“My whole life in politics was marked by a political version, on a small scale, of the epic global contest that is now under way between inclusive cooperation—involving networks and diverse people working toward a common goal—and the reassertion of tribal nationalism,” he told me. With the world aflame and even some in posh Chappaqua feeling the country to be in a kind of civil war, Clinton could not escape the possibility that his side was losing the ‘epic global contest’ that had defined his career. His neighbor, if zany, had recently been backed up in his analysis by the writer Pankaj Mishra, who said of this explosive global moment of terrorist violence, raging xenophobia, and political upheaval, ‘Future historians may well see such uncoordinated mayhem as commencing the third—and the longest and strangest—of all world wars: one that approximates, in its ubiquity, a global civil war.’”
“Many plutocrats objected to Darren Walker’s shining the spotlight on inequality, instead of the issues they were more comfortable talking about, like poverty or opportunity. They disliked that he framed the issue in a way that blamed them rather than inviting them to participate in a solution. They disliked his focus on how money is made rather than how it is given away. ‘I just think you should stop ranting at inequality,’ a friend in private equity had snapped at him a few nights before the KKR event. ‘It’s a real turn-off.’ Walker had broken what in his circles were important taboos. Inspire the rich to do more good, but never, ever tell them to do less harm; inspire them to give back, but never, ever tell them to take less; inspire them to join the solution, but never, ever accuse them of being part of the problem.” Anand Giridharadas, “Winners Take All: the Elite Charade of Changing the World”
The United Nations has made its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals the hallmark of its contribution to the world, and to humanity. In effect, the SDG’s are the justification for the existence of the United Nations. There is one major problem with this goal: as is evident, without major transformation in the global economic architecture, the SDG’s will not only fail to be achieved, but, according to several expert reports, progress toward achievement of these goals has actually been reversed.
While the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a crucial target toward maximizing the fulfillment and happiness of every human being throughout the world, and are of course, the noblest humanitarian goal toward which the United Nations, or any/every organization should aspire, it is acknowledged by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that failure to meet to goals of the SDG is a great danger, and there is a plea for funding for the SDG’s which is a Pyrric search, as the United Nations lacks the courage to confront the fact that the distorted pernicious priorities of its principle funders, the United States, Great Britain, etc., which spend trillions of dollars on their military and especially nuclear weapons development are the problem, the most dangerous and perverted developments of monopoly capitalism. The one trillion dollars that the United States has committed to the development of more sophisticated and deadly forms of nuclear explosives could fund the entire Sustainable Development Goals, fulfilling the entire 2030 Agenda.
Professor Armida Saisiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the UN Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), has warned that the vast region of more than four billion people for which she is responsible, is set to miss all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which underpin the 2030 Agenda. In fact, it is harrowing, and shocking that there is evidence that the region is going backward.
While the United Nations boasts about fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which are intended to transform the world into a paradise on earth, the UN Security Council is imposing sanctions on nations such as the DPRK and many other countries, sanctions which are a form of “economic terrorism” described by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and are transforming those countries into a Hell on Earth. It is particularly the nations that have economic systems designed to provide for their citizens the very economic and social endowments that are rhetorically advocated by the SDG’s that are the targets of sanctions. These brutal sanctions are destroying viable and effective health care systems and educational systems such as those in the DPRK, Venezuela, Cuba, the former USSR and China, nations that have socialist systems prioritizing, by constitution and by law, those very fundamental rights to health and education that the SDG’s claim to advocate.
Instead of confronting the “Elephant in the Room,” and mandating transformed investment priorities of all United Nations member states through a new Economic Security Council, (there are methods of accomplishing this, though ignored by the UN hierarchy) there is now the dangerous possibility and tendency of the United Nations becoming hijacked by the agenda of the Western capitalist powers. This embarrassing and duplicitous trend is highlighted in an article by Barbarra Crosette: “As the SDGs Falter, the UN Turns to the Rich and Famous.” Crosette describes the new “strategic partnership” with the World Economic Forum, ‘the international organization for public-private partnership.’ Crosette quotes former UN official Steven Browne, writing of the first “public-private partnership” arrangement, the Global Compact:
“’The Global Compact has carried risks for the UN, leaving it open to accusations of associating with companies indulging in corporate malpractice…The Global Compact cannot wholly avoid ‘blue wash’ (the UN equivalent of whitewash in the eyes of critics)…Companies are in a large majority on the GC Board and are the principle contributors to the trust fund which supports the GC secretariat. Critics have claimed that the GC serves as a platform for the promotion of corporate interests at the UN, and not the other way around, as originally intended.’”
Who Controls Whom?
Historically, numerous corporations had ‘interests’ in nations such as Guatemala (1954), Iran (1953), Chile (1973), Indonesia (1965), (the list is much longer) countries whose democratically elected governments and economies guaranteed fulfillment of most of what are today’s SDG’s, and planned to use their resources for the benefit of their own people, raising their standard of living by providing free or subsidized health care, education, and protection of their natural resources. The multinational corporations found such an equitable distribution of wealth intolerable. These were the government programs which corporate capitalism demonized as “socialist,” and proceeded to destabilize each and every such economy, culminating in coups d’etat which installed militarized corporate control in each targeted state. In each case, historically, the corporations wrested control over the governments and economies and distribution of assets of these progressive humanitarian economies, and established fascist dictatorial control.
Private corporations investing in the UN SDG’s have the potential to jeopardize the entire agenda; corporations are dependent on the global market, and when there are severe downturns, as in 2008, or worse, corporate assets deplete, the size of their contributions to the UNSDG’s diminish drastically, and corporations, clearly, are therefore not a sustainable source of funding, thereby eliminating ‘Sustainability’ from the Sustainable Development Goals.
Even more hazardous is the historic record: countries in which corporations have invested have failed to control these corporations. In every case, the corporations succeeded in imposing their own agenda, causing economic distortions and, indeed perversions, with resulting impoverishment of massive sectors of the populations in each case.
There is little reason for hope or assurance that the UN will or can maintain independence of corporate control, and like the frog who is boiled to death, as the temperature of its bath is raised so stealthily that it remains oblivious to its own peril, before it is able to leap out of its boiling bath to save its own life, it has already been boiled to death.
In a personal conversation with brilliant UN Deputy-Secretary General Amina Mohammed she mentioned her awareness that there will have to be a paradigm shift in the global economic system to avert a looming crisis. The UN SDG’s are an almost pathetic attempt to acknowledge and address this crisis. Multiple expert sources offer dismal predictions: The organization “Social Progress Imperative,” predicts that the SDG’s “If current trends continue the world will not achieve these goals until 2073.”
In 2009 Stjepan Mesic, former President of the Republic of Croatia addressed the UN General Assembly stating:
“Our world is, finally, still dominated by an economic model which is self-evidently exhausted and has now reached a stage where it is itself generating crises, causing hardship to thousands and hundreds of thousands of people. If one attempts to save this already obsolete model at any cost, of one stubbornly defends a system based on greed and devoid of any social note worthy of mention, the result can be only one: social unrest harbouring the potential to erupt into social insurgence on a global scale.”
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.