The idea of a ‘New World Order’ is a favourite of world leaders and conspiracy theorists alike. Both sides agree that the new world order is about global government. The term has been used by world leaders, such as US President George Bush who famously used the phrase in a 1990 speech to congress, to refer to the work of international institutions such as the United Nations and the rule of international law. Since then it has been used by many politicians and world leaders to refer to a new, more cooperative way of organising relations between nation states, in which international institutions mediate between nation states to create more harmonious relationships. Creating a ‘new world order’ in this context means strengthening the power of international institutions to deal with global problems.
Many conspiracy theorists, however, believe that this is only the tip of a very large iceberg which is hidden from view. They believe that a shadowy cabal of global elites are behind a plan to abolish national sovereignty altogether, creating an oppressive global government, through which they can control the world. This global elite, they claim, already control everything from the banks to governments to the UN. Many diabolical plans have been ascribed to this shadowy global elite, and proponents of these conspiracy theories often present an apocalyptic vision of the world. Massive de-population, the imposition of martial law, the destruction of religion, the enslavement of humanity, and the rise to power of the anti-christ have all been connected with the new world order myth.
What really confuses me about these conspiracy theories is that the people they say are planning to take over the world – the bankers, the global corporate elite, the behind-the-scenes groups which wield so much power in many democratic political systems – these people already run the world.
Disinformation: The New World Order = The Old World Order
In many ways the vision of the ‘new world order’ put forward by world leaders such as George Bush is actually the old world order. International institutions such as the United Nations are currently dominated by the western powers of the United States, Europe and their allies. International trade rules and the global financial system overseen by organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank serve to perpetuate the status quo – not to introduce a radical new model of international government. They were all created based on the liberal democratic capitalism of the western powers, and serve to maintain and spread the economic model which allowed the bankers and corporate elite to gain so much power in the first place.
Who Wants a New World Order?
Plenty of people around the planet would like to see a new world order. The people of impoverished and developing countries, who believe that the international trade rules and economic liberalisation imposed by organisations such as the IMF and World Bank unfairly restrain their growth and allow powerful western corporations to exploit their resources, would like to see a new world order. Communist China, which wishes to challenge the global hegemony of America and restrain the interventionist policies (and wars) of the western powers, would like to see a new world order. The people who have benefited the most from the present ‘world order’, I would argue, are not the ones who most want a new world order (NWO).
If I was inclined towards conspiracy theories I would not believe that the people who already run the world are conspiring to take over the world, I would be more inclined to believe that the whole NWO looks very much like disinformation – an attempt to scare people into opposing change. What better way, after all, to neuter the power of your enemies than to make them believe that your enemy is actually their enemy. These people, this shadowy elite who run the world, I would say, have become so adept at manipulation that even their most vehement enemies fight for them.
What Would The Real New World Order Look Like?
The world is changing dramatically, and the ‘world order’ is therefore changing too. The western powers of the United States and Europe are in decline, whilst China and Asia in general are on the rise. Many ‘developing’ countries, such as the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China, are becoming more wealthy and more powerful than the established ‘developed’ economies of the west.
Whereas the old international order saw the vast majority of power wielded by western powers, with America as the undisputed global superpower, a new multi-polar world is now emerging, with Asia as its power centre. This new order will indeed see the importance of international organisations increase. The imposition of Western rules and systems will be replaced by negotiated solutions reflecting the needs and desires of a much wider range of countries. Led by countries such as China, which has always opposed western interventionism, this new way is likely to emphasise national sovereignty and non-interference in other country’s affairs.
There is one group who has the most to lose from this change – the corporate and banking elite. As long as each country acts independently it is easy for multi-national companies to play one off against another, hide their operations in tax havens, and generally circumvent national laws. The only way to restrain the power of international companies is through international bodies, international regulations, and international laws. There is a strong argument to suggest that these international organisations are currently ‘in the pocket’ of this corporate and banking elite, and it is certainly true that they are inspired by the largely unrestrained capitalism and economic liberalisation which serves the interests of this elite.
Reform of these institutions, the growth of their power, and the increased influence of developing nations (including communist and socialist nations) within them, all serves to threaten the global dominance of this elite.