Your fear and anxiety? I drink it! I drink it up!
Part of the problem of having the talent to write paeans to the fundamental stupidity of man (my teachurs tell me i write gud) is that sometimes it all comes out as poopicaca. Indeed, I’ve been going through a patch of writer’s block that makes writing essays feel akin to passing an entire box of All-Bran. In order to dull the pain and make such tedium as writing about the difference between various international courts of law (irrelevant, international law exists at the will and whim of nation-states seeking to further their own interests, end essay), the Dalai Lama (CHINA STRONG), or the institutional culture of the World Bank (ZZZZZZZZZ), I’ve a) cleaned my apartment b) rewrote my resume and shipped it out to all and sundry in the vain hopes of deliverance and c) come here to feel somewhat productive. While a) is actually the greatest accomplishment of the three (if you know me at all, you’d agree), I’d feel somewhat guilty if I spent another day trying to beat the original Zelda and not discuss some of what I think is going down in the world. So, like any good recovering Catholic, I submit my penance not in hopes of forgiveness but to allay my own guilt and fears until the next time I do something dumb/bold.
It’s quite obvious that we live in dangerous times–terrorism, financial muppetry run rampant, nuclear proliferation, environmental catastrophe, censorship, and general oppression in the midst of instability have all had their place in the harsh spotlight of global attention during the first five months of 2010. While the case can certainly be made that it is difficult to tell whether times are bad or if the shrill cries of all and sundry for the sake of ego-stroking and profit-taking are making people think the shit’s about to go down, I for one am not ashamed to consider myself a Negative Nancy. This is, in part, why I chose to write about the links between finance and politics. To me, there is no way to distinguish the instability in both sectors other than to say that they’re different faces of the same basic crisis. The impacts of the ties between the two, and the ways in which the economic ugliness is pushing global (and domestic politics in various nations) to a particularly ugly place aren’t unprecedented, but the speed at which events are moving is in fact without precedent in human history.
Globalization and the acceleration of communications technology are the primary drivers for this acceleration in the crisis cycle. Wait, what’s a ‘crisis cycle,’ you say? Allow me to demonstrate via the wonders of MS Paint!
Behold, I bring thee order out of anarchy through my art so fine. (Open in new tab; read from bottom right)
Basically, we’ve been engaged in a decades-long game of kick the can (a game I was particularly shitty at as a kid) where the political problems left over from the Cold War (like what to do with Korea), the economic interdependency and instability that’s characterized the global economy since the 1970s, and the environmental pressures from general degradation of resources like fresh water, oil, and the effects of collecting coal (open-pit mining = gross) have all been deferred for later consideration. Eventually, all roads come to an end, and this historical one is no different. War isn’t inevitable in my eyes–as Hemingway said, war is always a crime, no matter how just–but at the same time, it’s quite evident that settling all this and creating a new world order (dun dun DUNNNNNN) has to be the end goal. Whether it’s through intense diplomacy and low-scale conflict, or some big, fuck-off war that I’ll likely be called to serve in (shudder), there’s no doubt that all of these challenges are coming to a head because there’s simply no putting off the structural challenges extant in the current state of international relations. As such, it’s our responsibility as global citizens and propagators of the human race to see the silver linings in all this–something better can be created; but more importantly, Kim Jong-Il is hilarious (when he’s not firing missiles and kidnapping people). Just look at this shit, and try not to crack a smile. Thought so.