By Ignacio Ramonet
[This article originally published in: Le Monde diplomatique, March 15, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www.taz.de/pt/2002/03/15.nf/mondeText.artikel.a0009.idx.0.]
Citizens should know. Globalism now attacks societies on three fronts. On the first front, the front of the economy, all humanity is impacted. Globalism is ruled by that trinity that could be described as a real "axis of evil": the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They force the world under the dictatorship of the market, under the hegemony of private enterprise and the cult of profit and inflict enormous damage on the whole planet. The fraudulent bankruptcy of the energy conglomerate Enron, the monetary crisis in Turkey, the financial collapse in Argentina occur with ecological damages wherever one looks.
The international conference on development financing in Mexican Monterrey from March 18-22 will worsen the general disaster since private enterprise is stylized as the motor of the development of the South. That state- and government heads - particularly of the European Union - refuse to take development measures that could save two-thirds of humanity from their misery is a scandal.
The following ten point program is conceivable. The debts of the poor countries should be cancelled. A comprehensive just and balanced debt regulation must be found for all the southern countries. Future financing credits must be issued with acceptable conditions and expended for sustainable development. Rich countries must make available at least 0.7 percent of their wealth for development financing. The "terms of trade" between North and South must be equalized. Irrational capital movements must be controlled. Banking secrecy must be annulled. Tax havens should be declared illegal. International financial transactions should be taxed at last.
The second front - operating secretly and silently - is ideology. With the active support of universities, prominent research institutes (Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute) and leading media (CNN, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist read by countless journalists), a persuasion industry has formed convincing the inhabitants of this planet that globalization only seeks the happiness of humanity. Relying on the power of information and with the passive complicity of the dominated, the ideologues have built something that could be described as comfortable despotism (Ignacio Ramonet, "Liebesgrusse aus Hollywood", Zurich, Rotpunkt Verlag, 2002).
These manipulative enterprises were supported by the Pentagon after September 11, 2001. An "Office for Strategic Influence" was established whose main task was to spread disinformation "to influence the public and the politically responsible of both friendly and hostile countries." (International Herald Tribune, February 20, 2002) Orwell should be saluted. As in the darkest times of McCarthyism and the Cold War, the Pentagon forged a kind of propaganda ministry to spread the "official truth", a dreadful term. The project soon failed and became obsolete when it was made known to the public.
The third - military - front is recent. This front was opened right after the traumatic events of September 11 with the intention of flanking neoliberal globalization with its own security apparatus. For a long time, the United States attempted to assign this mission to Nato but then reconsidered and decided to accept the task itself, supply the funds and convert its plan into action with impressive efficiency. The latest war against the Taliban regime and the Al-Qaida network in Afghanistan convinced Washington that claiming the help of strategic allies - Great Britain, France or Nato - is not very profitable in such missions.
This contempt appeared recently in that the Bush administration didn't even consult its allies before attacking Iraq. The half-hearted protests of the European state chancellery wouldn't have impressed the US administration in any way. Vassals have to bow. In the meantime, America strives for absolute political dominance. William Pfaff of the International Herald Tribune confirmed: "The United States in a certain way is the first proto-world state. The US sets itself at the top of the modern version of the empire whose members voluntarily submit to the spontaneously arising authority" (International Herald Tribune, January 7, 2002).
This empire strives to realize globalism. All opponents of this project, all dissidents and resistance fighters must know that they will be fought on all three fronts: economic, ideological and military. The age of human rights seems over.