The new world disorder

Sam Smith

While the phrase “new world order” has many definitions, these definitions tend to have one thing in come: whoever is using the phrase – from Henry Kissinger to Barack Obama to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – thinks they have a right to define it their own way.

Consider this recent report:

During a recent speech in Poland, former US National   Security Advisor  Zbigniew Brzezinski warned fellow elitists that a worldwide “resistance” movement to “external control” driven by “populist activism” is threatening to derail the move towards a new world order….

Brzezinski stated that American domination was no longer possible because of an accelerating social change driven by “instant mass communications such as radio, television and the Internet,” which have been cumulatively stimulating “a universal awakening of mass political consciousness.”

Brzezinski concluded that “persistent and highly motivated populist resistance of politically awakened and historically resentful peoples to external control has proven to be increasingly difficult to suppress.”

It is fair to say, given his past record, that Brzezinski was not praising this state of affairs. Like other new world orderlies, he assumes the best world to be one in which folks like himself get to call the shots.

But what is new in all this is the recognition that the old ways of elite control are in trouble. People have somehow forced their way back into the picture.

This is the dilemma that leaders like Obama face. They want to control the world but no longer can with the ease of a John Foster Dulles or Henry Kissinger.

That’s what we’re seeing in the Mid East right now. And in Brazil. And maybe some day in America as well. After all, if the Egyptians can throw out the Muslim Brotherhood, America should be at least able to simmer down the Tea Party.

The reactions that cause these things to happen have, in recent times, fallen into the category of rebellion and resistance. That is to say  people are rising up against wrong often without a clear idea of, or consensus about, its alternative.

The threatened elite often refer to this (as did Brzezinski) as a “populist” uprising, when in fact the populists did far more than rebel. They knew where they were headed and changed America as they went there.

But rebellion is a good place to start. I’m comfortable with it in part because I’m a child of the 1950s, a time when resistance withdrew from and redrew culture without really threatening the mainstream version. Yet we were, in many ways, the warmup band of the 1960s.

So the fact that the Egyptians, Brazilians and Occupiers seem to lack a clear direction neither surprises nor troubles me. It’s a normal first step. It just leaves me confused and uncertain.

Added to this are some of the changes in the rules of the game.

For example, to what extent is the Internet changing the culture of the Mid East? After all, the Web is not only a cave inhabited by all sorts of radicals, free thinkers and activists but a virtual nightclub with an infinite number of socially subversive rooms. American fundamentalists don’t keep their kids out such places for nothing.

Add to this the age factor. We ignore it in our land and we probably do in the MId East.  But the guardians of past rules and values don’t live forever.

Then there’s the explosion of the city throughout the world, the deathbed of many a tradition, assumption and belief. But the city out of control – as many are – also can create new generations of angry victims sick and tired of being sick and tired, without a clear destination.

In such ways, old elites lose power. Even their country may be a minor economic factor next to a bunch of international corporations, so being president or ambassador just doesn’t mean what it used to.

We have been moving into the anarchism of disorder for a some decades without recognizing or facing up to it. We fight a war on terror that no one can explain, invade Afghanistan for a decade and don’t even discuss it on the evening news, and sign trade agreements that damage our own economy because our CEOs and politicians long ago swore their allegience to a false new world order rather than to the old republic that gave them their power.

Meanwhile ordinary people try to survive the new world’s real disorder.

 

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