Blocs, federations and unions - Healing the Hurts of Nations

Healing the Hurts of Nations
and building a world fit for humans
Palden Jenkins
Healing the Hurts of Nations
and building a world fit for humans
Palden Jenkins
Healing the Hurts of Nations
and building a world fit for humans
The Oppressed, at the UN in Geneva
Palden Jenkins
An abridged thinking-points version of the 2003 book
Healing the Hurts of Nations
Healing the Hurts of Nations
An abridged version of the 2003 book
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Blocs, federations and unions

Nations and Peoples
Pooling Sovereignty
Blocs, federations and unions

Some blocs are obvious, such as Latin America, North America and West Africa. Others have a core with unclear edges, such as South East Asia and the Middle East.

Does Europe include Turkey, Ukraine or Russia? Will Russia and Siberia remain united?

Some blocs are possible but not inevitable: Central Asia, Meso-America and the Caribbean.

Would Israel join a Middle Eastern union? Would India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh federate? The global community-building process drags up these tricky issues.

The pressure to form cultural blocs comes from above and below. Global decision-making with today's 190ish sovereign nations is complex. It is dominated by the big players. Some nations don't even have a million people.
Cultural identifications are shifting in response to this re-grouping. Britain and France, once great powers, are now just nations, and their status as Security Council members is anachronistic – EU should replace them at the table and pass on the spare vote, perhaps to India.

Both EU and USA serve as valuable models of unions, with their successes and failings. The EU evolved over five decades, consensually and by accretion. USA was born suddenly, by declaration. They both behave like that.

A model cultural bloc is the Muslim sphere where one faith and system of law and customs binds its nations together over time. Kind of. But then, there's a conflict between Arabs and Iranians.

In the 'clash of civilisations' of 2001 the distinction of Islam and the West came starkly clear. The West no longer had the final answer. But the Islamic world has begun slowly to realise that if it is to provide new answers, they had better be good answers. Fundamentalism doesn't persuade majorities.

A pan-African cultural consciousness simmers fitfully, seeking vision and expression. Coming decades will see Africa enter happier times, a home-spun revival coupled with reduced outside interference. Two of our time's top leaders have been African – Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela. This is a sign.
Geopolitical chess

Collective identity is a big source of geopolitical angst. Identity becomes a prison when fixed and inward-turning. International relations conducted by 'playing to a home audience' also blocks necessary global change and priorities.

Yet identity is still important. Debates and arguments can help if they are handled maturely, as a community-building exercise. But when hands move to sword-hilts or delegates walk out, it is necessary to pause, step back, start again and stay with the process. Otherwise, there's no 'international community', only a growing pile of delayed and complexified solutions.

Too often, when the heat rises, negotiations break down. Yet hurt egos and harsh words also mean that breakthrough is close. This is a therapeutic catharsis, where the ugly stuff comes out. Things need to be said, even if not entirely true. But good procedures must be followed to prevent damage being done.
Nations need to work through their anxieties, to reach a point of mutually-assured peaceful coexistence. Past positions then ease, arguments subside and the picture changes. Participants in peace often need to be braver than they are in war.

Conflicts triangulate around specific issues which often are deflections from the real issue, but nevertheless they carry emotional charge. This draws us into facing unthinkable and unspeakable questions. Big issues come up, forcing resolution.

Behind this a larger global chess-game is being acted out. Afghanistan and Iraq fell victim to global issues concerning superpower control, oil, terrorism, arms, culture-clash and international deficiencies of cooperation. They were prone, and it fell on them.

Conflicts put global issues on the table. This is a cop-out, since many conflicts would be unnecessary if things had been sorted out earlier.

Antagonism raises undiscussed questions, putting us all on edge, hurting a lot of people and costing the Earth. We now need to move on from this. We can't afford it. We're running out of time.
Healing the Hurts of Nations
and building a world fit for humans
Short version of a 2003 book by Palden Jenkins
and building a world fit for humans
Short version of a 2003 book by Palden Jenkins
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