Except that those people never really went away. So this is a key week to assess progress in the Cold War's updated version.
I am not, by and large, a conspiracy theorist. If a thesis is propounded that requires the freemasons, the international Communist conspiracy and the Trilateral Commission to be working together to destroy the American Way of Life, I tend to dismiss it. The American Way of Life has found plenty of ways to destroy itself, without any outside agencies being involved.
Nevertheless, it is equally naïve to suppose that, because a particular regime at a particular time collapsed in ruin, "the End of History" has arrived, and the world can henceforth become united in support of the 1990s' muddled, social democrat version of the free market.
The Soviet Union, unlike Nazi Germany, was not the product of one madman, it was a regime, established almost by chance, that ruled a large portion of the world for over 70 years. Its economic nostrums were certainly not what enabled it to do this; even at the time, they were fatally flawed to any but the most rose-tinted observer. What enabled it to rule, and to attract so much support from outside its immediate domain, was its political formulation, which proved immensely attractive to millions of people, most of whom never had to live under its sway. Those people, the Soviet "nomenklatura" and their cousins in the Western "New Class" are well educated, idealistic, and utterly convinced that they know better than the rest of us how we should organize our lives. What's more, they have ways of making us conform to their worldview.
The Soviet Union never owed all that much to the teachings of Karl Marx, who believed that once Communism had been established the state would wither away, and the workers live together in a kind of commune. That was unrealistic, and Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin had no intention of allowing it to happen. Instead, the Soviet Union quickly became a government of infinite power, on whom all its citizens depended for their existence, whose whims could therefore totally affect their lives, yet which could never be removed. Needless to say, participation in the upper, middle and even lower reaches of that government was an attractive opportunity for millions of mildly intellectual bureaucrats, who could use Marx's idealism to convince both themselves and their people that they were motivated by pure altruism, and used their power only for the good of society as a whole.
That dream, of participating with like-minded people in an infinitely powerful, infinitely unresponsive government that works ceaselessly to impose your ideals on the populace, was not confined to the Soviet Union, and it certainly didn't die with the Soviet Union. George H.W. Bush, at the end of the Gulf War, forecast a "New World Order" -- a term which has been appropriated by many of those willing its arrival.
The western incarnation of that dream probably originated with the French philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon, and was given additional impetus by the British Fabian Society in the early 20th century. However, the greatest impetus to its incarnation as practical policy came from economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynes propounded two theories that had not been considered economically respectable before his time: that the government could effectively allocate resources between different producers and traders, and that public spending could be used to push an economy out of recession (in the latter case, he balanced it by suggesting that government could rein back demand by cutting spending in a boom, knowing full well that in a democratic system such cuts would never happen.) Keynes' theories, propounded in his deliberately intellectually obscure 1936 "General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" envisaged an economy in which, while ownership technically remained predominantly in the private sector, all significant economic decisions would be taken by omniscient left-leaning public sector intellectuals like himself.
This was the intellectual advance over Communism. It was not necessary for government to own the means of production; indeed Soviet experience seemed to show that such ownership was so economically counterproductive as to breed political instability. It was simply necessary to set up a system whereby all significant economic decisions required the approval of the bureaucracy; in that way, the bureaucracy would control the economy and, if it wished, society as a whole, while capital continued to be provided from outside. This was the impetus behind the Indian Congress Party's "permit raj" until 1991; it is also the impetus behind much environmental regulation, practically all telecom regulation, and much trade policy. Free trade is not an NWO objective, although establishing an international bureaucracy to oversee trade may be a useful tool. Much better, instead, to have a system of massive subsidization of agriculture, quantitative control over textiles, and the ability to impose randomly high tariffs against "dumping" malefactors. All three increase bureaucrat control, the object of the exercise.
It is not enough, however, for government to be all-powerful, it must also be unaccountable. As the British Labor party found out in 1979, it is little joy to leftist Keynesian bureaucrats to establish a New Jerusalem where they control the economy, if the electorate can come along and throw them out, reducing their finely-crafted construct to rubble. Accordingly, some mechanism must be found whereby, even if personalities and governments change from decade to decade, central bureaucratic control remains in place.
Two mechanisms exist for this: the voting system and the supranational body. Traditional "first past the post" voting systems normally produce a clear winner, who then has the right to govern -- not the object of the exercise, since the bureaucracy loses control of the choice. Instead, NWO partisans seek to impose proportional representation systems, in which a multiplicity of parties appear, extremists and other outsiders can be marginalized, even quite large shifts in opinion produce only modest changes in representation, and all governments are formed by negotiation between insiders. The ultimate in this system was achieved by Austria, ruled by a "Red-Black" coalition of the two main parties, pursuing social democrat policies and splitting offices with mathematical precision between them, for almost all the period from 1945 to 1999, when rightist Georg Haider won 27 percent of the vote and broke up the cartel.
The other favorite mechanism for reducing accountability is the supranational body. This got its start after World War I, with Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations, and its United Nations successor, but its real progenitors in the economic sphere were Keynes and Soviet spy U.S. assistant treasury secretary Harry Dexter White, with their formation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Both the World Bank and the IMF are classic New World Order entities, being exempt from control either by a democratic electorate or by the market, and enjoying special privileges in terms of access to capital and de facto right of first repayment of their loans. Subsequent NWO entities include the European Union, the International Court of Justice, endless United Nations bodies and the World Trade Organization (the latter not entirely an NWO creation, since it remains pretty ineffectual without the full agreement of its member governments.) All these bodies share the characteristics of permanence, lack of accountability, immunity from economic pressure and ability to overrule private or even in many cases national interests that are the NWO ideal.
The NWO is not now just a creature of the left, although its main impetus still comes from the left. At a speech to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Friday Roland Koch, Christian Democrat Union wunderkind Minister-President of Hesse explicitly used the term, rhapsodizing about a "New World Order" in which power would be aggregated among 5 or 6 regional mega-states, which would then negotiate world economic and political problems with each other. As one melancholy (but only 50-ish) German traditionalist sitting near me remarked "I am glad I will not live to see this day." Koch's enthusiasm to sublimate German independence, German culture and the German economy to this new bureaucratic ideal was indeed sad, particularly since he is from the right-of-center party. In Germany, there is already fast becoming no respectable alternative to NWO thinking.
Non-governmental organizations are particular havens of NWO strength, since they combine assumed moral superiority with total lack of accountability.
The European Parliament is the ultimate NWO vehicle, being both supranational and elected by proportional representation; with 45 of the current 626 Euro-MPs, the British Conservatives are the second largest grouping in the chamber. Of course, all resolutions of this body are settled by insider bargaining, with the EU's electorate having neither input in nor indeed knowledge of what is being decided.
In terms of policies beyond their own control, NWO proponents' priorities are pretty clear, and more or less united. They are in favor of globalization when it involves new international institutions or treaties such as the Kyoto protocol removing power from national governments, but against it when it involves private sector free trade or the activities of multinational corporations. They favor free immigration, at least of those without special qualifications, since this produces a global underclass of needy deracinated people whose need for government and supranational intervention is especially great. They favor policies that cut back U.S. hegemony, since only if the U.S. is constrained by international agreements and international bodies can their political agenda be advanced. And they favor regional integration pacts, and the creation of new supranational bodies, since these can be used both as anti-American forums and as additional constraints on the freedom of individual countries to pursue non-NWO policies.
Just as there was a 45 year political -- only occasionally military -- struggle against the Soviet Union, so too does the political -- but not yet military -- struggle continue against the proponents of the NWO. The last few weeks have seen a number of successes for both sides in this Cold War:
-- The collapse at Cancun of the Doha round of trade talks, which removed the necessity for the U.S. and Europe to reform their agricultural, textile and steel policies, thus ensuring that U.S. and European farmers will remain dependent on their governments, and that Third World producers will remain both poor and dependent on the international aid agencies for succor. Big NWO win.
-- The Kay report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which has successfully been spun outside the United States as "proof" that such weapons did not exist, and hence that U.S. intervention in Iraq was illegitimate. A successful rebuilding effort in Iraq would be a major setback to the NWO's agenda (but is probably unlikely, since even the U.S. aid agencies are staffed largely by NWO proponents.)
-- The decline in popularity of the generally anti-NWO Bush administration, and its increasing budgetary difficulties, are hopeful signs for the NWO since they strongly suggest the election of a less anti-NWO (or even actively pro-NWO if it's Howard Dean) President in 2004. U.S. trade, budgetary and economic difficulties are also hopeful signs for the NWO; they reduce Bush's popularity, they allow a pro-NWO president (if one is elected) to increase taxes, and, if they bring on a truly severe recession, they de-legitimize the private sector and allow all kinds of NWO-generated, big-government economic experiments, just as happened in the 1930s New Deal.
-- The Swedish referendum on the euro was a big setback for the NWO, because it demonstrated that Swedish objections to the euro and greater Brussels control, that it would endanger their luscious welfare provisions, were from the left not the right. To the extent that welfare payments are legally mandated, non-discretionary and transfer purchasing power directly from taxpayers to recipients, they do not increase government control, and hence are unattractive to the NWO nomenklatura.
-- Japan's apparent emergence from recession, and the political strengthening of prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, are both blows to the NWO, whose solution to Japan's problems was an increase in public spending and a huge bureaucrat-directed reorganization of the Japanese banking system.
-- The IMF's bailout of the Kirchner government in Argentina, without either significant reforms of the Argentine economy or significant efforts to bail out private sector lenders to Argentina, is an example of the NWO in action. The "Washington Consensus" economic reforms of the 1990s were a façade; what really matters to the NWO aid providers are that a country support them in international forums and allow them to maintain a veneer of success over the policies they mandate, even when they produce economic catastrophe.
This week is a particularly important one. California since 1998 has been an excellent example of an NWO polity in action; as the 2002 election showed, it was impossible for the electorate to remove an NWO-backed governor, however poor his performance, or to make a significant dent in the one-party NWO-backing California legislature. The recall election is thus critical; if Gray Davis survives, or is replaced by lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante, the recall process will be de-legitimized, and action by the legislature will quickly be taken to remove this last threat to NWO hegemony in the state. Just in case, legislation to allow illegal immigrants to claim drivers' licenses, and to compel companies to provide health insurance, will ensure a flow of new NWO voters and an almost impossible economic legacy for any non-NWO successor.
In Europe, the conference on the EU constitution is haggling over the details, while NWO proponents attempt to ensure the adherence of all major national governments. Since the constitution would be voted out in a referendum in most EU countries except the beneficiaries from bureaucrat presence (Belgium, Luxembourg) or huge EU subsidies (Greece, and possibly Portugal and Ireland) the current NWO objective is to avoid referenda on the constitution if at all possible.
For the NWO, Britain is a particularly tricky problem. However much publicity was poured into the "yes" side, however stacked was the deck, it is certain that in a British referendum, the EU constitution would lose. Hence a referendum must be avoided at all costs, a necessity which is clearly understood by prime minister Tony Blair. However, a huge problem arises if, by forcing the constitution into effect without a referendum (which must chronologically be done in 2004-5, before the next election is due) Blair delivers the next election to the opposition.
The Liberal Democrats are not a threat; they are even more enthusiastically pro-Europe than Blair, and will happily join him in a center-left, pro-NWO coalition if they are needed. Indeed, such a coalition would help the NWO in another way; to the extent a British government had any power left after the EU constitution had been installed, it could be delivered securely and in perpetuity to pro-NWO forces by changing the electoral system to proportional representation, a change which the Liberal Democrats would conveniently insist on as a condition for accepting a Blair-led coalition.
The only British danger to NWO hegemony, therefore is an outright win by a Euro-sceptic Conservative party at the next election, due in or before June 2006. To avoid this, the NWO and its supporters in the British media (about 90 percent of it) are attempting to destabilize the leadership of Iain Duncan-Smith, by playing up attempts to remove him and by circulating (almost certainly phony) stories of financial irregularities, thus weakening him for the party conference at which he traditionally reconnects with Conservative supporters.
This benefits them in two ways; it opens the possibility of the Conservative party getting a new leader, and, at a minimum, it shows the Conservatives as a weak, divided party, thus preventing them from capitalizing on Labor's mistakes. Of the potential leadership candidates the only pro-NWO figure, Kenneth Clarke, now has little support in the party because of his huge distance from the party mainstream, but there are also "modernizing" factions, led by Michael Portillo and David Davis, who would blur the policy differences with Labor, as well as perpetuating internal party strife -- as the removal of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 showed, any forced change of leadership that was not to a figure clearly in tune with the party mainstream would be deeply debilitating for several years. To stop the NWO's Europe project, the Conservatives need to win the next election outright, picking up over 170 seats from Labor and the Liberal Democrats -- only a total focus by the party on that objective will render it attainable. Any other result allows a Labor-Liberal Democrat coalition, and perpetuates the NWO's control of Britain, and of Europe as a whole.
The objective in the world as a whole remains the same as that of the Soviet nomenklatura; a government, controlled by the New Class, that governs all major aspects of human life, and that is impossible to remove. The war is cold today; it may yet become hot -- it is in any case Manichean.
(The Bear's Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that, in the long '90s boom, the proportion of "sell" recommendations put out by Wall Street houses declined from 9 percent of all research reports to 1 percent and has only modestly rebounded since. Accordingly, investors have an excess of positive information and very little negative information. The column thus takes the ursine view of life and the market, in the hope that it may be usefully different from what investors see elsewhere.)