Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Global Freedom Coalition doomed to fail

Kim Holmes (Big Idea,Washington Times 9-11-08) nails it when he insists “it is time to think boldly about America’s future” and that “our alliances and international institutions are stuck in the past”. But when he says we need “think about creating ones more fitting to the 21st century” his own thinking remains stuck in a blood drenched past. He still uses a 20th century mindset that holds nation state confederations superior to the protection of inalienable universal human rights.
Even our 18th century founding fathers knew that the confederation of our 13 colonies was inherently flawed. Our confederation of states struggled for almost 100 years with border disputes, currency difficulties and unequal political freedoms. Mr. Holmes proposal for a “Global Freedom Coalition” is just more of the same. The same limited 20th century ‘ideal’ of ‘independent’ nation states that gave us the abysmally weak and ineffective United Nations.
In a world irreversibly interdependent on every aspect of life any confederated alliance or “Global freedom Coalition” as Holmes desires is doomed to catastrophic failures. If just one nation anywhere on earth fails to control an outbreak of the bird flu or some other inevitable outbreak, or the release of weaponized smallpox or a computer virus capable of bringing down the world wide web, or contaminates catastrophically any aspect of our global life support system (oceans, climate, breathable air or croplands) -- no “voluntary” “loose association” will matter a bit. The “common good” of we the world’s people will not be protected. Even a single “border dispute” anywhere in the world could result in the use of nuclear or biological weapons with any ‘freedom coalition” member possessing the freedom to leave it at any time. What’s the value of that?
Mr. Holmes is correct about the failings of the United Nations inability to deal effectively with “the tragedy of Darfur” or “hard problems like Iraq, Iran and North Korea. But the UN was never given the financial capacity, police power, or legislative or judicial means to do much more than talk.
Tragically it has been the Heritage Foundation and other such ‘think tanks’ that lobbied against any UN empowerment. They have clung to the failed 20th century concept that continues to give supreme power to nation states putting ‘national sovereignty’ above globally protecting the already universally approved list of inalienable human rights. This December 10th marks the 60th anniversary of this list - the “ Universal Declaration of Human Rights” -- yet this document still remains just a ‘good idea’ instead of an globally enforceable document like our own Bill of Rights.
Mr. Holmes is correct that “the need for a new global security arrangement …couldn’t be more obvious or timely” and the “desperate” need for a new “international mechanism to coordinate policy”. But the “power of unity” cannot be maximized in a world divided by shifting voluntary interests of loose and voluntary coalitions.
The more workable “Big idea” would be to put world law and the protection of human rights and basic human freedoms above that of world war and the protection of nation state’s freedoms.

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