United Nations as a Potemkin Institution Faced with Potemkin Crises?


Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Potential of AI to Enable a Transformative Dynamic through Meta-Discourse


As noted previously, the current global campaign of sanctions against Russia curiously recalls the psychosurgical procedure of lobotomy — much favoured in the USA and the UK subsequent to World War II during the Cold War period (Severing the Russian Hemisphere as Problematic Global Lobotomy? 2022). Later versions of that document were amended to include sections presented separately here for convenience (and partially reordered and extended) to highlight the challenge of institutional façades and the potential role of artificial intelligence. The introductory arguments of the earlier document can therefore be understood as a context for those developed here — which could well have been presented as an annex to that document.

This amendment was triggered by the voting procedure and acclaimed results condemning Russia in the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly (2 March 2022). The question raised here is whether the non-secret ballot of the General Assembly renders such resolutions vulnerable to a high degree of coercion and intimidation, tantamount to vote-buying. Any perception by “We the Peoples” that this is the case transforms the General Assembly into a façade — and therefore effectively a “Potemkin institution”. Suspicion is potentially all the greater if the logistics of the emergency require the use of electronic voting with its own vulnerability to abuse. Commentary on the resolution makes no reference to these issues and may be seen deliberately to avoid any reference to them.

In a period in which much is made of a global knowledge-based civilization, and the implied emergence of an AI-enhanced global brain, the relevance of lobotomy as a means of “severing connections” in the global brain merits exploration. This is especially the case when there is no lack of commentary on the “mental disorders” from which civilization currently functions (Memetic and Information Diseases in a Knowledge Society: speculations towards the development of cures and preventive measures, 2008; Comprehensive Pattern of Psychosocial Diseases and the Eases they Imply, 2015). As previously argued, this concern is notably evoked with respect to the leadership of society’s institutions (Psychosocial pathology of leadership — and of electorates?)

There is no lack of reference to fake news, misinformation and propaganda — all to be understood as characteristic of façades as explored here. Much advertising can be seen in this light, however justified as puffery (Varieties of Fake News and Misrepresentation, 2019).  The particular concern here is the manner in which institutions purportedly designed to respond to crises can be seen to function as façades in their own right — as with the United Nations.

Crises themselves then acquire characteristic of façades, if only in the eyes of some, or for the purposes of disinformation:

However it may be deprecated as misinformation, this questionable perspective is relevant to the war on terror, to climate change and to the current pandemic — as well as to other crises that readily fall “under the radar” of political discourse and “off the table” of strategic priorities. Potentially most controversial is the manner in which conventional strategies — business as usual — is called into question when framed by  “Potemkin”:

Hence the exploration here of “Potemkin institutions” faced with “Potemkin crises” — ironically exacerbated by the mediating role of Facebook with the facile facilities of its “facial” emphasis. The argument concludes with the proposal that pretending pretence may indeed prove to be a viable option.

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