A tale of two paradigms

Linked with Q&A: U.N.’s Enormous Potential Being Marginalised.

Published on openDemocracy, by Paul Rogers, 26 June 2009 (first published on 25 June 2009).

The little-noticed construction of a huge military facility in Jordan is a symptom of the dominant world’s failures in responding to the economic, food, climate and political crises of the age.

The United Nations summit on the impact of the current world economic recession on the poor, held in New York on 24-26 June 2009, reflects some recognition by the “international community” of the increasing hardship across the majority world of the depth of this crisis.

There are however doubts about the degree of commitment to the issue: none of the western states has sent a head of state or government, and the high-level attendees almost all come from poorer countries (see Thalif Deen, “U.N.’s Enormous Potential Being Marginalised”, Terra Viva/IPS, 23 June 2009) …

… The King strikes back:

The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre will host its first courses in August 2009 – weeks before the third meeting of the G20 states in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September 2009 which will be attended by the heads of government of the world’s most powerful states. The armed forces of many of those states will utilise KASOTC in its core purpose of protecting and consolidating the present world system of power-relations and wealth distribution.

The construction of this enormous military facility, at the very moment that elsewhere in the “global governance” landscape there is an intense search for ways to contain widespread social distress by alleviating the plight of the poor and marginalised, is one of those weird coincidences of timing that sometimes shed unexpected light on the heart of current global problems.

For forensic insight into such developments, a good strip-cartoon is often the place to look. This has long been true of one of the best: The Wizard of Id. In an early strip, the Chancellor goes to the King with a query: “Sire, you have allocated billions for defence but not one cent for the poor”. “Right”, replies the King. “What is the explanation?”, asks the Chancellor. For the King, it is simplicity itself: “When the rebellion comes I’ll be ready”. (full long text).

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