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Translation of an article to be published
in Ma'ariv on January 03, 2000

Dear Friends,
So we all made it into the new century.
Attached some ideas about that.
Shalom, Salamaat,

United States of the World:

by Uri Avnery

In the beginning of the 20th century, a few idealists advocated the creation of a "United States of Europe". They were ridiculed. But after two terrible World Wars and tens of million dead, the European Union was created, a confederacy that practically abolished borders and set up a united economy.

Today I dare to forecast that the 21st century will see the creation of a "United States of the World" - a global order headed by a world authority.

The last century - like the one that preceded it - was dominated by the national state. This idea won in Europe and expanded from there to all the other continents. Israel, as a "democratic Jewish state" (as well as the coming State of Palestine) are late-born children of that era.

We, who were born into this reality, can hardly realize that the national state is a recent human creation. Even at the beginning of last century, the Russian czar, the Austrian emperor and the Ottoman sultan still were potent rulers, each of whom reigned over many peoples speaking many languages.

The national state (as distinguished, for example, from the city-state or the dynastic state) did not come into being by accident. New technologies created a reality that required a (comparatively) big economic, cultural and military unit. The local market had to be big enough to sustain an economy, population and territory had to sustain a modern army big enough to defend the fatherland. The national idea satisfied these requirements and gave the masses, together with the new democracy, the motivation and the cohesion that held the new state together.

However, since then the objective requirements changed with the new technologies. Today's market is global, multinational corporations span the world. Communications, including the internet, are global. The 21st century was ushered in by a celebration that was truly world-wide. English has become the wold-wide lingua franca. Tens of million have left their homelands to look for greener pastures in the developed countries. Nuclear weapons have made old-style wars inconceivable. Man has walked on the moon, his devices have reached Mars. Not only little states like Denmark and Israel, but even Germany and France, great powers at the beginning of the 20th century, cannot stand alone anymore.

While we Israelis were busy building our national state, the world was already moving from a national agenda to a regional one. Europe was unified, and other parts of the world tried to emulate it. (54 years ago, I tried to apply the same principle to ourselves by creating the idea of a "Semitic union".) But even the idea of regional unions has already become obsolescent.

Human consciousness always stumbles behind objective reality. It does so at the beginning of the 21st century: While reality does cry out for a world order, consciousness is still nationalistic. Some manifestations are downright ridiculous. For example, France won the international soccer championship and was floating on a wave of nationalist hysteria. But the stars of the French team were foreigners, headed by an Algerian, the likes of whom are considered by many Frenchmen as sub-human. That did not dampen the spirits of the masses. Neither were they troubled by the fact that French soldiers took part in an action in Kosovo that destroyed one of the pillars of the national state: the principle of "non-intervention in its domestic affairs". (Witness the Holocaust).

It is impossible to know how the aim of a new world order will be achieved. Perhaps the United Nation will assume the role of a supra-national authority. If so, it will have to change completely. In the Security Council, the world government, the veto-power of the "permanent members" must be abolished, so that Russia, for example, will not be able to block a Kosovo-like intervention. In the General Assembly, the world parliament, the representation of each member must correspond to the size of its population, so the Fiji Islands will not have the same voting power as the United States. The UN must have at its disposal a standing army, which owes allegiance to the UN only, and that will be ready for immediate intervention in a Ruanda-like genocide. A world court must be competent to adjudicate all conflicts between states, as our national courts adjudicate conflicts between individuals. A world police must be ready to enforce the world law.

In the European Union, the national states were not dismantled; each kept its flag, language and traditions. The same will be true In the coming world order. But the national states will we subject to a compulsory world order, much as citizens are subject to the laws of their state.

An unrealistic vision? Not at all. I am quite certain that this will be reality by the year 2100. What a pity that I shall not be around to see it.

[Rabbiner E. van Voolen] [M'ariw] [haArez]

Gush Shalom
[Visit the Settlement Special]

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