The last century can clearly be laid to rest, in dishonour, somewhat, after the events that transpired in March.
Advancements in technologies, medicine, communication, travel and nearly every other field appear to have bettered the Human Condition. Only humans refused to advance, carrying the socio-philosophic burdens from ancient believes...
Yet, there was War, in that last century:
[the above list shows major conflicts in which US military involvement was at least influential, if not until long after the dates presented (WWI and WW II, notably]
But among those many technological and cultural milestones from the last century, whose advent and adaptation–forcing qualities also have spread anxieties and increased the ever–widening gap between Those–Who–Have, and those living without, are the rising dependence in certain economies, on Death Toy production.
And technology made War Ever More Horrible.
World War One, as between France and Germany, had started with a German cavalry officer's shooting of French Corporal Jules–André Peugeot, whose wound was fatal. If we accord credit to the story translated from a French magazine into the New York Times, this event from August 2, 1914, resulted in their mutual deaths ( Peugeot was able to return fire, dropping Lieutenant Mayer of the Fifth Mounted Chasseurs, Mülhausen): they died near each other, some 12 kilometers inside French soil from the closest Franco–Prussian border.
Take a couple minutes, to go back in time, to read the story of how the first French soldier fell (click on the photos, they should open in a new window):
Part two of the story:
The 'painting' of the Twentieth Century had several broad brushes, colors of the World Wars, tints from the Cold War, hues of Recessions Depressions and Famines; a Oil Century of Oil–based globalization and transformation, framed through the climate change that parallels the Peak Oil phenomenon.
If you lived it, you know it.
Our planet, which sustained less than a billion before OIL, now tries to sustain nearly 7 billion souls, and OIL, which moves food to them at any point on the range of the economic scale, is soaring unidirectionally.
Culturally, the Western moving picture visual arts have reflected natural beauty, and cultural horrors, on the same basis and in an infinity of repetitions. Love is love, and war is hell, hopelessly exclusive and mutually intertwined; politicians and the War Merchants feeding off of the amassed cultural critical mass, nationalism breeding It, racism breeding It, religions preaching It.
So many people, so many peoples, are ready to stop the wars, yet it, War, has become the beast in the closet, now too large to contain.
Pacifists, having failed to pacify the violent factions in society, seek balance and cannot. Pacifists bringing Zen to might–makes–right personalities, is like a calm man whose nervous cleanliness–obsessed girlfriend makes his heart–rate increases a subject leading to medical assistance. A family or two appear, from different cultures, and their names are forever linked to to the transition between That Century and This one.
An attack in Bill Clinton's first year of his Administration, brought one of these family names into the spotlight. Usama bin Laden, mastermind of the first World Trade Center attacks. Former hero of the CIA, for his early efforts against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Fast Forward, with a detour.
Reading only a small sampling of the documentation generated after the September 11, 2001 WTC and Pentagon airplane attacks, one is not ignorant to the miraculous, 'innocent' relationship revealed, between the 'families' of Carlyle Group. One of America's younger defense contracting empires, built through acquisitions and consolidations, its purchases of US and international corporations created an amazing global death–toy empire under guidance not only from its former Chairman, Frank Carlucci, but the make up of its 'Senior International Advisors', which have included John Major, James Baker III, and George H. W. Bush and members of the bin Laden family.
So look back to that, more naïve era, and leave the innocence for others. There is little doubt that the history books will record these last 15 or so years, in a much different light than that which we see now.
Osama bin Laden is THE radical Muslim leader, where there were at least three at the turn of the Millennium (with Saddam Hussein, and Yassir Arafat), however Bush the Lesser (George, now President, is son of the first President Bush) has done away with two of bin Laden's contending rivals.
Very few parts of the world, geographic or political, are more stable than ten years ago, with maybe Western Europe as an exception. Bush and his neocon hacks have Rambo'd their way into a Middle East warzone of their own Hollywood starstruck creation, and it is likely he will 'leave office' without serious prosecution of his myriad crimes.
And all that happened in the 'Last Century', while with Tibet and China, the Olympic Games and calls for a boycott of those athletic events, we see the world paralyzed by its mutual commercial ties to the largest country, the fastest growing economy, the Central Statist theory gone steroidal.
Nations are not prepared to boycott these Olympics, not yet.
The idea that we, the people who as individuals cannot stand independently for a free Tibet...
A most noble idea, lost to the world in the decade in which the author ZENmud was born: Tibet has been an administrated 'province' of China for some fifty-eight years.
Some words: this thing that unites peoples around the world, when conscious of life beyond their own daily routine.
It stays afloat, this concept, as would a child holding the string, staring at a kite launched above their eyes... Tibet...
With colors that dance in the brightly lit sky, wind–like currents raising Tibetan kites in hearts everywhere.
Some Westerners think China "slept" through the horrors of the Twentieth Century (domestically, of course this can't be true: our point veers out into the world scene, of course: we're ZENmud). At ZEN Central another theory has been developed since the late 1990s. China, a culture with thousands of years of history, monolithic since the Dynasties, lived through epic times, hazardous times, and seems to have learned from its auto–generated history course, the value from...
Building a State, boosting its early population with a rank–and–file of mostly docile, agrarian or trade craft–oriented citizens, who may have learned through intimate connection, or word–of–mouth, what happens to Chinese who question authority from outside the activities of the Party; through Mao, and the long line of followers, China stood for uniformity, as a benefit for the administrators of the largest State on Earth.
Patience of China
Mice can only move elephants through fear; the State that is China is bigger than any elephant. By building a military force and a State police organization, the relatively minimal structure of the Central government was able to amplify its impact and create the persuasive, sometimes repressive organizations that kept the beast moving in a fairly linear path.
Opening China, Nixon's most legitimate and audacious official act, was a political ploy whose measured impact remained focused on the reaction that this manifested from the USSR. Today, China makes news with killer toys, and Tibet.
Taiwan, long a fiancée of the West, especially during the long Cold War, and ever since, has voted in a pro–China candidate as President.
Is Taiwan the announcement that this new Century has begun? Are the endless recalls of children's items 'Made in China' a sign of disdain by Chinese companies to their commercial commitments? Or is there a benign disregard for the safety of the children who are end–users of these mass–produced products?
Whatever George Bush and his lackeys taught to his followers, in the USA, the sadder lesson was that passed from the President of the United States to his fellow Chiefs of State. If the world now calls all political opponents 'Terrorists', this is a direct, and yet unanticipated result from a carefully–orchestrated internal US Republican mission, a reprisal for Nixon, a reprisal for its failure to destitute Clinton from his office.
The USA taught an entire planet how to blueprint repression, legislate fear, orchestrate chaos and reap the political advantages that usually are associated with higher and constant feelings of loathing or nationalism, sometimes in combination. Now America watches in feelings of trepidation, as media sources remind its citizens that others have learned the lessons of Neoconservatism.
And China, five times more populated than is the USA, an economic whirlpool that sucks up growing percentages of planetary financial resources, facilitates the relocation of globalization to its economic free zones, and ignores to some extent, the environmental, labour and safety laws in promoting its growth.
Seven years ago, this writer discussed 'World War NEXT'... with a friend from Senegal... Our conversation began, he as a diplomat with the UN, myself a middle–level international civil servant/consultant. Our focus began with Africa, ignored since the Cold War, violent with the trappings of power that are now associated purely with extractive primary resource industries: oil, primarily. Europe and the Americas were negligent in not finding the way to connect with Africa, and show it a way to provide that which went instead, to a part of the world that had proven itself to be more scholastic–achievement oriented: Globalization had found Eastern Europe, South America, Central America, Eurasia, Asia and not... Africa.
A new Century usually begins when the old Order is replaced. Thus World War One had ended the Nineteenth Century, and began the War Century.
The American Century = The War Century?
World War NEXT, as this author described it on a pavement in the final days of our innocence, tainted innocence of the post–Cold War world, was about to be won without weapons, as China took in companies, made its industrial partnerships, entered the energy economy as more than a large 'Third World' customer, and flooded the world markets with a constant increase of products.
It is happening, we are witnessing, and the Opening of this Summer Olympic pageant will carry more imagery than that.
That call (barring the Law of Unintended Consequences (link) being brought into the equation) will probably not be heeded. Rallying around the banner of 'Human Rights', governments and NGOs are finding their voices again, after the uselessness of cries against the injustices promoted under George Bush, aka George the Lesser.
That the world hears and cries for Tibet, reinforces the mythic beauty of this world heritage territory. That the world has been successfully anaesthetized against the injustices of Iraq's destruction, through US belligerence, intransigence or obstreperousness, its transparent deceits against its own people and partners, using Depleted Uranium with impunity, is regrettable. Not so much against the fatigued, but more in focus against the source. The US Foreign policy mission under Bush' watch, is replete with crimes against Humanity, war crimes, and corruption.
Seven countries have already, or are now approaching total anarchy: Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan, Lebanon and the Palestinian lands.
These countries have all suffered from the world–taming, erroneous Defense policy of the US government. The US Energy Policy may be beneficiary, or the secret driver, of US Foreign and Defense Policies.
China is watching, and China can make the USA pay - unlike any other country. Holding nearly a trillion dollars of US Treasury debt, China soon has to play its trump card, or lose it. It could afford to lose a trillion dollars, or a portion of that. The bad poker moment, is that China knows that the USA will not provoke that country, host to these Summer Olympics, to play that hand.
The USA is holding a very long position on Chinese futures, perhaps metaphorically. It cannot boycott the Beijing Olympics. Dr Jacques Roggé understands this.
When will you?
The sad fact of today, more than any other single problem of our times, is the instability of global geopolitics, unilaterally achieved by a hypergrowth–oriented US defense budget, and its procurement and deployment.
Over 780 US military 'installations' exist around the world, outside its borders. That is nearly four per country, including our Guantanamos, our German airbases, our Okinawan bases, where the Japanese government cringes in nearly annual anticipation of the next in a never–ending series of rape and assault scandals. It includes our Italian bases, where training flights end with ski area lift cables cut by jet fighter wings, killing nearly twenty people. It includes Afghanistan, Iraq, England, and the whole mothership–Empire–building lot.
China's Empire is still young, but bigger. It is the repository for growth – return on investment, and it is not afraid of what would happen to the collapsing world who's bought and sold their very commercial souls to be an early, get–rich–first component of that boom.
Put another way, China will have little problem if it is left with an empty Nike factory, on its own territory, after Nike's home market: the United States, is no longer able to sustain purchase levels from its corporate star. China will have the facility, the know–how and the resources, to sell running shoes after Nike folds.
And World War NEXT is probably going to be won without guns.