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World Order for World Peace

January 24, 2017

Another excerpt from Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-Enchantment. This section is taken from the chapter entitled, “The Cult of World Order,” which examines the historical quest to find a politically administrative messiah. Keep in mind: This is a rough draft. I’m still working through some thoughts and details.screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-4-17-15-pm

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   One year after the UN tenth anniversary, the Suez Crisis opened the door for a familiar concept. Sympathetic to world federalism and a NATO-configured Atlantic union,[1] Lester B. Pearson, Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs at the time, successfully leveraged the Suez situation to create the United Nations Emergency Force. Retelling its history, Pearson said the following in 1968,

There is a time in an international crisis when all are so frightened of what might happen that they will accept many things that they would not have even contemplated before the crisis; and indeed are unlikely to contemplate a week after it has ended. So at the time it was introduced my resolution for a police force was greeted with almost unanimous acclaim.[2]

   The introduction of an Emergency Force helped reinvigorate world-order theories, as did other Cold War complexities. In England, ten Conservative Members of Parliament lobbied for a “world security authority” armed with “the most modern nuclear weapons.”[3] America and the Soviet Union diplomatically toyed with “general and complete disarmament,” a phased reduction of national forces in concert with the strengthening of an international authority.[4] “General and complete disarmament” was maneuvered as a propaganda chess piece.[5] And then the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought the two superpowers to the brink of open war.

   The Cuban experience energized academia, activists, and policy wonks to pursue an imposing bulwark against the very real threat of nuclear holocaust.[6] Peace must be enforced through an authoritative political agency.

   Pope Paul VI was analogous in his 1965 UN address, telling his audience that the UN must never fall but be perfected,

The peoples of the earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace… Is there anyone who does not see the necessity of coming thus progressively to the establishment of a world authority, able to act efficaciously on the juridical and political levels? Once more we reiterate Our good wish: Advance always!… Let unanimous trust in this Institution grow, let its authority increase.[7]

   Strategic thinker, Thomas C. Schelling, went so far as to suggest a world force – guided by an international organization – could use nuclear weapons to inflict pain on offending nations; “to inflict civil damage at a rate sufficient to induce the government to change its mind and bend to the will of the international authority.” Or if it wished to use non-nuclear tactics, it might preposition military units in recognizably stronger nations for ease of internal deployment; “the purpose of being within the country, other than ceremonial, would be to minimize the cost and delay of invasion, occupation, or selective destruction.” Another mode of peace-coercion would be pre-placing “critically vulnerable parts of a country’s economy and essential services directly into the hands of an international force.” Schelling likened this to “the landlord who shuts off the utilities when a tenant refuses to move.”

   “Rather than bomb electric power installations,” the strategist explained, “the force might press a key that sets off a charge of dynamite already installed.”  

   Or maybe, for the sake of efficiency – of course! – the world authority could use hostages to force change.

If one really believed in the reliability and permanence of an international arrangement, such schemes for providing the authority with ‘hostages’ might be more efficient, even more humane, than providing it with bombers and shock troops. One could even go further and let the force have a monopoly of critical medicines to use for bacterial warfare on a transgressor country. As soon as it starts an epidemic, it sends its medical units in to make sure that no one suffers who cooperates. Those who oppose it – military forces, government leaders, or anyone else – are without essential vaccines and must decide for themselves whether to stay at large and suffer or to surrender to be cured.[8]

   Schelling himself recognized these ideas suffered from “meanness” and “probably go too far.” He understood that the “more omnipotent” the world authority becomes, the more likely it would be viewed as an enemy. Lesser but still powerful national systems, he surmised, will be required to keep the international military from overpowering too quickly.

   Knowing that Schelling was primarily theorizing in his advocacy of a world force, I am still left with nagging thoughts: How far is “too far” in the cause of global unity? Can international harmony exist without compulsion from a centralized authority? Should the whole tolerate opposing values and dissenting voices – be it from individual nations, identifiable groups, or single persons – and thus court the risk of separation and fragmentation? Is oneness sacrosanct? Are its expressions sacred?

   Is the ideal of community more valuable than individualism?

   If so, then we shall ultimately have little problem accepting Schelling’s proposals.  

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[1] Pearson originally hoped that Ireland and Sweden would join NATO, forming a strong Atlantic core, instead of the Mediterranean nations of Greece and Turkey. The creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was closely linked to the ideas of Clarence Streit and his Federal Union proposal.
[2] Lester B. Pearson, Peace in the Family of Man: The Reith Lectures, 1968 (Oxford University Press, 1969), pp.14-15.
[3] See A World Security Authority? (Conservative Political Centre, 1958).
[4] On June 6, 1960, the Soviet Union released its three-stage plan for general and complete disarmament. Shortly after, the US State Department established the Disarmament Administration, and in 1961 the two opposing nations co-produced The McLoy/Zorin Agreement on disarmament. That same year the Disarmament Administration released State Publication 7277 – essentially mirroring the Soviet plan – and upped the ante by calling for a global and effective United Nations military force. For more information, see The Soviet Stand on Disarmament (Crosscurrents Press, 1962); Freedom From War: The United States Program fro General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World (US State Department #7277, 1961); Lincoln P. Bloom, The United Nations and U.S. Foreign Policy (Little, Brown and Company, 1960); and Lincoln P. Bloom, A World Effectively Controlled by the United Nations (Institute for Defense Analysis, Special Studies Group, US Department of State contract No. SCC 28270, released March 10, 1962).
[5] In his book Soviet Foreign Propaganda (Princeton University Press, 1964), Frederick C. Barghoorn, explained that the Soviet’s would “put forward utopian proposals with the obvious objective of eliciting refusals. They have then denounced those refusing to accept their proposals as obstructionists and even as warmongers.” By framing the disarmament debate and appealing to the consciousness of liberal Westerners, often to pacifists and religious organizations – a point made by Barghoorn in his important study – the propaganda of peace became a valuable tool in fermenting animosity against the West. It also elevated the Soviet position within the United Nations, particularly in the eyes of Third World leaders and Western intellectuals aliened with Soviet sentiments. An empowered UN equipped to act as the agent of “word peace” and backed by the power of world socialism, it was believed, could become the mechanism to dislodge “American imperialism.” The United States countered by offering its version of “general and complete disarmament.”
[6] Some of those voices included Kenneth Boulding, Lincoln L. Bloomfield, Richard Barnet, Arthur I. Waskow, and Lucile W. Green. Hans J. Morgenthau, known for his political realism, also courted world order for world peace. Saul Mendlovitz created the influential World Order Models Project (WOMP) with Richard A. Falk, Carl von Weiszacker, and the input of Georges Abi-Saab. On WOMP and its contributions, see Saul Mendlovitz, “The Emergence of WOMP in the Normative Tradition: Biography and Theory,” Principles World Politics: The Challenge of Normative International Relations (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000, edited by P. Wapner and Lester E.J. Ruiz). Before the Cuban Crisis, Glenville Clark and Louis B. Sohn were riding on their World Peace Through World Law (Harvard University Press, 1958), attempting to codify an international order for world peace.  
[7] Holy Father’s Talk at United Nations, October 4, 1965, speech on file.
[8] Thomas C. Schelling, “Strategy: A World Force in Operation,” reprinted in The Strategy of World Order: Volume 3 – The United Nations (World Law Fund, 1966), pp, 669,682-684. Schelling’s essay was also published in International Military Force: Peace-Keeping in an Armed and Disarmed World, edited by Lincoln P. Bloomfield (Little, Brown and Company, 1964).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Lewis permalink
    January 24, 2017 8:21 pm

    I so enjoyed each months Forcing Change periodical. I thought they were very informative and accurate. Sorry you couldn’t continue them. Looking forward to buying the long awaited book you are working on.

    Karen Lewis

    • January 25, 2017 2:12 pm

      Thanks Karen, I worked hard to ensure that everything could be documented and kept contextually accurate – and I’m doing the same with my upcoming book (which is the main reason it’s taking so long to finish). Again, thank you for your kind words.

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