Sixty-seven years ago, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, a new world was born, which after a world war and a cold war is now fully matured: current newscasts tell us or imply that:
a) unemployed American youth end up either in jail or in the military;
b) in future the military will rely ever less on humans and more on drones and droids;
c) increasingly, covert operations will rule the day, fomenting revolts mainly in the Middle East oil pit so that we can invade ‘to save lives’ and replace old dictators with new ones;
d) Europe will gradually become a Russian sphere of influence via oil and gas pipelines;
e) Islam will gradually replace Christianity as the dominant religion in Europe,
f) as brown people from the southern hemisphere gradually outnumber whites;
g) India and China will duke it out in the Asian Pacific seas,
h) as Latin American countries follow the lead of Ecuador and Bolivia, writing constitutions that reflect 21st century human and planetary rights.
i) The United States will continue to disregard international legal and human rights standards as well as the threat of catastrophic global warming in an increasingly futile effort to spread its domina-tion across Africa and the Middle East.
The pursuit of material goods goes hand in hand with violence and sexual vulgarity. Although class antagonisms will never disappear, the fault lines of the twenty-first century will be less ideological and more cultural. Russia and China will continue to support a return to pre-counter-cultural morality, making common cause with Islam in that respect. (It is not clear whether India will ultimately do likewise, but this seems unlikely.)
The crisis in Egypt is largely a cultural one, in which a modernizing Islam faces opposition from a public ‘liberated’ from religious dogma but in thrall to the absolutism of ‘freedom’ epitomized by a First Amendment definition of free speech. That freedom is contradicted by ever the increasing surveillance of our telephone and cyber conversations, adding another dimension to 21st century struggles: between a world in which the haves use hierarchical organization and technology to thwart aspirations for decentralization and solidarity among all living entities, including the planet.