L. Neil Smith's
Number 189, September 9, 2002


We're Ready for World Government, God Help Us
by John Bottoms

Special to TLE

The Financial Times reported the results of their polling of Europeans and Americans on whether the US should invade Iraq. The results show the usual trends that most Americans favor the attack, while Europeans are of more mixed opinion. But the polls reveal a shocking acceptance of big government in general, and a one-world government in particular. A sizeable majority said the US should seek allied support and approval from the United Nations before any attack. Among the Europeans, a 10 percent approval for a unilateral US invasion grew to 60 percent with UN support. In fact, there are stories all over the place with comments about people being against the attack without UN approval.

Why? If top Iraqi military commanders had just defected with stories that Saddam was about to fire nuclear-tipped ICBMs at the US (assuming he had such weapons), and our satellite photos corroborated the story, we would be irresponsible to wait for the approval of others before destroying that capability; conversely, if there is insufficient provocation (as is the case right now), then no attack should take place no matter who approves. It seems that the majority of Europeans and Americans remain morally and intellectually as children, who are so unsure of what's right and wrong that they have to ask Mommy and Daddy. For Europeans especially, the biggest mother around is the UN.

Of course, the wording of the poll questionnaire was extremely biased toward big government. I'm sure it went something like, "Should the US seek the approval of other countries or the UN before invading Iraq?" and 65 percent said YES, just like they'd learned in their government schools. If, on the other hand, the question had been worded, "Do you trust the UN to set your country's foreign policy?" the results would have been markedly different. But it is just such biased questions that appear on our ballots, and historically we provide the proper Pavlovian response. While a majority of Europeans voted to join the EU, they never would have voted to give up their national sovereignty, though in the long run it amounts to the same thing.

With this kind of support in their pocket, the UN is feeling its growing power, and weaker countries are increasingly willing to use it to further their interests. Most recently, Russia is threatening a Security Council veto of a US attack should the opportunity arise. Under the umbrella of the "War on Terrorism", the US government is fast squandering its credibility on fatuous aggression against powerless pipsqueaks like Iraq. In so doing it is giving unilateralism, which can be a corollary of self-interested nationalism, a bad name. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, "unilateralism in the defense of freedom is no vice." If the US war against Iraq goes badly, or there are many civilian deaths, the UN's star will only rise further.

It’s sad that the only thing keeping the UN, and other quasi- governmental organizations, from dominating international relations are the bribes the US pays to foreign governments, much of which end up in boondoggles and numbered Swiss accounts, according to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. The day may not be far off when a UN, filled with powerful creditor nations, can dictate policy to a morally chastened US, bankrupt in all but name by years of borrowing to pay for wars and other big government programs it could no longer afford. Do as we say, will be the message delivered in polite diplomatic language, or we'll repossess your country. Perhaps that explains why the American government’s hysterical enthusiasm to loot the material wealth of the Middle East grows in direct proportion to its own economic problems. Deadbeat debtors can always use new sources of collateral. And threats to cut off the oil supply to creditor nations which threaten to call in their loans may work as extortion, for a while.

And what’s so bad about the UN protecting the environment with the Kyoto agreement and such, or preventing rogue nations like the US from going to war? In a word, monopoly. All governments are monopolies over the territories they control, providing progressively poorer service to their customers (citizens), charging them more (taxes), and becoming increasingly arrogant and corrupt. A world government’s monopoly would be absolute, since there’s no border to cross to freedom.

Powerful political and corporate entities (is there a difference?) would use the world government to limit competition. In particular, "environmental" regulations would protect politically favored groups against industrial competition from the politically out-of-favor. If necessary, these regulations would be backed up by the threat of "police actions" should the victim nation disobey, or even attempt to secede from the "union". The UN would then take on the role the US currently fills, as the world’s bullyboy.

The best thing the US can do to squelch the UN’s growing influence is to unilaterally support free markets, both at home and abroad, lower taxes and end its deficit spending. Only the wealth and liberalization which accompany markets will raise the standards of living of developing countries. More UN-style socialism or US-style corporate militarism will not. But such policies fly in the face of the mercantilist policies that drive today’s international relations.

John Bottoms lives, works and writes in Phoenix, Arizona



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