A Plea for Cooperation
The basic rule of the ancient concept of karma is that what goes around, comes around. Thus, those who believe in this almost always act kindly to others, in the hopes in this goodwill is reciprocated. If only more people believed in karma. I constantly see all across the world, especially in my home country, the United States, that most politicians view international relations as anarchic, in which a host of rivals must compete in order to survive. As a result, there has been a recent call for protectionalist economics, in which American goods are protected against those of other nations. But isn't cooperation the most innate nature of man? I thought that this had been resolved back in the Paleolithic Age, when cavemen found that they had a better chance of survival if they banded together in groups. But apparently, we need a reminder, which I will be more than happy to provide.
As I watched the downfall of Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya this year, facilitated by NATO, it hit me just how much multilateralism could make a difference. Qaddafi had brutalized his people for 42 years, and the Libyan people had had enough. As they rose up against their dictator, however, he sent troops into the streets to commit unspeakable atrocities. Thankfully, the rest of the world noticed, and the UN Security Council acted emphatically, allowing foreign intervention to protect civilians. A coalition of nations, most of whom were a part of NATO, banded together, and were unstoppable as a unified force. This paid dividends as Qaddafi was finally brought down in October with minimal lives lost. The Libyan people are surely grateful for this, as Qaddafi was threatening to "eliminate" all rebels before the UN stepped in. It is truely incredible what a team effort could do.
One of the main reasons that multilateralism is opposed is because it is commonly believed that this would hurt the global economy. Well, I would like to debunk that myth immediately. Increased cooperation between nations leads to high levels of trade, which spurs demand for products, leading to job creation. Probably the most pertinent topic that we face today is unemployment, but this can be solved by simple cooperation. If unemployment goes down, then there is more taxable income in a country. Much of the world today faces serious debt crises, as national governments are unable to repay their creditors. Basic economics stipulates that as revenue flows into the government, budget deficits are reduced. Also, more employment would mean that national production increases, and more people will make incomes to support their families. And that is how this issue affects all of us, as people all around the world would be lifted out of the mire of poverty if only our politicians put their differences aside and worked together in an atmosphere of friendship.
Conflicts that rip society from its roots would be reduced if nations had such interdependence on each other. Imagine if the European Union had existed right before World War II, and trade was flourishing between all member states. What incentive would Germany have to invade Poland, whose consumer markets would be vital to German companies? And if Iraq and Kuwait were trade allies before their 1990-1991 war, why would Iraq attempt to annex a country that gives it leverage in international organizations and provides economic partnership? As one can see, isolationism directly causes nations to lash out at one another, as they have nothing to lose. But multilateralism brings both peace and stability to the world.
Obviously, that cannot just happen on its own. And that is one of the main reasons why I decided to post on this blog that has strong ties to the United Nations. The UN should be the torchbearer of this process of increased interdependence and globalization, in order to ensure that the world economy benefits, and brutal conflicts are reduced. Obviously, this would imply a greater influence for the UN when it comes to international relations, and this is an excellent thing, because the complex Earth that we live in today needs regulation to ensure that everything is in order. And also, a multilateral organization like the UN provides the ideal environment for cooperation, an idea so simple that it is hard to believe that it can save the world.
By Matthew Appel (firstname.lastname@example.org)(http://twitter.com/#!/TheBigMapple)