By John Ball.
There is a common misconception in politics that if we all talked a little more and tried to get along, humanity could be improved or even perfected and the world would become cooperative and peaceful.
The reality is, however, that there are rivalries and wars, so the best we can do is try to contain the chaos, or turn it to our advantage.
In the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars the big four European powers - Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria - had no intention of allowing a single nation to follow the French example and make a bid for continental supremacy.
Their diplomats met frequently to keep an eye on the political landscape and on each other.
Their goals were conservative restoration, the identification of nascent revolutionary murmurings and the preservation of their influence.
Meanwhile evangelical Christians dreamt up peace movements, others advocated free market capitalism, still others Marxism or anarchism.
Realist have always outnumbered idealists and eventually institutions such as the United Nations emerged.
Despite all the noble intentions of the UN it stood little chance of controlling the strategic agendas of the world's mightiest nations. The USA, along with Britain and the Soviet Union, was very keen on the UN at is inception.
All three saw the organisation as a tool for sustaining and developing post Second World War dominance.
When things went the USA's way its support for the UN mushroomed.
That support tended to wither when things went awry. There was much argument about the rapid expansion of member states such as Brazil or India.
Alliances came and went but still the old problems of rivalries, distrust and wars continued.
In the 1960s and '70s the USA complained endlessly about the USSR exploiting its veto at the UN, while at the same time the USA had no qualms about exercising its veto on behalf of Israel, which it used 17 times between 1970 and 1985.
The hypocrisy of the major powers was clear for all to see: they all sang from the same UN hymn sheet while following their own agendas and bending rules when it suited them.
There is no easy way to prevent powerful nation states from pursuing their own agendas.
Consequently a homogeneous and cohesive international political system of control, like the UN, will always be an idealist's nightmare.
Belief in international institutions is waning but there are still a large number of congenital idiots in positions of power who believe globalization is the answer.
We must tirelessly work to stop the spread of Global Greed Inc through the daydream of globalization and a New World Order, or pay the ultimate price of a Third World War or perhaps something worse as a result.
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