November 17, 1999


We are no longer ruled by Presidents or kings, and the power of national parliaments is fast fading. Instead, we are ruled by acronyms: NATO, the UN, the World Trade Organization (WTO) – these transnational entities, floating over traditional boundaries of nationality and ethnicity like angels on high, now determine our fate. There is much brouhaha over the proposed entry of China into the WTO with the pro-"free trade" camp in one corner, and the "protectionists" in the other – or so goes the conventional wisdom. But the reality is that the WTO has nothing whatever to do with "free trade" as economists have traditionally defined that doctrine, and everything to do with managed trade. What is involved in not the dropping of all trade barriers by signatories to the "free trade" pact, but the calibration and internationalization of tariffs, and the extension of environmental regulations and other controls designed to benefit the economic and political elites. Who can forget that the multi-thousand-page North American Free Trade Zone had special subsidies and breaks for politically-influential companies as the Washington Post, among others.


By cloaking their rhetoric in "libertarian" guise, the elites seek to take advantage of the worldwide trend in favor of free markets. Yet the WTO is anything but a free market institution: instead, it is an association of governments, ruled by politics and not the laws of the market. What the WTO pact creates is not an international economy, but an emerging international political authority, the economic arbiter and regulator of an emerging world state. This is really the issue at the heart of the matter: the issue is not "free trade" versus "protectionism" but internationalism versus nationalism. Will the nation-state survive, or will it be supplanted by one (or all) of the multiplying acronyms that increasingly control our lives?


A recent court case in Japan illustrates this point. It seems that a Brazilian woman, Ana Bortz, was escorted out of a jewelry store in Hamamatsu City – no gaijin (i.e. foreign barbarians) allowed. She sued – and, surprisingly, won. Surprisingly, because Japan is not known as the Hermit Kingdom for nothing. I recently saw a Japanese television program that resembles, in format, a kind of mass Crossfire, in which two groups of people on different sides of an issue shout at each other. It was a polemical free-for-all raucous by Japanese standards. On one side a crowd of young Japanese girls articulated their dismay at the rudeness and aggressiveness of foreign men, and foreigners in general, while on the other a mixed crowd complete with two Africans in full tribal dress loudly refuted their accusations. Such a subject, of course, let alone much of the dialogue, could never be broadcast in English anywhere in the Western world. In Bosnia, where UN censors monitor all television and close down stations that broadcast such "hate speech," the producers of such a program could count on a visit from the blue-helmets and permanent shutdown..


But the homogeneity of Japanese society, the very reason for its unusual sense of harmony and low crime rate, is now considered a hate crime in the Western world. That the long arm of political correctness may be reaching its heavy hand into the Hermit Kingdom is indicated by the judge's astonishing decision in the Bortz case. For while the Japanese Constitution, written by Americans in 1946, regurgitates all the familiar egalitarian blather about how "all of the people are equal" and "there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status, or family origin," the Japanese have always interpreted "all of the people" to mean all of the Japanese people. No more. Judge Tetsuro So, of the Shizuoka District Court, n awarding Bortz $47,000 in damages, cited the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, signed by Japan in 1996, as the legal basis of his decision. Under Japanese law, there is no appeal, since the judge's legal argument was based on a treaty obligation. While liberal internationalists may swell with the sense of their own righteousness upon hearing the details of the Bortz case, the New York Times piece [Howard W. French, "Japanese Only Policy Takes Body Blow in Court," November 15, 1999] on the subject hinted at the real roots Bortz's complaint:

"The Bortz case is among a wave of challenges being brought by foreigners who say that if they can do nothing about the famous Japanese standoffishness toward outsiders, they can at least insist on equal treatment before the law."


In the brave new egalitarian world of the militant multiculturalists, such hate crimes as "standoffishness" will be punishable by fines, imprisonment, or quite possibly both. Envy, hatred, and all the petty emotions will be written into the statute books and given the full force of law. So be forewarned, my friend, and brace yourself, for the future looks positively hellish.


The Times article is illustrated by a photo of Ms. Bortz, standing outside the jewelry store from which she was so unceremoniously ejected. She does not look elated by her victory: arms folded, her pouty face arranged in an expression of semi-permanent petulance, she looks into the camera as if to say: "Only $47,000?" Such a paltry sum is not about to wipe away that smoldering look of perpetual disgruntlement, a resentment which no award or legal remedy could appease.


The price Japan will have to pay, ultimately, for such a highly developed sense of obligation may end not only its sovereignty, but also its very existence as a unique realm proudly separate from the global monoculture. For the real hope and aim of the gaijin "civil rights" movement in Japan, as the Times reveals, is to make it easier for foreigners to be granted citizenship. "The process is kept so exclusive that more foreigners are naturalized each week in the United States than in Japan in an entire year." That the Japanese may not want to become another Bosnia – or another Los Angeles – never enters into the equation: "Indeed," we are told, "rejections are known to occur over something as minor as a speeding ticket."


Oh, those "isolationist" Japanese – they're probably racists, too. That's the New York Times spin, a hauntingly familiar refrain that we hear often these days. The idea that a different culture may put a higher value on order, and that change is not necessarily for the good, is alien to the internationalists over at the Times: Japan is scolded because it "has always stood out as a stubbornly near-monoethnic nation, not only proud of it but also fiercely attached to the idea." Oh, for shame! The Times cites Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who declares that "a monoethnic island of prosperity won't survive in the 21st century." Like the Marxists of yesteryear, the new internationalists – not only UN officials, but like-minded bureaucrats in the EU, the WTO, the NATO-crats, and their echo chamber in the media – proclaim the inevitable victory of their cause. Internationalism is modernity, according to their creed. But the inevitablists always hedge their bets: Lenin recognized that the "inevitable" victory of communism had to be helped along a bit, and today's internationalists are no different. – as the fanfare surrounding Kofi Annan's report on the July 1995 events at Srebrenica makes all too clear.


When the UN declared Srebrenica a "safe area" and then failed to provide adequate armed protection to make it safe, the Bosnian army immediately moved in, using the area as a haven from which they conducted military operations. Thus Srebrenica became a battleground in the ongoing civil war, and a particularly horrific one: waving the bloody shirt of "the tragedy of Srebrenica," the UN recently reiterated its condemnation of Bosnian Serbs as "war criminals" guilty of "mass murder" – the same charges that are turning out not to be true in Kosovo. If the Bosnian Muslim army used the civilians of Srebrenica as human shields, and are now demanding that the Serbs be indicted for "war crimes," then that is "justice," New World Order-style.


The Srebrenica report is required reading for all those New Age "we are the world" internationalists who idealize the UN for its touchy-feely semi-pacifism. As one UN official put it: "Through error, misjudgment and the inability to recognize the scope of evil confronting us we failed to do our part" to prevent the bloodshed. "These failing were in part rooted in a philosophy of neutrality and nonviolence wholly unsuited to the conflict in Bosnia." In other words: no more Mr. Nice Guy. Forget all this "peace" crap, forget Gandhi and Martin Luther King: think Winston Churchill – and Napoleon. As Kofi Annan puts it in his report: "all necessary means" must be used in order to make sure that "the tragedy of Srebrenica" never happens again. This is what the UN is all about: not peace, but the threat of force: the "peacemakers" of the UN are finally baring their teeth.


To understand what is happening over at the UN today, in the post-cold war years, you have to take as an analogy the popular Star Trek science fiction series, which posits a galaxy largely dominated by a multicultural multi-planetary Federation, whose starships roam the star lanes and keep a loose kind of order. But the primary law of the Federation, the one principle governing its agents, is that they must never interfere with the cultural, political and technological evolution of the races they establish contact with. In the Star Trek universe, the principle of nonintervention is enshrined as the Prime Directive. In one episode, Captain Kirk pursue in a rogue star captain violates this Directive – in the name of morality of course – with disastrous consequences for everyone involved: the present course of the UN seems to be following this general plot line. Flaming sword in hand, the formerly pacific UN – neutralist, quiescent and generally helpless during the cold war – has now sprung up into a monstrously overgrown and overweening bureaucracy, arrogant, violent, dangerously ambitious – and intent on violating the Prime Directive. This underscores the real he problem with the UN not that it funds abortions, but that it is a malevolent force in the world. That is why the agreement by congressional Republicans that would pay our "debt" to the UN is a sellout, and a net loss.


While the UN is emerging as the would-be center of a world state; the real power is not going to be in the General Assembly, or even in the Security Council: for the foundations of the New World Order are not political, but primarily economic. Perhaps the greatest threat to national sovereignty, and that of every nation on earth – even greater than NATO – is the World Trade Organization, and its allied institutions: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


The dream of a globally coordinated economy, which is the core doctrine that animates the builders of the WTO, and not "free trade," is really dependent on the old Keynesian dream of a world central bank. With the WTO doling out trade franchises, paying subsidies, granting exemptions, and tailoring regulations to enrich politically-empowered elites, the World Bank and the IMF will impose a single fiat currency and endow themselves with the ability to inflate without limit. This will fund the growing transnational bureaucracy, as well as perpetual wars, and ensure the central bankers their chokehold on the world economy. In a world without sovereignty, either economic or political, currency depreciation is not a problem. This is the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of the internationalists, the vision underlying all the grandiose rhetoric about "free trade" and "a borderless world." Such a world is borderless in the sense that the power of the transnational elites would be almost unlimited and impervious to challenge, either from without or within: in short, the perfect tyranny.


Those Republicans in the House and Senate so implacable in their hatred and fear of China that they oppose its entry to the WTO on principle may be doing Beijing a big favor in the long run. For while the lessening of some tariffs on Chinese exports may increase revenues in the short term, eventually China will face the same dilemma as neighboring Japan in the form of a concerted attack on its sovereignty, not only economically but also culturally. As in Japan, some day the "no foreigners allowed" signs will come down – not only in China's little shops, but on the "for sale" signs of giant state-owned industries. As the multinational corporations line up for their share of the Chinese spoils, a Chinese nationalist revolt could have dire implications for the entire region, with Taiwan the flashpoint of a looming crisis.


The main vestiges of nationalism that persist are in Asia, but in the Age of the Acronym these will come under increasing attack. Just as Admiral Perry barged his way into the Hermit Kingdom, so the Western powers are now determined to "open up" China and integrate what had been a "rogue state" into the international markets. Since China is moving away from strict Marxism, and toward the social democratic state capitalism of the West, it is now a prime candidate for absorption. Madonna, MTV, and McDonalds will soon come to replace not only Communism but also Confucianism and Chinese nationalism as the dominant cultural motifs. This is what the old fashioned "hard-liners" in Beijing fear, and the "modernizers" hope for – that the East, no longer red, will now be rendered red, white, and blue by an overwhelming display of cultural gunboat diplomacy.


In China, as everywhere else, the main issue is not left versus right, or free markets versus Marxism, but nationalism versus internationalism, sovereignty versus the rule of the acronyms. No one of any consequence is arguing in favor of Marxism or denying the efficacy of markets: the real battle-lines are being drawn between "standoffishness" and groupthink, cultural self-assertion and multicultural self-abnegation. This is the main battle in the world today, the Big War underlying most of the little (and not so little) wars that have flared up in the past decade, and it is being fought on every terrain. From the air war over Belgrade to the war over the airwaves; in real space and in cyberspace, the battle rages, and the only relevant question is: Which side are you on?

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

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