End of year report: The State of the World


Richard Moore

Seasons greetings,

As many others have recognized, and I have often written, we are now 
in the midst of a global Great Transformation. By some strange 
coincidence, this Great Transformation seems to be synchronized with 
our calendar --  coinciding more or less with the beginning of a new 

'New Millennium' is not a buzzword that people use yet, but they will 
soon. I wonder how  far we were into the 1900s before people 
recognized that the Twentieth Century was a very special century? 
World wars, relativity, air travel, radio & TV, nuclear energy, mass 
prosperity, computers -- the pattern of radical invention became 
clear soon enough, but when was it first recognized as a 'phenomenon 
of the century'? By comparison, those phenomena will seem 
insignificant compared to those that will be identified with 
civilization's Third Millennium.

There are many singular events that can be identified as 'signs of 
changing times'. In my own mind, two such events that stand out were 
the '98 Seattle protest, and the '01 WTC incident. I pick the Seattle 
protest because it symbolizes the growing and deep-seated popular 
rejection of the current world order. I pick the WTC incident because 
it symbolizes the elite reaction to that rejection. The people said: 
"Here's what we think of your old millennium," and the rulers 
answered: "Here's what we've got in store for you in the new one." 
Again coincidentally, these two events evenly straddle the beginning 
of the new millennium, each a year and some months separated from it.

There are of course many dimensions to this Great Transformation. The 
events I selected above reflect only one dimension: the relationship 
between Western citizens and their governments. I see this as the 
most critical dimension however, as that perspective is the one from 
which we can identify a path of hope. Only when the people of the 
West wake up and make their dreams of democracy real, can the 
direction of transformation be shifted toward the salvation of 

In the rest of this report, I will be exploring the state of the 
world, and likely near-future scenarios, assuming that Western 
populations remain unable to rouse themselves from their current 
hypnotic trance, their dream that they are living in reformable 
democracies, their state of denial regarding elite rule and elite 

* The Geopolitical Dimension

There are four significant players on the geopolitical scene.

         1) The Anglo-American Block: controlled by Anglo-American
         banking elites, backed up by the Pentagon, seeking global
         hegemony, and with EU elites cooperating -- while at the
         same time they seek to keep their options open to the East.

         2) The Sino-Russian Block: led by Sino-Russian political
         elites, supported by a military strategy based on asymmetry,
         seeking a multi-polar world, and in alliance with other SCO

         3) The Independent Rebels (ie, all those smaller nations
         that Washington considers to be 'troublesome to US
         interests'): with leadership symbolized by Hugo Chavez, in
         an alliance-of-convenience with the Sino-Russian Block, and
         increasingly showing the courage to defy the Anglo-
         American Block and its imperialist system

         4) The Global Insurgency: with leadership embodied in
         Hezbollah and in the people of Iraq, Mexico, unoccupied
         Palestine, and other similars.

While the Independent Rebels are picking away at Anglo-American 
hegemony, and the Global Insurgency is complicating the problems of 
imperial management, the Big Game is between the Big Blocks: the West 
vs. the East, Washington & London vs. Moscow & Bejing. All the major 
international initiatives of these Big Players amount to jockeying 
for position in the face of an inevitable confrontation.

The Anglo-American Block is pursuing three parallel strategies. In 
the short term, it focuses on domination of the Middle East, in an 
effort to control international petroleum markets and to maintain the 
dollar as a reserve currency. In a slightly longer term, it sees two 
options for itself: a victorious first strike on the Sino-Russian 
Block, or -- if a multi-polar world cannot be avoided -- a retreat 
into Fortress America. In pursuit of the former it is rapidly 
developing a space-based control-of-theater system, and in pursuit of 
the latter it is preparing a neoliberal-based merger of Mexico, the 
US, and Canada.

Time, meanwhile, is entirely on the side of the Sino-Russian Block. 
The longer confrontation can be postponed, the stronger that Block 
becomes in relation to its adversary. The ancient Chinese strategic 
paradigm is at work here: the wise general wins from position, avoids 
combat, and leaves his adversary a way out (acquiescence to 
multi-polarity). This Block will not intervene if the US attacks 
Iran, partly to delay direct confrontation, and partly because they 
are willing to write off the Middle East as 'Anglo-Amercian 
territory', in return for de facto recognition of Sino-Russian 
hegemony in Eurasia. That fits well with their vision of a 
multi-polar world.

It is the Anglo-American elites that are under the pressure of time, 
and that is why they are so frantically flailing for position 
wherever they can, sacrificing their own economies and civil 
societies, and flagrantly violating every standard of international 
law and human decency.

The psychically primitive elites of this Block follow in a direct 
line from the Vikings, the Crusaders, and the Conquistadors -- they 
understand only conquest and exploitation, and they see compromise as 
a fatal weakness. The more evolved chess and Go players of the East 
see them as cowboys, and are patiently waiting for them to exhaust 
their ammo in peripheral battles.

While the Anglo-American Block is managed so as to enrich an elite 
clique, the Sino-Russian Block is managed so as to promote national 
interests. While the former is desperately cannibalizing its national 
infrastructures, the latter is patiently strengthening theirs. This 
is why time is on their side.

 From a geopolitical perspective the Great Transformation can have one 
of two outcomes: (1) Anglo-American hegemony -- in which case the 
entire world will for the first time be controlled by a single elite 
clique -- or (2) multi-polarity, whereby China will re-emerge as the 
world's Great Central Nation, with the five-century tide of Western 
Expansionism finally brought to a halt.

* The Economic Dimension

The central economic fact of the Third Millennium is the collision of 
an irresistible force with an unmovable object: the paradigm of 
industrial development and economic growth cannot be sustained in a 
finite world. Economically, this fact exhibits itself as a declining 
global economy in real terms, the flight of capital into speculative 
markets, the de-industrialization of the entire Western world, and 
the impending collapse of the US economy. Environmentally, this fact 
exhibits itself as deforestation, loss of topsoils and fisheries, oil 
depletion, species extinction, and global warming.

These economic conditions are motivating the Anglo-American grab for 
hegemony, and these economic conditions favor the East, with its vast 
land mass and its lower level of economic development -- ie, its 
lower level of structural economic waste. It will be much easier for 
Eurasia (and the third world) to move toward sustainability than it 
will be for the West. Again, the national focus of Eurasian elites 
has more survival potential than the does the greedy, self-serving 
focus of Western elites.

In the West it is the people who are exploring the question of 
sustainability, while the elite focus is on increasing the sales of 
automobiles, jet travel, and petroleum (despite Gore's hypocritical 
campaign posturing). In China, on the other hand, it is the national 
leadership which is beginning to understand the need for 
sustainability, being the first nation to require photovoltaic cells 
in some of its new residential construction.

It is in the economic dimension that the Great Transformation will be 
most pronounced. Whether we have a multi-polar or a single-empire 
world order will be of interest to political scientists and 
historians, but the necessity of sustainability (or die) will effect 
everyone directly.

* The Political Dimension

The Age of Enlightenment is over. The liberal mythologies that arose 
as an apology for capitalism have been abandoned by Western elites. 
In Britain and the US, the standard bearers of neoliberalism, the 
death of the democratic myth is all too apparent. Europe lags behind, 
but EU elites have no vision of an alternative future. Fortunately 
Europeans are considerably more politically evolved than Americans or 
Brits, as evidenced by the popular rejection of the neoliberal EU 
Constitution. In Europe there is hope for popular democratic impact, 
while in the heartland of the Anglo-American Block, one sees mostly 
sheep panicking for a path away from chaos, or distracting themselves 
with consumerism and television fantasies.

In the Sino-Russian Block, there is little political hope. China, the 
heart of the Block, is the longest standing centralized society in 
the history of the world (5,000 years or so). One might compare this 
with Germany, which until 1871 was still divided into autonomous 
units, or the USA, which didn't even exist until a century before 
that.  The Chinese are so conditioned to hierarchy that there is 
little hope of any kind of democratic impact.

If there is to be an effective popular response to the current path 
of civilization, if humanity is to be saved, the initiative must come 
from the West. In the East the psychology of hierarchy is too deeply 
ingrained, and the third world  cannot control the course of 
geopolitical events, regardless of how enlightened its leaders and 
people become.

It is up to us, over-coddled and over-comfortable  Westerners, to 
begin the process of turning the Great Transformation into the Great 
Enlightenment, rather than the New Dark Ages. This can only happen 
when we wake up from our pseudo-Enlightenment trance.



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