July 11, 2012

Nationalism - One Of Two Major Threats To The Survival Of Humankind And Earth

How Syria Divided The World by Rober Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books, July 11, 2012

This NYRB essay highlights the points made below regarding the dangers of strategic nationalism, as currently practiced by the most powerful nations on Earth.  The actions of the U.S., Russia, and China regarding Syria starkly exemplify nation-state competitive gamesmanship.  The machinations of all three are impeding efforts to establish a global ethic and a pluralistic world governing body that puts the well-being of Humankind and the sustainability of the planet above the interests of nation-states.

While U.S. leadership sometimes behaves as if it supports a global morality and governing body, too often when push comes to shove it will do, sometimes quite forcibly, all that is necessary to serve its national interests first and foremost.  As for Russian and Chinese leadership, they are never ambivalent about their respective positions.  Both consistently opt for a winner take all strategy among competing nation-states in their pursuit of resources, markets, and global influence (political, historical, ideological).  The needs of Humankind and the planet much less that of the Middle East the most volatile regions on earth, are seldom, if at all, the concern of Russian and Chinese leadership.

I'm reminded of the Parker Brothers-Hasbro "Risk" board game of the late 1950s, early 1960s.  Fun for the parlor or family room but a heinous strategy when exercised throughout the increasingly fragile biosphere and accompanied by an inconsistent, neglible, or non-existent regard for human suffering.

If the Occupy Movement is looking to firm up its cause and message I recommend condemning the demotion of Humankind's and Earth's needs to the selfish, destruction desires of the powerful nation-states.  Put Russia and China at the top of the target list followed by the U.S.

AU Summit Highlights Pan-African Weaknesses, African Progress Panel, Volume 5, Issue 13, July 6, 2012

The above link presents a snapshot of Humankind's difficulty in growing the slowly emerging global morality as described by Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, and others.  It describes a struggle between international justice, African regionalism (Pan-Africanism), African nationalism, and the conscience of a national leader, Malawi's president.

Lack of support for the International Criminal Court by China, India, and the US make these powerful nations part of the problem not the solution for growing a unifying, pluralistic, global morality.

The fact that this and other struggles between nationalism and global needs is seldom commented on by major thinkers or world leaders much less acted upon indicates that Humankind has a long way to go in terms of putting the needs of all Humankind and our planet's health ahead of national agendas.

The other major threat to a pluralistic, global morality and responsible Earth stewardship is fundamentalistic religion.

Further Reading:

Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Postnationalism, Wikipedia
Nationalism: Its Nature and Consequences by Richard Ebeling, Freedom Daily, June 1994
Globalism, Wikipedia
Globalism Versus Globalization by Joseph Nye, The Globalist, April 15, 2002

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