By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
January 20, 2009
Updated: January 21, 2009
For the past five hundred years, the world has been under the sway of what Dr. Ivan Van Sertima has called the “five hundred year curtain.”
This European foreign policy curtain has manifested itself in the 1655 Britain’s global master-plan/code-word under the rubric of the “Great Western Design” as enunciated by Oliver Cromwell.
In the 1850s, the French championed “La mission civilisatrice” and “Liberty, Justice and Fraternity” as an integral part of their global strategy.
In the 1920s, American President Woodrow Wilson pursued a foreign policy master-plan that sought “to make the world safe for democracy” a la Pax Americana.
On 14 August 1940, the “Atlantic Charter” was signed between American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill by which they both agreed to “respect the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live … the restoration of the sovereignty (and) self-government of the States and nations of Europe now under Nazi yoke.”
Between 1945 and 1989, there was a global ideological war between Eastern Europe (Soviet Union) and Western Europe (United States) or communism versus capitalism under the banner of the Cold War.
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan brandished his global anti-communist sword with the Soviet Union viewed as the “evil empire.”
In August 1990, US President George Bush, Sr. announced his global foreign policy master-plan titled the “New World Order.” President Bush not only asserted that “America is a European nation” but also declared that “our doctrine need no longer be containing a military aggressive Soviet Union. It means a united Europe. It means a Europe without as many artificial boundaries.”
And for the past eight years, former President George Bush, Jr. has pursued foreign policy strategies termed “Globalization” and “War on Terrorism.”
What is being suggested here is that while the past 20th century marked the era of global foreign policy initiatives which resulted in Isfet, that is, imbalance, chaos, disorder, disharmony, wars and “rumors of wars”, today’s 21st century initiatives must, by definition, be different.
Indeed, one must be cognizant of the stark reality that the United States has not only replaced all those major 15th-20th century European global powers, but also, the United States, as of this writing, is the last and solely standing European global power.
Ergo, at the dawn of the 21st century and with a new American leadership taking office in January 2009, then, the seeds of a new age are now being sewn. This 21st century represents the “Age of Aquarius”—the Age of Change. Hence, it need occasion no great surprise that Barack Obama ran and won the US presidency on the theme of “Change”—“Yes, we can.”
As such, in the “Age of Aquarius” one has to speak in terms of 21st century geo-politics, rather than global foreign policy of the 20th century.
On 20th January 2009, Barack Obama not only became the 44th President of the United States of America, but, most importantly, he automatically became the geo-political leader of the world. Now is the time for him to set the geo-political tone/agenda for the next century. This new geo-political agenda should be such that America will not be judged by the extent/fear/might of its military but rather by the depth/range/hope of its humanity—“Yes, we can.”
Furthermore, this new geo-political agenda should fall under the rubric of: Changing the world for a better humanity. The DNA of such a strategy should be the achievement of human perfectibility around the world. This new geo-political agenda should be guided by the seven principles of Ma’at, namely, Truth, Justice, Balance, Order, Compassion, Harmony and Reciprocity.
Thus, the obvious geo-political question becomes: Ask not what the world can do for you, but, rather, what we all can and must do to make this world a better place in the name of our humanity?…”Yes, we can.”
As the geo-political leader of the world, President Barack Obama must posit the United States of America as a functioning, integral part of the international community and not continue to position America apart from international reality.
This new agenda of geo-politics must be all-inclusive and not all-exclusive, albeit unilateral. Its global embrace must include all of the world’s governments— friends or foes.
In addition, as the anointed geo-political leader of the world, President Barack Obama must use this power position not to control or re-colonize people but to change people’s lives; he must use this power to empower people, to give them a new lease on life, to imbue in them the “Audacity of Hope”; he must use this new God-given geo-political power not only to lift people up from their bootstraps but also to equip them with the vital human tools and necessities of life to tie their own shoes and the shoes of others; President Obama must use this power to cultivate in people the desire to serve humanity and thereby change the world—“Yes, we can.”
It is at this crucial and specific 21st century geo-political juncture that President Barack Obama needs to be cognizant of and be guided by the apocalyptic admonitions of slain Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” and “Now that the judgement of God is upon us, we must learn to live as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools.”
In the final analysis, there is an adage that says: “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” However, in this specific 21st century geo-political era, the United States as the last European global power will, indeed, be the first European global power to bring humanity to the world under the geo-political leadership of President Barack Obama.
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is Professor Emeritus, Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University.