The aim of internationalism is to tame a wilderness of near-200 countris into a workable unit where all members thrive. The path toward that lofty goal begins with the basic premise that all humans are basically the same.
All humans, regardless of color, gender, nationality or occupation, are a mass of nerves and muscles. The nerves that take in information an the muscles carrying out actions based on the info, are shaped into a unique modality by genetics, nurture within a culture and life events called circummstance. Huge as those resulting differences are, they can be organized into general categories applicable from personal through national and global levels.
These generalities can be expressed as a scale between extremes. All people and countries possess at least some elements of each extreme.
**peaceable to bellicose
**cooperative to obstructionist
**fatalist to utopian
**passive to assertive to aggressive
**miserly to generous
**religious to atheist
**tolerant to rigid
**communal to loner to curmudgeon
Within those generalities of all people the world over, there are commonalities of all when interacting with others either individually or in groups. Extremes in degree of companionability are again found in all people individually and in groups. While these observations are simplistic, they are handy reminders in a complex age.
***Regardless of race, color, creed, religion, culture or family situation, nearly all people are most comfortable with their own than with outsiders even when outsiders are a relief from a home situation.
***Some people like novelty more than others and nearly all feel threatened if they see themselves overwhelmed, diminished or belittled.
***Regardless of situation, some are upward strivers, others are content with their lot and circle. Few like to be coerced and virtually none like to be oppressed. Within that broad range very few are frustrated enough to be violent.
***Most people in the world at large know very little about cultures, countries or even fellow citizens outside their immediate circle. Provided they’re not threatened and are given an avenue is open about feelings, most people are more curious about novelty than disdainful.
***The threshhold between openness and hostility to novelty is delicate. Communities large and small need pointpersons to mediate finer poimts.
***Inequities are among the finer points of interacting that need pointpersons to address. Inequities at all levels are real and explosive. Social SWAT units deserve consideration.
***When dealing with inequities at any level in a global digital world, the full range of views deserve the respect to be heard and hashed out. The sweep ranges from the democratic ideal of dissolving inequities to the traditionalist view that inequitoes should remain intact. That spread needs commitment to resolve within the bottom line precept of internationalism, do no physical harm
***Showcase strengths abd needs. on the global scale.
***Adapt national militaries to be not only forefront forces of defense but national cultural envoys. However isolated in current conflict and adversarial situations, military boots on the ground are liaisons between cultures. No poin wasting the wisdom gained.
***Provide guidelines for news sourcing. Many countries already have ratings systems for movies and TV shows. The art world has a sophiticated provenance system toprove authenticity. Movies have a rating system for audience suitability. Dogs, cats and horses have pedigrees. In a global digital world full of fake and deep fake news about to be augmented by artificial intelligence when the natural one is still in its infancy, prominent posting of news accreditation seems a no-brainer everywhere.
***In a global digital world, presume nothing and be prepared for frustration. Emails are lost, messages never received and never even heard. Repeat, rephrase and rephrase, especially across languages with accents and interpretor
***In a global world, humor is a tricky ice-breaker. Classical psychoanalyst Freud sai humor was a way to relieve tensio. In the best of homogeneous gatherings,the expression of humor succeeds when parties are at ease. Derisive humor never secceeds . Mocking religion is a relationship killer.
***However blissful, romantic and marital relationships are stressful. Cross-cultural unions take extra emotional work. Mixed race marriages are a crash course in the basics of internationalism.
***Racism is not limited to the economically advantaged. All races are biased in favor of their own. The reverse racism of the disadvantaged who feel superior because of odds overcome can be as harmful to social progress as as any barrier to open discourse.
***Loaded terms like “racism” and “sexism” are are conversation power-otages. Lights out on getting anywhere. The phenomena are real. They are universal. They deserve and need the respect of a thorough physical examination.
Current Global Status Note
Internationalism accords no heirarchy of beliefs around the world aside from the two categories of harmful or benign. In line with its assumption that evolution is still an ongoing process, it presumes that the benign will eventually lead to progressive.
That said, internationalism asserts that globalization is here to stay. It is inevitable now. No country however big or powerful will solve the climate crisis alone. No country or region can hold a monopoly on the natural resources for new and yet to be invented products. Mining the moon will still involve landing of the space vehicle in waters that may belong to someone else.
In brief, isolationism just won’t work any more and there’s no point trying. Too many of the world’s problems need teamwork to solve. Lines of communication are everywhere, even if underground behind the backs of leaders trying to force their people into going it alone. General populations in each of the wold’s near 200 countries have at least an inkling of rights and protections advancing rapidly since the Second Wotld War largely through the United Nations, its many funds and agencies.
Finally, to drive home the point ad nauseum in the event there are doubters left, the world’s near-200 countries must get along if any one is to rest easy. If arrogance about strides already made arise, the universal element in internationalm restores the balance of reality.
In the most technologically developed nations of the world, there is a healthy sprinkling of flat-earthers, those convinced beyond all scientific evidence that the world is a flat plane with ends where one can fall off. Conversely, Most indigenous communities around the world have climate experts who have no ego problems consulting each other.
Global Orientation Points
Most of the major conflict areas of the modern world are an outgrowth of the Second World War, That in turn was a result of unfinished business from the First World War. Between those two wars, injustices, economic hardship and complacency about troubles not our own created a cocktail that totalitarianism offered as a snake-oil remedy for global problems..
The First World War was the beginning of the end for the globally impactful European expansionist period. Since wars are fought to determine a future direction, the First World War decided that dynasties were a thing of the past. The Holocaust of the Second World War was another marker for global direction. The result was a concensus that people would not be destroyed without grave consequence just because they were disliked.
In sum, the two world wars of the 2-th century determine that all people would be free of domination by outsiders and that they would not be attacked for being disliked. Russia’s assault on Ukraine challenges both those outcomes. It is an umbrella issue covering other remnants of the Second World War even as the world together grapples with newly sprouting challenges.
As a handy rule of thumb in internationalism, it is useful to note that national boundaries are sacred as determined by international rule of law through treaties. Regional designations are highly fluid as the global world evolves through internationalism. Tha Middle East, for example. is a newly designate region spanning Africa and Asia. Ukraine on the cusp between Europe and Asia is aspiring to be a part of Eastern Europe that is now known as Central Europe. That bustling world in flux is harnessed through key peepholes.
The Middle East
.A major shift in global geopolitics after WWII was the establishment of Israel that had been a territor of Great Britain and the homeland of the Palestinian people, a seminomadic community with no established state structure. Resolution of that situation involves virtually all legal, social, religious and propert rights issues in international relations, in addition to human rights elements. Those are the issues relevant to international relations throughout the world at large.
At present, most of what we know about the world at large comes from a regional slant. The United Nations and other specialized web hubs cover news in greater depth on a regional sis. British sites like the BBC and Sky cover the most general interest global news ..
The region most relevant to all the world at present is commonly called “The West,”. Technically it refers to the US, Canada, Australia,, New Zealand and Western Europe. That is “The West” that has recently received a negative connotation in many parts of the world, including Russia and China. But other parts of “The West” include Eastern Europe, Japan , South Korea and Israel. These are the world’s wealthiest countries. All are technologically advaned and democratic with some form of capitalism as the economic system.
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, connects the European and American parts of “The West.” NATO was formed after WWII as a security pact against Russian expansion of the communist political system in place since the First World War near the start of the 21st century. After WWII, Russian communism expanded aggressively to encompass Eastern Europe as satellites and Asian countries of the region which became republics. The system was run behind an “iron curtain” that collapsed in 1991. Variations of communism were adopted and remain in place in countries like Cuba, North Korea and most notably China.
China is the largest country in Asia, excluding Russia straddling Europe an Asia. China is now the world’s second largest economy after the US, even though it is tecnically still a developing country. Along with Russia, China is influential in the many conflicts stemming from geopolitical changes after WWII. Essentially, European empires receded from Africa and Asia, leaving the Middle East better defined.
For example, Israel was created on land that Palestinians had occupied under British rule. Pakistan became separate from India, Eritrea from Ethiopia and Somalia from Somaliland. Throughout the region, conflicts continue to flare over political, ethnic, religious and resouces rights. These are fueled to a greater or lesser extent by the major powers vying for strategic or resource dominance. Those include not only counties of “The West,” Russia and China, but also the Arabic countries emerging onto the global stage since the oil boom of the 1970’s that gave rise to OPEC, the consortium of oil producing states.
Overall since the Second World War, countries have emerged randomly in line with technical and resource needs led by the already predoment global powers. National and regional political concerns are an integral part of economic and social affairs but they remain largly disjointed due to lack of political will at the central power forum of the United Nations.,
As a mere forum for discussion of disputes, the United Nations has no enforcement powers. It can recommend actions and impose sanctions but even these depend on a power structure that has remained unchanged in the 70 years since the organization’s founding. This is due to the inherent flaw u\in the global picture that internationalism aims to address, namely, that letting go of power is hard to do.
Five permament members of the UN Security Council need to approve any serious actions against any country that violates agreed-upon international laws. Those are the victors of WWII, the US, UK, France, Russia and China. Since the, France has become part od the European Union, which the UK joined prior to withdrawing in what became known as Brexit in the same year that the US elected what may turn out to be a mutinous president. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in violation of international law, the UN may be ready to implement major changes under consideration for over 20 years.
History and the Global Status Quo
Civilization is millions of years old. Written history has been thousands of years in the making. Wars have been a constant in all that time, as have diseases and progress in curing them. But only in the last 150 years since the industrial revolution has it become an option for humanity to destroy itself.
Very broadly speaking, the global climate change now threatening the planet began with the widespread machine industry making automobiles and factories.for products near and far. It began with textiles in Europe, moved to the young and expanding US that had begun as a British coloyt. As the labor part of industry moved west, the east took over the finacing. In the US, labor was perforned by slaves in the south with financing in the north. Remnants of those historical trends remain part of geographic identity, complete with associated stereotypes.
Stereotypes form a big part of cultural history and they account for a large part of the racism, bigotry and bias that still afflict all parts of the world. Within societies as well as globally, predispositions towards others, both positive and negative, are related to economic and social status. They also work up and down the social scal Though less common in the general henhouse pecking order of smobility upward, lower status individuals can be as biased as those more advantaged, preferring the values of their group despite disadvantages..
In general, the increased mobility of industrialization gave rise to more conflicts and a broader spread of disease. Wars came to a head with the Second World War and the introduction of the nuclear bomb. Disease came to a head with the Covid pandemic that brought the entire world to a halt. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global D-Day has arrived.
The Covid pandemic that brought the world to a halt pu a media Klieg light on the world as a whole. Countries compared efforts in disease control and economic alleviation of streses for their people. Countries emerged as either cooperatve or obsructive, transparent or secretive. The most volatile turned out to be the mighty US. The most helpful turned out to be Germany hosting researchers from Turke who came up with a vaccine at warp speed. The formula was snapped up by the US for worldwidw distribution as countries wary of “The West” developed offshoots with varying efficacy. In all, the world handled the pandemic however haphazardly. The political fallout, however was just beginning.
China with its secretive reputation and large economic ambitions on a global scale was sidelined as a reliable player. The US as democratic global dynamo underwent an unimaginable near-coup that was witnessed worldwide and yet denied by a third of the population. As all that went down, Russia invaded Ukraine after proclaiming to the last moment that it had no intention to do that.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violated every international law adopted after the atrocities of the Second World War, including the Geneva Conventions that regulated rules for waging war, They also prohited the violation of any nation’s sovereignty and the targeting of civilians with the weapons of war. Russia violated all those laws as the world looked on simply by bucking the most basic pact to not use nuclear weapons or even threaten to do so.
Led by the US, “The West” has rallied to help Ukraine defend itself in line with the surprising strength of its resistence to aggression. The drive to help Ukraine has brought to light the nuances of the trans-Atlantic alliance. It has also brought out contrs between Western Europe and the Eastern part cloistered behind the Iron Curtain along with former Soviet republics. Those differences can provide the clues for uniting the historical “West” and the rest, primarily through the United Nations template.
The drive to unite the world is not new, nor is it a pie-in-the-sky dream inspired by talents such as John Lennon or the Coca cola ad team. Uniting the world at this critical stage is a matter of letting history be what it is, a record of the past. Impunity for recent crimes can be rectified through the rule of law ever evolving on an international scale. But the work of the future starts with today as proof that the world has evolved and learned since the post-WWI League of Nations collapsed when the global compact was broken when a European country tried to become a global empire. Toward that end, The question posited is whether the world can adapt in accordance with agreements made at the United Nations.
The Global Heirarchy
Nuclear capacity is the current yop tier of the overall global status. About 60 countries havr nuclear reactors used for research, training and low-carbon energy production. About a dozen countries have nuclear arms, many of them built from materials illegally obtained from nuclear states. Iran in the Middle East is an example of a country whose nuclear status is unknown for political reasons despite rigorous control regimes adopted and abandoned. The US an Russia control a stockpile of nukes maintained under a “no-first use: agreement.
Until Russia threatened to use nukes in its recent invsion of Ukraine, North Korea was the loose cannon with nukes. Under blackout conditions over the whole country, itacquires, builds and launches missiles capable of carrying warheads as far as the US. In contrast, Israel is not considered a nuclear state but most likely is given its geographic posiion.
The UN publishes annual reports on nuclear status of states and their compliance with inspections. The UN also publishes annual reports on all aspects of scial condions of states, from econom to education, health and development progress. Human rights are covered extensively by the UN’s Human Rights Commission.
Obviously, the material wealth of nations is a key social indicator. Gross domestic product or GDP is the standard measure and represents the market value of goods and services a country provides. Measured in trillions of US dollars, the US is highest with 25. China is second with about 18 even though technically it is still a developing communist country. Japan is third with about 3 while free market India is fifth with about 2. Russia is tenth in GDP at about 2, above Italy and below Canada. The new island state of Nauru has the lowest at 133 million.
Defense spending is another measure of status, with the US again leading with an annual budget od 750 for a population of about 130 million. China spends about 237 billion for a billion and a half people, Saudi Arabia 67 for 37 million people, India 81 for a billion and a half people and Russia spending 86 for 143 million people.
More recent measures of global status operate from centers in emerging countries via the internet. They conduct surveys on quality of life factors relevant to market expansion and investment risk. As expected, countries of “The West” rank high. Survey parameters vary and results call for caution. However, unexpected results are encouraging for an international world. For example, the latest survey by Serbia-based Numeo ranked the world leading US as numer 17 on overall quality of life based on conditions such as putchasing power, health care and security. Oman was number 8 and the UAE was 12.
Overall in the digital global world, The West still dominates and in all regions, men continue to dominate over women. But that global social order can change rapidly given the right conditions under a formula still unfolding. Ukraine is the current pivotal point.
Ukraine was barely a blip on the radar before Superpower Russia attacked it in an illegal land-grab unseen since the Second World War. Since Ukraine was on the sensitive dividing line between Europe and Asia, the first assault in 2014 was let to slide. When the full scale assault began in 2021, The US was reeling from its first coup attempt ever. A new US president renewed the trans-Atlantic partnership of NATO in defense of Ukraine and democratic principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Under influence of China, Asian and African countries remained either neutral or sided with Russia in its claim to own Ukraine by virtue of history. That balance was skewed by Middle Eastern global ambitions relative to global energy supply affected by sanctions against Russia.
In short, the current global heirarchy stays stable even as it shits and affects global politics. Britain may have outgrown empire ambitions but the British accent carries cache in the US as well as with native Indians, Guyanese or Africans educated at Oxford. Whether countries can make the leap that Ukraine is making from victim to global hero depends to a large extent on the underlying framework for change.
Infrastructure and Bureaucracy
All countries have a consyitution in line with the UN Charter based on democratic principles enshrined in the US Constitution. Within that framework, countriesvary widely in their self-descriptions and policies. Communist China, for example, has described itself as a democratic dictatorship. Hungary as a member of the European Union, has been described by its prime minister as an illiberal democracy.
Countries that undergo a coup in which the military takes control are considered to be under martial lawwith constitutional rights and protections suspended. That same status can apply to Russia, where the head of state has managed to seize control of the governmental infrastructure to the point where it can amend the constitution without due process of law. Had it succeeded, the near-coup in the US might have accomplished that status. Since its constition does not prohibit election of a felon as head of state, the US well may be in the same situation after the next election as Israel is currently. Pakistan may be heading there..
In general, the older the constitution, the more stable the governmental and legal infrastructure. Bureaucracy is a natural component of keeping the system in place for the corresponding physycal infrastructureof a country or region. This includes roads and bridges all the way up to sewage systems and power plants. Hostilities can greatly damage these, as is currently happening in Ukraine on an internationally illegal basis.
The cost of the invasion in terms of lives lost and disrupted is inestimable, of course. The cost of rebuilding and repairing the damage will depend on the outcome. If international law prevails as expected, the cost will be borne according to decisions of courts. If not, there is a good chance that the widespread corruption still active in the former Soviet republics will creep back into the construction industry prone to crime because of the complex mix of government permits, materials and private sector involvement.
Furthermore, if international law does prevail, there is a greater chance that more rebuilding contracts will be allocated to emerging and developing countries. As a threshhold country between East and West under protection of stringent EU standards, Ukraine can filter much of the bureaucracy inherent in international involvement in national repair efforts, particularly in upholding the rule of law that helped it defend its freedom.
Crime and the Rule of Law
Until recently, few country leaders bragged openly about breaking laws, either national or international. As from time immemorial, most crime occures under the social radar. But inreasingly as the globalizing world opens a greater range of opportunnities, extra-judicial actions have come to play a role in the international field at the political, economic and social levels. This is particulatly true of youn, unstable democracies and those in tranition such as Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, now called sliding democracies.
Extra-judicial actions are manipulation of the judicial system for corrup puposes, such as imprisoning political opponents or changing voting systems without respect for legal due process. It is a variation of dictatorship less likely to cause a bavlash than direct edict with military backing.
.This official form of corruption may have been spurred as an offshoot of development efforts since the Second World War, Much of that funding was predicated on performance standards requiring extensive record keeping and accounting during implementation, and reporting. monitoring, oversight and report processing. Some of these mandated judicial reforms to curb corruption in susceptible developing countries, often in cooperation with entities also vulnerable to double-dealing. Opportunities for crime rose faster than legal reforms.
In addition to extr-judicial and corrup crimes that can interfere with the proper functioning of governments in controlling crime, some national constitutions allow for exceptions to the international protocols agreed to at the UN. These pertain to restrictions on rights such as ownership, investment, citizenship, media access and foreign involvement. Such restrictions are most prevalent in Middle Eastern Arabic countries, Many are taking steps to modernize.
While crime may pay in the short term, all crime is destabilizing to society as a whole in both short and long term. Short of UN reform that will speed the process of judicial reform and strengthen existing systems, regional approaches are most likely to yield the best results. progress. Interpol coordinating the law enforcement agencies of European countries has proven effective fin mechanism to enforce international laws. Countries such as the US with no regional ties face the greatest challrnges.
Human and Animal Rights
Migration and immigration
Minorities, Race & Ethnicity
Conflict and Change
Men, Women and Gender
Climate and Shared Resources
Transportation and Travel
Health and Well-being
The Urban/Rural Divide
Education and Smarts
Artificial intelligence may be the way of the future, but it will never be more potent than the individual human. That wondrous bag of muscles, nerves and complex tissue in between has evolved over millennia into a creature with powerful emotional needs. Agency is one.
The need to feel in control of the environment and the course of life began in the cave days with the invention of the wheel and fire. That innate drive of curiosity leading to discovery still burns in humans the world over. Internationalism is is the solution to managing global society as a balanced whole before tecnology destroys the human creative capacity.
More than other creatures, humans have the complex psychology of needing to make a difference, be somebody, make a mark on the world. In a fractured global world, the rih man in the West can feel as empty as a refugee in Sudan. The trappings are certainly different and they define the bulk of the feelings. But empathy is the emotional art form that rich and poor ldevelop from interacting.
Communication and the Human Factor
The West and the Rest