- The Elephant in the Room
- Myself and WASG
- Choosing WASG
- World Groups
- Climate Change and Other Threats to the Commons
- What WASG Will Do
1 The Elephant in the Room
There exist a whole raft of either international or truly global problems seemingly getting worse year by year.
You are reading this probably because you have heard of, and become curious in some way, about WASG, but presently don’t know what it is or how it could help.
The Elephant is this. Climate Change and some similar global threats to the commons are not only bigger (and hence more urgent) than the other international problems. They are bigger than all of them put together. Solving them requires such degree of cooperation between nations as will drive out also much of the existing strife either as a result, or as a necessary precursor. The many dangers we face can be overcome together, leading to a much better world. Be clear that this optimistic, even utopian, outlook is dependent on the nations of the world adopting a meaningful global approach to climate change and the other threats to the commons. This implies an enormous change from the way they have dealt with these things up to now.
The reason Climate Change et al is so much more important than the other things in today’s headline news is that these other things, all brought about by mankind, can be solved by mankind, albeit with great difficulty: but unless the world acts very quickly, the climate problems, also caused by mankind, will likely move beyond man’s ability to avoid effects that will be catastrophic. Not since the days of Galileo have the powers that be so disregarded what science is telling them.
Before going on to the next section, I suggest the reader turns to the Paper – Plan B to Save the World for Our Children. This was mostly written some years ago but amended more recently. I write from the UK, and in a few sentences had only the UK in mind, but there is nothing not largely true of the whole world.
What follows below touches on Climate Change, particularly in relation to the need for early action. But it mainly provides the background arguments leading to my conclusions that the world failure to deal with these problems amounts to market failure, leading to a need to reform our Capitalism; and arises from major failures of Leadership by all those with power. There is a lack of Democracy and a lack of honesty in high places.
Hence the need for WASG. To drive those with power into action.
2 Myself and WASG
My name is Ian McLellan, and I mention this only to show I do not write anonymously. I do not add an address because I have time only to correspond with those with power who I am trying to influence. Anyone can easily get in touch if they wish.
I used to be various kinds of engineer in the Royal Navy. As a systems engineer, I spent some years associated with a US Navy group who consulted Stanford University as to how, on their new project, they could avoid the same mistakes that were made with earlier complex systems.
I learned most of my system engineering from my association with this office. “Thus”, and this is a quote from an unpublished letter to the Times in 1997 suggesting these principles had a wider application, “we can frequently identify the need for a devil’s advocate to stop the impractical: for a risk manager to get the facts, instead of prejudice, before taking decisions, and to overcome the unknowns early: for a coordinator to select the interfaces and communications between groups of people, and to define them: for a disciplinarian to write workable rules and regulate the groups to achieve a common end: and for an auditor to check that what is supposed to be happening is actually happening; and, if it is not, pointing the need for action not at the failure, but at the levels above, managing the failure. And in addition to all the examples around of inadequacy in these matters, there is an overriding failure to look to the long term.”
These are some of the qualities I feel WASG needs to examine these complex matters and come to a solution. I think WASG would largely argue as I do in the following sections, because I find much of the solution is ineluctable. But, WASG will be a group of people, much cleverer than me, and having varied experience and unlimited specialised support: and will reach its own conclusions. My own view is necessary only to get the attention of the Prime Minister, other G8 leaders and Mr Ban Ki-moon, and so get WASG brought into being.
In what follows, I seek to persuade everyone what WASG will do and can achieve. I seek agreement, but even debate would be something. Press and TV are so hopeless on these things that I have to publish my thoughts in this way. If anyone with a following cares to comment on Face book or some such, that would be great.
3 Choosing WASG
Some readers have suggested it might be difficult to choose WASG, but I see only minor difficulty. Ask a few prominent members of a variety of professions for nominations e.g. Scientists, engineers, architects, politicians (statesmen), entrepreneurs, company executives, historians, diplomatic service, games designers, policemen, military, and so forth, plus head-hunters, journalists and communicators. UN to choose from a short list having regard to needing a variety of specialisation, nationality and age.
There is a global desire for growth which the powerful, and particularly the politicians, the banks and the media, seem to find wholly acceptable, without qualification. But Climate Change and the other threats to the commons are a symptom of this Growth and Consumption. Bad growth, eroding the commons, has to be checked.
The vast majority of people have got used to wanting next year to be better than this. Those with the least wealth want to enjoy some of the privileges enjoyed by those higher up the scale. Political parties seem to place their stress either on lifting the wealth of the poor: or on maximising overall wealth and theorising that trickle-down effect will improve even more the lot of those at the bottom of the pile. Restricting bad growth is likely to reduce growth overall in the short term: that is, until other ways are found to compensate.
There is, I understand, a more fundamental economic need for growth. Growth produces more growth and vice versa, arising from the way the market (capitalism) works. Up to about 500 years ago, world growth came only from increases in population and movement of people to new lands. Any profit was saved for a rainy day. Then bankers found such savings could be lent out for new investment not just once, but about eight times (because banks trusted depositors not all to need their money repaid at the same time because, in turn, depositors trusted their money was safe). As a result, the new investment produced new growth, and continuing trust. In recent years there has been market failure moving us (globally) towards recession and distrust. All this has to be allowed for when we take proper action to protect the commons. This is difficult because the people one might consult on economics are those who created most of the problems we need to solve.
It may be that the high GDP growth rates within Africa, where there is also much of the extreme poverty mentioned again below, makes this continent a particular focus for the early future.
It also seems likely that WASG will find it necessary to recommend early additional changes to our capitalism to ensure robots are a help to mankind.
5 World Groups
Consider a few different kinds of group which I list by way of shorthand:-
City of London, Wall St, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Europe, Commonwealth, Trade and other state groups
Scientists, Technologists, Arts, Humanities..
Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Sunni, Shia, Buddhists, Hindu, Judaism
Poverty, Well off, Seriously Rich
Right wing- Left wing
Health, Wealth, Governance, Human rights, Culture
Media, Books, newspapers, periodicals, the internet, social media, libraries..
Companies, Banks, Insurance, Pharma, Mining, Energy, Motor .
There are some good things happening here e.g. Nigeria is just about free of polio leaving only Afghanistan and Pakistan affected. The UN is spearheading the attempt to eradicate extreme poverty in the next 15 years.
WASG will be trying to defeat climate change and the other threats to the commons and will necessarily seek cooperation between nations, the top grouping above. Other groupings will help or hinder and some of the details are mentioned in the following sections. WASG will engage with such groups to carry forward an increasingly cooperative endeavour.
I don’t wish to include every little thing I think WASG would do. Some readers would applaud some and be completely put off by others. But as some sort of summary, in order to neutralise climate change, WASG would seek agreement of nations to –
A reducing climate cap
A limit in top company pay
A slowly applied but major levy on old money
A ban on large private bank accounts
A major improvement in global governance (and governance in developed and undeveloped nations)
6 Climate Change and Other Threats to the Commons
Mankind has caused carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorocarbons to be emitted at an increasing rate over the period of the industrial revolution. Carbon is the main problem and over a period of a hundred years or so, carbon absorbed in the atmosphere can be treated as permanent. It is simple physics that this carbon will cause a rise in temperature. The initial rise in temperature will cause effects such as sea temperature rise, cloud formation, humidity changes and so forth. These changes may enhance the initial change (positive feedback) or reduce it (negative feedback). Some effects, such as ice that reflects sunlight being replaced by dark sea which tends to absorb it, are obviously positive: but more generally, it needs complex mathematical models to estimate the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over years and decades.
The oceans (and earth and vegetation) also absorb greenhouse gases: the seas become more acidic. Oceans absorb or give up heat to the atmosphere all the time, resulting in short term atmospheric variation to be superimposed on the steady heating effect. Ocean acidity and sea level rise are additional problems: as are the increasing likelihood and severity of extreme weather.
These are all complex matters and many books and papers have been written about them. The media, both newspapers and television, have not covered these things at all well, failing to explain what the scientists are saying to people in general, whether technical or non-technical: and failing to provide the debating chamber which would have silenced the sceptics. In terms of their actions, companies and politicians come across as complaisant at best – one could say not knowing or not caring.
The best I can do is to tell the reader why I agree with the scientific consensus formally expressed through the periodical IPCC reports. These are very conservative conclusions from peer reviewed papers at least two or three years old and passed through a final political review. [Readers who find numbers difficult could skip the next paragraphs. Accept that the science is overwhelming and start again with the reasons we have to move fast]. Much the same scientists reported through an International Symposium (the Exeter Conference) in 2005. Asked to say what CO2 concentration would be dangerous, this conference said it depended how much certainty was needed. The conference examined the link between atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration and the 2C ceiling above pre-industrial level then thought necessary to avoid the most serious effects of global warming. Previously this had been generally accepted as being 550ppmv CO2e, but the conference concluded that stabilising greenhouse gas concentration at just 450 ppmv would only result in a 50% likelihood of limiting global warming to 2C: and it would be necessary to achieve stabilisation below 400 ppmv to give a relatively high certainty of not exceeding 2C. More recent science has shown that the weather, environmental and social impacts for a 1C rise are expected to be as great as those previously assumed for a 2C rise. We will probably reach a 1C rise this year, which is expected to be the hottest ever. It may seem excessive to reject the 2C figure, which is the only thing the whole international community has so far agreed to: but today it does seem to be wrong to me to ask only the simple question – what amount of Carbon emitted will lead to what concentration of CO2, and thus to what temperature rise? We are so late now in making a proper start that I feel we can adopt the more simple aim of reducing emissions as fast as current generations can stand in terms of sacrificing some available (but bad) growth: and that later, when we will know more, we will almost certainly have also to extract some carbon from the atmosphere and bury it.
These figures are a touch more stringent than are quoted in their book The Burning Question (2008) by Mike Burners-Lee and Duncan Clark, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting an easy but authoritative introduction with good references. This book gives 565 GT as the amount we could still emit (measured in CO2ve) and have an 80% chance of remaining within the 2C figure. This is about a quarter of the known reserves which in 2008 we were using at 32GT per year rising 3% per year. Allowing for the temperature rise already in the pipeline (even if we stopped emissions altogether), this emphasises the need for early action. Let me mention a few more of the many reasons for this urgency, if only to rebut those economists who argue that the later you leave action the cheaper it will be.
First there is the fundamental point that it is the total carbon emitted that has to be limited. The amount we emit each year must eventually peak, and the later this peak occurs, the sharper must be the downturn to achieve this limit overall. The Exeter conference mentioned above, said in 2005 that a delay of even 5 years could be significant. If action to reduce emissions was delayed by 20 years, rates of reduction might need to be 3-7 times greater to meet the same target.
Secondly, we can consider whether the science is robust enough to justify expenditure and sacrifice. Although I put it round this way, those who have benefited during recent decades have done so in part through not paying for the pollution they have caused, payment which will mostly fall on succeeding generations. The scientific consensus is overwhelming, and their conclusions have changed little over 20-30 years: they have rather become more certain and have a better understanding of such matters as how ice sheets melt: they have a more realistic estimate of likely sea level rise; and are less immediately concerned about possible tipping points resulting from non-linear changes such as methane arising from melting permafrost.
There are many other reasons why starting late and having to proceed faster will cause much more difficulty. Take, for example our personal decision making. If we cook or heat our houses by coal or oil or gas, we are going to have to change to an electricity which has to be made carbon free. And then there is transport by car, bus, train, ship or aircraft. Something like 40% of emissions in the UK arise from such domestic needs and leisure, typically 10T per person per year, a bit more for the rich and travelled, and a bit less for the poorer or larger families. How do we get this 10T down to 1-2T in 35 years? Unless we have some form of rationing, Government must push us into timely action with some combination of carrot and stick. In the UK there is a small carrot to promote better roof and cavity wall insulation and that’s about it (people generally seem rather resistant to the renewables being promoted by ministerial subsidy. And even government stops some renewables because they will spoil the view). One really needs to start early both to be fair; and to be effective, if people are all going to be persuaded to make their own major capital decisions in a timely manner.
[Having mentioned rationing, It is worth taking a quick look at the idea of David Fleming’s Traded Energy Quotas – quick because this might be difficult to introduce globally, and it hasn’t taken off. However, it does raise an important moral issue. We would each be given a ration, probably issued electronically, and the total collective ration being subject to a reducing cap. Our allowance would be debited each time we paid for household or travel power, and any purchases made after our ration was used up would have to be paid for just as we pay for VAT. Anyone not needing all their ration would be able to sell it at the going market rate. The moral question is the extent to which it is proper that the rich would be able to buy their way out of making their contribution to solving the climate problem, particularly noting that the rich – individuals and nations – have greater responsibility for the problem in the first place. Note also that the market would determine this increasing annual transfer of assets from the rich to the poor. I will come back to rationing in a moment].
Those who are not yet fully convinced of the need for urgent action might study some of the references mentioned below. They may well find the scientists appear to present their views honestly whereas the media seem often to refer to the scientists in a pejorative manner such as, for example, references to global warming fanatics or alarmists. Such journalists often cherry pick their evidence and make simple errors in their arithmetic or science, and never correct them. There has sometimes been confrontation between a scientist and a politician or PR person. Such discussion is rarely helpful in bringing light to any debate and the resulting difficulties scientists have in getting heard was expressed by a prominent oceanographer – the distinction between what we know firmly, as scientists, and what we suspect is happening, is so difficult to maintain in the presence of rhetorical excess. In the long run, our credibility as scientists rests on being very careful of, and protective of, our authority and expertise.
Short list of references for the Doubtful :
Books : Kyoto2 by Oliver Tickell
The Burning Question by Mike burners-Lee and Duncan Clark
Bankrupting Nature by Anders Wijkman and Johan Rockstrom
Internet real climate.com
Royal society papers of 17 February 2014
7 What WASG will do
Having regard to all that follows, remember WASG will try to adopt a judicial stance in all its dealings: and its members will specifically not represent their own nation. The need for the earliest possible start to provide time for response will permeate all its activities. WASGs recommendations will lead to cultural, political and economic changes of a fundamental nature which need time to take effect. If we get on top of all these things, WASGs recommendations will get increasingly authoritative.
WASG will meet existing organisations concerned with these matters, and will first start to develop its position on climate change. In relation to the existing progress of bottom up solutions under which each nation volunteers the part it is prepared to play to contribute to the overall desire of limiting temperature rise to 2C, it is virtually certain WASG will find these inadequate. The arrangements could be backed by a Treaty, but will, in any case , need ratification by democratic governments. Even if the present opaque arrangements were clarified, they would also need Audit (we could hardly expect each nation had actually done what it had promised without external Audit). WASG could volunteer itself to oversee such Audit.
WASG will thus need to determine a better way forward, either Kyoto2 or similar. I have said that I favour the methods of Kyoto2. Licences would be issued for the extraction of coal, gas and oil at a market price guided by but not determined by governments, thus providing important transparency, and separating climate sticks and carrots from taxation. Measurement of actual extraction against these licences would be needed at only about 2000 locations worldwide, greatly assisting practicality and Audit.
WASG will now have a starting position for the initial carbon cap, its projected progression, a carbon price and the total money expected to be raised (the Climate Fund). It will probably start to build a second fund (a stabilisation fund raised by levy) to deal with the other threats to the commons: and to help fund rapid progress to eradicate potential causes of strife and bring to an end actual warfare and population abuse.
WASG will likely set up its own small groups to help it maintain communications with existing international organisations most notably the IPCC, IPBES, the IMF and World Bank, but many others also. There is also much knowledge in smaller groupings sometimes bilateral.
The Climate Fund raised by WASG, directly or indirectly, will be distributed as described in Plan B. It will be spent to help developing nations pay for their energy (mostly solar), to provide additional investment into R and D for things like extracting and burying carbon, and into agricultural changes needed to feed the increasing world population, whilst also reducing the harmful effects of contaminating our waterways with nitrogen and phosphorous. Agriculture must also move towards being a sink rather than a source for our emissions.
Again, there are enormous changes here that will take time, and which bring us back to the whole question of leadership, governance and those with power and money (and the need to separate these).
Traded Energy Quotas were mentioned above so as to point up the moral question as to whether the rich should be able to use their money to buy their way out of the effects of mitigating or adapting to climate change. This would be quite wrong, both because it would make the reduction of emissions much harder for everyone else, and for WASG: and because it is largely the poor standards of the very rich that have brought us to the present position.
During the 1990s the UK and others deregulated in a number of ways, but actions that followed included some that tended towards lowered standards (actual dishonesty in some cases). We must make sure this never happens again seemed to come up with monotonous regularity, leading to minor regulation, too often of the knee-jerk kind. When it does happen again, we seem also quite regularly to have top company executives saying I did not know. In 1999, my newspaper published the conclusions of the Lawrence Report (stolen from the printer) a few days before it was issued and the Editor later took pride in this scoop for which I thought he should have been punished. I wrote to him then I see this as completely at one with the lowering of standards throughout public life today, that is among top people generally. I am not meaning the occasional examples of corruption and sleaze or the odd excesses of the tabloid press (these we expect and have always had), but by the acceptance as the norm by those at the top of our most important and enduring institutions, in both public and private sectors (and I think with very few exceptions) of standards they just do not seem to realise have become shamefully low. How much more apt these words seem today (29 Sept 2015).
In the UK during the last 15 years, we have seen money scandals in both Houses of Parliament (a gravy train only partly corrected and just as bad in Europe and America). And CEOs of our larger companies have been paying themselves rises of 30% or so in years when lower staff has been lucky to get the odd percent. Collectively, these Chairmen and CEOs, having failed to achieve organic growth, have then presided over risky and failing takeovers, and a long recession: and together have failed to play their part on climate change. One CEO has said he chooses whether to pay taxes, and can always move to Switzerland if Tax Authorities take a stronger line. Is this what we want? Could we end up with a very few rich, with either very high capital or very high income, employing robots? How do we get robots to go on helping in a way that does not amount to short term profit and capitalist failure to achieve a desirable society? We have to restore full accountability by holding to blame those at the top. It is not that we want to punish them: it is rather that we want them to be more efficient so producing a society more even, more honest and, perhaps most important of all, more long term.
WASG would consider making at least three things happen with the aims of making the markets work and redressing the effects of inadequate global institutions and unrecognised low standards. First, WASG would require (induce nations to require) global companies of size to agree to limit the pay of their CEOs to, say, 20 times average (this in such a way as not to interfere with entrepreneurial activity) Those wishing to avoid such regulation would be taxed at a global rate. Secondly, WASG would arrange for the $30T or so of money in private hands to be drastically reduced by levy. This could only be done over a period of time. Thirdly, all bank accounts above an appropriate level (to allow for reasonable privacy) would be open to WASG and other international institutions. There is no proper reason for existing secret numbered accounts that are mostly there for criminal or other improper reasons.
WASG would also examine and report on the extent that existing organisations met global needs in respect of the other threats to the commons.
There are several medical threats of a truly global nature. Our atmosphere is contaminated by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Thus there is a need to develop new antibiotics, and save some of these up, to be available in the long term. There is also a threat from some larger bugs becoming resistant to insecticides. And the world has to be ready to make an immediate response to viral outbreaks threatening a pandemic. All the money needed is not in place and it needs to be. The recent Ebola outbreak showed one cannot rely on promises of future help in such matters. In much the same way, some global action looks as if it is needed in respect of anti-venom treatment for snake bites.
Bio-diversity comes about as a result of complex systemic interactions on land and sea. The action on climate change will help, but more is likely to be needed, particularly in association with agricultural development as we have to feed additional population. In the chicken and egg situation here, it is raising the standards of the poor that will limit future birth rates.
WASG is now approaching the position to start negotiations with nations. It is difficult to describe the outcome or progress of any individual negotiation, let alone such as these, which would need a very full briefing on the history and interests of the nations and their leaders. There are some general points to stress:-
- WASG has no baggage. It is in a better position than, say, the UK Prime Minister or the President of the USA negotiating with Mr Putin’s Russia.
- Looking back, all countries have done things they might wish they had not done or had done better. Every nation has failed to observe human rights on many occasions. WASG will only be looking to the future. Nations need to admit to their failures in a spirit of reconciliation.
- WASG will meet nations separately and, perhaps together. WASG will report to everyone. It will report judicially. It may be wrong in its judgements, but it will be honest. Any nation not trying to reach a proper conclusion will be criticized. WASGs reports will not be anodyne. A great deal will depend on how embarrassed individual nations will be if and when they are openly criticized.
- WASG will recognise that some things that have been wrongly decided in the past cannot now be corrected completely after what may be several lifetimes of those involved. Other such things must be put right. This will be a judgement and WASG will be able to hear both side of the argument.
- The most difficult areas are going to be those where tribalism applies, with or without religious connotations. In the longer term a cultural change is needed. Again, one has a shortage of time. Many areas may need an element of forgiveness and reconciliation taking time to produce a stable but essential cultural change.
- There will be a need for extensive educational programmes of global governance. This will cover global institutions and the governance within nation states.
These matters have not been well dealt with over the last 60 or so years. I am no historian but it does seem to me there is one thread running through world affairs which has been misplaced and which we need to keep always in mind. It started with American pressure on the UK after WW2 to put an end to the British Empire, which was carried through too quickly to leave governance as good as it could have been. The Belgian Congo was rather worse. Then there have been bad assessments, such as the American assessment that the French being driven from Viet-Nam would lead to Chinese domination of the whole of SE Asia, this leading to the Viet Nam war. In the Middle East, the fundamental Arab/Israeli problem has not been pressed forward as a result of internal American politics. This problem is now worse than it was. Wars have been fought in Iraq, Libya and Syria, where previously internal strife has been kept in check by dictators who have been ousted, leaving such unrest that the overall outcome is possibly worse than under a dictator. The US, UK and France have had difficulties with Russia and China when considering action in these areas. Our media represent these differences as the Western nations pursuing their well-meant affairs , whilst the Russians and Chinese are being awkward for one reason or another. But there are things to be said in favour of Russian and Chinese positions: and, in any case we all have to play our parts in seeking the rapprochement needed to produce some stability in the Ukraine and a United Nations approach to Syria. This rapprochement is also vital to success in fighting climate change.
In more general terms, over many decades, a British Empire has given way to an American Empire and now must surely become a global Empire. We must make the UN united and it should provide such temporary control in some places as to allow stability to be built up and restored. Sunni and Shia Moslems may be at the root of division between some countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and within others such as Iraq, Yemen and Syria. The similar problem in Northern Ireland shows that until children are educated in these things and a generation or so passes, we are not going to succeed. Everybody has to push in the same direction with the big problem, climate change, pointing the way.
Prior to discussion with nations, WASG must reach a preliminary decision as to whether a nation can expect any return from the Climate Fund to compensate, for example, for winding up its individual arrangements to allow for the global approach. This has been a great holding point, but usually expressed the other way round – how much the developed world should pay the undeveloped to get on top of climate change (how much the greedy should pay the needy would not be a bad shorthand in respect of climate change, but would not be fair or helpful more generally. Many rich are also very charitable). It does put some focus on the US Congress which exercises global power with only local votes. WASG may well consider pressing for simultaneous elections across the major nations to improve democracy: something Europe has failed to do this last 40 years and suffers greatly as a result.
WASG will start with the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, UK and USA. These are concerned with international peace and security whereas other groupings, such as the G7,G8 and G20 are concerned with money and trade.
WASG will be fully aware of the need to reach agreement on the way ahead between Western Nations, or NATO, and Russia and China. Without agreement here, we shall not achieve the benefits that have been outlined: nor will we adequately resist climate change.
Starting with China, WASG will probably be able to present its solution to the climate and international problems in a way that it will not be too difficult for China to agree. One would expect such difficulties as South China Sea islands and Taiwan to be able to be resolved having regard to the more important issues being determined. On climate change, China has good individual reasons (atmospheric aerosol pollution etc.) for early action. One would wish for more democracy and better human rights, but these matters are bound to take time to happen, and China would not find it hard to produce examples of UK and US failures of human rights.
Russia appears the big problem. Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas, which are suddenly going to be worth a lot less: and Russia will have difficulty in reducing its own emissions. On top of these matters, Russia has the continuing Ukraine situation and an ambition to remain an international player. Since the break-up of the Soviet federation, Western powers have not been particularly friendly towards Russia, the European border between NATO and Russia moving to the East with the inclusion within NATO of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In the Ukraine, there appears to have been a rough 50/50 division between pro-Russian and pro-Western grouping prior to annexation of the Crimea and the fighting in the East. NATO appeared to acquiesce in the overthrow of the elected pro-Russian government. Sanctions remain in place against Russia. In summary, WASG negotiations with Russia over climate change and other international matters, including Syria and ISIL, and the need for better Russian governance, have been made much more difficult by Western actions during the last few years.
One can similarly argue that American governance is not what it should be for the prime world power. The Executive often lacks the support of Congress. There have been deployments of US power, sometimes with UK, French or NATO support, which have ended in something of a vacuum without a stable government in place. Government in a democracy can be quite difficult.
At the time of writing, Pope Francis is still in the USA having sought action on climate change and other matters. I believe no less a person than the Vice-Chair of the Republicans in the House of Representatives does not believe that humans are contributing to climate change. WASG is likely to have seek some fundamental changes in the American posture.
Turning to just a few of the difficult international problems of the last few decades, we can expect certain of the major powers to assist.
We hope Russia would come to assist in Syria, but with several apparent civil wars in place, it may be that a UN force will be needed on the ground for a long period.
North Korea is a special case like no other. We would expect China to help as a result both of history and the current postures.
Israel/Palestine has been a problem worsening over 50 years or so, mainly influenced by the US position, which has been driven by internal US politics. The judicial view of WASG will sympathise with the Israeli position several decades ago when threatened by surrounding Arab states, but since Israel has defied UN resolution, WASG is likely to seek USA help to force an early two state solution with an eventual accommodation in Jerusalem.
WASG will press for major educational changes to promote an end to periodical conflict between tribes and factional religious groups.
More generally, there is the hope of ending area military groupings. The future should be a judicial United Nations as the only military power, all national forces being restricted to limited internal security or operating together under the UN flag.
For the first time, I personally, who was closely involved with the UK Polaris Weapon System for about a quarter of my working life, can see a way through to getting rid of all nuclear weapons in a few decades time.
Let me finish with a quote:-
It seems to me that the issue of conservation of the natural world is something that can unite humanity, if the people know enough about it, and we can be persuaded to change the way in which we behave – that gross materialism and the search for material wealth are not the only things in life. Sir David Attenborough
My whole object has been to try to tell people enough about it. I say again:
There has never been a greater need for mankind to unite: nor a better opportunity.
30 September 2015