Saturday, May 9, 2020
VE Day in a pandemic
Yesterday’s VE Day observance caused me to recall that American isolationism after WW-I led to the League of Nations failing. There’s an epochal lesson in that, re: the Trumpist withdrawal from collaborative global relations in the face of mounting severities: tipping points in climate risk, desperation-driven militarism, the current pandemic.
Had the League succeeded, there likely would have been some pre-1929 creation of global financial market ensurance, like the Bretton Woods Agreement after WW-II, because market crashes are as old as modernity itself (1907, 1901, 1896, 1893,…1637). Quite probably, the Crash of 1929, with a strong League of Nations, would not have undermined the Young Plan that was to relieve pressure on Germany’s difficulty with reparations; and allowed a successful Lusanne Conference, 1932 (which was cancelled). German animus toward the Versailles Treaty would have been substantially weakened, thus undermining the appeal of Hitler, in the wake of merely another recession, with evident light at the end of the global financial tunnel. Germany would have been able to form a government in early 1933 without Hitler. But, if Hitler had come to power anyway, a strong League of Nations could have ensured consolidated diplomacy (with effective sanctions) to prevent rearmament.
The idea of there never having been WW-II, never having been the Holocaust, inspires imagination.
But pointlessly—except to remind me, or whomever, that foreseeing calamity and preventing it is feasible, with effective leadership.
Woodrow Wilson sought to continue the Progressivism of Teddy Roosevelt. FDR sought to continue the Progressivism of Wilson—so much so, that we now think of the New Deal as the heart of Democratic Progressivism’s history. In the middle of the war, a frail FDR fashioned the G.I. Bill of Rights that financially engineered prosperity of the 1950s.
Soon after Hitler invaded Poland, Churchill spent three weeks at the White House. Historians say that a tight bond of brotherhood matured in those weeks. Imagine FDR’s infectious grin and undauntable enthusiasm when he wheeled himself into Churchill’s bedroom one night to share his eurika ideas for a United Nations. A United Nations!!—which would prevent all future wars.
Churchill was just out of his bath: a dripping wet, regularly-inebriated obesity. “Sorry!,” FDR said (or to that effect). Churchill replied: “The Prime Minister of Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.”
And so it came to pass that the English alliance saved the West—after pushing more Atlantic boys onto French beaches than the German boys had bullets.
After FDR’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt led the formation of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But the stupid dialectic of incipient Cold War disarmed the Security Council’s potential for progressive leadership.
A low share of Homo sapiens is composed of socialized animals wielding gigantic toys for their predatory aims, unable to imagine diplomatic means of satisfaction—adult children funded by oligarchic avarice addicted to fossil fuels (Earth’s eonic rot), now driving hundreds of millions of lives into hothouse famines and derivative refugee migrations (by stealing “fossil water”) because ideologies of capitalist power discount lives, thus made expendable for the sake of greed.
The current pandemic is an implicit prophecy that Extinction Level Events can be suites of disaster, unless collaborative global leadership returns. The prospect is credible that climate apocalypse will induce regular resource-scarce wars, if not bio-weaponized scourges across the planet.
Humanity owes an inestimable degree of thanks for visionary leadership that understands the necessity of sustainably progressive planetary thinking—collaborative global leadership that can secure the coming generations of our children.
But collaborative leadership won’t return if activist groups fail to anchor their futures to prospects for government that ensures implementation of the Paris Accords, ensures U.N. efficacy, institutes an effective global regime of public health leadership, and relies on intelligence that sees beyond predatory campaigns of divisiveness that aim to keep oligarchic entitlement effective.
-- 9:58 PM