Posted by: Scott | November 14, 2010

A Real New World Order, in Three Part Harmony: Part I – Trust Over Fear

What in the world are we so damned afraid of, anyway?

Are immigrants really trying to take our jobs away from us? (They usually make more jobs; if not, then why is there a new ethnic restaurant opening in some part of town each week?) Is there a terrorist hiding under my bed? (By the way, whatever happened to the communist hiding under my bed? I remember being more afraid of really big spiders!) Are we going to Hades in a hand basket? Or are we really just making ourselves crazy for no good reason? Are any of our fears truly rational?

Fear drives our political agendas to be sure, and that results in things like billion-dollar warships that sit rusting, civil liberties being curbed, and too many of us spying on our neighbours, while hoping they’re not doing the same. Where do we end up with? Wasted money and frayed nerves, that’s what.

Where does our fear, particularly fear of the other, come from?

Fear so often has us in its grip because we believe that we are separate from one another, that what we do to others does not happen to us. But are we really that separate from others, and do the things we do to others – good or bad – really happen only to them? Or, are we just deluding ourselves into believing this is so?

If think we about it though, we all share number of essential things without which we could not live. The air we breathe does not recognize national boundaries, nor does the water we drink. We know this, while accepting the insane notion that our divisive political and economic structures are somehow superior? Are we collectively mad? After all, we all need clean air and clean water to breathe, drink, and soil to grow our food in.

Disasters generally don’t distinguish between political geographies, either. If an asteroid big enough to destroy the planet were to hit the Earth tomorrow, there’s no special hiding place for any ‘special people’ who’d be saved from annihilation. And, if we ever engaged in the ultimate of insanity – nuclear war – there’s no hiding place that’d enable anyone to last but for a short time from the radioactive fallout. We may often fear the ‘other’, but the result of our fears overwhelming us is always the same: we all bleed, and we all bleed in the same colour.

Fear in the pre-historical times past was logical; a survival mechanism against predators. Fear of the other in the pre-nuclear age resulted in mass death, but only on a village-by-village scale. The wars of the 20th Century, however, should have taught us that the stakes are now too high to continue to invest in the politics of fear. Besides, we now know that there is no real difference between any one racial or religious group and any other, except the ones we invent.

What can we do instead of engaging the politics of fear? Perhaps it’s time to invest in a new politics, a politics of trust. But, is trust really possible, and where can we find it?

You can find trust all over the place, if you but look for it. We trust our parents to take care of us, for instance, and they usually do. Neighbourhood Watch programs are built on mutual trust among neighbours. Firefighters have to invest in a culture of trust to know their fellow firefighters will have their back when things go bad. People around the world and even national governments have learned to trust in the collective power of international organizations like Medicine Sans Frontiers or the Red Cross (Crescent) to help in times of need. Even the United Nations, for all its problems, is a still a dramatic improvement over ad hoc alliances of the past, built around lowest-common-denominator interests. Peace, however, is in nearly everybody’s interest.

More and better examples are there to inspire a politics of trust, if we care to feel inspired.

When we recognize that we all share the same air and water and watch the same stars with amazement from the same tiny planet together, our only sensible conclusion can be that there’s no more room for fear of the other in the governing of our lives. If we as a human race are destined to continue living on this tiny planet, then we must recognize that trust is the only course of action. Investing in the politics of trust will enable us to solve our many problems together than we ever could in isolation.

After all, it’s easier to solve our many problems together – as neighbours, cities and nations – than in mutual isolation. And, it’s a hell of a lot less stressful.



  1. Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?
    1. Q: What percentage of the world’s population does the U.S. have?
    A: 6%
    2. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
    A: Saudi Arabia
    3. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
    A: Iraq
    4. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
    A: $900+ billion
    5. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
    A: 50%
    6. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
    A: 10% (that’s about $40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).
    7. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
    A: 86 million
    8. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
    A: Since the early 1980’s.
    9. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
    A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government, along with Britain and private corporations.
    10. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against Iran?
    A: No
    11. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?
    A: 5,000
    12. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
    A: 0
    13. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
    A: 17 million.
    14. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?
    A: No
    15. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?
    A: 35,000
    16. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western forces during the Gulf War?
    A: 0
    17. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?
    A: 6,000
    18. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?
    A: 40 tons
    19. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
    A: 700%
    20. Q: How much of Iraq’s military capacity did America claim it had destroyed in 1991?
    A: 80%
    21. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything other than deterrence and self defense?
    A: No
    22. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago?
    A: No
    23. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?
    A: 10,000
    24. Q: What percentage of these will be children?
    A: Over 50%
    25. Q: How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq?
    A: 11 years
    26. Q: Was the U.S and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
    A: No
    27. Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
    A: 20 million
    28. Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing strict sanctions on Iraq’s imports and exports?
    A: 12 years
    29. Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?
    A: 38
    30. Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000 births)?
    A: 131 (that’s an increase of 345%)
    31. Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a result of UN sanctions?
    A: 1.5 million
    32. Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions since 1997?
    A: 750,000
    33. Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?
    A: No
    34. Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?
    A: 300
    35. Q: How many of these inspections had problems?
    A: 5
    36. Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba’ath Party HQ?
    A: Yes
    37. Q: Who said that by December 1998, “Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history.”
    A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief.
    38. Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq’s post 1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have discovered and dismantled?
    A: 90%
    39. Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in?
    A: Yes
    40. Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
    A: Over 65 (Pres 65.)
    41. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
    A: 30+
    41. Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?
    A: 8
    45. Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?
    A: 0
    46. Q: How many nuclear warheads has US got?
    A: Over 10,000
    47. Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?
    A: The US
    48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
    A: Over 400
    50. Q: Who said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”?
    A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

    • I wonder what this posting has to do with building a politics of trust in the world, but in the interest of free speach, I’ll post it anyway.

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