People power from around the world has led China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama.
From comic books all the way to the voting booth we tend to fixate on the idea that powerful forces of good should overwhelm the forces of evil. We believe that responsible governments need to make the less responsible ones behave. However international politics is such that no government is particularly interested in making China behave. Yet somehow just because ordinary people usually the ones without any clot have been protesting over the Olympics, China has finally agreed to meet with the Dalai Lama. Had the US, the Europeans Union or Russia made even economic threats, China would have cracked down harder.
Many in the US feel guilty that our government didn’t get involved in Rwanda. Starting in World War II, Americans tend to think the state of the world is our government’s responsibility. Progressive Americans feel what’s wrong with the world is US’s fault. Bush thinks it’s his responsibility to call for more democracy in the Middle East, lightly chiding Saudi Arabia over its lack of democracy.
There is debate over whether the US pressure on Cuba can bring hope to that island, or unleash a contractor feeding frenzy, like in Iraq, with lavishly expensive social change projects that never get finished.
China has cornered the US, by encouraging the US to become almost totally dependent economically. Preparing to slowly incorporate Taiwan, the way it was doing in Tibet. The US postures that China wouldn’t dump US dollars because it would hurt the Chinese economy almost as much as the US. However, traditional military conflict with the US could decimate China. But in an economic war, the more obedient Chinese people would put up with standing in long soup lines more patiently than we would. Katrina has shown that normally law-abiding Americans aren’t anywhere near the same as during the first depression. Grabbing food from a store or tomatoes from a window garden could easily become the norm.
Maybe genocide wouldn’t have happened in Rwanda if the people of the world weren’t expecting the US government to do something. There is no way al Qaeda will get the world it wants. If it became clear the US was becoming no longer in the economic condition to do anything about al Qaeda, the rest of the world would take over. Al Qaeda probably ending up defeated more quickly than if the US stayed involved.
Obama may be a breath of fresh air, but so was Jimmy Carter who also tried to change things without threatening or jailing any fat cats.
Obama isn’t yet President but right-wingers are hysterical over his .07% antipoverty tax,
Unfortunately Carter didn’t get to nominate anyone for the Supreme Court.
A consumer advocate or two on the Supreme Court may accomplish more than Obama trying to demand the rich do more.
With enough people power there may not be a need a world government, or for countries like the US to pretend it’s the world’s policeman, and more often then not, further mess things up in the process.
[Note, before reediting, a senior moment led me to state that Carter was involved in Somalia.]