October 17, 2008
Planetary President ObamaBy Philip C. Bom
Senator Obama could well become our first planetary president.
Traditional bipartisan US foreign policy has been one of collective international security of independent nation states. In other words, nations cooperate together as independent countries to maintain international peace. This is in direct contrast to the world-order concept of "common security."
Candidate Obama heralds change and hope, but his ideological message reads like a "copy and paste" from documents written by socialists of the past century. He presents himself as a new politician but has adopted an old "world order" agenda. Obama's policies will certainly produce change -- but a fundamental change that will shock most Americans.
The Democratic Party's platform (authored by Senator Obama's policy director) reads like a planetary manifesto for a new global order.
Senator Obama himself has said he seeks to provide "a world that stands as one" with "global leadership grounded in the understanding that the world shares a common security and a common humanity" (Berlin speech and Foreign Affairs article, July/August 2007, FA). As president, Obama promises to "strengthen our common security by investing in our common humanity."
Obama adopts the old framework of international socialists. He jettisons the traditional meaning of security and adopts the view of democracy as social economic democracy. In his writings and speeches, Obama consistently calls for "building just, secure, democratic societies (FA)."
Senator Obama ties the concept of national security to global poverty. In the FA article, Obama claims that "the United States has a direct national security interest in dramatically reducing global poverty and joining with our allies in sharing more of our riches to help those most in need." He has the audacity to proclaim: "Like it or not, if we want to make America more secure, we are going to have to help make the world more secure" (AH, 304). For him, global security means eliminating world poverty.
According to the 1995 Commission on Global Governance (CGG), "...the security of people must be regarded as a goal as important as the security of states." In addition, "The primary goals of global security should be ... the security of people and the planet." The Democratic Party platform adopts this definition of national security (encompassing environmental security). The platform proudly promotes "Protecting our Security and Saving our Planet" as if they are one and the same. "We understand that climate change is not just an economic issue or an environmental concern -- this is a national security crisis."
Yet, while Obama promises to protect the American people, how often does he promise to protect the USA as an independent nation state? Following the ideology of CGG, he blurs the distinction between our national homeland and "our human homeland."
As noted, however, Obama's political ideas are hardly novel. Concepts and phrases (e.g. common humanity, common security, one world, economic security) in his speeches and in the platform can be found in the agendas of international socialists like the late Willy Brandt and Olof Palme. Even Obama's words of "change" and "hope" date back to 1981.
Both Willy Brandt and Olof Palme were important international socialist leaders during the 1970s: Brandt as Chancellor of Germany, and Olof Palme as Prime Minister of Sweden. In addition, they served together as leaders of the Socialist International with Brandt as President and Palme as Vice-President. Of particular interest is their later selection to chair commissions on development (Brandt) and disarmament (Palme). The commissions advanced the socialist perspective of the 1974 UN Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States which laid the foundation for the new international economic order. The commissions also sought to promote a linkage between disarmament and development. The same perspective appears in Obama's positions.
In the 1980 Commission on International Development Issues report, Chairman Brandt made "a plea for change." He yearned for a new generation that would "liberate people from outworn ideas, from the grip of narrowly conceived national interests and from the passions and prejudices inherited from the past. A new international economic order will need men and women with a new mentality and wider outlook to make it work...." In his nomination speech, Obama agrees with Brandt on the "need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past."
Going back even further, the 1974 Charter for a New International Economic Order sought to establish a "just and equitable economic and social order" and promoted "economic security for development, in particular of the developing countries." A few years later, Brandt advocated "steps along the path to what could genuinely be called a society of nations, a new world order" based on international economic justice (redistribution of wealth and power among all nations). Note the similarity with Obama's words: "sharing more of our riches to help those most in need."
Brandt believed that world politics should move beyond an UN organization of nation states "towards a genuine society of nations." In addition, the 1975 Human Manifesto rejected the principle of independent nation states and pledged to place "the human interest above the national interest, and human sovereignty above national sovereignty." This is exactly what Obama has done in his emphasis on defending the American people (versus defending the USA as an independent nation state).
National security was redefined decades ago. The late international socialist, Olof Palme, (Chairman of the Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues) advanced a new definition. "The security -- even the existence -- of the nations of the world is interdependent." The report elaborated by stating "... that nations must come to understand that the maintenance of world peace must be given a higher priority than the assertion of their own ideological or political positions." "Common security requires that people live in dignity and peace, that they have enough to eat and are able to find work and live in a world without poverty and destitution."
Brandt hoped that a future leader would arise from "among the young generations who will soon carry major political responsibility." It seems that Obama may well be that New Leader for whom Brandt hoped.
Senator Clinton may be liberal Democrat, but the left-of-liberal Obama captured the Party nomination as a hero of hope and change. However, upon closer examination, his message of change and hope is anchored in old socialist doctrines. Obama launched his political career as a local community organizer. If elected, he will affirm his career as the great global community organizer -- and will fulfill the dreams of world socialists like Brandt and Palme.
The great New Leader's "heart is filled with love for this country" (AH, 362). On the other hand, his political head is filled with love for a new global order. He appears to be enthralled with dreams of global transformation through common security, economic security, and economic democracy -- concepts foreign to traditional American international policy. He could very well be a good UN Secretary General, but to entrust him with American presidential leadership will be a bridge too far. If elected, it will mean the end of America's political, military, and legal independence.
Philip C. Bom is a professor of International Politics at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.