Peter C. Cavelti

The United Nations

We revisit the U.N. Charter and review what happened to an institutional concept that once inspired. We examine the U.S. Security Council’s agenda of the past 25 years and conclude that if the world experiences occasional periods of stability, it’s not because the idealism enshrined in the UN’s guiding principles got us there, but because an impasse between the permanent Security Council members or mutual fear between them held everyone in check. We offer some remedies that might improve the situation.

Esthetics Over Ethics

The duplicity of the anti-American lobby is as disturbing as America’s habit to serve up lies and hoist the banner of morality when its intention is to coerce and oppress. What’s really disturbing is that it works. Propaganda is the mainstay of political success in America. And, as recent evidence shows, in the world.

The Iraq War

The concept of “pre-emptive strike” marks the beginning of an openly Imperialistic America. Depending on how the doctrine is applied, it may also mark then end of moral leadership and the dawn of an era in which corporate interests dominate the militarily and economically most powerful nation. 20th century type democracy may be on its way out; oligarchy might be its logical successor. In this four-part essay, we explore the set-up to the Iraq War, the new U.S. doctrines that resulted from the confrontation, and how they will change our lives.

Government and Big Business

Recent surveys suggest that the public’s faith in corporations is even lower than that in government. We discuss why it’s not capitalism that is the problem, but a failure of governance, both within corporate constructs and the authorities. We also identify other culprits: merger mania and the wholesale destruction of small business, and lobbyism, which is rapidly leading to corporate ownership of the political class.

Observations on Europe

Why is it that Europe keeps marginalizing itself? We look at the central reasons, including the continent’s persistent lack of vision, which is complicated by cultural complexity and a massive bureaucracy.

America the Moralizer

America’s habit of moralizing has become a constant irritant to the rest of the world. How far more instructive it would be to foreigners if they heard about America’s failings and the nation’s ability to overcome them: instead of criticizing Tiananmen Square, why not explain domestic crimes, such as Kent State or McCarthyism and how they shocked Americans into positive change?

9/11/2001

A transcript of a speech given to an international audience in Aspen, Colorado—not long after one of America’s most traumatic days.

A New War

We examine the War on Terrorism in all its implications: political, cultural and how it will affect our personal liberties. Is the U.S. doomed? We doubt it, but wonder what kind of America will emerge from the current engagement.

They’re at it again, but this time with far greater coordination than ever before. Governments around the world are determined to stamp out the last shreds of privacy. Moreover, they’re increasingly acting in concert, forging treaties and sharing information. Some initiatives target the few remaining ways of holding cash, others the internet. Let’s hope they fail.

Japan’s Loss, China’s Gain

China spends with the intent to transform itself; Japan spends so it can resist change. A shift in existing trans-Pacific ties is ahead and how things play out is largely up to corporate America.
They’re at it again, but this time with far greater coordination than ever before. Governments around the world are determined to stamp out the last shreds of privacy. Moreover, they’re increasingly acting in concert, forging treaties and sharing information. Some initiatives target the few remaining ways of holding cash, others the internet. Let’s hope they fail.

Where are Corporate Ethics?

What is truth and what constitutes a lie changes from culture to culture. Languages like Russian, Japanese and Chinese, dozens of words exist for what we simply call “a lie”. Some lies are perfectly tolerated, others are justifiable under certain circumstances, while yet others breach morality. Today, we have another culture that provides a study material: the corporate one. As it turns out, lying as we once understood it is no longer offensive.

All About Bhutan

A travelogue focusing on the remote and pristine Himalayan Kingdom. Is its economic and political system really arranged around the idea of a Gross Happiness Product, as the New York Times recently reported? The situation is considerably more complex, reports Peter Cavelti after having visited both the country’s capital and trekking through its largely unexplored North East.