The world and its presidents

6 September, 2007

Societies everywhere have typically been organised with one ruler at the top. Until recently, our Earth was large enough to accommodate various spheres of influence (the Roman Empire, the Chinese Empire) and societies impervious to outside influence (Papua New Guinea, Australia). No more.

“The world and its presidents” is a fancy title, but a misleading one. By now, we live in a world with only one sphere of influence – that of the United States of America. Countries are defined as either belonging to it (Germany, Costa Rica, Egypt) or resisting it (Venezuela, Iran, North Korea – notice how resisting the sphere of influence of the United States of America automatically casts a shadow of media disapproval in the countries on the other side?). There is no alternative power bloc. In all fairness, a more honest title would be “The world and its president”.

With four per cent of the world population, the people of the United States of America are eligible to cast a vote for the president of all of us. Over two thousand years ago, the Romans recognised it would not be wise to withhold representation despite their overwhelming power and extended Roman citizenship – first to the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula, then gradually to the rest of the Empire. (1) The American Empire has yet to arrive at such a forward-looking decision.

Would you agree that if you employ somebody, you expect him to act in your interest? In fact, is it not likely that you will only continue employing him if he pursues your interest more effectively than others do? When you vote for somebody, the logic is similar: you expect the candidate to act in the interest of your country. Otherwise… you vote him out, at the next voting round. In no case would you expect the president to act in the interest of others if this runs counter to the interests of your country. After all, his re-election depends on it.

The more powerful a country, the larger the impact that country has worldwide. The United States of America is situated on top of the world in that respect. Its interests run worldwide and need to be defended all over the globe, while all incentives are in place to motivate the president to do what is good for the country that elected him.

Do you notice the discrepancy, though?

Impact: worldwide.
Interests: all over the globe.
Eligibility to cast a vote: adult citizens of the United States of America.

What if the USA’s interests globally conflict with local interests? Why, we already covered that eventuality: those of the USA shall be defended to the detriment of the local ones. After all, the president’s re-election depends on promoting the interests of the USA, sovereignty of others be damned.

Never mind that ninety-six per cent of world population has no say over who is to defend interests that span the globe. Never mind that those interests nominally represent only four per cent of world population. After all, the president of the United States of America is the leader of the Free World and we should be grateful to be part of it. Except, of course, for those rogue states resisting its influence, but we have our media to remind ourselves of that.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: