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2003; Revised Jan 2004

Globalization is happening whether we like it or not. Jet travel, on-the-spot television coverage, satellite phones, and the Internet are "shrinking" the world.

Commercial interests and fundamentalists seem to have realized how to employ these features to advantage almost before the rest of us woke up.

The finest feature of globalization we see is the potential for improved opportunities of people from different cultures to get to know one another and enjoy the fruits of their collective labor and technologies. Of course, globalization can be a double-edged sword, an agent for exploitation or bonding.

Our concern here is what globalization means to the prospects for peace. And there it is a mixed bag.

Globalization has led to a military empire where the United States has numerous military bases around the world that can cover any time zone. This can be good or not so good--depending on the side you are on.

Globalization has given almost anyone anywhere access to the Internet--to be used or misused as the case may be.

Globalization has meant enhanced awareness of cultural disparities--now shown to be in sharp relief.

Globalization has enabled rich corporations to exploit cheap labor and abuse the environment.

Globalization has aided the slave trade.

Globalization has given the few (who know how to employ the rules) the power of the many--to influence, petition, spam, or hack contemporaries.

Globalization has allowed Developed Countries to play the bully role--to Alienate and Humiliate. Both of these encourage Fundamentalism in support of terrorism, features especially true of America and Israel.

Globalization has allowed rich nations to widen the Economic Gap between themselves and and the poor people of the world--giving terrorists both excuse and points to attack.

Globalization has shrunk the world--desert oases have opportunities to prosper or fail as never before.

Globalization has inevitably brought cultures and generations into conflict. The culture of Islam seems stuck in the 13th Century--repressive societies, high unemployment, little opportunity for young people, no opportunity for women. Islam is also backward in governance; its conservatism lost the march by other cultures that had successfully thrown off the dictatorship of blind faith in governance and the secular sector.

There are many pros and cons. One thing for sure, globalization is here to stay. Now in its seventh century, it has picked up steam in recent decades.

Telecommunications, the Internet, and high speed travel add up to progress, new problems and new freedoms. A new set of international rules seem required if humankind is to live up to the moral standards that set Homo sapiens apart.


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