Like it or not the United Nations is the only hope.


The United Nations was set up after the Second World War as a body that would preside over the whole world, settle disputes and prevent further disastrous conflict and war. It rose out of the ashes of the League of Nations with a burst of idealism. It set out in its tremendous charter a template for human rights.


Since then it has been nowhere near as effective as it should have been. Why? Because the big powers veto action and control it and it is starved of funding. Its mechanisms are ponderous.


To be effective it has to have the power to override what the major powers want. It has to have faster responses and be less cumbersome. It needs to represent all the countries of the world equally. It needs to have the role of a world policeman.


There is always a danger that a global power could become tyrannical. We have to build in safeguards to prevent this.


Why do we need it?


Most of our major problems are now global and beyond the remit of any one nation. Without a global body they are unable to be properly monitored and controlled:






Global warming


Tax evasion






Habitat destruction

Human rights

Children’s rights

Worker rights

Mass migration

Gross inequality










Food and water quality


These things know no boundaries. The loopholes are exploited by powerful people. Capitalism is destroying the planet. Corruption means that even laws are flouted. Logging, strip mining, worker exploitation, trafficking of people, dumping of waste………


Without global action, laws and enforcement, we are heading down a slippery slope to destruction. We can no longer allow the rich and powerful to rape the planet through their selfish greed. They need controlling. We need to stop the huge population increase and regulate our actions. We need to close the tax havens and put an end to the unfairness. We need to stop wars and root out the criminals, terrorists and polluters.


We need a global body with teeth.


We already have a global body. It is the United Nations.


It is time to put in the safeguards, make it democratic and accountable, fund it properly and give it the power to get the job done.


opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:50am
I can't see any other body that can put these shoes on. Leaving it to the likes of Russia, China and the USA to police the world is a disaster. They just serve their own interests.
Leroy Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:30am
We're doomed.
"We need a global body with teeth."
That would be an end to Western civilization.  Some might say that is a good thing.  It is, in its very essence, communism.  Teeth=Force.  As the UN is set up today, the poorer countries would vote themselves gifts from the richer countries.  It would be from each country according to its ability, to each country according to its need.
Leroy Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:38am
When I was a young teenager, I dreamed that I was a citizen of the world.  I yearned for a one world government.  I dreamed of open borders when people could live, work, and travel where ever they wanted.  I dreamed of a world where we all had equal opportunity.  I dreamed of a world where there were no rich countries or poor countries.  I dreamed of a world where we all lived in peace and harmony.  I assumed that man was basically good.  Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I awoke from this nightmare.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:41am
Cheers Leroy - well we are doomed if we carry on the way we are at the moment aren't we? War, conflict, environmental destruction, huge poverty, mass migration............
But the vision I have in my head is not the one you seem to have. I want a fairer world without the destruction and conflict. I want issues resolved through dialogue and not war. I want more equality and less corruption and exploitation.
My vision is not communism but a world where human rights are given to everyone.
I believe that through cooperation we can build a world that is prosperous for everybody and not destructive to the planet.
Join me Leroy.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:43am
Leroy - it's not a nightmare. It is an ideal to work towards.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 8:00am
Opher -
As always friend I laud you for your idealism.  You are a person of a heart so determined to right the wrongs of the world that you are sometimes blinded to the realities that we live in. What you wish for is not the perfect world. You wish for the world that is perfect for us.  I find it rather ironic that under some of the terms of your own definition (not in this piece, but in general) that the only way that we should reach that perfect world is when we human beings are removed from it.
The United Nations, for all of the good intent envisioned in it's founding, is still a human institution. It is fraught with all of the same failings as the League of Nations. As all human institutions which are inhabited by, need I say it, humans, it will be corrupted by? Thats right: humans.
Your answers are the same as statists for all time. If only we had more force. If only we had more money. As a governing body the UN is populated by a majority of states which are not democratic in nature. Many of these members, while signing on to the charter, are guilty of rampant human rights abuses within their own borders. Garbage in = Garbage out.
I know that you sincerely mean well, but top down does not work. It never has, it never will. This litany of ills which you have cited are only to be resolved by people where they live. As in any social construct, be it local or global, it is only as good as those who will abide by the rules. There will always be a turd in the punchbowl somewhere.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 8:12am
Burghal - always a pleasure.
I would be interested to hear what remedy you suggest as we are presently careering down a steep road towards a precipice. Do we just hold tight and shut our eyes?
The problems I cite cannot be addressed locally. They have to be addressed globally.
Leroy Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:24am
Opher, I think we share the same goal.  It is only a matter of how to achieve it.  It is the same dichotomy that is playing out in the US between more government or less.  Your life experiences tell you one thing; mine, another. 
IMHO, we don't need another layer of government to pay homage to.  I am not comfortable with the power the Federal government has assumed. 
Never in the history of man has the individual had so much power in his hands.  Ayn Rand's analogy was man controlling the primal force of nature between his finger tips.  Yet, despite the power that we wield, we seek government for our solutions.  I cannot comprehend why.  In the beginning, we needed representatives because it was not practical to represent ourselves, hence the House of Representatives.  Today, we have the power to represent ourselves.  Everything I bring this up, the response is, "No.  We can't represent ourselves.  We need to keep the House."  We are afraid to govern ourselves, hence the corrupt government we have today.
In my way of thinking, the individual comes first.  What he can't do as an individual is delegated to the community, then to the county, then to the state.  As a last resort, power is delegated to the Federal government.  The more government, the more laws.  The more laws, the more enforcement.  The more enforcement, the more we take sides and become divided.  I see nothing that could be delegated to a world government.  All I see is another level of corruption.  Sure, world bodies may be able to contribute to world peace through dialog.   Having said that, wars should never be fought as the last resort.  They should be fought when necessary.  War can only be put off to the advantage of the other side.
Mathus was probably correct with his idea of war, famine, and disease.  However, we cheated nature.  The three aren't what they used to be, hence the explosion in human population.  It is no longer up to nature to figure out a solution.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:27am
I agree with your premise in this article, opher.
The proper working of the ideals of the UN depends on the goodwill and actions of the Nations in the only World Body.
As a Canadian, I get PO'd listening to all the paid experts on CNN & MSNBC as Propagandists for the Power, accuse Russia of undermining the Global Order as represented by the UN since WWII.
Americans are still in denial. The World knows the US went to the UN Security Council asking for UN Legal Authority to invade Iraq, and the UNSC said, NO!
The US invaded anyway in violation of International Law and by that action, the US undermined the World Order, not the Russians, and ushered in the Law of the Jungle to the Middle East and this World..
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:31am
The US pays most of the cost of the UN and it's located in New York. He who pays the Piper calls the Tune, and the UN Secretary-General dare not call out the US on it's violations of International Law or he might lose his Free Penthouse Apartment in NYC suitable for high class entertaining.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 10:30am
Leroy - the problem I see with relying on the individual is that the individual is powerless. The bullies thrive in that anarchy. The powerful and rich control it and are psychopaths. They do not care about the misery or destruction they do as long as they get their loot. We need a force to control them. At the moment they are out of control and the world is being systematically destroyed. As a biologist I despair.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 10:33am
Ray - I agree that is what is fundamentally wrong. We need to overhaul the UN - get even funding from all nations - put in safeguards for democratic election and give it the power to do the job. At the moment it is a puppet of the big powers. That has to change.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 9, 2017 - 12:26pm
Veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council won't relinquish their powers, that's why they should bilaterally work together to deal with international problems.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 12:36pm
Opher -
George Romey wrote recently, actually on numerous occasions, about the coming "reset". I know that you have also participated in these threads. Now George, I believe, has referred primarily to the financial/monetary aspect, however not exclusively. The "reset", for want of any better term, applies to the entire bloody mess.  The only thing that will facilitate this is a collapse of the current order. Sorry to piss in your cornflakes, old bean, but there it is. 
Mind you I am not cheering for this to occur, but as with climate change and any number of other issues these things have simply slipped beyond our control, if indeed we ever had any. I know that you disagree and thats fine, you are free to do so. You did ask me though what I suggested as the alternative and I have already offered this. Change, as rendered by humans, does not take effect at the global scale, but on the local scale. It is in how individuals interact with one another, how they work together, or as they may not as the case will sometimes be. 
I do not ask that you recant your creed, but I would suggest that you pause for a moment to consider the following. So many of the concerns that you have listed are as the result of things that have occurred on a global scale, or at least a national scale. The vehicle for this in many instances stems from multi-national corporations and their enablers in various national governments. So how's that working? I think we're all agreed that in many cases the answer is not so well. All you are suggesting, Opher, is replacing one with another. It would still be human beings in charge, wouldn't it? As neither you nor I subscribe to a deity the answer to this is yes, of course! Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
So who gets to say what is fair and what isnt? The UN body as currently constituted could be, and I submit that it in fact has been, co-opted by members who have an idea of fairness which is far removed from what you or your peers may consider fair. 
Never mind the money. Who provides the blood when required to vanquish the tyrant? The French? The Swiss ( sorry Stoney. Nothing personal.) Lets all share that burden, shall we?  Maybe the Maldives can lend some muscle to that cause.  If these aren't viable players for the purpose then who would you suggest? You object to the US "interference" in global affairs. Guess what pal? So do I. But I'm guessing you wouldn't have any trouble with the US shouldering a large portion of this burden if it were in support of your pet cause.
Maybe the UN should not be headquartered in the US. Speaking for myself I'd have no qualms about parting with it. Move it to the Hague. Or Geneva. Hell, move it to the Isle of Man for all the difference it would make. If those suggestions are too Eurocentric for your sensibilities move it to Antarctica. It wont make one damned bit of difference.
What you are saying all sounds nice in principle, but it assumes that everyone plays by the same rules and sorry to bust your bubble, but that is not the real world. You cant live in the world you want. You have to live in the world you have. Change has to come at the local level. It is senseless to refute a god only to then try to assume the role of a god. Do what you can where you live and if we're lucky it becomes contagious. Thats all we can do.
wsucram15 Added Aug 9, 2017 - 12:58pm
UN isnt powerful enough or independent enough in the world to other countries we need to reach.
It needs to be that way with every country as a member and in compliance so this will work...but they are not so its not perfect.  The countries it will work on are countries we deal with.
On the reset issue, if George were the only intelligent person saying this or if his thoughts were the only indication of this, then I could see skepticism.   I can still see problems in the theory, however, so many people (many of whom predicted the 2008 crash) see this coming as well.  Are we all spooked, maybe.   But a reset might be what people need to go through to appreciate what we do have, locally and build back from scratch.   Also this would be the best for climate and people. 
John Minehan Added Aug 9, 2017 - 2:50pm
I'm fairly sure the UN does not have the Legitimacy to do much.
I suspect the path to world government is through regional associations like the EU (which has been less than effective itself).
Possibly the template is in the PRC's One Belt/One Road" initiative.  An economic (and probably ultimately, loose political) affiliation of Afro-Eurasia/Mackinder's "Heartland." 
George N Romey Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:08pm
The UN probably sounded like a good idea following WW2 and with the US failing to participate in the League of Nations post WW1.  However, the world has become too complicated with too many competing interests and too many factions trying to use the UN to advance their agenda.  Consequently, world government as a workable solution is total nonsense.
While I talk about an economic reset it will reach far beyond just finance.  It will be global in nature and turn societies on their head.  Not since the Revolutionary War will we since so much change and we might even surpass that again considering this will be global in nature.
By all accounts China, Russia and Iran see a day not too soon when the US no longer holds a military, political and economic hegemony over the rest of the world.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:42pm
Dino - bilateral is not as good as multilateral. It should be inclusive.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:43pm
MJ - that is true. But, as I say, it is our only hope - it has to be altered and made to work.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:49pm
Burghal - yes. All you have said is true.
But the reset button is a disaster best avoided. Continuing is a disaster, admittedly slower, of similar magnitude. As I said, for all the reasons I have given, we need a global body to preside. We should have learnt enough from our mistakes to be able to create a system to safeguard against tyranny. We need something with teeth that will make a difference. That is my reset button - and better than the other alternatives. The UN is the only game in town. We need to make it work - and that means everyone contributing. I am totally not happy with the USA being the world's policeman. The USA is one of the biggest problems. USA first and only.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:49pm
wsu - I agree. That is why we have to change it and make it work.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:52pm
Dannl - we have slavery at the moment. You think we're not controlled, monitored, manipulated, restricted, used, exploited, bought and sold? Of course we are.
What we need is a system that stops the world being trashed for the profit of a tiny minority of superpowerful individuals whose greed and selfishness is controlling all of us.
I know which 'slavery' I'd prefer.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:54pm
Well Opher we can completely drop out of the picture. I wouldnt mind that a bit. If things dont work out you can call someone else. And if the UN is our only hope? Well we are truly fucked and far from home. Id rather solve my own problems, thank you. I do not need nor do I want a UN or any other global body assuming authority over where I live. If you want to go ahead. Dont think its a club that would have me as a member
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:55pm
John - the UN, as a global body with an idealistic charter, has the legitimacy if it is inclusive of all nations and not controlled by the few, properly funded, democratically controlled with plenty of safeguards.
It is the only game in town. It needs overhauling.
I support the EU only as a step towards something more global.
I want global laws and a federal system to provide local needs.
Donna Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:56pm
@ Opher good article, however i do not think any of them are not corrupt , therefore i do not see how this would help. I hope that your way could work, just not so sure..)0(
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 4:56pm
George - I agree - as it stands. The present UN is controlled and manipulated. It needs a thorough overhaul to make it fit for purpose. What is the alternative? Let the big boys play and destroy the place?
John Minehan Added Aug 9, 2017 - 5:08pm
"John - the UN, as a global body with an idealistic charter, has the legitimacy if it is inclusive of all nations and not controlled by the few, properly funded, democratically controlled with plenty of safeguards."
Something I was told by several people who observed it: in 2004 there was a refugee camp in Djibouti run by the UNHCR, for political refugees from the Durg Regime that deposed Haile Selassie and ruled Ethiopia until it was over through by Meles Zenawi and his followers.  
The conditions were at the limits of human endurance. The UNHCR flag itself had been used to patch a ragged tent.
The UN is not loved.  "White Car Syndrome," abuses in the "Food for Oil Program" and all of that.  I doubt it will ever be more than it is.
But I think things like the EU (and even NAFTA) are steps toward regional integration, which are feasible, if to this point, poorly realized.
The Tofflers  probably had this about right when the wrote about regions and city-states being the new global center of gravity.
Let's see . . . . 
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:46pm
Burghal - I don't see how you can solve the problems at all. How are you going to stop multinationals exploiting workers and tax evading? How are you going to protect chimps, gorillas, tigers, elephants and a million other species? How are you going to stop countries pouring CO2 into the atmosphere and changing the climate? How are you going to stop people reproducing like mad? How are you going to stop people deforesting, strip mining and overfishing? How are you going to stop terrorism, international crime, mass tax evasion, pollution, or all the other international crimes? You can't.
Burghal it is not I'm alright Jack - sod the rest - who cares about the future, is it?
We have to do something or we are fucked.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:47pm
John - we need something global. Blocs aren't enough.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:48pm
Dannl - yes I can - it's the capitalist establishment. It's the powerful robber barons - mainly from the USA.
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:49pm
Donna - thanks - but what is the alternative? To let it go on or to try to make things better?
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:51pm
Im not volunteering us for the job. Quite frankly most of the world is not worth our trouble, but if you dont like the US being the worlds policeman then why dont you lads over there in the UK take the job?
Oh...wait. We tried that already, didnt we? How'd that work out? Yeah. Not much to say to that, is there?
We're no more perfect than the British Empire was. Nothing is perfect. Trying to hang all of the world's woes around the neck of this country is an intellectually lazy argument, one frankly that is beneath a man of your intelligence. Perhaps you can convince yourself that a world under Russian or Chinese hegemony will somehow be better. 
Here is what I suggest we should do with the UN. Cordon off the whole complex and occupy every floor with a SWAT team and notify the occupants they have 20 minutes to grab their shit and get the fuck out. Then I would demolish the whole thing, pave it and make it a parking lot. It would be a much better use of the space.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:53pm
Further affiant sayeth naught
opher goodwin Added Aug 9, 2017 - 6:57pm
Burghal - yes it's true - all colonialism was a wealth grab. No intention of being a policeman. US economic colonialism is just the same - an exploitation.
People are people the world over. Americans are no better or worse than anybody else. The world takes turns to rule. At the moment it is the US's turn - but it is obvious that is ending. Who will be next?
I say it is time to reset the button and use our intelligence instead of saying I'm alright. I'll be dead before it gets really bad.
We need to build a better, fairer system that works for everybody - not just a tiny minority.
wsucram15 Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:17pm
I am pretty sure George is right on this one, but its mostly China doing the dirty dealing.  Russia is just sneaking in for the ride and Iran just jumped onboard with them because they have hated us for a long time.
I also agree with you, we need to build a system to work for all..but the problem is NOW, China is holding the cards, not the US. so I am afraid whatever system we built would definitely not be fair.
Trump bringing jobs back from China..right, Trump kissing Chinas rear end, while they are building in the South China Sea, pushing us out.  The drugs they pushed into here killing tens of thousands of people and TRUMP wants to punish MEXICO for those deaths and build a wall..what an idiot.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:17pm
No harm in trying that friend. I just dont see that happening through the UN. Its a nice thought, but Im afraid thats all it is. Change happens where you live. In the wake of a system collapse I suspect there will be more of to figure this out. You'd be a good neighbor. Thats where it starts, not in the halls of some distant ivory tower.
wsucram15 Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:19pm
TBH..good thoughts and a great idea.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:27pm
Youre a tool
John Minehan Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:31pm
"John - we need something global. Blocs aren't enough."
But that is where you will get a global system, if you do at all.
Might be worth looking on where the Tofflers were on that issue. 
John Minehan Added Aug 9, 2017 - 7:35pm
"Donna - thanks - but what is the alternative? To let it go on or to try to make things better?"
But is that an "either all" or is it a "both and?"
It WILL go on (to some degree) BUT there is an obligation to try to make things better.
No one can save the World, but all of us can make our part of it work a bit better.
Hopefully, it adds up . . . .  
Cullen Kehoe Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:17pm
I disagree with everything in the post, personally. 
The entire Middle East is full of tyrannical dictators. Most countries in the world are corrupt to the core. 
A U.N. with teeth is pretty much a one world government. I don't want to send people I know as troops to keep peace and "root out corruption" in Somalia, personally. Or some other obscure country that can't get it's act together. 
The more centralized things become, the easier it becomes to dominate, to turn a single guy a the top of the U.N. (or a committee). Now you control the world. You think capitalists aren't adept at this? 
Cullen Kehoe Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:45pm
@John G - If you live in Australia, write your P.M. to oppose Trump. Or your MP in Parliament. 
What can you do if there was a one world government under the U.N. and you didn't like something? Probably nothing. 
Leroy Added Aug 9, 2017 - 9:58pm
"Here is what I suggest we should do with the UN. Cordon off the whole complex and occupy every floor with a SWAT team and notify the occupants they have 20 minutes to grab their shit and get the fuck out. Then I would demolish the whole thing, pave it and make it a parking lot. It would be a much better use of the space. "
That's about the best idea I have heard all day.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 9, 2017 - 10:16pm
Who do you think controls the UN now?  The rich and powerful.  Read Paul Harris' post on WB about the CFR.  
I'm with Leroy and Burghal.  Change has to grow from the bottom up, and I believe you are wrong saying the individual is powerless.  You claim to be anti-theist, but your argument calls for a god-like government that you presume will somehow be fair?  
I would be fine with all governments collapsing, myself, because they cause more problems than they solve.  I'm for the right to self-determination above all, and I resent like mad the idea that these bullies, cons and thieves think they know better than I do how I should live my life.  
Leroy Added Aug 9, 2017 - 10:56pm
"You claim to be anti-theist, but your argument calls for a god-like government that you presume will somehow be fair? "
That is why I referenced Communism.  Essentially, ten percent of the population decides what best for the rest.  That is the god-like government.  It doesn't really matter what kind of government it ended up being.  We would still be ruled by the top ten to twenty percent.
Rick Fontes Added Aug 10, 2017 - 12:03am
The bottom line: The planet does not need us.  The highest self sustaining level of civilization, doing no harm to the planet, is perhaps the stone age.  Maybe this abyss we are careening toward is the earth's reset button.  Some would call it doom while an observer in a different part of the universe might call it cleansing.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:53am
Wsu - George may be right in many respects but we have limited choices. The problems are global. The solutions have to be global.
As I see it we have three choices:
1. We carry on and pretend there aren't global problems.
2. We invent a new body to deal with global problems.
3. We make the UN fit for purpose.
Option one is catastrophic. We cannot deal with global problems nationally. The vested interests take us for a ride and destroy everything.
Option two is reinventing the wheel.
Option three is the only game in town.
Unless you can think of something else from my perspective the UN is the best of a bad deal.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:01am
But Burghal - history shows that a lack of government results in anarchy and lawlessness. The bullies take the spoils. It's the Wild West all over again.
We need good government - they provide education, laws, law enforcement, and protect us against threats from outside. We are not islands. We need energy, communication, transport, food quality, an economy, health care, education................ A myriad of things that don't just happen. All that costs money. We get what we pay for. This attitude in the USA of begrudging paying tax and that we don't need them, they are parasites, is, in my opinion, short sighted. The money comes from taxes.
A strong community is great but it doesn't stop exploitative companies putting carcinogens in your food, underpaying workers or bringing in vigilantes; it doesn't stop marauders coming in and stealing what they want; it doesn't provide all the services and stability you need for your children and you.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:03am
John G - I don't think anyone is disputing that. That is why I think it needs a major overhaul and made fit for purpose. At the moment it is a political tool.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:06am
Patrick - what you say is right. That is what needs fixing. To deal with places like Somalia, Syria, Yemen and their ilk, to curtail dictatorships in Saudi, Iran and their ilk, requires a unified world of nations acting together against the rogues.
The alternative is to allow it to fester until you die of the disease. None of us are immune.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:07am
John G - I agree.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:09am
John M - that sounds fine but in reality if we don't have global solutions for global problems we are simply allowing them to destroy the planet.
I think it is either or.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:12am
Patrick - writing to Trump. There's an idea. Would he write back? It would be a bit like throwing snowballs into a furnace.
We have no influence on anything Patrick. Even our votes count for nothing. A few swing states/seats make the decisions.
It all depends on how you set up the UN with proper democracy and safeguards.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:12am
John G - I agree.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:14am
Leroy - great idea - that would solve all the multinational shenanigans, the pollution, wars, poverty, overpopulation, mass migration, terrorism, deforestation, climate change, exploitation and all the rest of the shit happening on a global scale.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:38am
Katharine - governments, no matter how bad, protect individuals. Without them we have lawlessness, anarchy and extreme violence. History and the world are littered with this. I certainly would not to live in a country where law and order has broken down.
I think the US is still in thrall to the Wild West. If you remember - the gun and the outlaw held sway. They were terrible times.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:41am
Leroy/Katharine - I do not propose a god-like government at all. I want an assembly that represents all nations to oversee the control of global issues. The path we are currently on I believe to be disastrous for wildlife and us. There are no controls over what the multinationals and dictators are doing - and we are not immune. It will eat us too unless we do something.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:42am
Rick - while I tend to agree I would still like to try for a different default. Eradicating humans, after we have wiped out most other life on this planet, is not my preferred option.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:44am
John G - I thoroughly agree - better democracy and accountability on a global scale rather than this control by some greedy elite acting through psuedodemocracy and sacrificing us on their own funeral pyre.
Saint George Added Aug 10, 2017 - 4:26am
The U.N. has always been thoroughly inept. We can thank their incompetence to the fact that the Korean War is essentially still going on . . . which is the reason the world now has a problem with North Korea.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 5:40am
John G - Iran is a theocracy. I do have a problem with that. I don't want a jihad against Muslims. I want a world which does not enslave or indoctrinate children. It's a rogue state in my book.
I agree that the USA is using the Muslim situation to expand militarily. But there is a Muslim situation that the UN needs to sort out.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 5:41am
Saint - yes they have been. But what else could they be when their operations are so hampered? They need to be enabled to work properly. They never have been.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:18am
Opher - 
A man of your intelligence being trapped in such inflexible thinking just astounds me. You pontificate to us about how evil and murderous and greedy, destructive, selfish, wretched creatures that we are as a species and yet it is only if we, the same species, do x y and z that the planet will be saved. Well which is it Opher? You claim that you dislike "fence sitters". How in the hell are you any different? Isnt trying to have it both ways the same as sitting on the fence? Or is that having the post inserted in your ass?
There is no good government. People who content themselves to be the subject of someone elses protection are doomed to a life of servitude. People who take ownership of their own well being and protection know how to contend with and defeat bullies. Those who do not only enable their protectors, who will in turn become the bullies. The history books are full of this. Did you miss that edition? Maybe it wasnt officially sanctioned by the Labour Party......
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 10, 2017 - 7:42am
Just for shits and giggles I will dissect your comment above, beginning with "But Burgal - history shows...."
Good government provides education - No, good parenting provides education. Government provides indoctrination. Not how to think; what to think
Laws - laws that are written by, for and in the interest of lawyers. Rules for everyone else to live by but themselves and their cronies
Law enforcement - well armed, taxpayer funded, paramilitary thugs to enforce the aforementioned rules for us and protect the privilege of the rulemakers. Protect and serve my ass! The only thing they protect and serve are their patrons in government
Protect us against threats from the outside - Really? How? By blindly shuttling in masses of immigrant populations without properly screening those for possible threats? All in the name of diversity and inclusion? Oh no, we couldnt possibly do that now, could we? That would be profiling. That would be racist. So instead we get Orlando, San Bernadino, Paris, Nice, Brussels, Manchester, London. Yep. They are doing a right proper job of it, arent they?
Energy, communication, transport, health care, etc. - None of which the government does anything to produce. They tax it, regulate it and make rules to insure that these remain in the control of those who provide kickbacks and campaign contributions
We get what we pay for - This is the biggest pile of rubbish in the whole lot. We pay, they funnel it to their cronies who keep them propped up and then they "give" us what they decide we are allowed to have.
Taxes? Taxes are theft. Ostensibly these are for the funding of items of common purpose, public projects meant for a universal benefit. Instead taxes are wielded as a punitive tool, a carrot and stick minus the carrot. Complicated codes written to deliberately fuck the common man while sheltering their wealthy patrons. Want a fair system? Dont tax productivity. Tax consumption, then everyone pays, no loopholes. If you consume you pay in, rich or poor. Doesnt matter if you buy a candy bar at the corner or order a yacht. You buy, you pay. If you are rich and you buy more? You pay more. Poor and buy less? You pay less. It is none of your damned business what I earn or what I have. 
Take off your rose coloured lenses and smell the sewage.
Leroy Added Aug 10, 2017 - 8:35am
"Leroy - great idea - that would solve all the multinational shenanigans, the pollution, wars, poverty, overpopulation, mass migration, terrorism, deforestation, climate change, exploitation and all the rest of the shit happening on a global scale."
I think we need to take a look at what a One World Government (OWG) might look like that could solve these issues.  It would have to powerful enough to control the multinationals without being influenced by them.  Nominal property rights but control by the government over the means of production means my definition of fascism.  It has to have the say over which companies are allowed to emit CO2 and which or not.  Perhaps it can rule by decree that all production must use "green" energy.  It decides which pollutions are allowed.  Maybe it eliminates TVs because they have too much rare earth metals in them.  Want to cut down that cherry tree in your back yard?  Fill out an application and send it to OWG for permission.  That mud puddle in your backyard could contain endangered insects.  Better contact OWG before you do anything about it.  Trump decides to allow the strip mining of coal to promote climate change so he can open a resort on the beach from property he bought in Alaska, according to MSM.  You send in the OWG troups to stop him.  Can't have it mostly Americans because they might be partial to Trump.  It has to have its own impartial military.  To accomplish this, each nation must send its proportional number of kids under twelve years of age to be indoctrinated by the OWG.  To solve overpopulation, it must have the power to force sterilize women or it must decimate the population from time to time or perhaps IMaGE can take care of the issue for OWG; they are the same.
Poverty can either be solved by OWG by making everyone equally poor or by redistribution wealth.  Communists have proved quite apt at the former and would be the most likely result.  Everyone must have a livable wage.  
The more I think about it, the more I think IMaGE would be the solution to OWG.
wsucram15 Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:09am
Im not saying it cant be done, it just cant be done with the UN and the current state of things.
China and Russia are never going to accept anyone's terms at this point.  Im not an expert on China but I studied them for a bit and they are up to some crazy stuff, especially regarding the west.  Well anyone really.  They are going to take the Philippines back, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia are counting on us to defend them,  it is part of some  old tribunal rules they have along with the South China Sea and Spratley Islands.  But the individual countries are claiming the 200 mile rule by the UN,  China is ignoring this.  So you can see they arent going to communicate with the US or the UN.
This is a bad situation since we never stopped the building on the islands in 2014 and they appear to be military bases..
Other countries ships are being diverted, fishing and otherwise by China.
Leroy Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:11am
The ideal candidate to lead Opher's World Government (OWG) is Kim Jong-Un.  He has solve all of Opher's issues in his own country.  There is no poverty.  Everyone is equally poor.  There are no multinationals that dominate politics.  North Korea contributes very little to CO2.  It doesn't have an overpopulation problem.  It has an excellent re-education system for anyone with trouble understanding his policies.  There is no terrorism.  No one is exploited by the ruthless multinationals.  Kim Jong-Un for worldleader!
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:31am
Burghal - I'm no fence sitter as you should know by now. And yes, you are right that the majority of history, with some exceptions, shows us that government/kings/dictators usually become bullies. But that is precisely why I say that we have to use past experience to inform us. I do not think it is beyond the wit of man, despite all our failings, to create a governing system, with safeguards, that would work.
There is always a first time.
Yes I do pontificate a bit (despite my best intentions. Her inside does tell me most vociferously and often. But I have views. I do believe human beings have a duality of good and bad. Our good altruistic, caring, empathic, compassionate side is what I believe we can develop. Our bad selfish, greedy, exploitative, destructive, power-seeking side is what needs curbing and controlling.
How on earth is that sitting on any fence?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:34am
Burghal - I thought you'd ask:
Arguably the two most benevolent monarchs in history would be Cyrus of Persia and Ashoka  of India. Cyrus was tolerant to all who lived under his empire and allowed them to practice their religions and maintain their forms of government asking only for a yearly tribute. He is credited with coming up with the first declaration of human rights. Today a translation of his declaration is on the wall of the United Nations building. Many people believe that much of the Persian empires policy of tolerance comes from it's Zoroastrian faith which  advocates the universal brotherhood of mankind.
Ashoka was the first Buddhist king of India, he is credited with being tolerant of all religions and creeds, he created many universities to spread education and learning throughout his empire, he also had an immense compassion for all living creatures and banned hunting for sport. Ashoka  also set up the first known animal hospitals.
Religion is not my strongest cup of tea but it seemed to work for Cyrus.
There are precedents.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:54am
Burghal - wrong - you forget I was a Headteacher - education is about enabling thinking not indoctrinating. Most parents are crap at educating their children. Many are positively disastrous. More indoctrination goes on at home than in schools.
Without laws we all drive on the wrong side, go through lights and shoot people. But I forget - you live in the USA. Without laws people have no rights; they are exploited and abused. Without laws the bullies win. We don't live in the outback. We live in cities. We need laws - preferably good ones. I want to know the goods I buy are good and won't kill me, that the animals are well treated and my food is not contaminated. That's done through laws.
Law enforcement - my daughter in law is in the police. She has been involved with murder, rape, terrorism, violence, theft and all manner of crimes. She protects the public against people who mean harm. I am sure there are a small element of thugs in the police. But once again - living in the USA clouds your thinking.
Heavens Burghal - do I have to list the mass killings carried out by gun-toting Americans? Surely we're not falling for the Trump xenophobia? Terrorism is carefully monitored. Screening immigrants is not effective. Our terrorists were nearly all homegrown. This is the Islamophobia of the hard-right. I'm all for diversity. And I'm all for inclusion. I'm all against vilifying people for colour, religion or race. That's the cause of the problem as far as I can see.
Tax isn't theft. That's stupid. Tax is paying for the things we all communally need - education, policing, social services, welfare, armed forces, rubbish disposal, health care, law making........... I don't need to list them all. You and I might not always agree on how it is spent or on the outcomes but that's where democracy comes in. I'm all for tax. I think we need more and need to spent it better on public services so that they are of a higher standard as in socialist countries like Denmark. How we tax is open to debate. I favour a progressive tax on income so the exploitative bastards who are ripping us off contribute to the good of everyone.
I smell the sewage Burghal. I'm after building a sewage plant to deal with it. You are just putting a peg on your nose.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:57am
Wow Leroy - that is sure one pessimistic view of how a world government would act. No wonder you don't like the idea.
My vision is much better than that. Though I do think the wildlife and trees need protecting, and I would promote green energy and I really like the idea of sending troops in to deal with Trump.
Some great ideas there Leroy.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 9:59am
wsu - I think you are right. But if we don't start trying to do something then we suffer the slow apocalypse we are busy sowing.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:04am
Leroy - ha ha. That is the complete inverse of the ideal I have in my head - more responsibility, more tolerance, more respect, more care, more compassion, less inequality, better services, less corruption, less violence, less destruction- in fact a better world altogether.
Or do you really believe that the violence ridden, drug ridden, seething beds of racism and hatred, poverty and destitution that besets American cities is the way to go?
I lived in Los Angeles with the smog, gangs, murders, race segregation and violence. I wouldn't want to bring up my kids there. Has it got any better?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:08am
Dannl - very disturbing. You paint the picture of a dystopia. Meanwhile the juggernaut continues to flatten the world creating misery and poverty, environmental degradation and fattening the bellies of a tiny elite at all our expense. And we let it.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:10am
wsu - I just sailed through the Halong Strait from the Philippines to Vietnam. You are right. China is militarising the region. Whose is going to stop them?
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:19am
My vision is not clouded and where I live has fuck all to do with it. I know when someone is pissing on my leg while they try to convince me its raining.
Just save it for someone else. You believe what you believe and I strenuously disagree. Im not changing your mind and youre not changing mine. Thats fine. As Ive said before, as long as you are not directing public policy where I live your beliefs are harmless.
One final thought, however. Just to one of your last points. You cite the mass killings perpetrated by crazed gun-toting Americans. This is what you hear reported. What you do not hear are the countless occasions that crimes of all manner are thwarted by gun carrying citizens other than the police, yours truly included. I own guns and lots of them. I have never killed anyone because as yet I have never needed to. That does not mean I wouldnt. If you wish to content yourself with sticks or box cutters that is your prerogative. As long as the state and thieves, rapists and murderers are in possession of guns I'm not surrendering mine. That does not make me crazed. Quite the contrary: it makes me quite sane.
George N Romey Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:20am
I'm against global government, too much evil in the world. I think the US warts and all had the best at one time.  Sure it needed improvement.  Now we are not much better than those less developed countries we used to think we were so lucky we didn't live in.  I speak to a large swath of people in this country, all see a reset coming.
Leroy Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:23am
Well, Opher, I would like to hear how you would implement an OWG with teeth that is benevolent.  "Teeth" implies force.  Force implies guns.  Guns don't imply benevolence.  I hear what you are saying.  If I didn't live in the real world, I might be inclined to agree with you.  But, you maybe be able to convince me with your view on how it could be accomplished.  I await.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:24am
Burghal - I'm sure you are quite sane. It's the millions of insane and disaffected with guns that worry me. Just check out the violent crime rates and murder rates. We get the reports on the news of the crazed gunmen shooting up schools and churches.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:28am
George - I'm not sure the USA was ever doing a good job at policing the world. Seems a litany of lost wars - Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq - involvement in proxy wars and undermining regimes they did not approve of. But making the world a better place? Can't see it.
For me it is precisely because there is too much evil in the world that we need some force to counter it. Head in sand does not make things go away. Leave them alone and they grow. There are menaces out there that need controlling. Are we leaving it in the hands of China?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:29am
Dannl - that's my precise point. We are not doing anything to stop it.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:33am
Leroy - when you are heading for a cliff put your foot on the brake or turn the wheel.
We are heading for a huge precipice. Time to try something.
We need global legislation to control the destruction that is taking places, stop the multinationals running amok and the trillionaires robbing everybody blind.
The only body I see capable of that is the UN. It needs overhauling, democratic systems, safeguards and more power.
What is the alternative? Pretend there isn't a problem? Or do you have another solution?
Leroy Added Aug 10, 2017 - 10:59am
All I ask, Opher, is to show me how a benevolent government that uses force can be implemented.  I am not looking for a dissertation.  A simple concept will work.  We certainly can't depend on the good will of our fellow man.  I don't expect perfection.  Even good men can disagree and need persuasion in an OWG.  About a third of the population of the US would revolt against an OWG army.  How would you put down such a rebellion?  How would you deal with chemical weapon use?  We know that drawing a line in the sand doesn't work.  Who decides who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter?  Do you throw culture out the door?  Do you stamp out religion?  Would the goal be to make us all homogeneous?  Who decides who gets to procreate?  If they have too many kids, do you shoot the excess ones?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 11:37am
Dannl - must be something good about communism if it is winning everywhere then? Why do we have to perceive everything as a clash of ideologies? US v Communism. It's a bit McCarthyist isn't it? It is not how I see the world picture from here in Britain. US imperialism has its fingers all around the world propping up shady governments, undermining others - South America, Africa, Middle East and Europe. If it's not military it's economic. And who pulls the strings for these policies? We don't see their faces.
All I'm doing is looking for a solution.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 11:46am
Leroy - lots of good questions. I'm not looking for some great world government with armies that would have jurisdiction over the US (as long as Trump doesn't go completely nuts.) I'm looking for a body that could legislate on global issues - curtail multinationals and stop the destruction of the world's habitats.
I think we could form a multinational assembly with powers to sanction polluters, protect human rights and promote freedoms. It would need to be democratic and have plenty of safeguards - like the American Constitution but better.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 11:48am
Leroy - I do not think religion is a good idea but I would not want to interfere with anybody's faith or culture. I'm not proposing some tyrannical despot. I'm looking at a means of controlling the machine.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 10, 2017 - 12:26pm
Leroy -
    Opher can tell us what he wishes for and how he thinks it can be accomplished. Its in the details that it all gets a bit cloudy, but then that's life, isn't it? No harm in wishing, 
Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which gets filled first :)
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:11pm
Burghal - I've got a handful of wishes. What you got?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:13pm
It seems to me that without ideals, visions and dreams we can't go forward.
I've heard a lot of hot air about why we can't do this that or the other but I've yet to hear a single voice giving any ideas of a solution. Where's the positivity guys? Have you all rolled over and given up? Are you all cynical defeatists? Or has someone got a suggestion?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:14pm
Dannl - there is a lot of truth in what you say. How do we set about controlling greed and selfishness, any ideas?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:16pm
Burghal - I have some suggestions and ideas. Do you really expect me to come out with a detailed blueprint? Come off it. That's a task for bunch of clever guys.
Leroy Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:42pm
Well, Opher, then I think we already have what we need.  The UN and other international accords such as the Paris accord are all we need.  We just have to trust that each nation does its part.  If any nation gets out of line, they get a tongue lashing from the other nations.  Maybe it is not teeth but a little tongue can't hurt.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 10, 2017 - 2:51pm
As to what you have in your hands? Wishes are? So you have nothing tangible. Wishes are just wishes.
No Opher, I do not expect a blueprint from you. You are talking in generalities of the UN being the mantle for for action and I generally disagree. So! There is the news, generally speaking :)
I have offered my suggestions Opher. They are the things I can do. I take care of my land, I grow, I recycle, I look after my neighbor, I mentor young people, I teach people how to garden, how to make the best use of what they have, how to generate power if the grid fails, how to brew, how to build, how to can, how to cook. If I teach ten people these skills and each of them teach ten more in their get the picture. Besides admonishing us all on here about how the UN is the only answer what do you do? You've been an educator, thats a good start. One does not need be a teacher to be an educator. I am an educator. Anyone with skills and experience is an educator. 
wsucram15 Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:09pm I am super jealous...jk.  Have you ever been mainland China and seen the ice gardens (not sure if thats what the are really called) but its a slide playground made of ice.  Super cool.
Anyway I just thought I would ask, Ive seen pictures from a couple of people that were there and it seems pretty interesting
In answer to your question..war?  I think it needed to be stopped then (2014 or before), like many things China has been doing to the US.  I agree with a global economy and interaction, but China has NEVER  wanted to swim in the same pond with the US and it is the common link with Russia who just put  their fist bank in Bejing I believe.
mark henry smith Added Aug 10, 2017 - 3:12pm
Great stuff, really great.
We will not be ready for a world order until the world is ready to accept order.
What these communities Dannl talks about, Amish, Hutterites have is order. They don't wake up confused about what they're supposed to do. All are on the same page.
That's not us. We live in perpetual uncertainty constantly being pulled this way and that by our devices that tug at our basest emotions. Turn of the noise. Turn on the peace.
So in terms of the UN, let's move it to Antarctica, the only non-owned piece of real estate on the planet and let the UN finance it's operation through the exploitation of Antarctica's minerals and natural bounty. But that would make the UN a nation unto itself and not require it to be beholden to the whims of the member states, which is what it's supposed to be in theory, but could never be in practice.
If any of you are upset that the powerful rule the world, get used to being upset. That's who gets to rule. The only thing that can change our dynamic is to be ruled by the power of good ideas and not the power of wealth and weaponry. If we want leaders such as Ashoka and Cyrus, we will have to teach our children the value of good ideas and not the just the benefits of wealth and power. The greatest thing the UN ever did was give that tree-planting woman in Africa a place at the lectern. The World Bank has been a disaster for marginal people all over the world as it has enriched the entrenched elites all over the world.    
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 5:59pm
Leroy - Ok - but it is simply not good enough is it? The multinationals are running riot, the tax havens are proliferate, the environmental degradation is immense, there are wars, overpopulation, mass migration. Nobody is doing anything about the global issues. We can't afford to be complacent can we?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:01pm
Burghal - no wishes, dreams and visions are the future. We can never progress without them. It is the dreamers who drive the world and the cynics who hold it back. I'd rather have a handful of wishes than anything else.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:02pm
Burghal - I'm not downplaying your contribution on the level of your neighbourhood. I laud that. But it does not address global issues.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:05pm
Dannl - that, as with Burghal, is great. It addresses things in your locality and that works. But it doesn't address global issues of pollution, deforestation, tax havens, multinationals and megagreed does it?
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:07pm
Mark - I agree that education is key to teach those values. I don't want anybody destroying the Antarctic though - even if it is for a good cause.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2017 - 6:08pm
wsu - I've been to China twice and Taiwan but I've never seen any ice gardens.
John Minehan Added Aug 10, 2017 - 7:01pm
"No it isn't. You've been swallowing too much manufactured BBC propaganda. It's turned you into a stinking racist."
Not quite a theocracy.  It has a representative government (the Majles) but the country is styled as The Islamic Republic of Iran and Mullahs (the Supreme Leader, the Members of the Guardian Council and the Assembly of Experts) have a certain influence. 
It is fairly debatable if the Iranian people would continue this arrangement or not and since the late 1990s there have been more secular leaders elected (and less secular leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an Islamic populist), but the 1979 Constitution remains (at least nominally) in effect.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 10, 2017 - 11:23pm
Your version of what "history shows" is not mine. First, we are virtually clueless about what cultures other than our own have done.  There have probably been lots of unrecorded cultures that did quite well with minimal government.
I believe Dannl and Burghal are addressing global issues in very practical ways.  Your discounting of the importance of their contributions is an insult to those who understand the value of self-sufficiency and community-building.  This can't be legislated from the top down.
And you shoot yourself in the foot when you suggest that the crime, etc. in the US would be improved by yet another law-making body.  We in the US are so hog-tied by laws--local, state, and federal--that we can't turn around without breaking one or the other, so laws are obviously not the answer to social and criminal problems. 
I agree with most of what Burghal has said, especially regarding the guns.  While I don't have one or want one, I believe as long and the police and military have guns, everyone should be allowed to have them.  We live in a police state, like it or not, and adding (more) military force to the UN is suicide.
I also love what Dannl has said about the Amish and Hutterites.  Good for them.  They will be feeding us all when Montsanto and Dow poison everyone else.  Do the Amish accept converts?  I've always wanted to be a farmer.
Saint George Added Aug 10, 2017 - 11:23pm
Considering that Iran has been under constant attack from the west the level of democracy is quite remarkable.
Another insincere apologist for tyranny. Considering Iran is an Islamic theocracy, its level of democracy is insignificant.
There. Fixed it.
Here are five Islamic theocracies:
1. Afghanistan is an Islamic state with a theocratic government. Here, Islam is the official religion of the country, with the major foundations of the political institution of Afghanistan being based on Islamic sharia law.
2. Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a revolutionary theocratic state. Here, the constitution denotes that the ruler of the state is best qualified to interpret Islam and ensure that the people of the state strictly adhere to the principles of the Shia Islamic religious practices

3. Sudan
In Sudan, the theocratic rule of the Sudanese Government, and the establishment of a legal system based on Islamic laws, are primarily used as tools by the country’s leaders to manipulate and conform the Muslim population of the country, which forms about 97% of the total population.

4. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, an Islamic theocratic monarchy, has one of the most tightly controlled governments in the world. The country is also home to two of Islam’s most holy sites, the cities of Mecca and Medina. Since 1932, the land has been ruled exclusively by the House of Saud, and the legislation of this country is firmly rooted in sharia law. The Holy Quran and the Sunni School of Islam even serve as the country’s constitution.
5. Yemen
Yemen, like most of the other mentioned countries, is also based on theocratic governance with Islamic sharia law dictating the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:11am
John G- since when have I been part of any crowd that supports killing? I'm a pacifist and proud of it. Wanting a better, fairer world with less violence, protection of the environment and global problems dealt with hardly puts in some group of warmongers. Get real.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:12am
Dannl - so your answer to the global problem is to give up and wait?
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:14am
John M - I'll reserve judgement - it sounds like a theocracy to me though.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:15am
John G - Iran has its fingers in many pies. It and Saudi have been vying for power in the region touting their brands of Islam.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:23am
Katharine - I don't understand how you can think what has been said by anyone will do anything to protect chimps, rhinos and elephants from extinction, stop the destruction of the planet or control the multinationals who are rampant. The world is beset by huge climate, environment altering problems, massive inequalities and exploitation, insidious wars, poverty and overpopulation and all that is being said is that we ignore all that, allow the rape of the planet and look after our own little patch.
I have not denigrated Burghal and Dannl's efforts locally, I think that is laudable, as I have already stated. I think you misunderstand. But it does not address the global issues.
The Amish lifestyle is great. But if everyone did it that way we'd be in major problems. Most people live in cities. Amish lifestyle requires land.
As for guns - the statistics speak for themselves. The murder-rate in the USA is frightening. It might make people feel secure but it is arming the mentally disturbed and lunatic fringe.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:25am
Saint - you missed out the Maldives where it is illegal for anyone to be anything other than Muslim.
The intolerance of much of Islam is one of its key features.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:27am
John G - yes it is really ironic that Saudi is being sucked up to because of its strategic importance while it is behind a great deal of the unrest in the region.
Saint George Added Aug 11, 2017 - 5:53am
Another Orwellian attempt to render language meaningless.
You're hardly in a position to lecture anyone here on language or meaning. Your posts are nothing but repetitious tirades of vituperation.
So shove your stupid shit.
See what I mean?
For whom do you shill, Johng? Who is your cadre officer and indoctrination lieutenant? Do tell. Curious minds want to know.
You're a sick puppy, g. Ask your cell leader if you can increase your meds. You sound like a Tourette's patient with additional anger management issues.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 5:58am
More debate - less abuse seems a better state of affairs.
Doug Plumb Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:29am
The UN was a creation of the International banksters as a step toward world government. Rockefeller donated the land for the building.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 11, 2017 - 8:42am
Saint -
I think it is better just to not engage John G at all. You're just giving him the attention he wants. Sometimes I also can not resist an occasional push back, but as a rule I think it's better just to ignore him. You should try it :)
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:13pm
Doug - that might well be the case but that doesn't mean that is how it has to end up. I think some body needs to take control of the mess that is being done globally.
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2017 - 4:51pm
In the Dar-al-Islam, Islam has inherent legitimacy.  It is natural that Islam would be a common aspect of popular government in the region.
Islam grow up in conflict/cooperation with the Romaioi, who did not make the dichotomy between God and Caesar that evolved in the West.  (This was also true of another Romaioi successor state, Imperial Russia.)
Islam was a common thread with those who over threw the Shah.  Islam was a motive force for the al Saud in their long struggle to become Guardians of the Two Holy Mosques.  And Islam is also the motive force for the al Houthi rebels (Twelver Shia, rather than Wahhabi Sunni).
However, as the Iranian Majlis  demonstrates, Islam is not foreign to representative government, albeit within their own traditions, including Sharia.     
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 4:56pm
John - in my opinion no religion has legitimacy. Religion should be a personal choice free from the State. Theocracies are a menace - of whatever religion. Sharia law is a medieval structure with abhorrent aspects.
Thank heavens (if I can use a religious phrase) we got rid of our theocracy with the enlightenment. It was cruel and barbaric. The best thing America did was to not allow religion into the governance of the country.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 6:05pm
JG - Ignorance? No Sharia law does not change. It is enshrined in a culture dating back 1300 years and is medieval in structure. It has some good aspects of mediation but some barbaric aspects that originate from its inception. It is also misogynistic.
Law should change. Sharia hasn't. It is ensconced in the Koran which is also a product of its age and culture.
My UN would not be a world government at all but an assembly that would have power to use sanctions to bring about change in line with its glorious charter of human rights. That might, in extremes, as with the likes of Rwanda, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Stalin in Russia, or Hitler in Germany, involve the threat of force.
More importantly it would have the power to intercede to prevent wars and to use pressure to ensure human rights. It would use sanctions to stop pollution, deforestation and conserve species.
I do not pick on Muslim countries. I merely oppose misogyny, indoctrination, child abuse, war and terrorism.
The present situation between the US and Korea is the sort of thing that a world assembly should be solving - likewise Israel and the Palestinians.
It should also be active in restraining the activities of the multinationals and tax avoidance, crime and overpopulation.
That should give it enough to get its teeth into.
The Saudis have an agenda. They suck up to the West and do some of their bidding but they have other agendas to that.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 6:43pm
John G - I am neither ignorant or racist. If you are supporting abhorrent practices out of some cultural attitude then you are part of the problem. I stand for equality and human rights against barbaric, medieval practices. Human rights transcends religion and culture in my book. It's time we moved into the 21st century.
Tamara Wilhite Added Aug 11, 2017 - 6:49pm
The United Nations would have had a chance if it limited membership to secular democracies, which would have encouraged nations to become democracies.
By letting every nation in, including dictators and Islamic theocracies, it has too many competing interests, creating a few regional blocks but no clear majority. The only thing they can agree on regularly due to the Islamic nations' relative unity is to bash Israel for existing and repeatedly trying to make it a crime to criticize Islam.
The UN is beyond redemption, too corrupt and incompetent, defending dictators and nations that have a horrible reputation on human rights because liberal nations have raised multiculturalism and "diversity" to virtues.  So they unite to condemn the US and Israel but cannot unite to fight ISIS or Boko Haram for bringing back systemic sex slavery of non-Muslims, criticize the West for "oppressing women" while ignoring female genital mutilation and honor killings in Islamic nations (90%+ of both situations). They have no legitimacy morally or legally. It would be IMMORAL to hand such people more power. 
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 6:57pm
Tamara - I agree with all you say. They should be opposing ISIS, the oppression of women, opposing FGM and the rest. I'm not denying that. I don't why they don't.
My contention is that it isn't working and it needs fixing. It needs democracy and safeguards and it needs to start working to put right the wrongs, bring in sanctions and mediate.
To give power to such a body without putting everything right and sorting its mandate I agree would be folly.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:14pm
John - FGM is cultural but it just so happens to be practiced in some Islamic countries.
Rubbish about ISIS and Boko Haram. You obvious do not know how or why they originated.
John - why don't you debate intelligently instead of resorting to rude abuse and meaningless soundbites?
In what way do you think I am being racist by opposing vile practices that are misogynistic or barbaric?
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:20pm
"FGM is not an islamic practice."
It is not, nor are bad and badal in Afghanistan Islamic practices.  However, those who practice these customs might disagree.
All religions have folk practices which grow up around them or which are left over from what people believed before.  For example, a lot of Christian saints have roots in the local gods before the populations converted. 
While "Ethiopia" may or may not be  "xian nation," (the population is fairly balanced between the two faiths and the Muslim population is growing faster, while the ruling class remain predominately Christian), Somali is 90% Muslim and FGM is quite common there, even ubiquitous.    
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:24pm
FGM is abhorrent where-ever and why-ever it is practiced. It is blatant abuse and needs stamping out.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:51pm
Rubbish John. I don't know where you get your information from but it is flawed.
Give me the facts and evidence for them being US proxies. All you do is make statements without backing it up at all. Who can take that seriously?
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:55pm
In Ethiopia? Not when I was there in the early 2000s.  Based on observation, I tend to buy states 45% figure, but it is still fairly close.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:59pm
Sorry John M - I was really asking John G. I think we have crossed wires because of my lack of clarity.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:59pm
John M - I completely accept your statements on FGM.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 8:19pm
John G - right. So what was he talking about and why? Did he had a crate of greenbacks with him?
What does that prove?
Rubbish John - I am not slandering anyone. FGM is vile. I don't care who does it - Christian, Jew or Muslim. It just happens to be going n in Muslim countries. I accept that it is cultural. Muslims should stamp it out. They are not. They condone it.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 8:21pm
John G - well that's a view that I don't agree with. In what way are any of my stated views orientalist? Please clarify.
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2017 - 8:26pm
"JM so 63% compared to 34%. Hmmm."
"The U.S. State Department, however, estimates that "approximately 45 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim."  As I say, based on having been there, I tend to think DoS is right.
opher goodwin Added Aug 11, 2017 - 8:44pm
John G - you tend to make lots of disparaging statements with no evidence to back them up. AL Qaeda came out of a meeting between Osama Bin Laden and a group of others who were financed by the US with a view to fighting Russia in their occupation of Afghanistan. However, they had their own fundamentalist agenda and are and were by no means US puppets. As usual the US fucked up and created a worse problem as they have repeatedly done around the world in other places - S America, Cuba, Middle East, Africa.  
opher goodwin Added Aug 12, 2017 - 5:28am
John G - of course the state media has an interest in legitimising wars. It is run by the establishment. The establishment makes profit out of war. Is that all the evidence you have?
I do not think I am superior to anybody Joh G. You obviously misunderstand everything I say. I think that all religions stink and some of the practices in Islam are barbaric and medieval. Christianity used to be worse but we had an enlightenment and dumped it out of government. It did not have as much power to indoctrinate, torture and kill.
If you look at Islam it is still practicing the same garbage it came out with 1300 years ago.
Disliking women being used as second-class citizens, FGM, many Sharia practices, the indoctrination of children, the violence and fanaticism of some sects, and a general intolerance of individuality or personal belief, does not make me superior to Muslims. It makes me intolerant of misogyny, brainwashing, barbarity, fanaticism and intolerance.
I believe in equality, human rights, the freedom of the individual, pacifism, brotherhood and tolerance. That puts me at odds with Muslim thinking - not superior to Muslims.
opher goodwin Added Aug 12, 2017 - 6:22pm
John G - thanks a bunch pal. I know lots about Islam thanks. I have Muslim friends and I read a lot. Your defence of misogyny and barbarism shows your true nature.
There is nothing racist of hypocritical in what I say. There is something very disgusting about the practices you defend.
Stone-Eater Added Aug 14, 2017 - 6:26pm
I believe in equality, human rights, the freedom of the individual, pacifism, brotherhood and tolerance. That puts me at odds with Muslim thinking
There is no "muslim thinking" per se, as there is no Christian thinking per se. A dumb Christian or a dumb Muslim are the same. An educated one on either side is different.
You should have a talk with my dear friend and business partner in Senegal, a devout Muslim who knows everything from the Quran to Kant or Nietzsche or Plato, and once he's finished discussing you'll have a troubled head LOL
Stone-Eater Added Aug 14, 2017 - 6:33pm
BTW: He's 42 and I'm 59. And he's never left Senegal while I know a lot of the world. That's even more impressive to me.
opher goodwin Added Aug 14, 2017 - 6:35pm
SEF - I dare say - but try telling that to the current purveyors of Islam in Saudi, Maldives, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and others, where intolerance rules and various attitudes to women prevail.
Islam doesn't have to be intolerant. Indeed it has lived in tolerance with other religions for centuries, but right now it is going through a very intolerant phase.
Stone-Eater Added Aug 15, 2017 - 8:27am
but try telling that to the current purveyors of Islam in Saudi, Maldives, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and others, where intolerance rules and various attitudes to women prevail.
There are huge differences between African and Middle East/Arab Islam. I can't judge the latter, but I have been living in Mali and Senegal, which are both Muslim, more than 10 years, and I can tell you that there women are respected in their roles as mothers and managers of household and money.
This is clearly a Western propaganda. I have never met a woman or wife who complained about such, quite the contrary. In Africa it's the women who drive the economy and do the budgeting of their husband's salary mostly. Of course there are exceptions, but I've never seen any myself.
opher goodwin Added Aug 15, 2017 - 7:12pm
SEF - I am sure that is the case in a lot of cases. I have nothing against that. I have something against the people who use religion for political ends.
opher goodwin Added Aug 16, 2017 - 4:42am
John G - bollocks. I'm not spreading any lies about Muslims. I despise the power games of religion and I despise the misogyny of Islam - segregation, compulsory burqas, not being allowed out, voting rights, genital mutilation, not being allowed to vote or drive - women are, in many Muslim countries, clearly second-class citizens. Not all Muslim communities do this but where it exists it should be stamped out. Are you condoning these practices?
opher goodwin Added Aug 17, 2017 - 7:44am
John G - you are a nutcase. FGM is not universal in Muslim countries but it is endemic in many. It is true that there is a wide range of Muslim countries with different cultural attitudes and practices and the majority of Muslims are as civilised and pleasant as anybody else. I have no problem with them, apart from my usual grouse about all religion, it is the misogynistic practices and intolerance that I despise. I think you are in denial. Everything is not rosy in the Muslim diaspora. There are theocracies, segregation and discrimination against females, intolerance towards other religions and sharia law. I suppose you would defend all these practices. I don't. And it isn't just the Wahhabi extremists.
Britain has many good and bad things in its history but it is by no means the most barbaric nation. We do not support Israel with no questions asked.
It seems to me that you should look in the mirror a bit - there's the bigot, liar and racist fraud. Your defending of the indefensible is lamentable and unintelligent.
mark henry smith Added Aug 17, 2017 - 12:40pm
I think it is time that we accept the fact that Israel is going to win. That they have won the propaganda wars in this country and throughout the western world and our support is all they need. They don't need the UN and we don't either, neither does Russia or China. The UN only exists as a place to discuss courses of action, not enforce policy, and if it was a place to enforce policy it would be constantly at war with its most powerful members.
So let's embrace Israel and encourage the Israeli's to be better masters of the land that we have given them and the land they are yet to take. If economic development is any test of the legitimacy of a regime, than there is no question that the Israelis are the region's champion. Needless to say nobody else has done a very good job, but they are all pawns of foreign intrigue.
opher goodwin Added Aug 17, 2017 - 1:32pm
Mark - it is certainly time that everyone recognised that Israel is there to stay and we need peace in the region. There needs to be some settlement and Israel should make some restitution to the Palestinians it displaced. These hostilities are pointless and counterproductive.
As for the UN - I would like to see that overhauled and operating as a global body able to solve global problems.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 4:22pm
With 190 comments, everyone should be an expert on how the UN works and it's high ideals for guiding the Nations to a real United Nations.
With all the new found knowledge on the UN, maybe one or two of you might want to weigh in on one side or the other, in this exchange in my article 'Regime Change?'

Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 12:04pm

Dusty, you write, "The UN is not the world's authority" but neither is the US.
You are in denial of the fact the US financed Saddam to start the brutal 8 year war with Iran in 1980 to nip the 1979 Iranian Revolution in the bud. The US, in it's cynical duplicity, had no issue when Saddam used chemical weapons against his Kurds and Iran.
All the Royal Oil Sheikdoms in the Middle East were created by the British with the demise of the Ottoman Empire after WWI.
It was Iraqi lives that were expended in that war, and while I have no proof, it's my gut feeling the behind the scenes deal the US/British made with Saddam for using his army as the proxy force to implement Western policy, was he could reclaim Iraq's historical 13th Province the British took away from Iraq in creating Kuwait.
The Global order the US accuses Russia of undermining rests on the UN and only the UN Security Council can give Legal Authority for any other Nation to invade another.
You are woefully ignorant of the realities of this World. Yes, Bush did need UN permission to invade Iraq and didn't get it.
With the invasion of Iraq in violation of International Law, the US became a rogue State.

Dusty Koellhoffer Added Aug 19, 2017 - 12:09pm

You have nothing but your opinion that you believe Saddam was a U.S. puppet.  The UN is for alliance, not approval.  They are not America's daddy.  As for Saddam's chemical WMDs, what makes you think he wasn't developing them?  How do you know the chemical weapons that Syria now has weren't developed in Iraq and then transported to them when the U.S. invaded from Kuwait?  You choose to accept some assumptions and reject others.  The fact is we don't have all the facts, but choosing to think the worst of America rather than the best does make you a leftist.

Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 12:24pm

I'm not going to do the research for you Dusty, but you're wrong in your opinion. Thank God for Google. There is no longer any excuse to remain ignorant of the facts.

Dusty Koellhoffer Added Aug 19, 2017 - 1:35pm

Don't tell me all of my facts are wrong without proof.

Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 2:14pm

Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 4:32pm
but choosing to think the worst of America rather than the best does make you a leftist.
I never knew that was the right's definition of a leftist. No room for dissent or exposure of wrong doing in the US?
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 19, 2017 - 6:43pm
My reply to Dusty  upstream did not show after 'That's."
That's a 2 way street. Don't tell me all my facts are wrong without proof!
opher goodwin Added Aug 21, 2017 - 6:28pm
Ray - it seems I'm a leftist.
opher goodwin Added Aug 21, 2017 - 6:30pm
Ray - you are sadly correct about the USA and British involvement in the Middle East. It was intrigue and division and completely immoral and botched.
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Aug 21, 2017 - 7:41pm
opher g, The Left and the Right are demonizing each other these Days.
No more Silent Majority or Sitting on the fence any more.
These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God;
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Revelation 3
opher goodwin Added Aug 23, 2017 - 4:41am
Ray - the time for sitting on fences is over - fascists are marching again.