Return of The Old World Order

Over the past decade, following cessation of the cold war era, many touted the rise of a “New World Order.” But events this year have revealed something quite different:
From the July 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

The illegal war for control of Kosovo is over. Yet the Kosovo settlement, negotiated by the German-led Group of Eight countries, “is cause for relief but not celebration” (The Nation, June 28). We suggest that the relief will be short-term—very short-term!

The Western allies and their agencies are now faced with footing the bill for the ongoing care of over 985,000 displaced refugees and the reconstruction of Kosovo—not to say that of greater Serbia, a major trade crossroads for Europe. However, the whole world will now pay the price for the global destabilization initiated by the Balkans debacle. Suddenly the Kosovo crisis has focused the attention of the clearest-thinking analysts on an end-of-the-millennium phenomenon. Far from establishing a “New World Order” following the ending of the cold war earlier this decade, as the 1990s draw to a close the specter of the old order of things rises to greet us. Not so much a pre-cold-war order, neither pre-World War II, not even pre-Great Depression. No. An even more historic order of things is emerging. It seems that the old nationalist, even imperialist order which existed prior to World War I and the signing of the historic Treaty of Versailles between the Allies and Germany is rapidly reinventing itself.

During the seven years that followed the fall of the Soviet empire, it seemed that the world became fascinated with the concept of global interdependence. “Make trade not war” became the catch-cry as businesses globalized and the attention of many an influential leader was caught up in the idea that

international borders were rendered useless by the universality of an interdependent world economy. “New World Order” enthusiasts preached the prospect of the disappearance of the nation-state. National aspirations were to be subsumed by the forces of commerce and economics.

It now turns out that this wooly idea was nothing but a pipe dream.

Commenting on the phenomenon of the rise of nationalism, Stratfor Systems recently reported, “The return of conflict among nations to the center stage of history and in the daily newspaper is the important news. The nation state, far from declining, is vigorously reasserting itself, with the inevitable accompaniment of bullets and blood” (Global Intelligence Update, May 24).

One interesting facet of so many international conflicts is their religious overtones. In many of the world’s current hot spots it is religion which is at the very heart and core of national identity. The combined influence of religious conflict and assertive nationalism threatens anew the stability and peace of whole regions.

Just one decade after the cessation of the cold war, the world seems on the brink of a fiery launch into the new millennium! U.S. world hegemony is in decline. In its wake we see the rising threat of militarism in many nations. It is a militarism underpinned by a revival of nationalism combined with religious fervor. This is a volatile mix!

Let us explore each of these phenomena. As we do, we shall find that, inevitably, far from leading to a new world order, they are simply leading to the final revival of an old order. An order which has deep, historically national roots, inspired by religion, strengthened by militarism and, as in all of its previous guises, driven by great imperialistic tendencies.

U.S. Decline

Global politics is essentially a power phenomenon: Its prime motivation is a struggle for power. As Samuel P. Huntington, chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, declares, “International relations are changing along this crucial power dimension” (Foreign Affairs, vol. 78, no. 2).

The modern history of the old world in Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Palestine and North Africa was largely dominated by the uni-polar epochs of the Holy Roman Empire, in its various forms, up to the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. Then followed the greatest uni-polar era of all, when the mighty British Empire governed two thirds of this earth’s land and sea mass until the outbreak of World War I.

The turn of the century saw the emergence of Prussian-Germanic militarism, the dawning of the Russian revolution and the increasing rise to great industrial power and wealth of the United States of America. During the brief hiatus between the two great world wars, Europe entered a tri-polar era, with the rise of the Soviet empire, the reassertion of German imperialism in alliance with the Axis powers, challenging the British Empire. A fourth power with imperialistic aims entered the scene in the Far East and Pacific arena as Japan threw down the gauntlet to the old colonial powers and pushed them out of their dominance in that region.

After America entered the war and contributed to the ultimate victory of the Allied forces, the scene was set for a dramatic redistribution of global power. German and Japanese imperialism had been smashed. The age of British imperial dominance was on the wane and that of the Soviet Union powerfully strengthened. The United States ended the war, clearly moving into the world arena as a superpower.

By 1949, with a cold war triggered by Russia’s closure of its borders with the Western world, the world had entered a bi-polar era. Two superpowers, the U.S. and USSR, confronted each other glaringly over mounting stockpiles of nuclear armaments to the point that, ultimately, the talk was of “overkill” capacities. The world had reached the point of which the greatest prophet to walk this earth had declared, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22).

Not only had it become possible to slaughter all life on this planet, it was possible to do so many times over, as if once was not enough!

Then, the world reached a watershed in 1989. The iron curtain was split with a ragged fissure rippling on from the Berlin Wall eastward clear across to the Caucasus. The Soviet Union collapsed. For a brief decade, the U.S. basked in the glory of a unipolar moment—the one single superpower straddling the world stage. Then, back in April of this year, something happened to end that moment—Kosovo!

Through foolish complicity in support of the Vatican-German-initiated destabilization of Yugoslavia via their recognition of Croatia and Slovenia as separate nation-states in 1990, the U.S. was progressively drawn into the Balkan fiasco. This was the beginning of the end of the U.S. as a superpower.

Emerging with its international reputation horribly tainted by its cavalier conduct of the Yugoslav air war, Washington seems absolutely blind to the reality that the U.S. no longer enjoys the dominance it had at the close of the cold war. As Samuel Huntington implies, America must now “relearn the game of international politics as a major power, not a superpower…. U.S. policy-making should reflect rational calculations of power rather than a wish list of arrogant, unilateralist demands” (ibid., p. 11).

The blindness of U.S. foreign policy is perhaps best summed up in the words of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has called the U.S. “the indispensable nation.” This statement is false. It implies that other nations are dispensable—other nations such as greater Serbia!

It is such blind arrogance that has led to charges that the U.S. is bent on a kind of “moral imperialism.” This is perceived at its worst in instances where the U.S. bears down on smaller and weaker nations to try to impose on them its version of center-left, liberal-socialist “values.”

This attitude of U.S. leaders is simply resulting in the increasing isolation of America. Far from speaking on behalf of the “international community” when addressing major issues, the U.S., at best, speaks on behalf of itself, its Anglo-Saxon allies and few others. Seldom does the U.S. have the support of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, the Islamic countries, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America or even France. The U.S. has lost the power to speak on behalf of the global community to the extent that it has clearly compromised the declared values of its Constitution in the conduct of both its internal and external affairs over the past few years.

Nationalism

As Stratfor Systems has commented, “The news from around the world is about war, political intrigue and espionage” (op. cit.).

In other words, it is business as usual. Forget a new world order without borders, where national sovereignty is surpassed by the need to conduct trade and administer economic systems in the interests of all on a global scale. Old-fashioned nationalism is back!

Many international conflicts of the past few months have arisen as a direct result of the rapid return to 18th- and 19th-century configurations which have revived over the past ten years. There exists no clearer case in point than that region of Europe extending from Germany eastward through the Balkans to the Caucasus. Since 1990 the entire map of this region has been redrawn.

Perhaps the most obvious evidence of this rise of nationalism has been the regression of the Federation of Yugoslavia back to its constituent, national components. It remains all the more obvious largely because the U.S., its allies and commercial news media, for strategically political reasons, have chosen to pin world attention on the Balkans. Had our national leaders and their media lap-dogs presented a less biased approach, we would soon see that national security interests have now overtaken economic and commercial interests as the prime focus of most nations—not just the Balkans!

Look at the list of national security headaches globally: consider India vs. Pakistan; the Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan vs. Russia vs. the EU vs. the U.S. In Africa, national security interests have resulted in current full-scale war in Angola; Zaire has been divided between the Rwandan-Ugandan-backed rebels eastward and, to the west, the Angolan-Zimbabwean-supported government militias; west Africa seethes; the Camoros, Guinea-Bissau and Niger all recently suffered coups; Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to slaughter tens of thousands in their ongoing border dispute; anarchy rules in Somalia; civil war continues in the Sudan.

In the Far East, China looms over Taiwan and the Spratly Islands; North Korea remains explosive; Japan becomes nervous as it eyes the India-China-Russia flirtation; Indonesia seethes with social unrest; Australia worries about its huge unprotected coastlines as boatloads of illegal immigrants land on its shores weekly. In the Middle East, Arab neighbors remain uneasy and the world awaits Prime Minister Barak’s first move on the Palestinian peace accord. In the Mediterranean, Cyprus is still a divided country with Turkey and Greece staring each other down. Across the Urals, Russia seeks to influence its wayward children to return to the fold. Then there are the Balkans….

Geopolitical analyst Dr. George Friedman stated, “Nationalism has been on the rise throughout the world.” He pointed out that the evidence shows this resurgent nationalism, in its extreme form, “means that dying for one’s country makes rational sense in a way that economists simply don’t understand” (ibid.).

Most especially in Yugoslavia, the U.S. and nato, far from mollifying Serb nationalism, have by their bumbling actions strengthened it. “The offended Yugoslav nation is being rallied around its nationalist chief. Western politicians believe they act against him, but they act for him: The West has walked into a trap. He will suffer nothing, and, as a democratically elected leader, his position will be strengthened” (The Nation, May 3).

Economists became the gurus before whose feet politicians worshiped over the past 30 years. But the economists forgot one thing in their blind, one-dimensional view—they “have never understood the centrality of the community and nation in human behavior” (Stratfor, GIU, June 1).

As George Friedman so neatly explained, it is a nation’s place in the world and its people that define it. If a nation has a strategic location, such as a prominent sea gate, or abounding natural resources, it will simply need to defend itself from other nations which lack or lust after these attributes. Thus, national security subsumes and supercedes economics. And thus it is that the world has reverted to its historical condition, as “a dangerous place filled with political intrigue, espionage and warfare” (ibid.).

Religion

George Weigal stated that the “unsecularization of the world is one of the dominant social facts in the late 20th century” (Washington Quarterly, Spring 1991). This is a global phenomenon. From fundamentalist Protestantism to Orthodoxy, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, the world is turning to its traditional religions to fill the void that a Godless society has created in their lives.

The great paradox is that it is precisely those social, cultural and economic processes which sought to replace traditional religion in the second half of the 20th century that have combined to cause its revival at the close of the century.

In his national bestseller, The Clash of Civilizations—Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington comments on the remarkable resurgence of religion that has occurred as this century advances to its close: “Filling the vacuum left by the collapse of ideology, religious revivals have swept these countries from Algeria to Vietnam…. The number of active churches in the Moscow area grew from 50 in 1988 to 250 in 1993…. In 1989, 160 functioning mosques and one madressah (Islamic seminary) existed in Central Asia; by early 1993 there were about 10,000 mosques and 10 madressahs” (pp. 96-97).

As Professor Huntington rightly points out, traditional religion has replaced failed modern ideologies. This religious revival, however, has its greatest and bloodiest impact when religious nationalism takes over from secular nationalism. Once again we can list a whole battery of current conflicts where revived religion is the driving force behind national turmoil.

That old struggle between North and South in Ireland, between Ulster and the Irish Republican Army, Britain and the nationalist Irish, is rooted in religious bigotry. Protestants and Catholics still maim and kill each other in the name of two religions that are both supposed to espouse “brotherly love.”

On the sub-continent of India, Hindus attack both Christian churches and Muslim mosques. To the south in Indonesia, Muslims torch Christian churches, provoking the Christians to retaliate. In Pakistan, Muslim mobs attack Christians on the streets and at their places of worship. In the Balkans, Croatian Catholics, Orthodox Serbs, Bosnian and Albanian Muslims all are caught up in the politicizing of their nations’ religions, disrupting communities which prior to 1990 had lived in relative order and peace for 40 years.

Thus, religious struggles combined with nationalism currently threaten the peace of many countries.

Perhaps the most powerful of all current efforts to revive religion as a potent political force, in combination with nationalism, has been those of Pope John Paul II in his untiring endeavors to sweep back the whole of Europe and Latin America into the Vatican’s fold. Realizing that Protestant fundamentalism had made giant strides over the past two decades cutting into its flock, the Vatican recently steamrolled two accords with a couple of the most significant of its errant daughters.

After the agonizingly slow maneuvers between Protestantism and Catholicism since the 16th century Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church concluded, on June 2, an accord which resolves the 400-year-old doctrinal differences with the Lutheran Church. Amazingly, only weeks before, the Catholic Church concluded a similar accord with the Anglican Church of Great Britain. This is religious history in the making. What is not so apparent is the political motive behind these dramatic moves, nor the reason for their precise timing.

Another most significant move by the Vatican has been the prime effort of John Paul II, since his election in 1978, to reconcile with the Jews. The Pope has been in a rush to reconcile with Jewry and move to draw the Protestants back into communion with the “Church Universal” by the year 2000. All of this in anticipation of celebrating the burial of the Catholic Church’s bloody and bitter history—a history replete with evidence of mass torture and martyrdom of heretics, collaboration in laundering Nazi gold, protecting and promoting safe passage for thousands of escaping Nazis at the end of World War II.

The Holy See is busy rewriting the history of its involvement in the Holocaust so as to present a glossy, renewed image to the world at this century’s end which it has adopted (against the facts of history) as its millennial double jubilee. And in the background are the efforts of highly placed and influential people in Europe and the Vatican to ensure that Roman Catholicism becomes the state religion for the new federal European Union.

We should always remember that Turkey was far more qualified economically than those Eastern European nations which have been accepted as next in line to join the EU. Turkey was rejected from EU membership on religious grounds. Being Islamic, its religion is totally incompatible with the state religion of the Euro-club.

Militarism

From all of documented history, it is apparent that only one superpower, the greatest this world has known, had the distinction of possessing the ability to exercise great restraint in the use of its military power. According to the masterful thinker and practitioner of geopolitical strategy Hans J. Morgenthau, “The only nation that in modern times could maintain a continuous position of preponderance owed that position to a rare combination of potential superior power, a reputation for superior power, and the infrequent use of that superior power. Thus Great Britain was able, on the one hand, to overcome all serious challenges to its superiority because its self-restraint gained powerful allies and, hence, made it actually superior. On the other hand, it could minimize the incentive to challenge it because its superiority did not threaten the existence of other nations” (Politics Among Nations, p. 179).

Sadly, in this latest, most horrible military adventure in which the British administration has operated in subservience to the U.S. administration—leading compliant nato powers in the trashing of Serbia—this old strength of imperial Britain is nowhere in evidence. One certainly finds little evidence of masterful restraint matched with the judicious use of overwhelming power in the way that the U.S., Britain and their nato allies have conducted this brutalizing little affair.

Apart from the disastrously bad targeting of so many civilians and civilian institutions (hospitals, buses, trains, etc.), the legacy of this latest round of the Balkan wars is going to be quite frightening. A 12-mile oil slick floats down the Danube, attesting to the crushing of Serbia’s oil dumps. Numerous bridges across the river now lie with their backs broken. The power grid is smashed to bits. A fetid soup spreads across the country, fed by streams, leaching into ground water, befouling the countryside, as spilled wastes cascade from bombed-out chemical plants. Multiple thousands of civilians who had no say in this affair have been thrown onto the lists of unemployed.

The lack of a sense of proportion, the lack of a common-sense perspective, the lack of any innate wisdom in the conduct of this Balkans war, have destabilized a whole nation’s citizenry. The spin-doctors fool the world with their demonizing of Slobodan Milosevic. In their efforts to crush the ant Milosevic, nato has used multiple loose cannons. Nato has gained a Pyrrhic victory, but Milosevic still lives, just as Saddam Hussein still survives in Iraq.

But the citizenry, who just want, as Solomon declared, to “eat and drink and enjoy good in his labour,” are those who always suffer in these situations. Vengeful liberal-socialists are attempting to revise history in an effort to deny whole generations the knowledge of the glorious heritage of Great Britain at its peak of Empire. They would do well to take stock of that masterful restraint—that sense of fair play—which tended to spare civilian populations while going for the jugular of the real enemy.

So, we see the world returning to its old order. Given the history of religious nationalism leading inevitably to a rise in militarism between nations, the years ahead conjure up a horrifying scenario indeed. As the nations now return to their normal state of multi-nation conflict, the power of the weaponry, the size and scope of its deployment and the unstable hands in which it is vested render the outcome of any rise in militarism unthinkable.

If the world needed a “global policeman” (a role adopted by the U.S. as sole superpower) through the past decade of international destabilization, the need is much greater now as we enter a new millennium with religious nationalism on the rise—from Russia to Germany, from Japan to Brazil.

Who will fill the void? Will it be a reviving Russia, with nationalistic fervor stirred anew as a result of U.S. aggression in Yugoslavia? Will it be China, flush with the technology built upon secrets so easily stolen from under the nose of a naïve America? Will it be a reviving Japan, stung by its loss of face at the clumsy handling by the U.S. of trade relations with this easily offended nation? Will it be a combination of these? Perhaps an alignment of Islamic countries?

Bible prophecy clearly reveals it will be none of these. In fact, the weight of evidence as to which power will emerge to fill this vacuum is now so overwhelming that we suddenly see a remarkable congruence between the writings of the clearest thinking analysts of international relations and the prophecies of your Bible. Next month we will show how the old world order which has now returned to haunt us will consummate in a brief and powerful imperial rule by a historic alliance, immediately prior to the establishment of the ultimate “New World Order.”