Jim Moore's idea - There is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation. Instead, it is a new form of international player, constituted by the "will of the people" in a global social movement. The beautiful but deeply agitated face of this second superpower is the worldwide peace campaign, but the body of the movement is made up of millions of people concerned with a broad agenda that includes social development, environmentalism, health, and human rights.
How does the second superpower take action? Not from the top, but from the bottom. That is, it is the strength of the US government that it can centrally collect taxes, and then spend, for example, $1.2 billion on 1,200 cruise missiles in the first day of the war against Iraq. By contrast, it is the strength of the second superpower that it could mobilize hundreds of small groups of activists to shut down city centers across the United States on that same first day of the war.
I'm not sure this group would really agree on that much.
Jim then follows up saying Charlie Neeson's idea is to run a candidate for President of the United States who is supported by the worldwide community of web-enabled activists. Essentially this person would be a second superpower candidate for the key power role in the first superpower... Charlie's interesting and slightly paradoxical idea is to take this group and focus their activities on taking over the most prominent power position in the first superpower. Of course it is unlikely to "work" in the sense of winning the election, but it would certainly raise interesting issues.
I think this is a really bad idea.
I don't think that Moore is describing it accurately. To me, a successful second superpower by routing around the BigWorld, by addressing the situations where people don't agree on much, with better-engineered collective dialogue and action. Ob Link to a great discussion on the whole thing: http://joi.ito.com/archives/2003/04/01/the_second_superpower_james_moore.html --JohnAbbe
Patrick Tyler, New York Times article Feb 17: "...the huge anti-war demonstrations around the world this weekend are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion."
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