By William Markiewicz

The media that, supposedly, is operated by intelligent people, feed us constantly with terms that originated at least a century ago: "Empire, alliances, spheres of influence, interests"... Only the 19th Century "Holy Alliance" has changed its name to a more modern sounding "Nato."

Public opinion, which is composed at least partly of intelligent people, accepts those terms without asking: What empires, alliances for what, spheres of influence for what, what interests?

We constantly read and hear, for instance, that "Russia is struggling to maintain its sphere of influence." Again, influence on what? Today everybody buys and sells and travels at whim since distance and time aren't major factors. The empty words of 'alliances', 'interests', 'spheres of influence' imprison the collective mind like a drug. Those terms made sense in the past when certain powers possessed obvious strategic advantages over others, because communication was limited by time and space. When the planet was big, contacts slow and dangerous, the struggle for strategic routes was essential. Today's ultra-speedy communication, physical and intellectual, made the planet shrink. Now, as everybody is everybody's neighbour, a neighbourhood economy becomes logical, the exchange of people, goods, ideas -- self-evident. The Marshall Plan opened eyes to the fact that spreading global economic development stops excessive immigration of the underprivileged toward more promising shores.

Now, the self-idolatry of the too-powerful has caused our future to be buried under irrational adoration of past values. The Neo-Vulcans' world has become a video-game for adults where artificially created terrorist monsters are killed, our values are protected and a single superpower accumulates the riches. The US, like everybody, could have as much oil as they need without dominating, killing and dying, without practicing "great politics" like squeezing Russia with a steel belt.

To be fair, let's admit that nothing is really new. The Stalinist press wrote: 'When Stalin arises in the morning, the sun pales.' How could Communist materialism have 'evolved' into pagan idolatry? OK, fear could be a factor, but not the only one. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to concentrate on things one doesn't hold particularly dear. 'Political animals' are just not political enough to concentrate on collective issues no matter how important they may be, and, naturally, they allow themselves to be manipulated. The intellectual opposition can make ineffective anti-Bush movies, like Charlie Chaplin made "The Dictator." The righteous without power, as always, are just 'preaching in the desert.'

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