There is a new and unique development in human history that is taking place around the world; it is unprecedented in reach and volume, and it is also the greatest threat to all global power structures: the ‘global political awakening.’ The term was coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and refers to the fact that, as Brzezinski wrote:
For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.
It is, in essence, this massive ‘global political awakening’ which presents the gravest and greatest challenge to the organized powers of globalization and the global political economy: nation-states, multinational corporations and banks, central banks, international organizations, military, intelligence, media and academic institutions. The Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), or ‘Superclass’ as David Rothkopf refers to them, are globalized like never before. For the first time in history, we have a truly global and heavily integrated elite. As elites have globalized their power, seeking to construct a ‘new world order’ of global governance and ultimately global government, they have simultaneously globalized populations.
The ‘Technological Revolution’ (or ‘Technetronic’ Revolution, as Brzezinski termed it in 1970) involves two major geopolitical developments. The first is that as technology advances, systems of mass communication rapidly accelerate, and the world’s people are able to engage in instant communication with one another and gain access to information from around the world. In it, lies the potential – and ultimately a central source – of a massive global political awakening. Simultaneously, the Technological Revolution has allowed elites to redirect and control society in ways never before imagined, ultimately culminating in a global scientific dictatorship, as many have warned of since the early decades of the 20th century. The potential for controlling the masses has never been so great, as science unleashes the power of genetics, biometrics, surveillance, and new forms of modern eugenics; implemented by a scientific elite equipped with systems of psycho-social control (the use of psychology in controlling the masses).
What is the “Global Political Awakening”?
To answer this question, it is best to let Zbigniew Brzezinski speak for himself, since it is his term. In 2009, Zbigniew Brzezinski published an article based on a speech he delivered to the London-based Chatham House in their academic journal, International Affairs. Chatham House, formerly the Royal Institute of International Relations, is the British counterpart to the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, both of which were founded in 1921 as “Sister Institutes” to coordinate Anglo-American foreign policy. His article, “Major foreign policy challenges for the next US President,” aptly analyzes the major geopolitical challenges for the Obama administration in leading the global hegemonic state at this critical juncture. Brzezinski refers to the ‘global political awakening’ as “a truly transformative event on the global scene,” since:
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity left in the remotest corners of the world that are not politically alert and engaged with the political turmoil and stirrings that are so widespread today around the world. The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination.
Brzezinski posits that the ‘global political awakening’ is one of the most dramatic and significant developments in geopolitics that has ever occurred, and it “is apparent in radically different forms from Iraq to Indonesia, from Bolivia to Tibet.” As the Economist explained, “Though America has focused on its notion of what people want (democracy and the wealth created by free trade and open markets), Brzezinski points in a different direction: It's about dignity.” Further, argues Brzezinski, “The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening.”
In 2005, Brzezinski wrote an essay for The American Interest entitled, “The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign,” in which he explains the geopolitical landscape that America and the world find themselves in. He wrote that, “For most states, sovereignty now verges on being a legal fiction,” and he critically assessed the foreign policy objectives and rhetoric of the Bush administration. Brzezinski has been an ardent critic of the “war on terror” and the rhetoric inherent in it, namely that of the demonization of Islam and Muslim people, which constitute one of the fastest growing populations and the fastest growing religion in the world. Brzezinski fears the compound negative affects this can have on American foreign policy and the objectives and aspirations of global power. He writes:
America needs to face squarely a centrally important new global reality: that the world's population is experiencing a political awakening unprecedented in scope and intensity, with the result that the politics of populism are transforming the politics of power. The need to respond to that massive phenomenon poses to the uniquely sovereign America an historic dilemma: What should be the central definition of America's global role?
Brzezinski explains that formulating a foreign policy based off of one single event – the September 11th terror attacks – has both legitimized illegal measures (torture, suspension of habeas corpus, etc) and has launched and pacified citizens to accepting the “global war on terror,” a war without end. The rhetoric and emotions central to this global foreign policy created a wave of patriotism and feelings of redemption and revenge. Thus, Brzezinski explains:
There was no need to be more precise as to who the terrorists actually were, where they came from, or what historical motives, religious passions or political grievances had focused their hatred on America. Terrorism thus replaced Soviet nuclear weapons as the principal threat, and terrorists (potentially omnipresent and generally identified as Muslims) replaced communists as the ubiquitous menace.
Brzezinski explains that this foreign policy, which has inflamed anti-Americanism around the world, specifically in the Muslim world, which was the principle target population of ‘terrorist’ rhetoric, has in fact further inflamed the ‘global political awakening’. Brzezinski writes that:
[T]he central challenge of our time is posed not by global terrorism, but rather by the intensifying turbulence caused by the phenomenon of global political awakening. That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing.
This ‘global political awakening’, Brzezinski writes, while unique in its global scope today, originates in the ideas and actions of the French Revolution, which was central in “transforming modern politics through the emergence of a socially powerful national consciousness.” Brzezinski explains the evolution of the ‘awakening’:
During the subsequent 216 years, political awakening has spread gradually but inexorably like an ink blot. Europe of 1848, and more generally the nationalist movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reflected the new politics of populist passions and growing mass commitment. In some places that combination embraced utopian Manichaeism for which the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Fascist assumption of power in Italy in 1922, and the Nazi seizure of the German state in 1933 were the launch-pads. The political awakening also swept China, precipitating several decades of civil conflict. Anti-colonial sentiments galvanized India, where the tactic of passive resistance effectively disarmed imperial domination, and after World War II anti-colonial political stirrings elsewhere ended the remaining European empires. In the western hemisphere, Mexico experienced the first inklings of populist activism already in the 1860s, leading eventually to the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century.
Ultimately, what this implies is that – regardless of the final results of past awakenings – what is central to the concept of a ‘political awakening’ is the population – the people – taking on a political and social consciousness and subsequently, partaking in massive political and social action aimed at generating a major shift and change, or revolution, in the political, social and economic realms. Thus, no social transformation presents a greater or more direct challenge to entrenched and centralized power structures – whether they are political, social or economic in nature. Brzezinski goes on to explain the evolution of the ‘global political awakening’ in modern times:
It is no overstatement to assert that now in the 21st century the population of much of the developing world is politically stirring and in many places seething with unrest. It is a population acutely conscious of social injustice to an unprecedented degree, and often resentful of its perceived lack of political dignity. The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches.
Brzezinski explains that several central areas of the ‘global political awakening’, such as China, India, Egypt, Bolivia, the Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and increasingly in Europe, as well as Indians in Latin America, “increasingly are defining what they desire in reaction to what they perceive to be the hostile impact on them of the outside world. In differing ways and degrees of intensity they dislike the status quo, and many of them are susceptible to being mobilized against the external power that they both envy and perceive as self-interestedly preoccupied with that status quo.” Brzezinski elaborates on the specific group most affected by this awakening:
The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well. With the exception of Europe, Japan and America, the rapidly expanding demographic bulge in the 25-year-old-and-under age bracket is creating a huge mass of impatient young people. Their minds have been stirred by sounds and images that emanate from afar and which intensify their disaffection with what is at hand. Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred.
Brzezinski thus posits that to address this new global “challenge” to entrenched powers, particularly nation-states that cannot sufficiently address the increasingly non-pliant populations and populist demands, what is required, is “increasingly supranational cooperation, actively promoted by the United States.” In other words, Brzezinski favours an increased and expanded ‘internationalization’, not surprising considering he laid the intellectual foundations of the Trilateral Commission. He explains that “Democracy per se is not an enduring solution,” as it could be overtaken by “radically resentful populism.” This is truly a new global reality:
Politically awakened mankind craves political dignity, which democracy can enhance, but political dignity also encompasses ethnic or national self-determination, religious self-definition, and human and social rights, all in a world now acutely aware of economic, racial and ethnic inequities. The quest for political dignity, especially through national self-determination and social transformation, is part of the pulse of self-assertion by the world's underprivileged.
Thus, writes Brzezinski, “An effective response can only come from a self-confident America genuinely committed to a new vision of global solidarity.” The idea is that to address the grievances caused by globalization and global power structures, the world and America must expand and institutionalize the process of globalization, not simply in the economic sphere, but in the social and political as well. It is a flawed logic, to say the least, that the answer to this problem is to enhance and strengthen the systemic problems. One cannot put out a fire by adding fuel.
Brzezinski even wrote that, “Let it be said right away that supranationality should not be confused with world government. Even if it were desirable, mankind is not remotely ready for world government, and the American people certainly do not want it.” Instead, Brzezinski argues, America must be central in constructing a system of global governance, “in shaping a world that is defined less by the fiction of state sovereignty and more by the reality of expanding and politically regulated interdependence.” In other words, not ‘global government’ but ‘global governance’, which is simply a rhetorical ploy, as ‘global governance’ – no matter how overlapping, sporadic and desultory it presents itself, is in fact a key step and necessary transition in the moves toward an actual global government.
Thus, the rhetoric and reality of a “global war on terror” in actuality further inflames the ‘global political awakening’ as opposed to challenging and addressing the issue. In 2007, Brzezinski told the US Senate that the “War on terror” was a “mythical historical narrative,” or in other words, a complete fiction.
Of Power and People
To properly understand the ‘global political awakening’ it is imperative to understand and analyze the power structures that it most gravely threatens. Why is Brzezinski speaking so vociferously on this subject? From what perspective does he approach this issue?
Global power structures are most often represented by nation-states, of which there are over 200 in the world, and the vast majority are overlooking increasingly politically awakened populations who are more shaped by transnational communications and realities (such as poverty, inequality, war, empire, etc.) than by national issues. Among nation-states, the most dominant are the western powers, particularly the United States, which sits atop the global hierarchy of nations as the global hegemon (empire). American foreign policy was provided with the imperial impetus by an inter-locking network of international think tanks, which bring together the top political, banking, industrial, academic, media, military and intelligence figures to formulate coordinated policies.
The most notable of these institutions that socialize elites across national borders and provide the rationale and impetus for empire are an inter-locking network of international think tanks. In 1921, British and American elite academics got together with major international banking interests to form two “sister institutes” called the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in London, now known as Chatham House, and the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. Subsequent related think tanks were created in Canada, such as the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, now known as the Canadian International Council (CIC), and other affiliated think tanks in South Africa, India, Australia, and more recently in the European Union with the formation of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Following World War I, these powers sought to reshape the world order in their designs, with Woodrow Wilson proclaiming a right to “national self determination” which shaped the formation of nation-states throughout the Middle East, which until the war was dominated by the Ottoman Empire. Thus, proclaiming a right to “self-determination” for people everywhere became, in fact, a means of constructing nation-state power structures which the western nations became not only instrumental in building, but in exerting hegemony over. To control people, one must construct institutions of control. Nations like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, etc., did not exist prior to World War I.
Elites have always sought to control populations and individuals for their own power desires. It does not matter whether the political system is that of fascism, communism, socialism or democracy: elites seek power and control and are inherent in each system of governance. In 1928, Edward Bernays, nephew of the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, wrote one of his most influential works entitled “Propaganda.” Bernays also wrote the book on “Public Relations,” and is known as the “father of public relations,” and few outside of that area know of Bernays; however, his effect on elites and social control has been profound and wide-ranging.
Bernays led the propaganda effort behind the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, framing it as a “liberation from Communism” when in fact it was the imposition of a decades-long dictatorship to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company, who had hired Bernays to manage the media campaign against the democratic socialist government of Guatemala. Bernays also found a fan and student in Josef Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, who took many of his ideas from Bernays’ writings. Among one of Bernays’ more infamous projects was the popularizing of smoking for American women, as he hired beautiful women to walk up and down Madison Avenue while smoking cigarettes, giving women the idea that smoking is synonymous with beauty.
In his 1928 book, “Propaganda,” Bernays wrote that, “If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.” Further:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society... Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
Following World War II, America became the global hegemon, whose imperial impetus was provided by the strategic concept of “containment” in containing the spread of Communism. Thus, America’s imperial adventures in Korea, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America became defined by the desire to “roll back” the influence of the Soviet Union and Communism. It was, not surprisingly, the Council on Foreign Relations that originated the idea of “containment” as a central feature of foreign policy.
Further, following World War II, America was handed the responsibility for overseeing and managing the international monetary system and global political economy through the creation of institutions and agreements such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), NATO, the UN, and GATT (later to become the World Trade Organization – WTO). One central power institution that was significant in establishing consensus among Western elites and providing a forum for expanding global western hegemony was the Bilderberg Group, founded in 1954 as an international think tank.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, an up-and-coming academic, joined the Council on Foreign Relations in the early 1960s. In 1970, Brzezinski, who had attended a few Bilderberg meetings, wrote a book entitled, “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era,” in which he analyzed the impact of the ‘Revolution in Technology and Electronics,’ thus, the ‘technetronic era.’ Brzezinski defines the ‘technetronic society’ as, “a society that is shaped culturally, psychologically, socially, and economically by the impact of technology and electronics – particularly in the arena of computers and communications. The industrial process is no longer the principal determinant of social change, altering the mores, the social structure, and the values of society.”
Brzezinski, expanding upon notions of social control, such as those propagated by Edward Bernays, wrote that, “Human conduct, some argue, can be predetermined and subjected to deliberate control,” and he quoted an “experimenter in intelligence control” who asserted that, “I foresee the time when we shall have the means and therefore, inevitably, the temptation to manipulate the behaviour and intellectual functioning of all the people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of the brain.”
Brzezinski, in a telling exposé of his astute powers of observation and ability to identify major global trends, wrote that we are “witnessing the emergence of transnational elites” who are “composed of international businessmen, scholars, professional men, and public officials. The ties of these new elites cut across national boundaries, their perspectives are not confined by national traditions, and their interests are more functional than national.” Further, writes Brzezinski, “it is likely that before long the social elites of most of the more advanced countries will be highly internationalist or globalist in spirit and outlook.” However, warns Brzezinski, this increasing internationalization of elites “could create a dangerous gap between them and the politically activated masses, whose ‘nativism’ – exploited by more nationalist political leaders – could work against the ‘cosmopolitan’ elites.” Brzezinski also wrote about “the gradual appearance of a more controlled and directed society,” in the “technetronic revolution;” explaining:
Such a society would be dominated by an elite whose claim to political power would rest on allegedly superior scientific know-how. Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control. Under such circumstances, the scientific and technological momentum of the country would not be reversed but would actually feed on the situation it exploits.
Further, writes Brzezinski, “Persisting social crisis, the emergence of a charismatic personality, and the exploitation of mass media to obtain public confidence would be the steppingstones in the piecemeal transformation of the United States into a highly controlled society.” Elaborating, Brzezinski writes, “The traditionally democratic American society could, because of its fascination with technical efficiency, become an extremely controlled society, and its humane and individualistic qualities would thereby be lost.”
In his book, Brzezinski called for a “Community of the Developed Nations,” consisting of Western Europe, North America and Japan, to coordinate and integrate in order to shape a ‘new world order’ built upon ideas of global governance under the direction of these transnational elites. In 1972, Brzezinski and his friend, David Rockefeller, presented the idea to the annual Bilderberg meetings. Rockefeller was, at that time, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and was CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1973, Brzezinski and Rockefeller created the Trilateral Commission, a sort of sister institute to the Bilderberg Group, with much cross-over membership, bringing Japan into the western sphere of economic and political integration.
In 1975, the Trilateral Commission published a Task Force Report entitled, “The Crisis of Democracy,” of which one of the principal authors was Samuel Huntington, a political scientist and close associate and friend of Zbigniew Brzezinski. In this report, Huntington argues that the 1960s saw a surge in democracy in America, with an upswing in citizen participation, often “in the form of marches, demonstrations, protest movements, and ‘cause’ organizations.” Further, “the 1960s also saw a reassertion of the primacy of equality as a goal in social, economic, and political life.” Huntington analyzed how as part of this “democratic surge,” statistics showed that throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, there was a dramatic increase in the percentage of people who felt the United States was spending too much on defense (from 18% in 1960 to 52% in 1969, largely due to the Vietnam War). In other words, people were becoming politically aware of empire and exploitation.
Huntington wrote that the “essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private,” and that, “People no longer felt the same compulsion to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.” Huntington explained that in the 1960s, “hierarchy, expertise, and wealth” had come “under heavy attack.” He stated that three key issues which were central to the increased political participation in the 1960s were:
social issues, such as use of drugs, civil liberties, and the role of women; racial issues, involving integration, busing, government aid to minority groups, and urban riots; military issues, involving primarily, of course, the war in Vietnam but also the draft, military spending, military aid programs, and the role of the military-industrial complex more generally.
Huntington presented these issues, essentially, as the “crisis of democracy,” in that they increased distrust with the government and authority, that they led to social and ideological polarization, and led to a “Decline in the authority, status, influence, and effectiveness of the presidency.”
Huntington concluded that many problems of governance in the United States stem from an “excess of democracy,” and that, “the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.” Huntington explained that society has always had “marginal groups” which do not participate in politics, and while acknowledging that the existence of “marginality on the part of some groups is inherently undemocratic,” it has also “enabled democracy to function effectively.” Huntington identifies “the blacks” as one such group that had become politically active, posing a “danger of overloading the political system with demands.”
Huntington, in his conclusion, stated that the vulnerability of democracy, essentially the ‘crisis of democracy,’ comes from “a highly educated, mobilized, and participant society,” and that what is needed is “a more balanced existence” in which there are “desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.” Summed up, the Trilateral Commission Task Force Report essentially explained that the “Crisis of Democracy” is that there is too much of it, and so the ‘solution’ to the ‘crisis’ is to have less democracy and more ‘authority.’
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