If you’ve been following the Politix 101 series, you’ve waded through some long articles. Time for a break, with an article that’s very short and easy to understand.
We’ve learned about the basic elements of political systems — from government to institutions like the media, education and religion. We’ve also learned that various institutions often work together, for good or bad.
Now let’s take it one step further and imagine different nations working together — for good or bad. Let’s also imagine nations working with banks, corporations and the super rich.
But what does that mean? What are the good and bad things people with power work for?
History can be thought of as an ongoing struggle between rich, powerful people and the ordinary people they seek to control or exploit. When we describe a government or nation as good, we usually mean that government or nation does what it’s supposed to do — help the people. A bad nation is one that tyrannizes or exploits its own citizens and/or people in other countries.
A Changing World
The world is constantly changing. As a nation changes, other nations sometimes imitate it or react to its changes. For example, monarchies were once very common, but they’ve now been largely replaced by republics, democracies and other forms of government.
If we could travel back in time fifty years and take a snapshot of the entire world, then go back another one hundred years and take another snapshot, we’d notice some striking differences. Each photo would portray a different chapter in world history. We might say each photo illustrates a different world order.
Before we continue, please understand that there’s no official definition for the term world order. Geobop simply defines it as a sociopolitical snapshot of the world at a particular point in time.
Previous World Orders
For example, let’s consider the world order that existed one thousand years ago. There was little contact between continents, and various races and ethnic groups were largely segregated. Democracy was very rare. Nation states often invaded other nation states in territorial wars or to steal food, natural resources or even slaves.
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. that popular quote probably derives from George Santayana’s words, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Truer words were never spoken. How else could people fight two world wars? Why is the U.S. now mired in a second great depression? And do Americans have a clue about the fates of earlier empires?
The lesson is simple: You can’t understand politics without some knowledge of history.
After the Spanish discovered the New World near the end of the 15th century, things changed dramatically. A new world order rapidly evolved, with European nations growing rich off the distant nations they colonized and cruelly exploited. Africa was devastated by a slave trade as wealthy Europeans sought cheap labor. We might call this the Colonial World Order.
Eventually, colonies in the New World, Africa, Asia and the oceans began winning independence from Europe. However, the United States began exploiting Latin America, even as it began carving out its own global empire. We might call this the beginning of the Post-Colonial World Order or perhaps the U.S. World Order.
Patterns repeat themselves in history.
Another world order took shape after World War II, when nations were divided into three categories: 1. the United States and its allies, 2. the Soviet Union and other communist nations, and 3. non-aligned or “third world” nations (consisting primarily of Latin America, Africa and southern Asia).
As you can see, it’s hard to precisely define or describe a world order, let alone determine its exact boundaries in time. But we can certainly grasp some of the bigger trends. For example, we know that monarchies began to decline in popularity, and many nations realigned themselves politically after World War II, with Europe split into Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. What we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish.
More than imitate each other, nations can actively work together for good or bad. This is particularly obvious when nations take sides during wars. In World War II, the Allies (primarily the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Soviet Union) teamed up to beat the Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). The Cold War pitted NATO (consisting of the U.S., Canada and several European nations) against the Warsaw Pact, led by the Soviet union.
Some people believe economics was a major cause of both World War II and the Cold War that followed. But were the Great Depression and World Wars I and II ultimately caused by small groups of people who wanted bad things to happen to other people for their own selfish gain?
That’s precisely what many historians and conspiracy theorists think. No intelligent person can deny that conspiracy is shaping the New World Order.
BONUS: The Big Picture
What’s really happening in the Ukraine? Who’s ISIS really working for? Who are the good guys in Syria?
Such questions can be very difficult to answer if you put them under a magnifying glass, especially if the mainstream or alternative media are your primary source of information. Many people give up in frustration.
Until you are willing to learn the lessons, pay attention to details, and become patient with yourself, you will keep repeating the same patterns over and over again.
Fortunately, there’s a wonderfully simple trick that can help you understand what’s happening around the world. You just close your eyes, mentally erase all the false information the media have fed you, then take a couple steps backward and try to see the big picture.
Take Venezuela, for example. After President Hugo Chavez passed away, the country became mired in increasingly severe problems. The media claim many of these problems were created by Chavez himself, a charge passionately denied by his supporters. So who should we believe?
Well, forget about Venezuela for a minute and look at the bigger picture — Latin America. The U.S. has been exploiting Latin America for generations. The U.S. has infiltrated, destabilized and invaded one country after another. This state of affairs may not prove that Chavez was perfect, but it does put the media’s criticism of him in perspective.
Similarly, Iran’s alleged effort to acquire nuclear weapons looks very different when we understand the big picture, which includes U.S. aggression towards Iranian for more than half a century. The big picture also includes the nuclear weapons that are illegally possessed by Israel. In fact, Iran is surrounded by U.S., NATO and Israeli military bases, not to mention countries that have been invaded and destroyed by the U.S. (e.g. Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan). Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.