But at a time of year when people should tune out all the madness happening in certain pockets of the world and mentally preoccupied with (thinking) things summery, summertime and living easy, and all things beautiful that the season conjures, I’m going against the grain, obsessing over urgent practical matters of the world—at least some of them—and how they could be remedied with a modicum of international political and social will.
So there they were recently, a handful of politicians—aka leaders of the free world—men for the most part, under the auspices of (NATO), admonishing N. Korea for testing ballistic missiles, and President Donald Trump, the so-called most powerful man in the world,” looking presidential and powerful saying N. Korea is “behaving in a very, very dangerous manner… It’s a shame…they’re behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was also on North Korea in an interview, discussing ways to force the nuisance nation to curb its enthusiasm for developing its own deterrent to the perpetual threat posed by America and other nuclear powers… whose leaders regard the nation as an international nuisance to the smooth flow of business among the civilized nations of the world.
Like Donald Trump, who has been pressing China to pressure the North Korean leadership to stop?
Perhaps it should, but given its growing influence as a global economic and regional — some believe looming – global military power, China is much too pre-occupied with its national and regional interests to get sidetracked by the U.S. and its western allies’ preoccupation with North Korea’s (as they say “existential”) nuclear threat to the world.
The Chinese remember one Mao Tse Tung and the Cultural Revolution. He coined a slogan, “We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports…”
That sentiment has brought the world’s most populous nation far. It hasn’t looked back. It has established its place in the international community.
So Trump continued in Warsaw, Poland, where he made a stop en route to the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
There for a pit stop he reassured a gathering of Polish government officials and citizens that the U.S. is there to protect them from Russia and whatnot… Saying that the U.S. has the “largest economy and the most lethal weapons on earth…” And more talk of “destroying our civilization… Western values… North Korea’s “bad behaviour” “It’s a shame that they’re behaving that way…”
That was mere political bombast and grandstanding by the presidential enigma for the Polish people’s consumption. There he was, “leader of the free world…” obese with power, speaking threatening language that North Korea (one of the remaining members of the once-coined, now crumbled “axis of evil” but seemingly a perennial bug in the rug, pebble in the shoe, thorn in the side, of “the most powerful…”).
The paradox is the nation that contributes/benefits most from creating a world awash with tsunamis and buffets of old, but always juxtaposed with the latest and more lethal armaments and weapons—think of the MOAB trial run in the mountains of Afghanistan several weeks ago—what a waste of money. All that and more while wearing the crown of global arbiter of peace on one hand and by virtue of its military industrial complex and prowess on the other. And the provoker of multiple military crises, all this made possible and sustained by a bottomless pool of international-regional proxies with no thought about the affected…
It’s about power and who wields it.
So there they were again, the powerful, this time in Hamburg, a select, privileged handful of powerful economic-military powers on the big international stage, this time at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the world’s largest economies together again essentially to discuss ways to maintain their unique and enviable global position.
Based on previous gatherings over the years, I’ve learned that these meetings have done little to alleviate the conditions of the so-called “less fortunate” peoples of the world. In this proverbial “family of nations” it’s all lip service. The powerful nations want to maintain their enviable positions, period.
I recall over three decades ago a propitious political phrase was coined by the “political and politically powerful,” something about “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Years on the big boats are still afloat and sailing; the small ones remain stuck in sand, waiting for the tide to roll in.
As a young woman said at the anti-Summit clashes in Hamburg, “Nothing has ever changed since the beginning of these summits…”
She’s right. All I ever hear at those summits are platitudes, and promises… Not to mention the flesh pumping by a bunch of white men, with an occasional white political woman, along with white businessmen along for the ride, to negotiate deals and sign contracts…
That said, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call for an “end to global poverty…” at the G20 was duly noted. He said it’s a part of
Canada’s “Poverty Reduction Strategy.”
That’s laudable. But it won’t be the last time a political leader from the developed world would’ve made such a bold statement. Maybe the prime minister is a political Pollyanna.
And also at the Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, probably evoking a bit of German colonial history (in Africa).
In recognizing the continent in her closing remarks to the leaders at the Summit, she said “Africa is an important continent in global trade… We have to do everything to bring it forward… Africa is an important continent in global trade….”
And I can imagine the some of G19 leaders rolling their eyes as Merkel spoke, thinking: Why help the African cow financially, technologically and otherwise, when we can continue to suck her bountiful udders for free…
Something about “donor fatigue.” But never tiring of taking whatever money can buy out of Africa.
And Angela Merkel continued, “Europeans see Africa as our neighbouring continent (it is) we have to do everything to bring it forward… [We must] recognize Africa as an important partner in global trade.”
The onus is on Africa’s people (please, not the politicians…) to create the conditions to make Angela Merkel’s words, and Justin Trudeau’s sentiments translate. But please, don’t hold your breath. Allow yourself to be surprised.
Truth is, given the fact that multiple billions of dollars are spent on arms every year (earlier this year a U.S-Saudi Arabia-Israel weapons deal worth $110 billion now, and $350 billion over 10 years went down. That’s just one big one that made the news.
There’re a lot of wars and other [proxy] conflicts to foment and nurture, the hell with the outcome: refugees, drought, hunger, starvation, and death… The misery industry must be sustained at all cost.
[Union United Postscript]
Solemn words of wisdom and (for good) reason were spoken by Rev. Abiel Khalema last Sunday, July 9, on the occasion of Union United Church’s 110th anniversary celebration. Among the many cogent points made during his sermon was an ominous clarion call to those in attendance, specifically to that polarized, frayed constituency of the congregation. Those who listened intently heard the call to action. Essentially, it was about the transcendent history of the church, and those who helped found it. No need to repeat verbatim what was said. Suffice to say the doomsday clock is ticking… and as familiar historical places in this community go, only one is left standing—for now. The consequence of disharmony is well known.
As the reverend said, “[…] Let us not allow the legacy of the porters to be destroyed… Things will happen to the church if…”
Meanwhile, predatory eyes are fixed on Union.]