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  • Writer's pictureIshfaaq Peerally

New World Order

"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine


Seventy-two years ago, the worst tragedy in human history, the second world war, ended leaving behind 60 million casualties and billions horrified and ready to put an end to wars. Thus, 51 countries signed and ratified a charter to summon an intergovernmental organisation with the purpose of preventing a third world war. Hence, the United Nations(UN) was born. Today, the United Nations has 193 members. Many of those founding members have changed. But the agreement set up between them is still unchanged. The problems that we were facing then has changed but the solutions are still unchanged. The United Nations is not adapted to all the issues that we are now facing. The Global Challenges Foundation, based in Stockholm, is making an appeal to the citizens of the World to come up with an idea for a new world order. Thus, they have organised The Global Challenges Prize 2017 in which I am participating. I am not going to write any of my new ideas here(they are reserved for the competition) but I'm going to elaborate on the problems with the current system and why I am participating in this competition.

One should not go far to realise that the UN is not suitable for the 21st century. The charter starts as follows : "WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS

DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and. ..."

Well, if you have seen two world wars in your lifetime then you must at least 99 years old. Nevertheless, most people are not centenarians and we cannot continue to be governed by the same old rules. The first question that we should be asking ourselves is why change a system which seems to be working. The cold war has ended without leading to a third world war. However, we now face dangers bigger than a world war and we are unprepared for them. Most of these problems cannot be solved by individual governments as they are global. It is time for us to move a step up the Kardashev scale from a civilization of type 0 to a civilization of type I, that is, from a primitive civilization to a planetary civilization. A Planetary civilization is one which can amass all the resources of its planet. And for that we need better global governance.

The UN was the not the first intergovernmental organisation and it is not the only one. Military alliances have existed for millennia. Alliances turned into empires. And then these empires formed bigger alliances. From a more peaceful pathway, trade between nations created intergovernmental organisations. The common factor whether it is a military or a commercial alliance is trust. A successful intergovernmental organisation can be based only on trust. For most of its lifetime, the UN was based on fear rather than trust. Indeed, the cold war did not steer into a world war just because there was the fear of mutual destruction from the two blocs if ever nuclear warheads were used. The first mention of a world government in our modern age(any event after the French revolution) comes from the enlightened Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant. In his essay, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf (1795), Kant discusses the need for nations to form a world government but he understood that it was something impossible to achieve in his days. In 1920, the Treaty of Versailles put an end to the first world war and founded the league of nations. The first world war at the time was at the time referred to as the war that ended all wars. Unfortunately, a more brutal war took place less than twenty years later and the League of nations was replaced by the United Nations.

The United Nations consist of six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC; for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the UN Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994) and UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. For the seven decades during which the UN have been in operation, mankind has reduced its stockpile of nuclear warheads worldwide, we have eradicated smallpox, preserved cultural heritages, reduced poverty, amongst others. However, we failed to prevent the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides and lately proved to be a failure in containing the spread of terrorism. Besides, we don't have a real solution against climate change yet the probability of us dying as a result of climate change is far greater than us dying from war and terrorism.

Climate change is inevitable and it is one the greatest risk that we face today. And it will result to other calamity such as poverty and uncontrolled migration. We also have to deal with overpopulation and so far as I know there is no international population control programme. The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland forced most European airports to close. This is something that we were not prepared for and it was of global amplitude. Any large solar storm could destroy all of our current technology and once again we are not prepared for this. 65 millions years ago, an asteroid impacted the Earth and lead to a mass extinction causing most of the dinosaurs to die. Are we prepared for such a type of impact? The answer is once again no. Seventy-two years ago, world leaders, having conflicting political, economical and cultural ideologies, joined hands to set up a proto-world government. They didn't like each other. They didn't trust each other. But they knew that it was the best thing to do because they had just seen the worst of man. Today, living in the comfort of the contemporary world, we are ignoring the dangers looming ahead for us or for future generations. Is it not time to remove the proto and set up a real world government, a new world order?

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