“One land, one family, one future” (I).
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Licentiate in Systematic Theology
Master in Development and Diplomacy
Upon reading the article’s title in quotation marks, some may have wondered which speech or encyclical of Pope Francis we can find this text. No matter how hard you look for the phrase, you will not find it, as it is, anywhere because the author is not Francis. But, curiously, it is the title that Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has chosen for the forthcoming meeting of the “G-20” in India (see at the end of the article).
What kind of world awaits us in the future, and what kind of world should we try to build? Are the principles contained in the founding document of the UNO valid for today, or should we change them? What kind of world are we heading towards, unipolar, multipolar, bipolar, or tripolar? Perhaps we are heading towards a new cold war? And, amid all this, what should we Christian Catholics do?
The “wedding suit” has become too small for us.
On October 24, 1945, the United Nations was founded. Its creation meant creating an organization to ensure that the disasters of the two World Wars would not happen again. But, in addition to this, it meant the creation of a world order in which the traditional empires disappeared definitively, and a new world order was generated, designed by the victors of the Second World War. Soon this world, apparently multipolar, was transformed into a bipolar world in which the United States and Russia were the two contending poles of the Cold War. During this Cold War, the world continued to be shaped fundamentally by the decisions of the liberal and democratic West led by the United States: creation of borders and nation-countries, according to the designs of France and England; creation of the Bretton Woods institutions (Monetary Fund and World Bank); change from the gold standard to the dollar standard as the reference currency.
The United Nations, a reflection of international relations in the world, is fracturing into three blocks: the Western First World, led by the USA; the Communist Second World, led by Russia; and the Third World, somehow led by China. The UN General Assembly is the stage for the alliances of the powerful nations, while the newly created nation-states, independent of the metropolises, follow, more often than not, the dictates of the head nations of the former European empires. Japan and Germany are left without significant representations and, of course, without armies. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is systematically blocked by the right of veto of the five victors of the Second World War.
November 9, 1989, marked a new era: the end of the Cold War and the birth of unipolarity. The West, led by the United States, had won. There were no longer any new horizons in history; from now on, everything was balanced; at least, that is what some great experts in international analytics believed. In the meantime, major players of the future were born. On March 25, 1957, the European Economic Community, today’s European Union, was created; Germany and France decided to make a new Europe where the two nations would be the driving force of harmony, not war. In 1978, China opened up to the rest of the world, culminating in its entry into the World Trade Organization on December 11, 2001.
The economic crisis of 2008, exported from the United States, caused by the speculative overvaluation of mortgages (“subprime” crisis); the COVID 2019 pandemic, and finally (for now) the invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia, have finished revolutionizing the “world without change” predicted by some international strategists, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
After this journey, do we think the suit designed by the United States after World War II is still valid? Is the system based on the UN, the Bretton Woods institutions, and the dollar as the universal economic standard still good? Will this new reality of the G-20 replace the architecture created after World War II? Undoubtedly, the wedding suit designed in 1945 has become too small; we have to look for another one, at least take it to the workshop for some significant “repairs.”
Strange voting. Are you sure?
The invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia has brought us many surprises. I am not talking about the attack but about some votes condemning Russia for the charge. How can it be possible that there are nations that approve or abstain from condemning the invasion at the Human Rights Council in Geneva or the UN General Assembly? In the General Assembly, 143 countries voted to blame Russia, five voted against condemnation (Russia, Eritrea, North Korea, Nicaragua, and Syria), and 35 abstained, including South Africa, India, China, and Cuba. In Geneva, with Russia present at the Human Rights Council before being expelled, something similar happened. What is surprising is not that certain countries, such as Nicaragua or North Korea, did not accept the resolution condemning Russia; what is intriguing is the number of 35 countries that abstained and a few others that chose not to attend the assembly to avoid having to vote and be exposed. What is going on?
The explanation is relatively simple. Many countries perceive the international order in which we live as something imposed by Western neo-colonizing powers. Many countries, especially in Africa, want to avoid hearing about problems they consider purely Western, including the invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, even if some leaders sometimes ask Russia for help in their internal wars, they are becoming increasingly frightened of the consequences: dependence on Russia is becoming unbearable. If we can say this about Russia, we can say it even more about China, which has been buying and conquering Africa and America for some years now. The strategy that China sold to many countries as a “concern” for their development through the New Silk Road (“Belt and Road”) has become an unbearable external debt for these countries. It has become clear that China’s interest was to ensure its trade: to provide an outlet for its products and to be well supplied with oil, gas, food, and minerals. In this situation, who can these countries trust?
Consequently, the invasion of Ukraine is perceived as a European or Western problem, and the best thing to do is to avoid getting involved more than necessary. However, we should also ask ourselves, as these countries ask themselves: does the West, which has created laws and international organizations and requires others to comply with them, but does not comply with them, especially the US, when it suits it, have enough legitimacy? This is why emerging countries such as Brazil, India, or South Africa do not want to get involved in what they consider “foreign wars.” These are the reasons behind sure votes that seem strange but are only the symptom of a growing malaise in our “global world.”
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
What is the G-20?
For those who have little idea of what G-20 is, I take the definition of this group from its website, www.g20.org “The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It is vital in shaping and strengthening the global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.
The G20 was elevated to the Heads of State/Government level in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis in 2007, and 2009 was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”
The G20 Summit is held annually under the leadership of a rotating Presidency. The G20 initially focused mainly on broad macroeconomic issues but has since broadened its agenda, including trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.
The Group of Twenty (G20) is composed of 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and United States) plus the European Union. G-20 members account for about 85% of world GDP, more than 75% of world trade, and about two-thirds of the population.”
Spain is part of the G-20 as a guest country, with Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
International organizations represented: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organization, International Tourism Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Financial Stability Board and OECD) and chairs of regional organizations African Union, African Union Development Agency, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. India as G20 Presidency, 2023, will invite: the “Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” “Making Solar Energy Deployment Easy Partnership,” Asian Development Bank.