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Global Politics and Change

by T. Peterson, Ph.D.
(the following text excerpt is taken from:
The Creator's Window -Viewing Global Change,
Universal timelines, & The Promise, © 2000)

• International Political Change

In the late 80s and early 90s, global politics experienced major shifts with rapid democratization in formerly communist states. A switch in economic systems opened the door to capitalism and new markets. This raises another key point. The cold war was swept away and a new era of materialism rushes in. Think of this as a consequence not a benefit, leading to more consumers in a finite, resource limited, world.

As the old communist guard stepped aside, formerly hidden environmental abuses surfaced. For Russia and the Eastern Block countries, prior neglect, a lack of funds, and incompetent policies leave large stockpiles of radioactive and hazardous waste requiring extensive cleanup. The environmental sins of the past reveal obsolete military priorities that now highlight humanity’s lack of foresight planning. Both communistic and capitalistic nations expended massive resources to promote nuclear weapons to justify or defend themselves as political and governmental entities. Environmental or economic consequences only surface during a period of relative peace and economic recession. Is any political system, lacking sound political or economic mechanics capable of competent environmental stewardship? Is any government, lacking monetary strength, able to conquer this hazardous legacy left by the Cold War?

The words of Dr. M. G. K. Menon serve to summarize economic reality in the wake of the Cold War:

Since the end of the Second World War, we have seen a bipolar world, with continued confrontations between the two major super-powers. This led to an increasing militarization of the world, with enormous sums of money allocated for the development of weapon systems of all types. While the Third World countries were not directly parties to this Cold War, they were affected significantly, through the creation of spheres of influence, association with various defense pacts being part of treaty organizations, and through provision of military bases. With the building up of large military industrial complexes and commercializing of military hardware, they themselves became major purchasers of arms. The arms imports of all developing countries (for 1987) was over 34 billion US. dollars. These were used largely for conflicts among themselves... (SXi 144)

a chorus sings

The production and sale of military hardware serves to further differentiate the industrialized from the less developed nations. The politics of military and other forms of aid leaves poorer nations more dependent, politically weaker, and deeper in debt with each passing decade. Dr. T. R. Odhiambo describes the debtor nations as an economic house of cards about to collapse:

Africa, and other regions of the developing world, are being weighed down to a standstill by the crushing burden of external debt and internal debt. External debt of many developing countries (for instance Mozambique, Laos, and Bolivia) now exceeds their total gross national product (GNP). In some countries (such as India, Malaysia, and Singapore) internal debt has grown larger than external debt. Many countries find the servicing of these debts almost crippling: for instance, Jordan is expending 36% of its GNP on debt servicing. (SXi 221)

Now, in a post-cold-war era, peace may become reality or false illusion. Efforts to control and reduce super-power stockpiles of nuclear weapons, to reduce arms spending, and to pull troops back to home bases arise from economic need—not simply from peaceful intent. New battle lines are drawn with dollars instead of bullets. Like health care costs on the rise, the price of war has escalated in recent times, mostly because competent weapons require specialized and very costly technology. Arms production, sales, and negotiations for military reductions continue as concurrent events. But, humanity continually marches in opposition to itself. Building and selling war machines continues without increasing global security. The reasons for mixed political agendas is clear when one recognizes that the world—from the countries of the former U.S.S.R., the U.S.A., to the poorest nations—has expended itself beyond reasonable national budgets. The arms race on a regional basis continues to deepen existing debts.

As the global marketplace expands, corporations and governments form partnerships through decision making, tax incentives, and other regulations. These topics are the subject of recent global trading agreements—with the names: APEC, GATT, NAFTA, and WTO. A competitive struggle over automobile, computer, home electronics, and other production platforms draws new battle lines for the developing consumer war. Politics of defense, business, and special interests are therefore blended into driving forces resulting in political and market-oriented global change.

Researchers and policy-makers express concern for greater equality between the developed and developing nations. Political practices of the past leave both richer and poorer nations in an unbalanced situation. Foreign aid is often seen as the solution. Because debtor nations have fewer educational resources and limited finances, they rely on outside funds support contracts for technical services. Historically, foreign aid pays foreign consultants to work in the countries receiving aid. Tragically, very little of the money stays in the local economy. Foreign workers take more pay out of the country than they spend while working and living abroad. But if education and research facilities are constructed in poorer countries, then local peoples will address local problems, improving local conditions, and building greater global stability. The best money creates education and strengthens commerce within each debtor nation such that new growth and debt payments follow. In practical terms, aid that creates a local economy also creates a trading partner. Any program short of this goal widens the abyss.

Temptation and the overriding will to prosper characterizes not only individuals, but systems, governments, and their leaders. Birthing a New World Order requires leadership with vision. Advice to grow slowly—for the sake of our environment—is countered by the political perception that the new order assures an increased standard of living for everyone on Earth. But a material utopia for all brings irreversible consequences with increasing consumption of limited, non-renewable, resources. Humanity only understands change by circumstance and hind sight. Foresight planning is slow to gain acceptance outside of academic circles, environmental movements, and U.N. programs. This jeopardizes long-term planning for a habitable planet. U.N. accords are only effective when nations are united by purpose. A biblical scenario—which is yet to appear in this window—documents a future global unification, but the politics therein speak of power or control but not the environment.

The importance to global change is in looking at how social, biological, and physical sciences all reveal data and signs for more ominous changes in the near future. This is change in every aspect of human and earthly affairs ... globally. The Window looks further to see change as a backdrop to a biblical timeline. Driving forces for change force us to ask the most important questions about our true origin, who we are, why we are here, and what the Scriptures tell us about the future. Change forces us to look deeper to face choice or crisis. Life is an opportunity to look for the answers.

This is just one of many panes in the WindowView. This is a fraction of the process identified earlier within the section entitled 'Convergence.' Keep exploring the view, visit our page titled 'Experience WindowView' to see how global changes are part of a larger holistic paradigm which is the reason behind assembling this cyber-place. Putting the picture together helps to envision humanity's direction along the dimension of time.

A copy of this text with footnotes and a complete listing of references used in writing this text can be obtained by downloading the chapters and reference list for the Creator's Window. References that appear as ''(SXi #)'' signify the page number from Sigma Xi's publication related to a 1991 forum on global change (see reference list for the Creator's Window for a complete citation of this work).

References from SXi and page number refer to the Sigma Xi Forum Proceedings: Global Change and the Human Prospect: Issues in Population, Science, Technology and Equity, November 1991. The importance of this science society's forum is that the meeting was forward looking and demonstrates how scientists from social, biological, and physical sciences all saw change on the rise. Not just climate change, but change in every aspect of human and earth affairs ... globally.

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