Caution is in order when world leaders find an idealistic motto for their plans for world politics, announcing a dream for a better world or a mission for humanity. The submissive habit of checking the leading personalities for credibility — whether they honestly mean what they say and have the means to keep their fine promises — doesn’t do. However hopeful or skeptical, however quickly or deeply disappointed civic-minded souls may be, they are all credulous.
One thing is clear to states as a result of the destruction of all sorts of capital, on whose success they and “we all” live: the services of financial institutions terminated through mismanagement are one, if not the, pillar of the common good. The economic capacity of the financial sector is to be maintained or, as the case may be, restored; the banks are to be enabled to use their financial power once gain. Their rescue is being carried out by the authorities providing the funds that the banks are authorized, and usually also able, to generate.
… not a pleasant sight
Anyone who expects a well-ordered world under the heading of world order is way off. Today’s order is an accumulation of “hot spots.” The biggest and most crucial, the “Middle East arc of crisis,” stretches from East Africa to Pakistan.
Osama Bin Laden
is an enemy of America, and he admits it. With openly displayed satisfaction at the strike that hit the U.S. on 9/11, he tells the world why this is only just:
The various “foreign affairs” a modern state pursues when dealing with its peers are not easily understood right away. This is not only because these affairs involve foreign matters far from the compass of one’s familiar concerns, but also to a considerable extent because of the way one comes into contact with them. One must acquaint oneself with the fact that major foreign political projects between states are now and then said to depend on exactly what kind of “atmosphere” exists between them.
And America wants to do a particularly thorough job in that part of the world where it has spotted the worst shortcomings: the Arab-Islamic world between Morocco and Afghanistan — a place the United States sees as being defined by the presence of a strong anti-Americanism. It has undertaken to combat this nuisance by military force wherever necessary, and has also initiated a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at bringing the virtues of free enterprise, democratic customs and the bourgeois rule of law to this troubling region.
When the German foreign minister regrets the loss of moral leadership on the part of the United States of America, and demands that it be immediately reinstituted; when Italian politicians from the opposition call for a withdrawal of their troops in view of the published cases of abuse; when Polish members of government contemplate the same, and when in the eyes of Bush’s rival for the presidency, the honor of the military is impaired by the wrong leaders, then it is quite obvious that a moral scandal is being turned into a political means.
“This unprecedented assault brought us face to face with a new enemy, and demanded that we think anew and act anew in order to protect our citizens and our values.” (Attorney General John Ashcroft before the U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, “Oversight of the Department of Justice,” May 25, 2002)
After 9/11, the U.S. government decreed the necessity of “thinking anew” the nation’s domestic security.
What goes for all the important institutions of the capitalist world goes for the World Trade Organization (WTO) too: hardly anybody wants to praise it. Those who wish to radiate global economic expertise like to rebuke it for its ‘conceptual weakness,’ its sorry willingness to compromise, its biased and wrong decisions, and the like. They worry about the excessive ‘influence of national egoism,’ and reproach it for its ‘failure.’ In all this, they are really only confirming their indestructible good faith in the WTO as an organization that actually exists to put the brakes on the ruinous competition between states, to bring about consensus in global trade and fairly distribute its blessings; in any case as a definite achievement. The expert commentary on the WTO conference in Seattle conformed to this line of thinking, a conference that was supposed to initiate a new ‘round’ of ‘liberalized’ cross-border business and yet didn’t even manage to create an agenda. Consistent with this, they reproached the — for whatever reasons — hostile demonstrators in Seattle for their ignorance of the true humanitarian mission of the organization; they feared narrow-minded national resistance to the perfectly good purpose of the conference; and they regretted the failure of the conference while expressing the hope that the flagging process of beneficent ‘deregulation’ of global business might continue as soon as possible under the aegis of the WTO as a kind of supranational regulatory authority. A quasi-legal authority over states for supervising the liberality of worldwide moneymaking just doesn’t seem at all paradoxical, or at least suspect, to global economic experts. They consider something like that in principle to be perfectly reasonable, even if its troubles — in this case the failed result of the conference — conspicuously reveal this organization to be about nothing but power struggles over trade policy — even with the drawing up of an agenda for future conferences — and show the widely welcomed “liberalization of world trade” to be nothing other than a pseudonym for the protection provided by the strongest economic powers for their national interests.
"The nation is at war. This war has two fronts: one is abroad, in Afghanistan; the second is here, defending the homeland." (White House spokesman, press conference October 24, 2001)