“One land, one family, one future” (III)
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Licentiate in Systematic Theology
Master in Development and Diplomacy
Answering the question at the beginning
After making this description of our world, can we answer the question at the beginning about whether our world is multipolar, bipolar, or unipolar? I think partially. We can affirm that today, there is no power that, in parity, can overshadow the United States. We are still in a world where the United States is the true superpower. We would have to admit that it is not a hegemonic power. For the United States, it is necessary to enter into dialogue and collaboration, for example, with the European Union, which, after Trump, knows that on the other side of the Atlantic, it is possible to find or not a respectful ally. The United States is interested in the closeness of the European Union, which is not nearly as imposing in its forms as the USA; it is interested in this closeness for the sake of legitimization and diplomatic rapprochement with countries with which relations are, at the outset, conflictive.
On the other hand, the United States cannot dissociate commercially or productively from China, nor can China dissociate itself from the United States; they are doomed to understand each other, even if we refer to Taiwan. U.S. Relations with India are good, but India sets conditions. Africa and America are two players who, sooner or later, will react and find a way to make themselves heard in the world; there is no doubt that without going so far as to reissue the Monroe doctrine of “America for the Americans,” the United States must opt for a transparent dialogue with its southern neighbors and help, not hinder, concord and cooperation among all. Also, in the case of its American neighbors, we must speak of a style of dialogue and respectful leadership far from the interventionism of the past.
Two new influential players are appearing on the world stage as relevant international players: Germany, within the European Union, and Japan, in the field related to the United States. These two countries willingly accepted not to have an army in the capitulations at the end of the Second World War; in the years since then, despite being leading countries in technology, they have refused to invest in armaments. The invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia and the derivations regarding the possible, though improbable, invasion of Taiwan by China have changed the pacifism of Germany and Japan for a growing attitude of rearmament that will give them more international prominence.
In short, the United States continues to be the arbiter of the world and the leader of the capitalist, liberal, and democratic West. Still, it needs dialogue and the acceptance of differences to continue leading the world. The dreams of US isolationism, a legacy of England’s “isolationism” (not yet overcome by England), have ended.
Towards the future: Maybe the UN? Maybe the G-20? Maybe the G-7?
Many speak of the UN’s ineffectiveness, as demonstrated by its absolute lack of influence in Afghanistan or Ukraine. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this statement. We need to be more refined when criticizing the United Nations. Refining problems, we find ourselves with the Security Council, based on the right of veto of the victors of World War II, a body that has not been functioning correctly since its creation. The ineffectiveness of the UN must be centered, fundamentally, on the UN Security Council rather than on the organization as a whole. Successive Secretaries General have tried, and sometimes succeeded, in seeking alternative ways of effectiveness through General Assembly resolutions. Through its admittedly intricate system of organizations and bodies, the UN has served and is serving to transform the world. The problem lies in its inability to intervene effectively in conflicts, a matter reserved for the Security Council in the vast majority of cases, as set out in the UN’s Founding Charter.
Thinking of complementary alternatives to the UN, it could be that the “G-20” could replace the UN Security Council while extending the competencies of the G-20 forum; this extension of competencies is already a fact. The G-20 is currently complemented, whether admittedly or not, by the G-7 (France, the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany); in fact, the G-20 was born as a kind of extension of the G-7, including the economically emerging countries. It would be possible for the G-20 to function as a kind of United Nations Security Council, provided that it is clearly stated that the G-7 and its countries cannot have the right to veto or anything similar.
Some analysts are calling for convening a summit at the highest level to study the reform of the founding Charter of the United Nations. It would be a summit requested and approved by the General Assembly and led by the General Secretariat. This summit should be able to address the problems and support the solutions that would give birth to the United Nations of the 21st century.
Who told us Catholics to get involved in these complications?
This could be the question that, as Catholic Christians, members of parishes, schools, and communities of religious life, we can ask ourselves: What good does it do us to be aware of what is happening in the world? We can do nothing! I have always thought that the social commitment of the Christian needs to be remembered by some or many of us. The encyclical “Fratelli Tutti,” in line with the entire Social Doctrine of the Church, insists on taking the world as our responsibility.
I am writing these lines during the last week of Easter, the week between the Ascension and Pentecost. The urgency of Jesus for us to continue his work of evangelization to the whole world is mainly present in my reflection in this article. The message of the Gospel was complete and presented to us by God the Father in his Son Jesus; now, what remains for us is to continue the “incarnation” of the Good News of Jesus in each concrete situation. The action of the Spirit of the Father and the Son always reaches the heart of the one who wants to help transform this world into “One earth, one family, one future,” according to what God the Father wanted.
It is not easy to know where the world is heading or the shape of international relations in the 21st Century or the 22nd Century; there are many uncertainties and very few certainties. But it is clear that God is asking us to get involved with our society to improve it. Therefore, Christians with a profound experience of the Spirit of Jesus (vocations) must act in local, national, and international politics. We cannot lament the situation of national or international politics without committing ourselves, in some way, to transform it.
The social commitment of every Christian implies participation in the affairs of “la polis” of society. Therefore, we must recognize the urgency of having vocationally committed people at the service of our world, in militant political action, at the local, national, or international level. The presence of committed Christians in these areas is increasingly important every day. With Christians engaged in politics, there would exist today, for example, the European Union or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Christians such as Robert Schuman, Jean Monet, Alcide De Gasperi, Konrad Adenauer, and Eleanor Roosevelt were necessary for both the former and the latter. So, if any of you or your children want to undertake this challenging task of being a Christian and a politician, let no one prevent you from doing so, but rather, let us all commit ourselves to support you in your vocation.
“To make possible the development of a world community capable of achieving fraternity based on peoples and nations living social friendship, we need the best politics at the service of the true common good. Instead, unfortunately, politics today often takes forms that hinder the march towards a different world.” Pope Francis, “Fratelli Tutti,” n. 154.
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf