We were sitting around after Thanksgiving dinner, more than a little sated and sedated by the wine and the turkey's tryptophan and our over-stretched stomachs, and the meandering conversation turned, as it often does, to what's wrong with the world.
My niece, a junior in college, mentioned a book she had to read this past weekend, which makes the case for a world parliament. My brother, the Reagan disciple and Bush apologist, rolled his eyes. Mention world government to a staunch conservative, and they always roll their eyes. It's bad enough we have our own government telling us what to do, they say. If we surrendered our sovereignty to a world parliament, we'd have foreigners telling us what to do. Nobody tells Americans what to do.
I told him conservatives have an even greater reason to support world government than liberals, but we all need to rethink the notion?#34;before it's too late.
Seems to me there are two possible world orders: one based on superpower domination (the current one), the other a more democratic "league of united nations." Americans love the superpower model because we've been the dominant power since World War II ended. What's not to love? We rule the roost. We're number one. As long as we stay on top, there's no reason to consider an alternative. And there's no reason to think we won't hold that position forever.
Take a look at history and there's no reason to think we will maintain our privileged position. No one ever has. Why should we be the exception? If we do think that, we're dreaming. Afghanistan and Iraq have already demolished the myth of our omnipotence. We're stuck in a double quagmire and can't get out. If we can't dominate two backward countries, our superpowers don't amount to much. What if three or four other hot spots suddenly flared up simultaneously? You get the idea. World domination is an idea whose time has come?#34;and gone.
But our real problem is, being number one hasn't been good for us. Affluence has made us fat, lazy and ignorant. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's happening to us and rapidly. Our own government is willing to weaken civil rights at home and dismiss human rights abroad in the name of fighting "terror." The world is looking at us pretty universally now as the bad guys.
We're a country in decline. Our debt is growing by quantum leaps with each new disaster, and to keep us solvent, someone (or many someones) have to underwrite that debt. Guess who's coming dangerously close to owning us?
China, that's who?#34;likely the world's next number one.
At the end of World War II, someone, perhaps Churchill, said, "China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep because when she awakens, she will rule the world."
China is awake now and quickly becoming an economic superpower. They've already taken over most of our manufacturing. The sheer force of population numbers, it seems to me, guarantees they will eventually become the world's dominant superpower. If the world continues to be governed by the superpower model, China will eventually rule the roost, and they'll be calling the shots, not us.
We have to recognize that a strong world government is the best antidote to the superpower model. If we try to stay number one at all costs, we will undermine everything that's good about being American.
It seems to me we have little choice. Our children or children's children or children's children's children will see it happen. If not China, then India, or Europe, or Russia, or a combination thereof. Our power will continue to decline, and our best bet is to have some say in what succeeds us?#34;and that should be a stronger world federation than currently exists.
The least we can do is stop rolling our eyes and start thinking seriously about it.