United Nations as a Potemkin Institution Faced with Potemkin Crises?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 21 Mar 2022
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:
- P. Gosselin: Fake Crisis: Experts Conclude In New Book “Today’s Climate Change Neither Dramatic Nor Unprecedented”, NoTricksZone, 25. April 2021)
- Vernon Coleman: The Next Fake ‘Crisis’ Has Been Planned, (20 November 2020)
- Marty Jacobsen: Fake Crises desensitizes all of us from the real issues affecting us (17 February 2014)
- Stephanie Sarkis: Trump And Other Gaslighters/Narcissists Create Crises And Then Act Like They Solved Them (Forbes, 9 June 2019)
- Miklos Sebök: The Politics of Manufactured Crisis (Intersections, 5, 2019, 3)
- Ryan Cooper: Fake crises are distracting us from really serious ones (The Washington Post, 17 October 2013)
- Ed Driscoll: The Potemkin Leader Meets His Potemkin Crisis (PJ Media, 19 June 2010)
- Andrew Lichterman: Potemkin Missile Crisis (DisarmamentActivist.org, 2 July 2006)
- Jamie McIntyre: Fake Pandemic, Fake Crises Actors, Fake Death Tally, Fake Cases but Real Deadly Experimental Drugs (Sunshine Coast National Review, 28 August 2021)
- Timothy P. Buchanan: Real Problems versus Fake Crises
- Real Versus Fake Crises: concealing the risk of an all out nuclear war (Global Rights, September 2010)
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”:
- Lance Roberts: Potemkin Economy: costs and consequences (Investing, 4 February 2022)
- Brett Stevens: The Potemkin Economy (Amerika, 31 December 2015)
- Alan Farago: The Potemkin Village Economy (CounterPunch, 26 February 2010)
- Max Schulz: California’s Potemkin Environmentalism (City Journal, Spring 2008)
- John Shade: COP21: Another Meeting of the Potemkin Society for Climate Agitation? (Climate Scepticism, 29 November 2015
- Science and Potemkin Science (The Inquisition of Climate Science, 2011)
- Kurt Schuler and George A. Selgin: Replacing Potemkin Capitalism (Policy Analysis, 7 June 1999)
- G. Pascal Zachary: Potemkin Capitalism (Mother Jines, January/February 1999)
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.
Tags: Artificial Intelligence AI, Potemkin Capitalism, Russia, Sanctions, USA, Ukraine, United Nations
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: