The Congressional Record Reveals the Truth
Conservatives such as Alex Jones have for many years gathered quotes from prominent world leaders about a “New World Order”:
Liberals have tended to write off this claim.
But now prominent liberal blogger Matt Stoller has unearthed fascinating evidence for a new world order of sorts.
Stoller’s entire article at Salon is a must-read. Here are the highlights:
Western elites in America and Western Europe after World War II made a serious effort to get rid of nations altogether, and combine all “freedom-loving peoples” into one giant “Atlantic Union,” a federal state built on top of the NATO military alliance.As odd as it sounds, the documentary evidence is clear. This movement did manage to create a “European Union,” which came from the same ideological wellspring as the “Atlantic Union.” Once we recognize that the Cold War saw the construction of a powerful international regime that explicitly sought to get rid of sovereign nations, these broad security architectures revealed by the Syria situation and the NSA spying revelations make a lot more sense.
The strange story of Atlantica
The effort to unite Europe and the U.S. started in 1939, with the publication of a book by an influential journalist, Clarence Streit … a New York Times journalist assigned to cover the League of Nations, which led him to the conclusion that the only way to prevent American isolationism and European fascism was for political and economic integration of the major “freedom-loving” peoples, which he described as America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and most of Western Europe. The Five Eyes surveillance architecture was created just a few years later, as was the international monetary regime concocted at Bretton Woods.
Streit’s argument, that the West needed to combine its strength to fight totalitarianism everywhere, was a powerful draw. The youth of the 1930s — those who read Streit’s book — became the political and diplomatic leaders of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and many of them went on to craft the multilateral institutions and international policies of the Cold War.
Indeed, the congressional record is peppered with resolutions and hearings from the late 1940s to the 1970s pushing for Atlantic Union. For example, in 1971, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives convened a hearing to discuss the prospect of combining the United States of America and Western Europe into one country. This “Atlantic Union” would be a federal union, very similar to the the one described in United States Constitution. Existing countries would become states under a federalist system, with the larger federal system having its own currency, military, interstate commerce regulation and foreign relations apparatus.
That day in 1971, the committee was discussing a specific piece of legislation, a resolution — House Concurrent Resolution 163 — to create an “Atlantic Union Delegation,” a committee of 18 “eminent citizens” to join with other NATO country delegations and negotiate a plan to unite. The subcommittee chairman presiding over the hearing, congressman Donald Fraser of Minnesota, described the specific goal of the legislation as convening an “international convention to explore the possibility of agreement on a declaration to transform the present Atlantic alliance into a federal union, set a timetable for transition to this goal and to prescribe democratic institutions under which the goal would be achieved.” It was to be a Constitutional Convention.
Similar legislation, he noted, “was considered by the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1960, 1966, and 1968, with favorable reports in 1960 and 1968.” Congress even passed the resolution in 1960, and spent money to send a delegation to Paris for such a convention (though John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson ignored the delegation’s recommendations).
This proposal had a great deal of elite support. Nearly every presidential candidate from the 1950s to the 1970s supported it, as did hundreds of legislators in the U.S. and Western Europe.
A large multilateral military force formed of allied governments and millions of soldiers of all nationalities had recently defeated the fascist powers on three continents. Millions had an experience of international comity in the defeat of the Axis Powers — so the concept of political union was not so far-fetched.
Moreover, the specter of the failed diplomatic and monetary initiatives of the 1930s haunted postwar leaders, and caused them to think deeply and act decisively to weave together a system whose core was the economic, military and political interdependence of sovereign allies. The Depression was seen as a phenomenon borne of a failed international system based on short-sited nationalist objectives. Streit, the president of the International Movement for Atlantic Union, breathlessly advocated for a union lest history be repeated. A lack of a union would lead to a monetary crash, and then crushing poverty. As circumstances changed, Streit’s testimonials to Congress changed. Just after World War II, he noted that Hitler’s appeal came from fascists arguing for political totalitarianism under the slogan “you can’t eat freedom.” He argued, consistent with the anti-communism of the time, that such a union was the only way to beat the Soviet threat. Later, he pointed out that union was important because with nuclear weapons at hand, the world could not afford a repeat of pre-World War II foreign policy mistakes. Then, as Bretton Woods began breaking down in the 1960s, he argued that a 1930s-style financial crash was inevitable without union.
Richard Nixon in 1966 supported the “Atlantic Union resolution” as a “forward-looking proposal which acknowledges the depth and breadth of incredible change which is going on in the world around us.” President Dwight Eisenhower, upon leaving office, thought such a trans-Atlantic union was inevitable, and argued it could cut massive Cold War defense costs by half. Eugene McCarthy, just before entering the presidential primary race against Lyndon Johnson (who did not support the measure), cosponsored the resolution in the Senate. Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern and Estes Kefauver were ardent believers. Even Barry Goldwater supported it; Ronald Reagan was the only major national figure in the Republican Party who opposed it, and Lyndon Johnson was a significant opponent in the Democratic Party.
The question of Atlantic Union, proposed in 1939, percolated as a catch-all answer to Western foreign policy problems, until the 1970s.
American support for the now-existing European Union came from the same intellectual and political tradition.
As one New Left-influenced witness in the 1971 hearing put it, “The 1960′s revolution of political consciousness within the United States means the rejection of Atlantic Union ideas or alliance structures such as NATO in the seventies.”
***[These strands of thought continue today.] Consider Larry Summers, who in 2000 as treasury secretary argued for allowing cheap Chinese goods into the U.S. as a way of establishing “a fifth column for openness” in that country. Failure to integrate China in the global system with trade concessions, he said, would not only cut the average American’s paycheck, but would “make it more likely his son will be in a war in Asia.” This Thomas Friedman-esque “The World Is Flat” argument owes an intellectual debt to Streit. Integrate, the case goes, or perish.
***The institutional framework of a world government composed of Western European and American states remains far more potent than we like to imagine, even beyond the security apparatus revealed by Snowden’s documents. For example, in every major free trade agreement since NAFTA, U.S. courts have been subordinated to international tribunals, which operate according to rules laid out either by the World Trade Organization, a division of the World Bank, or by a division of the United Nations known as UNCITRAL (the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law). These tribunals rule on consumer, labor, and environmental questions – not just trade. And they are trans-national, much as the supply chains of Apple, Ford, Toyota, or any other multi-national corporation are, or the technology that Google, Microsoft, or IBM promote all over the world. [Indeed, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership would largely destroy America’s national sovereignty.]
There are other deep links. The Basil banking accords seek international harmonization of capital standards. Why? It’s not clear what the benefits are of having global standards for what banks should do. But the global elites push onward, regardless, towards a one world solution. And lest one think this is just theoretical, the Federal Reserve supported the European Central Bank with unlimited swap lines during the financial crisis, lending as much as $500B to the ECB in 2008 and 2009. European and other foreign banks drew liberally from the New York Federal Reserve’s discount window. The Fed became the central banker to the world. [Indeed.]
Questions of sovereignty still exists – as just one of many examples, the U.S. still refuses to sign the Law of the Sea Treaty, which is a nod to the Liberty League. But the history and reflexive embrace of globalism is far more complicated than we want to admit. And it’s time to begin grappling with the international architecture that we have. This means recognizing that the Cold War involved constructing a “deep state” to partially subordinate national sovereignty, and therefore, voting populations, to transnational elites.
Streit never achieved his goal of having a formal “Atlantic Union.” But with an international “intelligence community,” globalized supply chains, increasingly global free trade agreements that subordinate national court systems, and globalized private and central banks, all couched under the rubric of promoting “freedom,” he has as much claim to being the true animating force behind what we’re facing today as anyone else.