Do we control the System, or will the System control us (again)?

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Do not expect any significant change from the United Nations: The United Nations is structured to maintain the status quo, in the interest of the five privileged – permanent – members of the United Nations Security Council. (Illustration source).

A persistent conviction consists that the present interdependence of states and our economic progress would make a large-scale war illogical and ‘impossible’. This conviction makes us ignorant and complacent. Instead of addressing the challenges we confront, we hide behind easy assumptions.

Such a complacent ‘logic’ is not unique of our ‘Zeitgeist‘, however:  John Maynard Keynes famously wrote, in reference to the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918):

What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August, 1914!… The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep.… He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality,… and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference. But, most important of all, he regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent.… The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion, which were to play the serpent to this paradise, were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper, and appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life.


John Maynard Keynes (1883 – 1946)

Prevention of a next systemic war, – that will be (as was the case with the preceding four systemic wars) instrumental in upgrading the present first global international order (the United Nations), to allow for further growth and development during a new relatively stable period – cannot be achieved by ignorance and wishful thinking. New thinking and a new approach are urgently required.

Positive action is necessary from the perspective that fundamental reorganisation of the international order is required to avoid a destructive response from the System itself: We are heading for a critical period that will produce a next systemic war, if drastic measures are not taken. Do we control the System, or will the System control us (again)?

To avoid reorganisation of the international order by means of a destructive war, we must break with the (increasingly destructive) ‘tradition‘ of reorganisation of the international order by means of war: We – all states in the System – must be prepared to make fundamental changes to the present international order, and refrain from the use of military power and destruction in the process.

This requires a lot of self-restraint, and is not really a quality of the United States – the System’s dominant power – at this point in time.

Is it realistic to achieve a fundamental organisation without war? I have serious doubts. My doubts are based on the following observations:

(1) We are not aware of the workings of the System, and the fact that the System constitutes a war trap,;

(2) We accept without critic the current dogmas that prescribe actions and policies for states, but (only) contribute to a self-reinforcing dynamic of increasing tensions and hostilities (and are an integral part of the war trap);

(3) The current tension levels are high and the number of (unsolved) issues between states increase;

(4) The current international order – the United Nations – (as well as its predecessors) is organised/structured to maintain the status quo, in the interests of its main beneficiaries (its privileged permanent members) and not to change it; So where does the necessary change – such an alternative approach – come from?

These doubts must not be reasons to be complacent, to the contrary. Try, maybe you have some inspiring ideas. Much is at stake.