International Conference on Peace for Life in North East Asia
Korea Christian Faculty Fellowship
15. – 19. May 2005 at Roman Catholic Retreat Center, Uiwang, Korea
The European Union (EU) in Perspective of a Human Civilization
Wolfgang R. Schmidt, Herrischried, Germany
I. Unit of Global Analysis: Human Civilization
In 2005, we face a far more differentiated world than during the Cold War (1947-1989), in which the world was divided between the capitalist, communist, and non-aligned blocs. The world has gone through major economic, political, and cultural transformations. About 1000 Transnational Corporations (TNC) have brought about a global market. Some 200 national states are divided between a super-power (USA), regional powers (e.g. ASEAN, EU), and an increasing number of large, medium, and small powers at different levels of economic development, political integration or disintegration. In addition, an expanding global telecommunication system has empowered a nascent global society while promoting a consumerist world. Because of such shifts, nation-states seem to be an inadequate unit of analysis for understanding. In a globalizing and tribalizing world, the unit of analysis no longer can be the state, which is undermined both at the top and bottom of global social structures.
What can replace the traditional Westphalian conceptions of world order? We propose human civilization as a common journey in pursuit peace with peaceful means. We under-stand human civilization not in terms of stages like Marx, Rostow, or Bell, nor as cycles of birth, development and death like Spengler, Toynbee, or Sarkar. We view civilization as a layering process from nomadic to agrarian, commercial, industrial and digital (Tehranian 2005). Human civilizations may be analyzed in terms of their prevailing modes of produc-tion, legitimation, communication, socialization, and selfhood.
The World community is today deeply divided among these five modes both within and among nations. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be fully understood until we view them as a conflict between different modes of civilization. More than two-third of the world lives today under the pre-industrial modes at $2 a day of income. The growing eco-nomic, political, and cultural disparities between the five modes suggest a possible global civil war of state and opposition terrorism without physical and moral boundaries and of unknown duration.
II. Organic Global Solidarity for Human Civilization
Co-existence of the five layers of human civilisation, combined with identity, commodity and security fetishisms have created a world of antagonisms between differing layers of mechanic solidarities. However, global solidarity has to anticipate the life-interests of all and therefore to be a solidarity of in-equals, including the “other”, the “foreigner”, the "they" and the "we", everyone who lives in any of the five layers of human civilisation. We call this solidarity an organic human and global solidarity for life, because this kind of solidarity takes into account not only one aspect, one person’s or group’s view, one area of in-terest, one source of power. It takes into account everything organically and pertaining to life: diversity with respect to cultural, social, ethnical and national matters and gender dif-ferences. Solidarity by definition is (1) a spirit of community despite differences and ine-qualities – social differences are even a natural precondition - , and (2) a spirit of commu-nity because of difference, namely in spite of unfair impairments against the commonly felt interests.
But the concept of organic solidarity for life does not only reflect the diversity of human beings, it also confirms their universality. Any concrete acting in solidarity always has two preconditions: (1) It accepts and confirms the abstract generalising equality of all human beings. This includes the universality of mankind, of different and alien persons. It is soli-darity with “everybody who has a human image” (Habermas). Justice and welfare, freedom and equal chances are normative and universal preconditions for a maximum of implemen-tation of organic solidarity. (2) It is more relevant to accept and confirm its concrete differ-ence of each individual human being. In its concrete form, organic solidarity is constitutive for human community, because it takes serious the individuality of everyone.
For a global civil society beyond the nationalist fragmented and therefore also locally rele-vant concept of life in global citizenship, the everyday practise of solidarity is of decisive importance. The discovery of the diversity of human beings as a constitutive element of solidarity opens a new base for human life, democratically organized in community on lo-cal, regional, global level. Solidarity based activities of the international civil society have questioned the legitimacy of hegemonic global governance and crossing boundaries, relig-ions, cultures and nationalities. Resistance includes labour-, women-, environment-, human rights-, peace-, justice- and other base-movements and should aiming for a global human civilization in global solidarity.
III. The Reconstruction of Europe since 1957
1. The European Project: EU
The reconstruction of Europe after the end of WWII began in 1945 and led to lasting po-litical, economic and social governance innovations. The process was decisively marked by the Rome Contracts, in power since 01.01.1958. Based on very different motifs of the "Six", the European Economic Community (EEC) was founded by France, Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries, aiming for pooling scare resources and open a larger space for business and workers, while maintaining social safety nets and renouncing to military competition. In 1965, EEC was transformed into the "European Communities" (EC), in which Great-Britain in 1973 also became a member. In 1991, the European Project was completed as the "European Union" (EU). Modified in several stages, levels and areas, the new creation brought about durable peace and prosperity.
In between grown to 15 members, in May 2004, the EU became 25 member states. About 454 Million citizens can move without border control. An internal market for industrial goods is consolidated, whereas common agricultural policy raises global trade frictions. Governments manage collaboration in transport, communications, health, law, environ-ment, and cultural sectors. Social expectations, however, are challenged by global competi-tion and excessive public deficits which pose strains in tuning economic cycles and in the stability and acceptance of the EURO.
Since the early 1990s the EU has taken measures in order to create a truly European infor-mation society. Telecommunication has been widely liberalised, research, development, education and employment policies have been jointly promoted and public administrations have become interconnected. The European Council in Lisboa 2000 envisaged Europe turning into the most competitive economy in the world towards the end of the decade by taking a broader strategic approach. The focus, however, remains on the need to excel globally the dynamism of European info-communication businesses. In the next decade, the migration towards digital, interactive televisions should facilitate a public acceptance of the European information society vision. A future Galileo satellite radio navigation plat-form, hopefully, will provide many new peaceful services in Europe and around the world.
European collaboration has advanced tremendously by finding innovative compromises among politicians, academics, and business leaders. However, the key challenge for elites is to dispel the scepticism of baffled electorates by showing that an enlarging and upgrading EU can better address both their local and global concerns. After years of academic debate, in June 2004, the Intergovernmental Conference adopted a Constitutional Treaty to better structure principles, institutions and policies of an enlarging Europe. Towards the end of the decade, countries ratifying it, would be able to co-ordinate in a growing number of agreed aspects of European integration. In several countries, ratification is not certain, and the process may take longer then expected. But there is a confident optimism that there will come up a new debate with proposals which may go far beyond towards a sustainable Europe that needs to advance political integration, define its borders, and enhance the role of institutions by being pro-active to people's concerns.
Europe has gained confidence. Information on it is therefore no issue. EUROPA.EU.INT has quickly become one of the largest government portals in the world. The problem is rather to synthesise and deliver useful knowledge from it. The EU has launched eu-ropa.eu.int/youth, a portal in 20 official languages with information on general affairs and travelling, working, volunteering and studying. And europa.eu.int/public-services allows enterprises and citizens to contact public administrations more effectively. Efforts are made to reach a broader public that still passively rely on traditional mass media.
University systems across Europe are being overhauled. The so-called Erasmus pro-grammes managed by the EC since 1987 have enlarged their focus from the promotion of mobility of students and faculty to the compatibility of content. A historic process of re-form started in the late 1990s in Paris and Bologna to accomplish a European Higher Edu-cation Area by the year 2010. In accordance with that, the entire university systems of more than 40 countries are becoming very compatible as degrees and course credits are homoge-nised and mutually recognised.
Convergence of innovation in info-communications and education sectors facilitates to improve the European Project. Visualising synthetic information in mass-media and educa-tion channels breaches between the Atlantic countries which communicate in English texts (Nordic countries are world leaders in internet use, and their universities often teach tech-nical issues in English), and the Mediterranean ones that prefer oral communication in Latin languages and though visual codes (Southern Europe leads in mobile communication, and has world-class tradition of visual culture). Eastern Europe rapidly converges through a common, open and tolerant vision. The external dimension of the EU will make a real contribution elsewhere in the world.
2. New Challenges to the EU since 1989
For Western Europe, new fears woke up by the end of the Cold War: How to tie the now modified and fully sovereign giant Germany closely and safely into Europe ? What about a re-vitalisation of the inherited enmity between France and Germany ? The Maastricht Treaty 1991 and its focus on making the EC a more political unity assured that the member states, in particular Germany, was tightly bound in externally, internally and in economic policies. With the additional pillars of intergovernmental co-operation in the field of for-eign and security policy (CFSP = Common Foreign and Security Policy) as well as in justice and home affairs and the currency union the European Communities were supplemented and became the EU. The creation of a fully political union, as envisaged by Germany, was blocked by more hesitant member states.
Although there was broad range of policy instruments (trade, enlargement, development aid, external impacts of internal decisions), Common Positions, Common Strategies and Joint Actions (introduced 1997 in the wake of the Balkan experience, the CFSP remained a lip-service. This tendency of reluctance was underlined by Europe's demand of a "peace dividend" after the Cold War, that led to an increasing unwillingness for military action and a hence decrease in defence spending. The Balkan War became a test for what kind of the European involvement in Post-Cold-War situations. The USA, although 80% of the war-hardware belonged to them, were not ready to take the bulk of the share. It called for Europe to cope with its continent on its own. The EU was forced to meet the challenges of regional and inter-state crises and conflicts in the EU's near neighbourhood on their own, and to change their strategic thinking from containment to crisis-management. In this way, the EU has gained high expertise in post-conflict reconstruction and crisis-management, but still needs to proof that it could also restore peace first before troops come in to reconstruct the battle fields.
September 11th showed that the EU's list of threats was incomplete. In December 2003 the European Heads of State and Government adopted a European Security Strategy (ESS) which identified five major threats: International terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional threats, failing states and organised crime. While the USA (NSS = National Security Strategy) share the same threats perception, they differ in their strategy of countering these challenges. The EU has set out three strategic goals: (1) a new strategic definition about prevention, which implies that the first line of defence might lie outside of EU territory (Struck: "We'll have to defend German/EU interests at the Hindukush!"). (2) same with partnership, that is EU is working towards a "neighbourhood policy" in order to be encircled by a ring of "well governed states" (f.e. Balkan, Caucasus, Middle East. (3) EU being itself a multilateral institution has opted for multilateralism and thereby differs from USA approach. According to ESS, the EU stands on the primacy of multilateralism and is fostering international institutions as the UN, WTO, etc but also regional organisations such as ASEAN.
3. EU as an Open Process between Nation-State and Global Player
There is no question, Europe seems to be perfectly suited and able to offer a broad range of instruments for an efficient foreign policy, trade policy and development aid, being eco-nomically the strongest block and the biggest donor. But still, European reality is shaped by (a) Europe's diversity, (b) the special relationship of ist member states with the USA and (c) a lack of political will and capabilities. There is a great success of integration to create a sta-ble zone of peace and welfare in Europe. The challenge remains to overcome distrust be-tween the countries and to tie an emerging giant in. There is an unwillingness to cede sov-ereignty and to find a united response to the unilateralism of the USA.
Nevertheless, EU's economic strength and size includes global responsibility. The Union of 25 states is the biggest single market in the world, with an GDP equal to, if not larger than the US. On questions of trade and role in WTO, the EU is equal to US. Unfortunately , the EU is still perceived as inward-looking and lacking strategic vision. It is seen as a big su-permarket but not a serious global or strategic player. The Europe-Project has advanced far ahead, but is still unclear about its role as a newly emerging regional power-structure role in Global Governance.
Note: Much more deeper rifts appear between the NATO member states on both sides of the Atlantic. The great expectations for the Istanbul Summit 2004 that was planned to set out the alliance as an universal remedy have not been fulfilled. Nevertheless, in terms of se-curity the implementation of Rapid Reaction Forces is succeeding progressively: The European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) with 60.000 troops, the EU Battle Groups with 13.500 and the NATO Response Force (NRF) with 21.000 troops.
IV. Towards Global Civilization and Global Citizenship in a more peaceful, ecologically balanced, democratic, and just world.
1. Europe's Contribution to Global Governance
Since the cultural revolutions of the end 1960s, a major paradigmatic shift has been taking place in the dominant worldviews of Industrial Civilization. The fundamental assumptions of the European Enlightenment Project since the 17th century have been increasingly ques-tioned, among them the naive faith in (1) the justice of the marketplace, (2) the infinite per-fectibility of humankind, (3) the inevitability of historical progress, (4) the moral legitimacy of the domination and exploitation of nature, (5) the civilizing mission of the so-called ad-vanced nations, and (6) the universal truth of empirical science. The anti-war-, national lib-eration-, environmentalist-, feminist-, and postmodernist-movements, along with the the-ology of liberation, have each contributed in their own unique ways to undermining the dominance of the Enlightenment worldviews.
The foundations of modern global governance were laid by the Peace of Westphalia (1648), the Concert of Europe (1812-1914), the League of Nations (1918-1941), and the United Nations (1945-present). It took the Thirty Years’ War among the European Protestants and Catholics to establish the Peace of Westphalia, which recognized freedom of religion and the existing boundaries among the emerging secular European states. It took the Na-poleonic Wars to achieve a precarious Concert of Europe, focusing on the maintenance of the European status-quo. World War I led to the establishment of the League of Nations. But the failure of the United States to join the League significantly reduced its credibility and effectiveness. The League thus could not act in the cases of German, Italian, and Japanese aggression. World War II revived the League’s principle of collective security, which was embodied in the United Nations Charter 1945. The onset of the Cold War in 1947 and the division of the world into the three conflicting camps of capitalist, commu-nist, and non-aligned nations hampered the United Nations. The wars in Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Latin-America and the Middle East reflected an unstable and divided world order.
The end of the Cold War in 1989, the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the effec-tive entry of China into the world markets in the 1990s, left the United States as the planet's sole superpower. Since the 1990s, the United States has fluctuated among three choices: neo-isolationism, multilateralism, unilateralism. The terrorist acts of 9/11 catalyzed the Bush Administration to take the latter course, a policy that has proved to be counter-productive. First, in an interdependent world, it lacks legitimacy. Second, the resources of a single state, even if a superpower, are inadequate for the challenges of state and nation building in societies that are in throes of a major historical transition to the modern world. Third, the new Digital Civilization has awakened millions of people around the world to their basic human rights, including the right of self-determination. Unilateral policies in such contexts represent a historical regression.
The global institutions of governance have lagged far behind political, technological and economic transformations (Aksu & Camilleri 2002). The composition of the UN Security Council and the right of veto has lost its legitimacy. Important factors have challenged the global power configuration, including the uncontrolled and dangerous tensions between different and competing layers of civilizations, the diminishing relevance of the concept of nation-states, the emergence of regional power-structures like the European Union and ASEAN, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the rise of heavily populated countries such as China, India, Brazil, and Southeast Asia. Although difficult to achieve, a revision of the UN Charter is called for taking into account all the new realities. Is EU continuing its historical role while experimenting with a process catalysing human civilization and global citizenship ?
2. Towards Global Digital Civilization
One of the most efficient engines towards a human civilization and global citizenship is the Digital Civilization which has been emerging from the womb of Industrial societies (Te-hranian 1990). The new modes of production depend on digital technologies and signifi-cantly differ from the past industrial forms in several respects. First and foremost, the ap-plication of digital technologies has made automation and robotics increasingly possible. Second, the electronic transfer of news, funds, data, and images has led to new business corporations that are multinational, transnational, or global. Lower labor, rent, tax, and regulation costs have lured the global corporation from the old industrial centers in North America and Western Europe to the industrializing countries in East Asia and Latin Amer-ica. Third, this kind of flexible accumulation (Harvey 1990) has distributed the production of the different parts of a single product among diverse locations while allowing for “just in time” assembly to meet changing market demands. Finally, with the automation, robotiza-tion, and a consequent decline of demand for physical labour, the national economies of the digital world have shifted from agriculture and manufacturing to services.
The most visible changes can be witnessed in the global and national communications sys-tems. Improving transportation facilities have made greater international movement possi-ble. Yet diasporic as well as cosmopolitan identities have been on the rise among a popula-tion of global nomads, including migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and TNC, NGO, and IGO personnel. In contrast to the priesthoods of the agrarian and commercial eras, and the ideologues of the industrial epoch, a new class of technologues roams the planet to lead the digital revolution. The global spread of television has reduced the role and reach of tra-ditional political parties and privileged those leaders who can use the medium for direct appeals to the electorate. Thus politics as bread/rice, circus, and roots has found a new meaning in the Digital Age. In media-intensive societies, the fundamental assumptions of liberal democracy seem to have become increasingly irrelevant to popular sovereignty. Manipulation of voter anxieties by political advertising, financed by special interests, has left little room for the classical liberal view of deliberate debate on public policies (Haber-mas 1991).
Undeniably Digital Civilization is forcing different cultures and mythologies into direct contact, confrontation, and dialogue. Thus, Digital Civilization is creating a new global consciousness based on a rising awareness of the world’s ecological and economic interde-pendence, also on cultural clashes, and also on the need for dialogue and democracy. On the one hand, new digital technologies have opened up new possibilities in mass production, global communication, space, medicine, education, agriculture, and services. On the other hand, they have widened the economic and cultural gaps between the rich and poor within nations and among nations. The technologies of violence have dramatically in-creased the levels of killing by hits. While Digital Civilization is creating unprecedented challenges, it is also creating opportunities. Potentially, it is laying the technological foun-dations for a truly global civilization, in which a global citizency provides the underpinnings of a more effective and more democratic form of global governance.
Global economic and cultural institutions have advanced far more rapidly than global po-litical cooperation. Due to uneven developments, the world is far more unequal today than it was two centuries ago. The five layers of human civilization co-exist not in harmony but in mounting cultural and political clashes. Social movements and NGOs as one player in global governance can play a pioneering and decisive role. But the growing gaps between the five layers will become less important, if state, TNCs and IGOs as co-players of global governance are democratized and are committed to participatory justice. Moreover, the problems of weapons of mass destruction, global terrorism, and environmental pollution can be effectively approached by reaching enforceable treaties and the institutions of global governance are monitoring and enforcing the rule of law.
3. "Globalization from Below" and Civil Society
One of the most promising new reality which is to be a basic element for any reflection on re-creating a truly global governance is, besides states, TNCs and International Govern-ment Organisations (IGO), a global civil society and its off-shoots in the formation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and social movements. NGOs address prob-lems that are often neglected by governments but which are of intense interest to an emerging global civil society. They are supported across national and regional borders and bring together groups of people from around the world sharing common interests and per-spectives. These institutions are able to pool available resources from their members in order to lobby governments and act independently of governments. According to Weiss/Gordenker (1996) and Gills (2000), they play a threefold role in global governance: (1) influencing the discourse on international relations, (2) shaping counter-hegemonic dis-course to those narratives propagated by states and the TNCs, and (3) resisting domination and promoting people’s welfare.
During the 1990s, the first role of NGOs has been primarily achieved in cooperation with the United Nations through its world conferences. A growing international civil society generally reinforces the UN system. UN World Conferences in the 1990s served the pur-poses of mobilizing NGOs and world public opinion on behalf of some vital global issues. These conferences have focused on children (1990), environment and development (1992), human rights (1993), population and development (1994), social development (1995), women (1995), human settlements (1996), food ( 1996), sustainable development and small islands (1994), natural disasters 1994), crime and offenders (1995), and trade and develop-ment (1996). UN World conferences have, however, diminished in numbers. This may due to pressures by the Great Powers on the UN not to allocate its resources and prestige to highlighting issues that are disturbing to the big states and transnational corporations. The second role of NGOs flows from the first. The UN World conferences helped to shape a counter-hegemonic narrative against the top-down globalization strategies pursed by the neo-liberal regimes. Starting with Seattle in 1999, it led to a series of demonstrations against the World Bank, IMF, and WTO meetings around the world. These demonstrations have put the big states and TNC on the defensive and may have changed some of their policies. The third role of NGOs includes relief and resistance. Initially, the NGOs were limited to social services that did not challenge the authority of governments. But they have gradually evolved into fields such as human rights and environmental protection that cross into politically sensitive domains. The international civil society was fast growing to re-spond wherever states and IGOs were too lax and negligent. While older NGOs affiliated themselves with the UN system, newer ones have chosen not to (Chen 1996). Just as do-mestic interest groups had learned in democratic societies to employ the power of organi-zation to pressure their respective governments, NGOs were learning to mobilize world public opinion on behalf of their causes. The role of the global civil society expressed through NGOs and social movements is an expanding one.
The authentic function of NGO in re-constituting global governance is to present “global-ization from below” as one of the global player. Falk (2000). Gills (2000) has summarized the normative thrust of resistance to "globalization from above" as follows: (1) the right of individuals, families and communities to employment, welfare, and social stability and so-cial justice; (2) the right of labour, whether in the formal or informal sectors, unionized or non-unionzed, to resist unemployment, austerity measures, dislocation and immiseration; (3) the right of the poor, dispossessed and marginalized, wherever they exist, to resist the imposition of poverty and the intensification of social polarization; (4) the right of the peo-ple to reclaim and deploy government (state power) in their own self-defence, at all levels from local, national, and regional to global, and whether through radical, revolutionary or reformist forms; (5) the right of all people to establish social solidarities and autonomous forms of social organization outside the state and the market; (6) the right to imagine ‘post-globalization’ and realize alternative modes of human development and social and political organization.
Gills (2000) suggests that the agenda of neo-liberal “globalization from above” consists of four fundamental global policies: (1) protection of the interests of capital and expansion of the processes of capital accumulation on world scale; (2) a tendency towards homogeniza-tion of state policies and state form to render them instrumental to the protection of capital and the process of capital accumulation on world scale, via a new ‘market ideology’; (3) the formation and expansion of a new tier of transnationalized institutional authority above the state’s, which has the aim and purpose of re-articulating states to the purposes of facilitat-ing global capital accumulation; and (4) the political exclusion of dissident social forces from the arena of state policy-making, in order to desocialize the subject and insulate the neo-liberal state form against the societies over which they preside, thus facilitating the so-cialization of risk on behalf of capital.
Growing global communication assisted by telecommunication technologies is a critical factor in this expansion. At the dawn of the 21st century, about 360 million people had ac-cess to the Internet. This constitutes roughly 6 percent of the world population. A new global nation seems to have been born, the Internet Nation. Although 90% of world com-puters are concentrated in the hands of 10% of world population, the growth of Internet users to over nearly 400 million has created a global network nation that transcends na-tional boundaries. The social and political impact of this development on global govern-ance is only beginning to be felt in such campaigns as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the world-wide movement to support the Chiappa resistance in Mexico (Tehranian, 1999a:162-165).
4. Dialogue among Civilizations and Global Democratic Governance
Modes of legitimation lag far behind modes of production and communication. Thus, globalization is accompanied with fragmentation, and global terrorism threatens the progress of human civilization. The post-war structural dichotomy of rich and poor worlds is deepening dramatically. While the affluent try to seek security in commodity fetishism, the less affluent tend to turn to identity fetishism. Global terrorism is the expression of these two pathologies fed by the latent structure of violence. If the world is allowed to regress into fragmentation and related security systems organized by authoritarian states, there will be no moral or physical boundaries for the use of violence in settlement of disputes. The global capitalist economic order in its unbalanced and democratically un-controlled practice is the most un-human force within the security system of violence.
A global system, based on a global economy and on global movements of capital, requires a truly global political system of fundamental counterparts, including “global accountancy“, global justice”, “global solidarity”, “global democracy”, “global civilization”. The “politics of resistance” to globalization and the rise of social, cultural, political movements around the world over the past few years is symptomatic for the lively and basically human con-cern as of how to construct a truly universal, just and inclusive form of world order. It are not only elites and governments that must be included in all participatory political decision-making processes that determine life chances, but first-of-all the ordinary people, all gen-ders, all religions, and all regions and peoples of the globe.
Facilitating human decent life globally in a new paradigm of civilized world order must be based profoundly on multi-civilizational multi-logue (dialogue) and inclusion. This is going beyond sharing and tolerating. The dialogic approach among civilizations we need must contain a process of progression to something different from which we started. Tolerance is not the peak where we want to reach, but it is the absolute minimum for the road to a new world order, the willingness of progressing towards something new, that is the product of dialogic communication, a multi-civilizational product, not the product of one dominant civilization presiding over the rest.
One of the basic criteria for genuine multi-civilizational dialogue is to arrive at a common set of core values which will lead to new democratic and popular forms of global govern-ance. One may start with the "Golden Rule of Life" which is found in almost all religions and civilizations. Definitely, the recognition of the sanctity of human life by all people is one fundamental value. Tragic events show that humanity can unite around values, setting aside differences in the realization of wider unity. Other common values will be discovered through dialogue, such as (1) that nature must encompass the entire planet earth, (2) that community must mean the whole world side by side with local and national communities, and (3) that the individual self must embrace all members of the human family. Thus a new base may emerge for a new sense of “global citizenship”, the emergence of “global democ-racy” and a practice of “global justice”. “Global solidarity” may replace “internationalism” as a central value or key concept, by which we achieve a new sense of humanity’s oneness, its common interests which will animate popular politics of the coming world order. “Global history” may develop a human-centric account of the common heritage of all hu-mankind, based upon mutual and cumulative contributions and influences of all peoples, cultures and civilizations to the common progress of humanity.
1) “Civilization” means the human journey toward a more peaceful and just world. Thus the term is relevant in a normative discussion of public policies. Civilization also has been employed as an ideological tool to legitimate hegemonic rule, driving wedges between “us” and “them.” The challenge is therefore to reclaim “civilization” as global unity in diver-sity, the rule of law, and the pacific resolution of conflicts.
2) A Pancapital Empire currently is employing the neo-liberal doctrines of market competi-tion and market supremacy to legitimate global control of natural resources (Tehranian 1999). Markets are necessary to the efficient allocation of resources, but they are insuffi-cient for defining the welfare of human societies.
3) Human civilization, evolving from nomadic into agrarian, commercial, industrial, and digital societies. While scientific and technological advances have accelerated, the cultural lag in mythological narratives has often trapped human societies into anachronistic laws and institutions.
4) The world currently is in a kind of double jeopardy of technological leads and cultural lags (Toffler 1980). The increasing partition of the world into pre-modern, modern, and post-modern is producing serious cultural contradictions and clashes within and among na-tions. Commodity and identity fetish are the main pathologies for achieving a critical sense of security in a dangerous and atomizing world.
5) The passage to a truly global civilization in which the development of each person is considered as a condition for the development of all people is a long-cherished ideal. This ideal is perhaps today the most relevant myth, or leap of faith, that the world needs for its survival and welfare.
6) The ideal of civilization at this crucial period in human history may be best sustained by democratizing local, national, regional, and global governance institutions. However, in the light of rapid technological changes that have taken place during the past two hundred years, the doctrines of liberal, social, and communitarian democracy have to be rethought and revised to more aptly fit specific local, national, regional, and global conditions.
Wolfgang R. Schmidt: Herrischried, Germany
Nine thesis' concerning Relationships between EU-US-"South"
There is an utopian realism towards a new multi-logical world order, correcting the drift into a nightmare scenario of an suicidal pseudo-utopian “clash of civilizations”, breaking out of the iron cage of the old paradigms where a few ultra rich and military states rule via a “universalism” that is in fact neither truly universal nor cosmopolitan.
Thesis 1: Imperialism has become a collective imperialism (of the triad US-Europe-Japan)
A few decades ago TNCs competed mainly on national markets. The winners then could occupy ideal position on the world market. Today, the market size needed to be a winner of the first round of matches is estimated around 500 – 600 millions potential consumers. The battle must therefore be waged straightaway on the world market and won on that level. Afterwards, those who won this match will impose themselves on national grounds. Extensive globalisation is becoming the primary operational framework for the big firms. Traditionally, the national power dictated presence at the world level, but today, it is the opposite. As a result, the multinational firms, regardless of their nationality, have common interests in the management of the world market. Such interests are superimposed on the ordinary market conflicts that define all the forms of competition peculiar to capitalism.
Thesis 2: In the collective system of imperialism, the United states has no conclusive eco-nomic advantages
In fact, the United States’ productive system is far from being “the most efficient in the world”. None of its segments might be sure of defeating its rivals on really open world market. The US' trade deficit is worsening from year to year, increasing from 100 billion dollars in 1989 to 450 in 2000. This deficit concerns virtually all the segments of the pro-ductive system, including even the surplus that the United States boasted in high technol-ogy goods, which stood at 35 billion in 1990. The competition between ARIANE and the NASA space rockets, Airbus and Boeing, attest to the vulnerability of America’s advantage. If faced with Europe and Japan in terms of high technology products, with China, Korea and other industrialised Asian and Latin American countries for ordinary manufactured goods, and with Europe and the Southern zone of Latin America in the area of agriculture, the US could probably not compete without using “extra-economic” schemes that violate the principles of liberalism ! The US does enjoy comparative advantages exclusively in the arms sector precisely because this field amply gets round the rules governing the market and also receives state support.
The US economy operates as a parasite at the expense of its partners in the world system. “The United Sates of America covers 10 % of its industrial consumption through imports which are not covered by national commodity exports”. The world produces for consump-tion by the US whose national savings are virtually zero. Its “advantage” is that the deficit is covered by inputs from others, granted by consent or by force. The means employed by Washington to compensate for its deficiencies are of diverse kinds: repeated unilateral vio-lation of the principles of liberalism, arms exports, the search for oil rents which entail the brutal control of producers, the actual motive for the wars in Central Asia and Irak. The bulk of America’s deficits is covered by capital inflows from Europe and Japan, and from the South to which will be added the debt service levy imposed on almost all the peripheral countries of the world system.
Thesis 3: The military control of the planet is intended to compensate for the United States’ economic deficiencies. This phenomenon poses a threat to all peoples of the South
This hypothesis logically follows from the previous one. Washington’s strategic decision to take advantage of its military superiority and resort, in this context, to «preventive wars” decided and planned by the country alone, is calculated to dash all hopes of a great nation (like China, India, Russia and Brazil) or of a regional coalition in the Third World to ac-quire the status of a real partner helping to shape the world system, be it capitalist.
Thesis 4: The South can be liberated from the globalized neo-liberal illusions to embark on renewed forms of self-centred development
There is no doubt that governments of the Southern countries still seem to be fighting for a «true neo-liberalism » whose Northern partners would agree «to play the game». The Southern countries can only realise that this hope is completely illusory and that they may start by defining own objectives allowing for the modernisation of productive systems and creating internal conditions that promote social progress. Only then negotiation are useful about modifications of the governing relations between the nation and developed capitalist centres. This definition of de-linking is the opposite to the principle of « structural adjust-ment» to the demands of globalisation, which is necessarily subjected to the exclusive de-mands for expansion of the dominant multinational capital, thereby deepening inequalities at the global level.
Thesis 5: The US’ option for militarised globalization poses a serious threat to the interests of Europe and Japan
This hypothesis follows from the second one. Among other concerns, the United States’ objective of controlling militarily all the important resources of the planet (oil in particular) is geared towards relegating the European and Japanese partners to the status of a kind of vassals. America’s oil wars are “anti-European” wars. Since 1997, the EU has politically and strategically reacted by drawing closer to Russia and the follow-up states of the former So-viet Union (GUS-states) with Partnership- and Co-operation Agreements, realizing that those allies are capable of supplying oil, gas and a few other essential raw materials.
Thesis 6: Europe has the strength for liberation globalized neo-liberalism
There are political, social and ideological forces in Europe that support the vision of “an-other Europe”. One manifestation is the EU Partnership-Accord with 77 states of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). For another 20 years since April 2003, it continues the for-mer LOME I - IV agreements, which started in July 1963. This is an attempt to establish adult relations with liberated states in the South born out of previous colonial common his-tory. But there are other components. Great Britain since 1945 made the historical option of enlisting unconditional support for the US. There are the forces among the ruling classes of Eastern Europe moulded by a culture of servitude, bowing yesterday to Hitler, then to Stalin, and to Bush today. In general, the dominant segments of capital and depending gov-ernments are still bent on defending at all costs the globalized neo-liberalism. They have to pay the price of their subordination by the North American leadership, because the US would not renounce its option for an asymmetrical practice of liberalism. It is obvious that this is the sole means whereby America can compensate for its own deficiencies. The price of America’s «prosperity» is the stagnation of others. Therefore, European peoples must get rid of the illusion that the card of globalized neo-liberalism could be played “honestly” by all and that things might get better.
If the humanist and democratic culture of the «old Europe» prevails, then an authentic co-hesion between Europe, Russia, China, the whole of Asia and the entire Africa will consti-tute the foundation on which will be constructed a multi-centrist, democratic and pacific world. The surplus capital that Europe has so far opted to “invest” in the United States could be assigned to economic recovery and social rehabilitation projects. If Europe would choose to give priority to its economic and social progress, then the artificial health of the United States’ economy would decline and the American ruling class would be confronted with its own social problems. The major contradiction between Europe and the United States is therefore not the contrast between the interests of the dominant capital here and there but rather the type identified in their political cultures.
Thesis 7: The reconstruction of a strong South entails the participation of its peoples
The political regimes set up in many of the Southern countries are not democratic and sometimes are odious. These authoritarian power structures favour compradore groups whose interests consist in expanding the global imperialist capitalism. An alternative con-struction comprising peoples of the South can materialise through a difficult and long process of democratisation. It certainly cannot be realised by establishing puppet regimes to open their countries’ resources to plunder by North American multinational companies. This regimes will be even more fragile, less credible and less legitimate than those they suc-ceeded under protection by the American invader. Incidentally, the US’ goal is not to pro-mote democracy in the world, despite its purely hypocritical discourse on that subject.
Thesis 8: A new global solidarity of peoples is possible
Obviously, initiatives in this direction reduce the US’ inordinate and criminal ambition to nothing. The US administration would therefore be compelled to coexistence with peoples determined to defend their own interests. At present, this objective must absolutely be con-sidered as a priority. The deployment of the American project over-determines the stake inherent in all struggles.
Thesis 9: Issues concerning diversity of cultures and civilizations are important for analysis of conflicts and are part of the perspectives of human civilization
Diversity of cultures and civilizations is a fact. But it is complex and ambiguous. The forms of diversity inherited from the past, however legitimate they might be, are not necessarily synonymous with diversity in the construction of the future, which should not only be ad-mitted but also advocated. Dwelling exclusively on diversities inherited from the past (po-litical Islam, Hindutva, Confucianism, Negritude, chauvinistic ethnicity, etc.) often consti-tutes a demagogic formula of autocratic powers to reject the challenge of universalising civilisation and actually submitting to the dictate of the dominant trans-national capital. But what are and may be the «universal values» on which the future can be founded?