Monday, December 19, 2005

The Sound of the Present Order Breaking Down

I agree with Ahmadinejad on this point.

"The world is on the verge of change, and more than before we can hear the sound of this present unstable order breaking down."


I can hear it. Can you? Some days it's a distant creak. Other days it's deafening, as another support beam of the world order buckles under the strain.

Can you hear it? The collapse of IEAE and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is imminent. Iran ratified the NPT under the Shah in 1970 and agreed to the Additional Protocol in December 2003. When Iran goes nuclear, after years of negotiations and IAEA inspections, the hollow shell of global non-proliferation will implode. It’s an old adage that when novelists win the Nobel Prize, their best work is already behind them and they are not long for this world. It looks like the same is true for the IAEA. El Baradei’s Nobel acceptance speech will be the Agency’s epitaph.

Can you hear it, stress fractures spreading through the UN, chunks of the façade crumbling away? The General Assembly cannot muster a simple majority to condemn one member for threatening the annihilation of another, despite the fact that this is the organization’s most basic value. Even if, after a long circuitous route, violators are eventually referred to the Security Council, no action is taken because the Council is perpetually paralyzed by its veto-wielding members, due to corruption, conflicts of interest or duplicity. The specter of the League of Nations looms ever larger. We are only waiting for our Abyssinia.

“When the Italians had invaded in October 1935, the Abyssinians had appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League did two things:

  • it condemned the attack
  • all League members were ordered to impose economic sanctions on Italy.

It took six weeks for the sanctions to be organized and they did not include vital materials such as oil.”

Sound familiar? Replace “Italians” and “Abyssinians” and you’re reading tomorrow’s headlines.

Can you hear it, the foundation of the EU subsiding under the weight of a continent and its history (even as the proprietors insist on adding a new wing)? Can you hear the native creatures crawling in through the cracks even as the owners toast their eradication? Can you hear the tell tale heart beating beneath the Turkish rug?

Can you hear it, the Saudi monarchy wheezing with fatigue and decrepitude, barely conscious, mumbling with senility? Can you hear the continuous pumping of the life-support mechanisms? Can you hear the Nasarist regime struggling to stay upright amid the shifting sands, knees and hips grinding while it leans on an expensive, US-made walker?

Can you hear it, the whispering throughout Damascus, in bathrooms and backseats, in slums, mosques, and army bases, the hushed codes of escape plans and conspiracies? Can you hear metallic snaps, as cash-filled suitcases are locked, as pistols are cleaned and loaded?

The sounds of the unstable present order breaking down. Listen closely. You can hear it.

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