Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Perspective is everything when it comes to differentiating the crucial difference between two ideas. The president of the United States of America is NOT an international statesman; neither is Anthony Blair, or any other country's leader for that matter.

They cannot be!

These men, or women, have been chosen by indiviual countries to be their leaders. Thus, it is asinine to attribute international status to any of them. They cannot effect change in some far flung corner of the globe except: (a): that part of the globe is the host contry's possession -i.e.: a territory, a protectorate or just a plain extensions; embassies and miltary bases, and (b): out of the barrel of a gun, which follows threats, cohersions and bribes.

Other than those two methods, the leader of one country cannot mingle in the affairs of another. Hence: they are NOT international people. They may be known internationally but other than their reputation, what are they good for?

I grew up in a small, little, tiny Caribbean island that is less that 250 sq. miles or sq. kilometers, for what it is worth. My reference for viewing the world therefore came from my education, primarily Geography, History and to a lesser extent, Religion. Geography put the other countries of the world in a spacial context. History told me how they treated each other, but more importantly, how these countries treated the people that lived within their borders and Religion taught me how tolerant these countries were.

It is in the best interest of the President of the United States to do what is best for the United States. Ditto for France, Germany, England ad infinitum.

If you were born in South Dakota, then that is your reference for the world. As far as your eye can see, all you can see is America. It is your world. You grow up surrounded by all things American, and therefore there is no need to learn about other parts of the world; because it cannot not reach out and touch you. In may ways, you are insulated.

I currently live in the Great Lakes Region and this idea of being international has been vexing me of lately. We ascribe the word (meaning) to everything in hope of breaking the doldrums. There is the Detroit Autoshow, some say it is truly international. Ford has its headquarters around here but now its referred to as their World Headquarters. General Motors is doing the same but Chrysler has gone one step further and is now known as DaimlerChrysler. Yet these companies, though they may have an international presence, they still have "North American Divisions." Not even Microsoft, SONY or Toyota is immune from this..., naming phenomenon.

There is no such thing as international in that context. There is no international leader: the closest would be the United Nations and that falls woefully short. There are no such thing as an international company: They may be known internationally but they are NOT international. In the end, just like the leaders of their respective countries, these companies do what is best for them.

Perhaps, it is best to start using the word 'global' but that brings a whole new feeling with it: sort of menacing and scary...: "No Way Out."


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