Continued from “The Beautiful Idea of OneWorld”
Imagine if the United States were 50 sovereign independent nations and not the politically one America we know of! Imagine Europe today without the Union. What emerges is total chaos. In political language, we may call it anarchy. Perhaps by now, we would have been living with a lot of Berlin walls and Mexico Walls and architecture would have been a sight to behold from Moon! Elon Musk would be happy creating ‘self-sustaining, permanent, human settlements’ and daily voyages for the visual delight!
United power of 50 states makes America great. Let us go down the memory lane, the era of Cold War. What a behemoth USSR was before its amazing collapse into fifteen republics! The world remained polarized between two major camps for nearly half a century and we commonly started calling it balance of power. There were events and moments, when both the factions felt living on the edge. At the same time, the combined size of each group, both geographically and militarily, was one great reason to retain that balance and keep the war restricted to economic model preference.
Politics aside, despite having adopted an economic model which confined the Soviet bloc into solitary loneliness; Stalin and successors could effectively grow militarily and industrially to counter US bickering. Perhaps at the cost of its citizens, huge amount of money was simultaneously being lavishly spent worldwide for communist campaign to go on. Soviets were willing to pay the high cost of rivalry involved in projecting socialists as the sole guardians and well-wishers of poor third world, read Mankind. All this was possible, courtesy size of control over natural resources.
I distinctly remember my college days, 1984-87. Soviet propaganda machinery was at top of the world. Gorbachev’s visit to India had turned the national capital into red citadel with its flags beautifully decorating important junctions. We bought best of Chekhov and Pushkin books, hard bound editions printed on quality white paper, for Rs. 10 and 25 from streets of CP and AIFACs. Such were the token prices being charged on books and communist merchandise. Truly at 10% of cost! Russians called it Druzhba (friendship). It can best be compared with free distribution of the Holy Bible by US backed missionaries!
Out of context: Gorbachev had the sense to recognize the inherent weaknesses in communist economy. He introduced “Glasnost” to introduce reforms (opening economy) and “Perestroika” for reconstruction of political system. He didn’t want to retain an unnecessary empire and the worldwide campaign on the money of mainstream Russians and keep the Bolsheviks in poverty and depravity. Eventually, Gorbachev only presided over the incredibly non-violent disintegration of USSR in 1991, giving birth to 15 independent nations. End of communist rule and end of Cold War.
With world becoming Unipolar, threat of another world war is all but over for all times to come. Practically world war now means, the non-aligned and the aligned on one side dictating terms of peace; and a stupid ruler of a particular nation on the other. One against hundred is destined to perish in a conflict of ego. One can defy sensibility and play victim only to a limit.
The primary reason to divide the world into countries is based on the negative perception of human nature and the need to have administrative and jurisdictional control over an animal called Man. However, prevalence of unprecedented peace has thrown unlimited opportunities for human civilization to grow and prosper. With rule of law in place, even in tribes and states not having adopted democracy, today, incidents of violence are seen more in nature of crime rather than planned transgression. Growing reliance and faith in justice system gives immense hope for more conflicts to resolve amicably.
Basic argument in favour of smaller nations is, nobody wants to compromise nationalist sentiments, ethnic culture or become a minority in a super state. This is very childish argument. Treasuring diversity is the founding principle of every sizable country. Respect for pluralism is growing in democracies across the world. Moreover, the concerns stand redressed as even the super state would provide for administrative and jurisdictional controls, geographical distinctions or protections in different context specific forms. So long as fear exists in societies, guards would be required despite locks on doors. Philosophy is great for a grand vision, but psychology gives understanding and diagnosis for mental cure.
We have only one identity, that we all are human beings. Most essential aim of education is to impart this teaching that each human being needs to treat every other like a human being. Stress on this aspect is now global. As the world gradually shifts from scarcity to abundance, positive features of human nature are clearly on the ascendance.
India again is a classic case to emulate. Union of India exercises control through a multi-layered federal structure. In this arrangement, a district is the major geographic area identified with a major language, natural topography, population, ethnic identity, industry, or some logical parameter. For example, Punjab has 22 districts while Uttar Pradesh has 75. In all, there are 707 districts in India presently. In 1971, there were just 356 districts. By 2001, the number increased to 640. The reason to keep dividing very large districts has been not only better jurisdiction and administrative control over ballooning population, but also to meet local aspirations, both of identity as well as economic. Within this system, there are sub-divisions called Tehsils & Talukas; and blocks down to Gram Sabha or Panchayat; and also there exist partly autonomous regions. There are 22 major languages with 13 in different scripts and more dialects than the number of districts. Nowhere else on earth, this kind of diversity exists. This structure is perfect for the world as it provides scope for unlimited modifications to suit most demands while still staying as one large country.
Let us talk Cricket! Second religion of India! IPL is a classic case study. The tournament is super-hit with worldwide following amongst cricket lovers. The franchise club has to represent a city or a state. For example, Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders or Chennai Super Kings. But each club has nationwide or perhaps international following. The regional xenophobia has got submerged into a unique oneness of Being Indian, a sort of loyalty-less-ness towards localism, finding rejoice in victory of any team and the sport. It is with this spirit of the game, OneWorld can move ahead.
A small nation offers very little free movement and the citizens stay confined in the ordained international border. International travel is costly for most individuals. A large nation can satiate the desires significantly to see the world and adore the divine creation in all its variety.
Last but not the least, a small nation can never be self-reliant. Although advent of technology, interdependence of nations, growing international trade, removal of trade barriers, presence of MNCs, ease of transportation etc. are a reality of the world, terms like self-reliance continue to be relevant in a divided world. Consider the case of a nation facing isolation due to wrongful sanctions, but smaller nations will never have inherent strength to meet all its needs. Of course, a dictator can force the subjects to live a sanctioned life in depravity.
Despite having grown disproportionately in population from 300 million to 1300 million in mere span of 70 years, India could emerge out of acute poverty, face wars, cope up with calamities, absorb multitudes of migrants, and also meet international obligations. This was made possible due to its natural size of being a sub-continent, South Asia.
Success of European Union has lit the candle to eliminate dark borders of prejudice prevailing in human civilization. It is a restricted experiment which is still going on. What started with plan of economic survival, it could logically bloom into political oneness in reasonable time. As nations realize, the cost of maintaining unnecessary national identities is very high, and the resources so wasted are better deployed for improving the quality of life of citizens, prudence will pave the way.
The world is all set to merge nations to form larger countries. Pitched with thoughtfulness, the idea can never be rejected by affected citizens of merging republics. Only leaderships need to behave more selflessly.