Thursday, October 20, 2011

Islanded in a stream of stars

Colin James with a likely scenario:
But there is life in the Westphalian state yet, even if it [is] losing feathers, hair, fingernails and much dignity. Population, water, resources and climate pressures might over the next quarter century take us down a dark route of devastating wars, famines, pandemics and climate catastrophes which will make the twentieth century look peaceable by comparison and cut huge swathes through the global population. If so, that is likely to drive people inward, not outward, and harden, at least temporarily, the Westphalian state.
All the multi-lateral institutions put in place after WWII to prevent another global slaughter are crumbling or dust. Bretton Woods carked it back during the Nixon Shock. The World Trade Organisation has died with the Doha Round, while regional trade agreements bashed out behind closed doors favour the pollution of corporate lobbyists.

The European Union, essentially a peace agreement between France and Germany, stumbles on from crisis to crisis as the PIGS face a sovereignty - solvency squeeze. The world's second largest bond market is in Italy, the I of the PIGS. The country is run by a billionaire bunga-bunga addict who owns the national media. There's something rotten in Rome and no-one's smelling it yet.

The United Nations is a big joke. The CIA is arguably the world's largest terrorist organisation, but you'll never see it listed as a terrorist group. The Convention of Narcotic Drugs has been the source of millions of imprisonments and hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. This international law has been ignored by the CIA, as a way to fund operations beyond the power and oversight of its Congress.

The CIA has been adept at ignoring even the most basic precepts of international law, such as the Geneva Conventions. Barbaric treatment of "enemy combatants" has gone mainstream in the last decade thanks to their tutelage. Terms such as waterboarding, place names such as Abu Gharib or Bagram are understood by the Zeitgeist in a way they weren't ten years ago.

Whatever the long dark future holds, it'll be no holds barred. We've all forgotten how truly horrible total war is, so we'll have to learn it all from scratch the hard way. Prepare for fragmentation and the continuing rise of the city state.