We need to be aware that neo-liberal globalization is attacking the social order on three fronts. The economic front is the most important since it affects all humanity. It is presided over by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization: they form the real axis of evil.1 This loathsome triumvirate creates massive havoc and seeks to impose an economic agenda founded on the predominance of the private sector and the markets, and on profit. Consider the fraud surrounding Enron, Turkey’s monetary crisis, the collapse of Argentina, and the environmental devastation.
To add insult to injury, the international conference on financing for development, which will be held this month in Monterrey, Mexico, will undoubtedly recommend that the private sector oversee the development of nations in the South.2 It is scandalous that our leaders, particularly those from the European Union, refuse to take action that might provide for development and liberate two-thirds of humanity mired in poverty.
What is needed is to write off poor countries’ debts completely; to create a fair and broad-based system governing debt repayment for nations of the South; to obtain guarantees to ensure that the conditions for financing are appropriate and that financing will be used for sustainable development; to ensure that wealthy nations devote at least 0.7% of their budgets to financing for development; to restore balance in North-South trade policies; to implement policies to ensure that every country has sovereignty over its food; to regulate irrational capital flows; to outlaw banking secrecy; to abolish tax havens; and to create an international taxation system governing financial transactions.
The second front is ideological, and is silent and invisible. There is a whole industry that aims to convince humanity that globalization will bring universal happiness. This industry needs the active collaboration of universities and research institutions (such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute) and the cooperation of those media (such as CNN, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist) that are copied by journalists the world over. Armed with information, globalization’s ideological warriors have created a dictatorship that depends on the passive complicity of those it subjugates.3
Media manipulation officially began when the Pentagon opened its Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) following the September 11 attacks. The OSI’s explicitly Orwellian mandate was to spread misinformation aimed at brainwashing the international press and “influencing public opinion and political leaders in friendly as well as unfriendly countries.”4 Reminiscent of the darkest years of the McCarthy era and the cold war, a virtual ministry of disinformation and propaganda, operating under the aegis of the U.S. military, has been charged with disseminating an “official version of the truth.” Such activities are usually associated with the world’s more grotesque dictatorships.
The third front is military. The offensive opened after September 11 and seeks to provide the globalization movement with an effective security apparatus. The U.S. was initially tempted to assign responsibility for this task to Nato but subsequently decided to go it alone; it has the means to do so with spectacular efficiency (see Paul-Marie de La Gorce). The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al Qaeda has convinced Washington that it would be futile–given the scale of the undertaking–to ask for more than token assistance from key military allies (such as the United Kingdom and France)–or even Nato.5
Demonstrating its contempt, Washington neglected to consult its allies before declaring recently that a U.S. attack on Iraq was imminent. High-level European protests, which have had no impact on the Bush administration, are already quieting down. Vassals are supposed to kneel in supplication, and the U.S. aspires to exercise absolute political power. “In some ways it is the first proto-global state,” notes journalist William Pfaff. “The U.S. is already potentially the head of a modern version of universal empire–a willing empire whose members are volunteers.”6
The American empire wants to make neo-liberal globalization a reality. All those opposed to that should be aware that the U.S. will fight them. The era of respect for human rights is over, as is shown by the disgraceful conditions in the Guantanamo, Cuba penal colony, where many Europeans (including French, British, and Spanish citizens) have been imprisoned in cages. The IMF, World Bank, and WTO axis of evil has been hiding its true nature. Now it can be seen for what it really is.