Sunday, January 20, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Unsettling Powers

It is not an accident that virtually all of the major national powers in
the world are suddenly in intense political turmoil just now.

If “world power” is defined by population alone, then China and India
hold those titles.

If “world power” is defined by military prowess, then the United States,
Russia, as well as China, fit the definition.

If  “world power” is defined by economics, then the European Union
(EU) and its three primary nation members (United Kingdom,
Germany and France), as well as the U.S., China and India, would be

Also playing major military and/or economic roles in the world are
Brazil, Iran, Canada, Japan and Indonesia.

China, Iran, and, to a certain degree, Russia are not democracies,  but
their turmoil is not only economic, but broadly put, political as well.

Democratic nations such as the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, India,
Japan, Canada and Brazil had, following the end of the Cold War in
the early 1990’s, enjoyed mostly growth and increasing political
stability.  But recently, these national powers have seen political
disruptions of varying kinds, and the result is international confusion
and global uncertainty at a heightened level not seen since the 1930s.

Some of the causes for the turmoil can be explained. New technology
advances in transportation and communications have provoked much
change in human life today. In the more developed nations and
societies, life spans and daily living conditions have improved with
unprecedented velocity. Simply put, there are more human beings on
earth who are living longer and requiring more goods, services and
security than ever before in history.

It would seem reasonable to assume then that both the democratic and
even the totalitarian models of governing are therefore in some
confusion and disruption.

The inevitable question arises: What will all this turmoil, confusion
and disruption lead to? Will it be a quickly passing phase? Will it
more fundamentally change daily life? Will political and economic
relationships be permanently altered within nations and between

Questions about change have few certain answers.. Twice the
idealism of institutionalized international cooperation has failed
(League of Nations and United Nations). Regional economic
cooperation institutions such as the EU have faltered as national
sovereignty was heavy-handedly diminished without true popular
support.  But international humanitarian and technology-specific
organizations continue to function and thrive, including, just as an
example, the International Red Cross and its equivalent groups all
over the world.

Certain nations and regions endure long-term instability, and their
chronic political and economic upheavals should come as no
surprise. When the largest powers witness significant change,
however, it is likely a sign of a deeper societal phenomenon.

That is why what is occurring in the U.S., China and Europe bears
careful scrutiny and vigilance in this unsettled and provisional
moment in time.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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