14 April 2011

Answering Questions #9 The UN and Colonialism, An Ignored Paradigm

Doesn't the recent UN action in Ivory Coast show the UN is in fact a growing global power?

Not at all. Ivory Coast lies squarely in the realm of Francophone Africa. Though the European powers raced to politically divest themselves of the colonies during the post-War period, they did not alleviate themselves of their interests. Instead they changed the mechanisms by which they control these countries, many of which were non-viable entities to begin with. They were lines drawn on a map more convenient to those drawing them than those who lived there.

Political control means having to micro-manage the entire political process. can involve the Colonial power in scandal, and lay a burden of responsibility on them when things go wrong.

The UN was meant to provide a new order, a new mechanism, a forum by which nations could debate and decide issues without going to war. However the way the UN was structured only the permanent members of the Security Council possess any power. In many ways it's quite reminiscent of the 19th century structure of 'The Powers' who would occasionally sit down and decide the fates of lands and peoples. In the modern world, dashing aristocrats gathering at spas would seem anachronistic. Instead we have political-corporate elites gathering in the Swiss Alps or some other resort. Things haven't changed all that much.

The world has grown much more complex and the mechanisms, the means of rule have had to be repackaged. In a democratic age, public perception and legitimacy are important concepts and propaganda considerations.

In the end the UN just ends up being a great organization for distributing food and giving a cloak of legitimacy for the modern form of Colonial Powers. Many have been saying this for years and I think they're largely correct.

The removal of Gbagbo was not an impressive display of UN resolve. It was France, a bitter formerly Macro-now-Micro-Colonial power, cleaning house in their old backyard of West Africa. They lost their claim to Southeast Asia to the Americans who in turn lost it to the Soviets and Vietnamese. As an aside, Southeast Asia today is in flux, but is in the process of being conquered by America's most powerful tool….its culture. America's empire is more powerful than any since Rome because it is so penetrating. It's not just about politics and military, its music, movies, industry, technology, language, trade, corporations and franchises.

So did France lead the charge in Ivory Coast because they so strongly believe in the altruistic humanitarian motives laid out in the UN charter? Or was that a means for them to intervene in a situation within their sphere that was getting out of hand? Did they intervene because if they sit on the sideline someone else will and thus silently steal away their influence?

True media will indeed talk about some of these issues, but that does not include anything in the mainstream. CNN, FOX, MSNBC, BBC, even 'liberal' NPR and PBS aren't going to touch this side of the story. Why? They're all establishment media outlets. They accept the paradigms given to them by the bureaucracies and institutions that define their society.

True Liberals (in the classical sense) and Christians will consider this outside the circle, or should. The far Right often accepts the circle, they just want to wind back the clock, shrink it, adjust it. Same circle, just often an anachronistic version of it.

This is why strangely I often find myself more in agreement with those on the far Left. Or I should say, I respect their opinions more than those who operate within the accepted paradigm. Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Chalmers Johnson, and yes, (gasp) Michael Moore would be good examples. These people are lost…but they're asking the right questions. There are a few exceptions on the Right but they are usually classified in the Libertarian camp, people like Paul Craig Roberts, Margolis and Lew Rockwell. I don't agree with them anymore than I do those on the far Left, but they're at least thinking and worth the read. Robert Kaplan is always a good read though I usually don't agree with him. He's often pretty Right-wing but he's thoughtful and asks great questions.

The UN is a handy tool for the Powers, nothing more. Anytime a real issue arises for which the UN was designed…like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is emasculated and after awhile the General Secretary becomes this pathetic figure making declarations and demands that no one pays any attention to. Without 'The Powers' to back him, he's all bark with no bite. Apart from The Powers and their specialized mechanisms like NATO...the UN is nothing.

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