Leadership: January 10, 2000

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The New World Order operates on the theory that free-market democracy has triumphed around the world and will now reign supreme. Any problems will be handled by the Western powers operating "in concert" through organizations they dominate, such as the World Bank, European Union, International Monetary Fund, NATO, and to a lesser extent the United Nations. This is a nice theory and deserves to work. But it is not going to. First, the "western powers" are not united. France, in particular, opposes just about anything that the US wants to do, and is determined to create a "Europe without the US" (dominated by France and perhaps Germany). Second, the western powers (and in particular the US and Britain), are facing steady opposition from other power blocks. Russia, China, India, Iran, and Iraq reject US pressure, and even nominal US allies such as Pakistan clearly have their own interests uppermost, not those of the West. Events in the next year should make the goal of the New World Order recede farther, and more quickly. The Western-imposed solution in Bosnia is poised to collapse; the goal of a unified and multi-ethnic country was never within reach and the result of the Dayton Accords will be only the creation of three mono-ethnic ultra-nationalist mini-states. Chances for any kind of stable situation in Kosovo (without the permanent presence of NATO troops) are effectively zero. Nigeria and Indonesia have just established weak but democratic governments, but these seem unable to deal with the vast problems of those countries, and a return to authoritarianism is entirely possible. The Arab-Israeli conflict is reaching a critical point, where the peace process must either collapse totally or produce a peace plan which cannot survive the continuing pressure. And finally, there is considerable concern that the recent western economic boom may have run its course. Even if it has not, few will be willing to base commitments on the assumption that the western economy will continue to expand. --Stephen V Cole

 


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