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Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 49

Face of the New World Order

Tuesday 25 November 2008, by Nikhil Chakravartty

Turmoil in heaven—the heaven which is presided over by the supreme superpower of the day, possessing History’s largest number of deadly nuclear bombs and missiles, the Cruise to the Patriot, who at the same time lords it over the world’s largest money-lending bank. Yes, in such a country advertised the world over as the ultimate repository of power and affluence—in the mighty United States of America—there has erupted a spate of violence brought about by fierce racial hatred.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rulers of the USA triumphantly claimed that they were the real victors of the Cold War, the doughty upholders of freedom and democracy. Soon after, President Bush flamboyantly talked of building a new world order—of course, under the leadership of the United States of America. Today Bush’s new world order lies in a shambles amidst the debris of the race riot in glittering Los Angeles touched off by the release of the guilty White policemen charged with public brutality upon a Black citizen. The words of Bill Clinton, one of the challengers of Bush in this year’s Presidential poll, bring out of the real face of this Market paradise:

The crisis in California is now our fire bell in the night. We are not a community anymore. We have too many people who are totally divorced from life, too many people without a home, a job, without a future. Government of, by and for the American people does not exist for millions of American people.

The magnitude of the sense of shock that the California episode has touched off round the world can be gauged from the fact that President Mitterand of France has taken the extraordinary step of commenting adversely on the sorry state of affairs in the USA with pointedly adverse reference to President Bush’s domestic policy record. France is no insignificant power, nor is the USA an insignificant ally of France. Perhaps this is the first case of a member of the club of the world’s great powers, the exclusive G-7, coming out in open criticism of the internal affairs of another member of the great-power club. The cracks are becoming increasingly difficult to cover up.

Another incident of recent occurrence sharply brings out that everything is not lovely in the garden of the affluent North. Germany, which has emerged as the aspiring superpower dominating Europe, the new burgeoning European Community, is overtaken by an internal crisis. The Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Genscher, has suddenly resigned from the government and has retired. Genscher is no run-of-the-mill politician. He has had the longest innings of all the present Foreign Ministers of Europe. He was the architect of the policy that led to the unification of Germany and the merger of East Germany into the FRG. Although no adequate explanation has been given about Genscher’s resignation from the government, it appears that he stepped down from office because of the mounting criticism of the very act of German unification.

For the last two years, Genscher alongwith Chancellor Kohl basked in the euphoric sunshine as the author of the long-looked-for unification of the German fatherland. This year the sunshine has disappeared, and in its place have come dark, lowering clouds. The prevailing unprecedented strikes and industrial unrest provide a measure of the difficulties besetting the country. The social and economic consequences of the unification have cut heavily into the popularity of the German Government. Not only the updating of East Germany’s economy, but the arrival and merger of the millions from that region into the well-knit German society and economy, could not but have their deleterious impact. Not that this was not anticipated by the more far-seeing in the German intellectual community, but neither the magnitude nor the intensity of the problems thrown up was clearly spelt out by the political leadership, which only sought to cash in on the accomplishment of the unification itself. This is the sombre background of Genscher’s sudden resignation from the German Government.

These two incidents, the California riots and Genscher’s retirement, though far apart, brings home to perceptive observers of the international scene that the end of the Cold War is not going to usher in an era of peace and tranquillity at least in the Western world. Now that the bogey of the Soviet threat can no longer be exploited—the main fare of the Cold War menu—the governments of the North, each of them will have to face formidable problems at home. It is getting abundantly clear to the public of these countries that with all the excitement about the triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, the problems of socio-economic concern cannot be pushed under the carpet, rather they have to be inscribed on the agenda of the day. If the command economy has collapsed in the vast stretch from Berlin to Vladivostok and from Budapest to Alma Ata, it does not necessarily follow that the Market can bring the manna from heaven.

All this brings out how hollow is President Bush’s new world order. The onset of turbulence in the USA and Europe cannot be dismissed as a passing phenomenon. Rather these are the indicators of the malaise for which the market system has no cure. The entrenched establishments of the North can no longer pass the burden of the market economy on to the back of the underdog of their own countries. The assertion of democracy on a world scale has had its inevitable impact on the common public of the developed world. In this new awakening, the underprivileged and the less privileged are no longer going to take things lying down.

In this predicament, it is but natural that the bosses of the North should turn to the South to squeeze it, so that their own profits, power and affluence may be maintained. It is not without significance that Carla Hills’ bullying against. India should come about the same time as the Blacks in anger poured out into the streets of California. It is the same driving force of super-profit that has led Washington to try to blackmail both India and Russia not to negotiate the rocket sale deal, so that our country is compelled to buy the US rocket at a higher price, or close down its own indigenous satellite communication.

The super-profit of the giant multinationals have to be ensured at all costs, and hence an extra dose of squeeze of the developing countries. The design behind the GATT Dunkel Draft and Carla Hills Super-301 is the same—how to capture wholesale the market of the Third World while stifling all possibilities of the Third World having a foothold on the world trade.

This is a new variant of the economic strategy behind the East India Company that enabled the financing of the Industrial Revolution right upto the seizing of the market of the colonies whose indigenous industries were exterminated to make room for the super-profit for the British business. The City was the engine of the Raj. It is a similar axis between the Multinationals, the Fund-Bank and the President, all converging on Washington that has been trying to draw up the blueprint of a new world order in the period of the technological revolution.

But if the empires came tumbling down beginning with the one in India, as the unlettered millions were awakened and led to freedom by a frail man whom the imperial ideologue of the day had sneeringly called the half-naked fakir, today too the mighty humanity of the Third World, far more aware than their forefathers in the first half of the century, would give no peace to the descendants of the Raj tradition who occupy the White House and the other power-centres in the North. Compared to those in the imperial era, the great powers of today have to face a far more awakened humanity in the Third World, because it has tasted freedom and would not let it go.

Secondly, in the countries of the North, the public opinion today is much more vigilant in defence of democracy and freedom anywhere in the world. The democratic pretensions of the rulers in the North can be seen through much more easily by their own people as also by the Third World. This can be seen very clearly in the troubles that beset President Bush and his fellow-travelling rulers of the North as they are confronted by the combined stand of the environmentalists in the North with the large contingent of the governments of the South in drawning up the inventory of business for the Rio conference.

All this is bound to have its impact on the vigilant public of our country. The policy of the supplicant with the begging bowl that Manmohan Singh has come to symbolise today, both at home and abroad, will not prevail. Already this policy dictated by the World Bank is becoming hard to implement at home. Add to it the pathetic image of the United States as a house getting divided against itself, trying to play the Big Bully abroad. No self-respecting citizen of this great country can be cowed down by such braggadocio, and those who prefer to kowtow to such bullying shall soon find it too hot to run the affairs of this country.

On the other hand, the bonds of common struggle for democracy and social justice shall be forged in no time between the crusaders for a just order in the North, whether they are at Los Angeles or New York, London, Paris or Berlin, or for that matter in Moscow and Tashkent, with the mighty legion of the deprived and the dispossessed in the far-flung Third World. It is a shame that neither our democratically elected government, nor the ruling party that backs it, has uttered, uptil the moment of writing this column, a word of solidarity with those millions in the United States fighting back a new brand of apartheid.

Let us not harbour the servile mentality of a debt slave.

(Mainstream, May 16, 1992)

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