Approaching 2000: A Window on Today's World

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Approaching 2000

A Window on Today's World

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After the collapse of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the fall of the communist bloc in Eastern Europe, some politicians went so far as to proclaim "a new world order" in celebration of the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. After all, Russia itself had renounced communism and joined the world of democracy and entrepreneurship.

According to Francis Fukuyama, this was "the end of history" in the sense that the modern era was about to enter a time of multiple positive possibilities. The situation was supposed to be "win-win." Old commercial and political disputing would soon fade into oblivion. But this is not what happened.

Crises swiftly returned. Events in the Persian Gulf soon prompted America and her allies to go to war. The breakup of the former Yugoslavia brought a descent into ethnic anarchy, with the death of many innocent civilians: the terrible fruits of guerrilla warfare among the Balkan nations. Trouble spots plagued Africa and the Middle East.

Current events are far from encouraging. The American presidency is in crisis amid the worst scandal ever to hit the federal government. The Russian economic and political climate continues to worsen. Stock markets are marked by insecurity and instability, fluctuating wildly in the wake of political and economic earthquakes as we approach 2000.

Political boundaries are redrawn as nations balkanize. Yet a new global economy and a burgeoning Internet align people across oceans and continents, integrating financial systems and effectively dismantling territorial frontiers.

On the down side of the new developments, and in the wake of rapid communications, it should not be surprising that big problems can spread around the world with incredible speed. Time magazine observed that "Russian flu can spread," meaning that the country's deep troubles could rapidly engulf other nations. Russia's ailments did spread to a degree, sending other stock markets plunging within hours. The economic crisis in Japan is causing serious unemployment in faraway Britain. And so it goes.

World leaders consistently ignore the basic biblical principle of cause and effect in the interest of temporary gains-much to the peril of mankind.