“Out of these troubled times … a new world order can emerge. A new era freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.”
These fine words were addressed by President George Bush Snr to the US Congress on the eve of the first Gulf War 25 years ago.
Soon afterwards, British forces joined the US to sweep their erstwhile ally Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, restoring power to a semi-feudal kleptocracy which kept women down and superexploited an immigrant labour force.
Soon afterwards, too, collapse and counterrevolution convulsed the Soviet Union and the former socialist states of eastern Europe. The biggest restraints on Western imperialism’s reconquest of the world fell away.
Since then, under the cover of “globalisation” which we were told was inevitable and unstoppable, the monopoly corporations have gone on the rampage around the world.
The pursuit of vast profits rather than of peace, prosperity and harmony has become the ruling principle of both politics and economics.
Far from knocking this newly turbo-charged capitalism off course, the international financial crash of 2008 intensified the drive to slash wages and welfare programmes across Europe and north America.
The banks and financial markets have been bailed out with the biggest subsidies in human history, while the bill has been dumped on the working class everywhere from Ireland and Portugal to Cyprus and Greece.
Regimes which dared to stand in the way of resurgent imperialism have been destabilised, undermined and attacked with little or no regard for international law.
The new world order is one of war without end, as Western state terrorism subjugates and breaks up so-called “failed” or rogue states from Yugoslavia and Afghanistan to Iraq and Libya.
The cynical and contrived “war on terror” has spawned a grotesque and misogynist Islamist terrorism which, in turn, provides the pretext for dismantling hard-won civil liberties.
Economic and military dislocation drives millions of people across the face of the planet in a desperate search for subsistence.
When not preyed upon by pirates and people-traffickers, they are demonised and persecuted by host governments, right-wing and racist movements and the mass media.
Last week 1,700 private jets brought the rich and powerful to the Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss inequality.
Some of the circus then moved on to Saudi Arabia, to laud the deceased royal dictator of a state which funds Islamist fundamentalism around the world, beats and beheads men and women in public squares and buys mountains of Western armaments in corrupt deals, as a champion of peace, women’s rights and democracy.
Meanwhile the civilian death toll rocketed in eastern Ukraine in a war ignited by a Western-backed coup in Kiev which brought fascists into a pro-EU, pro-Nato government and despatched neonazi militias to try to crush people’s republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
This is a new world order up to its neck in crisis, chaos, torture and corruption run by liars, hypocrites and charlatans.
It will not be brought down by mealy-mouthed talk of reforming the EU, making globalisation “work for the many and not just the few.”