Every once in a great while, someone in the globalist camp makes a spectacular admission against interest, to the effect that there really is — as patriotic organizations like The John Birch Society have long maintained — a plot to set up world government and to subordinate to it the sovereignty of all independent nations, including the United States.
In the 1960s, it was Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley’s revelations about a secret international organization laying plans for world federalism — first in his magnum opus Tragedy and Hope, and later in a slimmer and more focused tome The Anglo-American Establishment — that galvanized American patriots to warn against a conspiracy to erect a world government. In 1974, Columbia University professor Richard Gardner, eventual U.S. ambassador to Italy and Spain and member of the Trilateral Commission, observed in a famous article in Foreign Affairs, “The Hard Road to World Order,” that world government could best be created piecemeal, via an “end run around national sovereignty” that would look to casual observers like a “booming, buzzing confusion” but would succeed far better than an “old-fashioned frontal assault.”
In general, though, such candid admissions have been hard to come by, mostly because those who favor some form of world government fear arousing the wrath of the American people. World government, after all, would amount to a total disavowal of the Declaration of Independence, and would lead in the long run not to some kind of enlightened global federal republic, but to world socialism and the extinction of liberty.
Nevertheless, Salon’s Matt Stoller apparently feels that the 20th-century drive to create world government — obvious in hindsight — is now far enough in the rearview mirror, and the institutions that stemmed from it enough of a fait accompli, to be worthy of open discussion in one of the Web’s most influential magazines. Stoller, be it noted, is an accomplished left-wing journalist and former senior policy advisor for prominent Democrat congressman Alan Grayson. Stoller has written for Politico and Reuters, in addition to Salon, and has been a writer and consultant for the show “Brand X with Russell Brand,” featuring the quirky British comedian.
In a September 20 Salon article entitled “Elites’ Strange Plot to Take Over the World,” Stoller spelled out much of what The John Birch Society and other patriot groups have been ridiculed for believing for decades. Writing of events that have been “written out of liberal historical memory,” Stoller introduces Salon readers to Clarence Streit, a Rhodes Scholar-turned elite journalist who, in 1939, published an influential but now scarcely-remembered tome, Union Now: A Proposal for an Atlantic Federal Union of the Free. In his book, Streit proposed to federate the United States, Canada, the “freedom-loving” nations of Europe, and other English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand under an international government designed along the lines of the U.S. government. As other countries adopted the ways of freedom, they would be invited to join, leading eventually to a federal world government — American republicanism on a global scale, as it were.
Union Now became the founding text of a movement known as Atlanticism — the notion that North America and Western Europe ought to be united under a trans-Atlantic government — and soon attracted the support of most North American and Western European political elites. “Nearly every presidential candidate from the 1950s to the 1970s supported it, as did hundreds of legislators in the U.S. and Western Europe,” Stoller claims, since “the context of first World War II, and then the Cold War, made such a proposal sound reasonable, even inevitable.” Indeed, out of the chaos of World War II a number of new international organizations and institutions were created which persist, in some form, to this day: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the dollar as the world’s international currency, the United Nations, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, which was the predecessor to the World Trade Organization), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
According to Stoller, NATO was in many respects the cornerstone organization, upon which the rest of the envisaged transatlantic government could eventually be built. The rise of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc provided a convenient pretext; the Atlantic Union was the only possible way to protect the West from Communism:
Faced with a Soviet threat, it seemed only natural to think that the next step after all of this institution-building was an Atlantic 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.
While more or less overt attempts to set up an Atlantic Union faded after the Cold War reached a crescendo in the ’70s and early ’80s, Stoller notes with satisfaction that most of the architecture of international agreements, and the assumptions that guide modern foreign policy, were wholly shaped by Cold War-era Atlanticism:
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.
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.
In other words, thanks to precedents set during the Cold War, we have effectively lost sovereignty in matters of trade and finance, and global elites continue to work to solidify the one world economic and financial order, as a prelude to world government in other sectors.
Although Stoller may be unaware of it, the notion of Atlanticism, or a limited global federation of “freedom loving peoples” as a prelude to more comprehensive world government, was certainly not original to Clarence Streit. Thanks to the work of Quigley, we know that the “Round Table” groups set up at the beginning of the 20th century in England and the United States worked for precisely such a goal. One of their most influential members, eccentric British billionaire Cecil Rhodes, was particularly desirous of such an outcome, and founded — among other things — the Rhodes Scholarship program as a way of identifying potential elite players to enlist in the effort.
Streit, as we have seen, was a Rhodes Scholar; he was also involved in the Versailles peace negotiations after World War I that involved many other early globalists like Walter Lippman and Edward M. House. It is unclear to what extent Streit was “in the know” as far as the ultimate designs of 20th century globalist insiders, but there is no question that the agenda laid out in Union Now — and warned about by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch and other discerning patriots for decades — was the brainchild of far more powerful men than he.
Like Carroll Quigley, Stoller cannot resist taking a few jabs at the American “right wing” who criticized the Atlanticists’ program. Echoing similar claims in Tragedy and Hope, Stoller chides American patriots for their supposedly reflexive and unenlightened anti-Communism:
The far right hated this idea. Gunthler Klincke of the Liberty Lobby called it a scheme for a socialist world government, and Myra Hacker of a group called the “American Coalition of Patriotic Societies,” said proponents of this plan “distrust and despise the American citizen” and that it was a plan for “national suicide.” Though the proposal for Atlantic Union has been written out of liberal historical memory, there are echoes of this episode in right-wing rhetoric about One World Government. The irony of this is that, as liberals gently chuckle at right-wing paranoia about what they perceive as an imagined plot to create a world government, it is the conservatives who have a more accurate read on history. There was a serious plan to get rid of American sovereignty in favor of a globalist movement, and the various institutions the right wing hates — the IMF, the World Bank, the U.N. — were seen as stepping stones to it. Where the right wing was wrong is in thinking that this plot for a global government was also a communist plot; it wasn’t, it was motivated by anti-communism. The proponents of the Atlantic Union in fact thought that this was the only way to defeat the USSR.
So, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we still have NATO, and the rest of the institutions created under the convenient pretext of anti-Communism are still going strong under sundry new justifications. NATO currently oversees the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan and has enlisted many of the former Eastern Bloc nations. North America and Europe have been separately corralled into regional governments masquerading as free trade zones, and efforts to further integrate NAFTA with the European Union continue unabated.
It is important to understand that the drive for global government was not “motivated” by anti-Communism (or by any other –ism, for that matter); rather, it used anti-Communism as a pretext. The ultimate motivation behind the program was and remains greater and greater power, pure and simple — power for a small cadre of vain, self-serving elites who are convinced they can abolish all the ills of this fallen world if only they can wrest enough power from the wretched and ignorant masses to achieve their objectives.
The threat of global government is as dire as ever. There is nothing benign about the generations-long project to abolish national sovereignty and replace it with some kind of planetary principate, but don’t expect the Matt Stollers of the world to acknowledge that.