Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Mother of All Coalitions

Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
by Martin Schuijt
 

UNITED NATIONS - At the second conference of the Organisation for Promoting Global Civilisation (OPGC) this month, participants from around the world argued that the United Nations is effectively hamstrung because it lacks political or military authority, and cannot even generate its own revenues.

Even as the U.N. is called on to tackle enormous problems like ethnic, state and religious conflicts and sustainable use of natural resources, the organisation reflects the imbalance of power that exists between powerful and weak nations, they say.

According to the OPGC, in a rapidly globalising world, people need to rethink the meaning of terms like "nation", "race", "religion" and "culture".

The brainchild of Zhang Shaohua, an academic at the International Natural Science and Social Science Academy and founder of the OPGC, the idea is to create a federal system with an assembly of individual states and a central government.

Under the proposal, the United Nations would continue to exist as the World Coalition Parliament, exercising legislative power while the prospective World Coalition Government would be the highest executive body.

In an open letter, the group proposed that the U.N. General Assembly discuss the possibility of establishing a World Coalition Government (WCG).

"Contrary to the current United Nations, the WCG would be vested with the full spectrum of authority and power that duly belongs to a supranational government," the letter stated.

"The World Coalition Government will be endowed with the centralised power to exercise political authority over all state governments. It will guarantee political independence to all state governments in the world in the same way as the European Union. Finally, it will provide the platform to promote cooperative political interaction between state governments that is unique to the United Nations."

The OPGC is a New York-based non-profit organisation promoting the spirit of global civilisation by trying to resolve conflicts between cultures and religions through international meetings and debates.

The group has also proposed that Sep. 11, the day of the terrorist attacks against the United States, be officially remembered as "Global Civilisation Day", to emphasise the urgent need for peace in a world still dominated by political, religious and cultural conflicts.

"From the present-day viewpoint, it may be said that the establishment of the global confederation of states and civilisations is Utopia," said Yuri Yakovets, president of the P. Sokorin International Institute and a professor at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Yet "nothing unites like the consciousness and existence of common threats, present in the 21st century", he said, referring to political instability, natural disasters and global warming.

All this raises the question of whether the world's most politically and economically powerful nations would have any interest in ceding their sovereignty to such a body. But Shaohua says the answer is to establish a "skeleton set-up...and gradually flesh it out".

"If creation of the European Union had been postponed until after a consensus would have been reached by all the countries in Europe or by all the citizens of those countries on the question of creating a European Union, the European Union would never have made its appearance in Europe at all," he says.

"Similarly, if creating a world coalition government is postponed until after the heads of state of all countries across the world would have a consensus on this matter, a world coalition government will never appear on the horizon of world politics."

Dr. Shamsul Alam, an associate professor of sociology at Southern Oregon University in the United States, noted that while civil society is becoming increasingly interconnected, states remain within locked their borders, and the role of the U.N. should be reformulated to connect the state with civil society.

"States are the problem that stand in the way of solving great global problems," said Dr. Sergey Afanasev of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. "Modern science works secretly and separate, therefore there are still no solutions available for numerous global problems."

William Beeman, a linguistic anthropologist at Brown University, notes that, "The great difference between now and before is that we have more communication technologies." So the possibilities of sharing knowledge, creating cultural understanding and solving political problems would be greatly enhanced under a centralised body -- or even a reformed U.N.

The First World Congress of Global Civilisation was held in July 2001 and adopted a resolution promoting religious, cultural and political cooperation. At this second congress, politics was the central theme. But this meeting made clear that U.N. reform should not just be political -- cultural and religious understanding across the globe must also be promoted.

As Michael Murphy, a missionary from New Zealand, said about his experience in the field: "It doesn't matter if you are from the east or west, north or south, we all have the same needs and desires for understanding, peace and happiness."

Copyright © 2005 IPS-Inter Press Service

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