New World Order versus Third World Order
At first glance certain countries’ stances regarding the conflict in Syria are seen as directly connected to those countries and not taken in concert with a group of nations rallying behind an ideology called “Third World Order”. In other words the decision to support the Assad regime in Syria is in my opinion a collective rather than an individual effort on the part of China, the Russian Federation, Iran, Venezuela, Algeria and North Korea among others. Now you may wonder as to what is this Third World Order that brought the leaders of these countries together to form something resembling a close-knit society with its own manifesto and agenda and mostly likely has its own initiation, codes and possibly even a secret hand shake reminiscent of the secret societies of the Freemasons in Europe and the United States or the Knights Templar in Europe and the Americas, I am just kidding. Allow me to explain. We all know that since the collapse of the Soviet Union and with it the Berlin wall former President George H.W. Bush announced in a speech on March 6th 1991 the advent of a new world order championed by the United States which has since been gradually taking shape apparently unchallenged. This new world order is continually gaining worldwide acceptance due primarily to the dominance of Western economies coupled with Western and particularly US military superiority. Whereas the Western military has been at the forefront of paving the way for the establishment of a more cooperative and amiable political order worldwide, the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization have been expanding their economic outreach to create common venues thus facilitating the expected mergers of the global diverse economies. However, despite the display of confidence in the ultimate triumph of the new world order it looks like there will be a challenge to its supremacy after all by an evolving new order championed mostly by a group of so called second and third world countries. This alternative order is called the Third World Order which is advocated and supported by countries as diverse as China, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Syria, Algeria, North Korea and Iran.
What is the Third World Order? You may ask. Well, in terms of definition it is a proposed order to economically unify third world countries so as to prevent their being absorbed by the Western global economy. The Third World order is not entirely a new idea but is in many respects a continuation of the anti-imperialist and anti western sentiments that originated during the periods of colonialism as well as post-colonialism and neocolonialism such as the now waning None-Aligned Movement championed by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. If you have been wondering about the reasons behind the frequent visits to Africa by China’s premier Hu Jintao and Iran’s president Ahmadinejad or the numerous visits to Iran and Libya by Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez, now you know the answer. Along with the immediate objectives of expanding the economic cooperation between their respective countries, they are also drawing plans to enhance the prospects and the appeal of the Third World Order in order to increase the membership of their alliance. Some of these leaders’ speeches at the UN not only betray semblances of their Third World ideology but also portray a rarely seen confidence in the righteousness of their cause. Whereas Ahmadinejad has been challenging the moral premise of the New World Order, Hugo Chavez has even warned against a possible world calamity that can occur if plans for world economic hegemony by Western States came to pass. Even the late Muammar Gathafi of Libya who had a flare for the dramatically morbid had the audacity to tear up a copy of the UN Charter so as to add a headline grabbing drama to his otherwise nauseating speech. He even went as far as to accuse the international organization and particularly its Security Council of doing the bidding of Western States an also had the temerity to demand the relocation of the entire UN from New York preferably to a Third World country and he most likely was thinking of his hometown of Sirte in Libya. So there you go, Africa’s king of kings was seriously thinking of having the headquarters of the UN, the AU (African Union) and possibly the AL (Arab League) right there in Sirte where he could then rule all three world organizations with a sweep of his magic wand or a wave of his African royal scepter.
Just as we thought that the world could now rest easy following the kiss and make up between the USA and the former USSR we have been jolted back to the grim reality of yet another world wide conflagration or worse a nuclear Armageddon. Getting rid of Gathafi was definitely a step in the right direction which helped defuse one source of a possible flare-up of hostilities between the coalition of the New World Order and that of the Third World Order but there are still many more sources that need to be pacified or neutralized altogether and the most likely candidate is the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria. So now if you still think that the New World Order has the world arena all to its self, think again. It looks like the gauntlet that was thrown down by the western powers at the feet of the former Soviet bloc has been picked up by another and unexpected challenger after all. The world transition from bipolar to unipolar or from two super powers to a lone super power that was anticipated to have a smooth ride to world domination will still have to contend with pumps and pot halls on the road to world supremacy. Who could have imagined that a world that not that long ago has resigned itself to the reality of an overreaching hegemonic unipolar system will now resign to the reality of a multi-polar system championed by countries whose political, economic, and social structures are in many ways a world apart yet appear to unite around a world vision all of their own in which the interest and agenda of member regimes be they dictatorial or not take precedent over the interest and genuine aspirations of entire nations. Go figure. Fathi El-Shihibi is a professor at Emmanuel College, Boston, MA 02115 USA.