The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 September 2003

If not us, who?

Cinderella Bloggerfeller turns up a Le Figaro piece about the ostensible American empire, and why if it did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. Guy Sorman writes:

Europe no longer appears the torchbearer of the Rights of Man, but the peevish advocate of the rights of rulers and of the status quo. At the beginning of our new era, a project for European civilisation is nowhere to be found, so much so that the newcomers from Central Europe and the Anglo-Saxon north are beginning to ask themselves: does the European Union have anything to do with the century we live in?

The UN is faring even worse. Long paralysed by the Cold War, the United Nations is now paralysed by its very nature. The Anglo-American snub in the Security Council over the control of Iraqi weapons did not cause but simply revealed the yawning gap between the UN Charter and its ambitions. This Council, the legacy of the 1945 peace accords, no longer represents what the world has since become: the absence of Brazil, Japan, Germany, South Africa and India means it cannot be considered a legitimate global board of directors. Until this is rectified, it is vain to expect good world governance.

The situation is just as chaotic in the general assembly; its make-up is based on the assumption that every nation is a genuine one and that all leaders enjoy equal legitimacy. Since the majority of these states are kleptocracies at best and tyrannies at worst, it is obvious that the Charter of the United Nations can no longer be considered the basis of any kind of world order. This obsolete text ignores unprecedented situations like Afghanistan or Kosovo; de facto states will multiply, in Central Asia and Africa, as de jure states vanish.

In the meantime, who would exercise global governance if not the Americans, with a few Europeans to make up the numbers? Who would replace them in emergencies? Criticism — which is indispensable — of this first American empire would be more legitimate if it were associated with a project for the complete overhaul of the UN. Since nobody is proposing one and the tyrants — a majority — would not want it, the UN, the Red Cross Mark Two, will be confined to humanitarian work. It remains to be seen how it will acquit itself.

And this was published in France, mind you. Admittedly, Le Figaro isn't the biggest name in French publishing — think of it as the Gallic version of The Washington Times without the Korean cash flow — but you can be certain that a copy of this landed on Jacques Chirac's desk.

Posted at 8:17 PM to Political Science Fiction


the US under George Bush has become a standard bearer for a bold rush into the past, at least idealogically, into an age where sheer military and economic might dictates the rules by which the game is played. While this may generate a positive outcome as long as the US remains (or starts to be) a beneficent leader its a bad model for long term stability. This is why Kings were bad. You have good one, things are fine... but his son might be a bloody tyrannt and all hell breaks loose until he dies and you gamble all over again.

That first sentence (of the quote) is breathtaking in the sheer backwardness it represents. My nomineee for most ambitious "peevish advocate of the rights of rulers and of the status quo" would be the U.S. but in the name of global corporate power, under which national soverignty or even democratic representation is a small matter.

CG... dont start sounding like George Will on me ok?

re: the Wash Times, dont you mean the cult money? The Moonie Times!

Posted by: bruce at 2:09 AM on 18 September 2003

in the case of having a representative democracy leading the world is like having a bipolar alcoholic as a parent. Every four years we morph into ... something completely different!

Posted by: bruce at 2:11 AM on 18 September 2003