The Syrian conflict has made many Americans wary of their country being the world's policeman. If the USA is not to remain the policeman of the world, then who should take on this role? A true world government with its own enforcement machinery should be given the job says Dada Vedaprajinananda.

 By Dada Vedaprajinananda 

With the United States poised to launch a military strike in Syria, many Americans have finally started to say “we are tired of being the world’s policeman.” People, even in the U.S., are now finally questioning the wisdom and legitimacy of America’s numerous military interventions around the world in the name of “making the world safe for democracy.”

The U.S.A has not been an impartial actor on the world stage. Its numerous military interventions in Latin America, the Middle East and elsewhere over the past 150 years have been motivated in large part by self-interest and not by humanitarian concerns.  So, a big question that now faces humanity is who should police the world.  Who should make sure that basic human rights are not trampled upon and that the norms of civilized human behavior are upheld?

In the 20th Century, first the League of Nations and then the United Nations were put forward as answers to this question, but the League of Nations failed to prevent the carnage of World War II and the UN has not fared much better in providing security for vulnerable populations around the world.

In my opinion, the answer to this problem is to establish a true system of global governance.  In more simple language, we need a proper world government with an effective enforcement mechanism.  Most people would probably agree that if we did not have any police force or government locally and nationally we would have chaos, yet we tolerate anarchy on the planetary level.

The United Nations is flawed structurally because it gave permanent veto power to a few powerful countries right from the start and never modified this structure. But more importantly, the countries that came together to form the UN never really wanted to enter into a system that would compromise their individual sovereignty.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too” goes an old expression. Leaders of individual countries say that they want peace and security for all but they are not willing to make any sacrifice to make this happen.  In fact, these national leaders are and always will be the biggest obstacles to world government because within a large framework their own positions would become less important.

What would an effective world government look like? The Indian thinker P.R. Sarkar sketched it out nicely in his book Problems of the Day.  He described a system of government with two houses.  The lower house would be composed of representatives from various parts of the world elected on the basis of population, while in the upper house countries, large or small, would have equal representation. The lower house would propose legislation but the upper house would have the power of approving or rejecting legislation originating from the lower house.

Sarkar also proposed a gradual movement towards world government.  In the first phase the global body would frame legislation and the national governments would be entrusted with administration only.  In a later phase, the global body would have full legislative and administrative authority throughout the world. The world body would have its own militia and would make sure that human rights were protected throughout the world.  In the final phase there would be no more national armies.

This may sound futuristic, utopian, impractical, crazy and even scary to some.  But imagine a world in which the $1.75 trillion which is now spent collectively by all the world governments on armaments would be spent for constructive public and humanitarian projects. Imagine a world where there are no superpowers.  Imagine a world where minorities do not have to worry about harassment and persecution. Imagine a world without major wars.

While discussing what to do about Syria we should also keep our eyes on the long-run and do whatever we can to move towards a world governmental system which is every bit as advanced as the technology which we have eagerly accepted as part of our lives.