want everything’, and he really meant it!!!
The woman reporter at first felt uneasy with his simple response, but she soon composed herself, knowing from experience that this very brief and honest response was the only objective answer Paul Desmarais could give. She understood that through his particular “state of mind” , as a very powerful and successful international businessman, he could not fathom or perceive any type of limitation to his entrepreneurial drive of acquiring more and more wealth and power, “till kingdom come”, exactly like King Midas of Phrygia thousands of years ago!!!
From these two descriptions of famous historical personalities, separated by more than 3,000 years, we could make the following observations concerning the nature of the modern human being (in contrast to primitive man) and the social culture he has constructed progressively through time.
First of all, we see that the modern human being through history has by instinct been, self-serving, avaricious and materialistic, to the detriment of his own personal quality of life, his mental integrity and his comprehension of the natural limitations of his mortal existence. These powerful human qualities and behavioral tendencies have undermined the general welfare of all of humanity and the welfare of our planet; they have stifled a well balanced and progressive human evolution which would have benefited everyone, anywhere , and at any time!!!
The second important conclusion that we can come to, relative to the “modern human specie”, is that in ancient human cultures , like in Ancient Greece or in Ancient India, almost all of the human traits that we know of today, remained constant and permanent in all of their manifestations. Nevertheless , at the same time, there were active socio-cultural tools and incentives in the everyday life of people so as to be able to distinguish what were the beneficial and what the destructive aspects of human nature, within the context of the general societal good and the human mental equilibriums.
In ancient cultures, “popular wisdom” was critical to human survival and human progress, which through time evolved into a well structured “dialectic thought process”. This ancient popular wisdom is made more evident within the oral and written forms of ancient religious tenets and ancient mythologies, in ancient verses and in ancient narratives such as ancient fables, ancient epics and ancient ceremonial tragedies. The distinction between what is detrimental and what is beneficial to the quality of human life in general , and what represents human virtue in relation to human vice, was made clear to all, through popular social culture.
At the present time, especially in Western culture, there is really no popular wisdom and no dialectic thought instilled and ingrained in popular human culture. What exists today, is the prevalence of “virtual social reality”, based exclusively on egocentric and self-serving “materialistic consumer priorities”. There is no critical criteria of what is “practically” and “pragmatically” beneficial to the individual and to society as a whole, since the dominant “virtual social environment” has produced a one dimensional, homogenized and passive human entity!!!
Human thought, human feelings and human expression have been blunted or repressed by a Globalized Ideology of “western virtual reality” which has very little in common with the infinite complexities of life and of human nature. These are the main reasons why the Rich and the Powerful of the world today, a miniscule proportion of the world’s population , have been able to control and dominate our lives. In our Virtual Social Culture these “powerful scavengers” have become the “prototypes” of our living standards, even though we know that through their “psychotic fixation” for power and wealth, they are distorting and dismantling our everyday existence, our human psyche and our own planet!!!
All of this is “pure human madness” within a psychiatric clinical context, forcing more and more people around the world, of all ages and social backgrounds, to consume daily, vast amounts of anti-depressant and analgesic-opioid drugs (with the collusion of psychiatrists and transnational drug companies), just to cope with the schizophrenic and self-destructive “virtual reality” they are living through!!!
Let us now try to provide an objective definition of Today’s Political Globalization as prescribed by some well -established socio-political scientists quoted in Wikipedia, on their website en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_Globalization.
William R. Thompson, professor of international relations, has defined Political Globalization as “the expansion of a global political system and its institutions in which inter-regional transactions(including, but certainly not limited to trade) are managed”. Valentine M. Moghadam, professor of sociology, defined it as, “an increasing trend toward multilateralism (in which the United Nations plays a key role), toward an emerging ‘transnational state apparatus’, and toward the emergence of national and international non-governmental organisations that act as watchdogs over government and have increased their activities and influence.”
Then, Manfred B. Steger, professor of global and transnational sociology, specifies that Political Globalization “refers to the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe.” Finally, Colin Crouch, professor of sociology and political science, writes that , “Political globalization refers to the growing power of institutions of global governance such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the World Trade Organization(WTO). But it also refers to the spread and influence of international non-governmental organizations, social movement organizations and transnational advocacy networks , operating across borders and constituting a kind of global civil society.
All of the above definitions present some valid aspects or real components of Political Globalization, each one emphasizing and isolating some specific dimensions of it. For example, we have ‘the expansion of a global political system and its institutions’. Also, there is the fact of ‘the increasing trend toward multilateralism in which the United Nations plays a key role’. Then, we observe ,’ the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe’. And finally, we become conscious of , ‘the growing power of institutions of global governance such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the World Trade Organization(WTO)’.
As I have already noted, each one of these well- established scholars describes only “a small piece” of the “complete puzzle”, which should accurately reflect the real image of today’s Political Globalization. This “scholarly intent” is done I think on purpose, so that the real essence of the whole puzzle will not be revealed, which is American Political Globalization or the American Empire!!!!
All of the different components or the pieces of the puzzle which represent some aspects of today’s Political Globalization, are practically and pragmatically directly defined, controlled and manipulated by American transnational political and economic organizations and interests. American hegemonic societal entities are able to dominate and monopolize “inter-regional transactions” and “international non-governmental organizations” such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, or international social movement organizations and transnational advocacy networks such as Green Peace, Amnesty International and the International Court in the Hague. The puzzle pieces if put together, show the image of an “enormous elephant”. This “enormous elephant” is non- other than American Political Globalization or the American Empire!!!
I used the metaphor of the “enormous elephant” to represent the American Empire or American Political Globalization because it reminds me of the ancient Indian fable of the “elephant and the blind men”, since the blind men in the fable are like the political scientists defining Political Globalization, who by touching a certain part of the elephant, an unknown animal to them , tried to give their own personal description of it.
The Indian fable goes like this:
“Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day , the villagers told them, ‘Hey, there is an elephant in the village today !’
They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, ‘Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.’ All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.
‘Hey, the elephant is a pillar,’ said the first man who touched his leg.
‘Oh, no! it is like a rope,’ said the second man who touched the tail.
‘Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of tree,’ said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
‘It is like a big hand fan,’ said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
‘It is like a huge wall ,’ said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
‘It is like a solid pipe,’ said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. And the story continues…’’.(https://www.jainworld.com)
From my readings on today’s Political Globalization or American Political Globalization, the closest I got to an objective reference or a general description of the Present Political Globalization was not from a scholar or a specialist of the social sciences, but from a very powerful and a very successful world political figure, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.
On February 10, 2007, at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Vladimir Putin gave a speech which was followed by a discussion with international reporters. The conference was attended by politicians, military officials, entrepreneurs and experts from more than 40 nations.
In the beginning of his speech , President Putin expressed his opinion about the general state of world affairs, emphasizing the globalizing influence of the United States as a World Superpower.
He said the following:”…However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day, it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision- making….It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in the light of the interests and opinions of the minority.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are , as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and of course, first and foremost the United States, which has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations…’’.(en.kremlin.ru)
We therefore see, that Political Globalization is a very powerful tool or world strategy of the United States for it to secure and reinforce its world hegemony, politically, economically and culturally. An Imperialistic American International Policy has been dominant from the founding of the country in 1776, up to the present day. As a consequence, initially, we shall refer to two influential American political personalities who openly asserted America’s historical right to function as a Modern World Empire, then(after American Independence) and now.
The first American historical figure is Thomas Paine(1737-1809), who in 1777 became the Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the American Congress, and whose pamphlets “Common Sense” or “Right of Man”, were the most widely read political tracts of his time. The political beliefs of Thomas Paine of an “Exceptional America”, greatly influenced the ideals of the first political leaders of an Independent United States, leaders like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They also influenced the average American Citizen (white Christian male with property) of the first Thirteen American States.
Paine’s political priorities also defined many of the ideological tenets of the American political culture from that epoch, up to the present time.”…Thomas Paine began his rallying call for the independence of the American colonies , with the message ‘the cause America is in great measure the cause of all mankind’. This was a statement intended to mark America as both intimately connected to the rest of the world and at the same time set apart and exceptional. America was for Paine the ‘asylum for mankind’, the place where freedom which had been expelled from every other part of the globe, could make its stand. This imagery, conjured by one of the revolution’s most influential pens, has remained central to American identity…”.(https://www.psa.ac.uk)
The modern version of Thomas Paine in the United States today, is Richard Nathan Haass(1951- ), who has served as president and official spokesperson of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003. Mr. Haass has served in the past, as senior advisor to America’s Defence Department(1979-1980) and to America’s State Department(1981-1985). Under the presidency of George H.W. Bush(1989-1993), he was Special Advisor to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs.
The Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921, it is an American non-profit and non-governmental “think tank”***, which specializes in the foreign policies of the United States and International Affairs. Its members include senior politicians, more than a dozen secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, and senior media figures.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_Foreign_Relations)
(*** A “think tank” is a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems-Oxford Living Dictionaries )
Richard Nathan Haass, a major political strategist for the United States government, projects his foreign policy views in his book “The Reluctant Sheriff”, published in 1997, where he essentially defines the major components of the political ideology of Globalization by the United States government, and of course that of The Council on Foreign Relations. In his book, Mr.Haass expresses his firm belief that the United States should function as an “informal empire” and that its foreign policy should be an “imperial foreign policy”!!!
Mr. Haass in his book “The Reluctant Sheriff” states that, “…what will prove crucial is the ability of the United States to persuade others to adopt and abide by its preferences-and the will and the ability of the United States to act as a sheriff, to mobilize itself and others, to insist on them when resistance emerges…”.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_N._Haass)
One could say that the bases of the institutional political configuration of the United States were to a large degree defined first by the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776,and by the American Constitution , which was written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and has been in operation since 1789.(http://www.senate.gov/)
With the Declaration of Independence , the Thirteen American colonies, which were at war with Britain, took a concerted first step toward forming the United States of America by announcing officially that they were no longer under the rule of the British Kingdom. The ideological and the political emphasis of this official Declaration was on the civil rights of all people, who “are created equal”, and on the protection of those civil rights by the American government , whose legal power is derived from “the consent of the governed” through the election of their representatives.
The fundamental human rights as quoted in the Declaration of Independence were Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This document and its institutional tenets had no real legal power , especially after the activation of the American Constitution in 1789.(http://www.shmoop.com)
By examining the semantics of the text of the Declaration of Independence, one could conclude that its political and ideological criteria are based on the concepts of Democracy and of Liberalism within the context of Western Cultural Tradition. Therefore, in order to clarify if these ideological assumptions concerning the American political culture in its inception are valid, we shall provide formal definitions of these political concepts.
From https://dictionary.cambridge.org, “Democracy” is defined as “…the belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves…”
From http://www.dictionary.com, ‘Liberalism” is defined as “…a political or social philosophy, advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary system of government, non- violent modification of political, social , or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and government guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties…”
The fact that at the time, meaning during the end of the 18th century , women, slaves and native Indians, were not considered legally as equal to white adult males, their fundamental civil rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness(Declaration of Independence) , could not be constitutionally defended or guaranteed by the American government and its Judiciary. Similarly, as women , slaves and indigenous Indians had not been accepted as full citizens, they were prohibited at participating in the country’s “democratic” electoral process.
Now, let us look at the Constitution of the United States of America, which went into effect in 1789. It is the most important legal document defining the government of the country and its political culture***,establishing a Constitutional Republic.
(*** political culture- a set of attitudes , beliefs, and sentiments which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behavior in the political system.(https://www.encyclopedia.com)
First, we should clarify what a Constitutional Republic is. From https://legaldictionary.net, we have the following definition: “ A constitutional republic is a form of government in which the head of the state , as well as other officials, are elected by the country’s citizens to represent them. Those representatives must then follow the rules of that country’s constitution in governing the people.”
When the American Constitution was adopted , the country’s citizens who elected their representatives had to be white adult males with property. Women , indigenous Indians and African slaves who contributed immensely to the country’s economy, especially in the agricultural sector, were excluded from “the electorate”, since they were not legally classified as citizens of the United States. That is exactly the reason why the word “democracy” is never mentioned within the text of the American Constitution.
Mr.Alan Keyes , an African American politician, who served in the American Government as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs(1985-1987), emphasizes this institutional distortion within the text of the American Constitution, and explains the political motives behind this unjustifiable omission by saying that, “…I often wonder at the fact that many people who claim to support the U.S. Constitution, have utterly abandoned its key terms and provisions. One of the signs of that abandonment has been the use of the term “democracy” to describe the form of government established by the Constitution of the United States. Yet, that term is nowhere used in our key founding documents-not in the Constitution , and not in the Declaration of Independence, which summarizes the Constitution’s premises. The reason for this is simple. Democracy does not achieve what America’s Founders understood to be essential purpose of constitutional government…”.(http://dailycaller.com)
Concluding, the United States of America is neither a Constitutional Republic nor a Democracy, typically, practically and pragmatically. Also, when “the first three words” of the text of the American Constitution is “We The People”, these key words refer exclusively to “white males with property”. Similarly, in the same spirit of American “virtual reality”, the website of the American Senate, when it presents an overview of the American Constitution, it notes that,”…For over two centuries, the Constitution has remained in force because its framers successfully separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of the majority rule and minority rights of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments…”.(https://www.senate.gov/)
Just by considering the trials and tribulations the native American Indians and the African Americans had to endure for more than 250 years , under the political rule of the American government, I would have to say that the American Senate “is pulling our leg”!!!
The closest to the word or concept of “equality” in the American Constitution is found in the 14th Amendment , added to the text in 1868. This amendment contains a clause stating that ,”…no state can deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…”.(https://www.shmoop.com)
This institutional and ideological travesty imposed by the Fathers of the American Nation on the final text of the American Constitution (as related to the political concepts of “democracy”, ”equality”, ”liberalism” and the institutional configuration of a “constitutional republic”), will become more evident when we will observe the inhumane, immoral and unlawful treatment which native Indians and African slaves, and later on African Americans experienced under American internal policies.
We shall also discover this institutional and ideological travesty through America’s imperialist foreign policies, building its own empire from the beginning of the founding of that nation on July 4, 1776.”…Expansion and empire building were concerns for American leaders as soon as national independence became a reality, and issues of growth and hegemony grew more important into the first half of the nineteenth century…”.(http://www.americanforeignrelations.com)
First President of the United States
|The First Empire of the United States|