The Small Nation Manifesto

A small-state world would not only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems arising from power.

Leopold Kohr
Breakdown of Nations

We the small nations and aspiring small nations of the world find it increasingly difficult to escape the clutches of the largest, wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most environmentally irresponsible, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire in history which does little to support the vast majority of its citizens other than the superrich. Through corporate, state, and military might, political elites manipulate our lives. We have become mere pawns of a global system of dominance and deceit called technofascism in which transnational megacompanies and megastates control us through money, markets, technology, and media, sapping our political will, civil liberties, collective memory, traditional cultures, sustainability, and political independence, and as victims of affluenza, technomania, cybermania, megalomania, globalization, and imperialism, we hereby issue and proclaim this

Document of Grievances and Abuses

American Foreign Policy

The American Empire has no single integrated foreign policy, but rather at least four quite different foreign policies – one for the Middle East, one for China and Russia, one for Canada, Europe, and Japan, and one for Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Israel maintains almost vice-like control over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. It tells Washington what it wants and, give or take a bit of face-saving waffling, usually gets what it wants. It actively supported the war on terror against Muslims, two wars against Iraq, and the NATO attack on Libya. And since Israel is the “exceptional” nation in the Middle East only it is entitled to have nuclear weapons, and Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons project must be taken out.

On the other hand, the United States looks the other way whenever Israel engages in acts of terrorism, genocide, or ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians whose land was confiscated in 1948 in order to create the State of Israel.

Vetoing virtually every U.N. Security Council resolution that is critical of Israel, Washington’s unwavering position is, “Israel can do no wrong.”

As for China and Russia, one gets the impression that the Cold War never ended. U.S. foreign policy towards these two meganations is grounded in mistrust, demagoguery, tit-for-tat, and ignorance. With 80,000 American troops in Europe, 36,000 in Japan, and 30,000 in Korea the U.S. is relatively flexible and accommodating towards these allies as well as Canada.

However, American foreign policy towards Latin America, Asia, and Africa is based on pure neocolonialism. Its primary interest lies in preserving access to natural resources by propping up dictators, autocrats, or anyone else who might be in charge of countries in which Uncle Sam has an interest.
The United States, the world’s leading arms dealer, accounts for 41 percent of global military spending.

U.S. foreign policy is arguably immoral, often clandestine and illegal, and based on full spectrum dominance, military overstretch, might-makes-right, and the proposition that the rest of the world wants to be just like America. It is supported by 1.6 million troops stationed at over 1,000 bases in 153 countries, Special Operations strike forces (Seals, Delta Forces, Rangers, Green Berets) deployed in 120 countries, and a proliferation of pilotless drone aircraft world wide for reconnaissance and stealth attacks. And then there are the nasty little undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and (via Israel) Palestine, the threat of war with Iran based on our deliberate acts of provocation, and the endless war on terror largely aimed with racial overtones at Muslims and cheered on by Israel.

With its penchant for death, deception, and war, the White House can order the assassination of anyone, anywhere, anytime who shows up on the White House kill list –no questions asked, no trial, no due process – just pure law of the jungle.

Meganations

The driving force underlying global technofascism is the United States in collaboration with the ten other meganations which have populations in excess of 100 million. In descending order of population size they include China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, and Mexico. Fifty-nine percent of the people on the planet live in one of these eleven behemoths. Seventy-three percent reside in one of the twenty-five nations which have a population in excess of 50 million.

Although the world is totally dominated by meganations, 85 of the 242 countries listed in Wikipedia, not all of which are politically independent, have populations which are less than one million. Seventy-six are smaller than the tiny state of Vermont, which has a population of 625,000.

Arguably the United States, China, Russia, and India are among the most destructive nations on the planet. Their combined population is over 3 billion which represents 43 percent of the world’s population. Together they account for 53.35 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and they consume 36.38 percent of world consumption of petroleum.

Although China, Russia, India, and the other meganations are not nearly as wealthy, militaristic, violent, or imperialist as the United States, they too are too big, too powerful, too undemocratic, too environmentally irresponsible, too intrusive, too insular, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small local communities. They also share a ravenous appetite for the planet’s finite supply of natural resources. They are all unsustainable.

International Institutions

The United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and NATO are among the international megainstitutions which have evolved since World War II to deal with such issues as national security, peace keeping, international finance, economic development, and international trade. The track record of these highly bureaucratic, top-down behemoths, tightly controlled by their more affluent members, has not been impressive.

For example, how many wars has the U.N. prevented? Certainly none in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Palestine, or Africa. Global political problems are too complex for an assembly of 193 international political leaders to sort out in a public forum. This is even more true if China and the United States refuse to budge from their positions of national self-interest. Some have cynically suggested that the U.N. is little more than an extension of the U.S. State Department.

Nothing better illustrates the ineffectiveness of the United Nations than the fate of three U.N. sponsored conferences on climate change which took place in Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, and Cancun in 2010. No one was committed to anything, least of all the U.S., China, and Russia.

So long as the veto power of the U.N. Security Council remains tied to the past rather than current realities, the U.N. will remain impotent.

NATO is a Cold War anachronism which has been unable to find a new mission to justify its post Cold War existence. Thus far its primary aim seems to be to antagonize Russia by enticing former Soviet Republics into its ranks and thus surrounding the Russian Bear with what it perceives to be a hostile force. More recently NAO has diversified its portfolio to include the war on terror, e.g., its foray into Libya in 2011. NATO appears to be on the brink of invading Syria at the bequest of Turkey.

The Global Economy

To minimize public scrutiny, government regulation and the possibility of prosecution Wall Street created a Frankenstein-like monster – an ingenious, complex, international network of hedge funds, derivative contracts, credit default swaps, and exchange-traded funds all based on sophisticated mathematical models. The greed driven maze was supported by a network of interconnected financial institutions linking every country to every other country and everyone to everyone else. The U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Bank, IMF, World Bank, and WTO were all committed to transforming the world economy into a giant global growth machine regulated by an international gambling casino in which resource allocation decisions were driven by a high-speed, multinational, high-tech crap shoot.

So complex was this unwieldy monster that literally no one understood how the separate components fit together. So long as it worked and Wall Street and the rest of the world were enjoying unprecedented prosperity, no one complained. Indeed, Wall Street declared that it was good, very good.

But once the system was broken, as was the case in 2008, no one seemed to know how to fix it. Satellite communications, fiber optics, and the Internet made it possible to transform specific, manageable localized problems into global problems overnight. Leading academic economists were clueless as to what to do. The system was simply too big, too complex, too inflexible, and too conducive to mismanagement and fraud to survive in its original form.

The Federal Reserve began printing money as though it were going out of style. By monetizing the growing national debt and providing cheap credit to bail out banks, the Fed increased the money supply to the point where the future value of the dollar and the rate of inflation were highly uncertain. The contagion soon spread to Europe putting pressure on the EU economy and the euro.

The ill-conceived European monetary union is being kept afloat by duct tape, smoke-and-mirrors, and a series of lies, leaks, and rumors. Financial markets are pumped up by the expectations of the next meeting of the European Central Bank, the European finance ministers, or the German Chancellor with either her French or German counterpart. Each meeting holds out the hope of a silver bullet fix for the euro. But it has yet to happen.

When the euro was first introduced in 1999 it was supposed to unite Europe, promote federalism, and lead to collective economic prosperity. As the euro faces the real possibility of complete collapse, it seems to be pulling Europe further apart. An increasing number of political leaders in the EU are now calling for the break up of the $17 trillion political and economic union with a population of nearly 500 million.

The broken integrated global economy is uncontrollable, unstable, unsustainable, and unfixable. And it is likely to continue to meltdown until it reaches a state of disintegration which is sustainable, and that could take a very long time.

Sustainability

There is increasing evidence that global agriculture, forests, water supplies, fossil fuels, and other natural resources are no longer sustainable. And that climate change may very well be the most complex socio-economic, political, scientific problem ever confronted by the inhabitants of the planet earth.

Global problems such as overpopulation, poverty, famine, peak oil, environmental pollution, and climate change do not lend themselves to solutions negotiated by a couple of hundred heads of state at a forum sponsored by the U.N. or the World Bank. Rather solutions will require the constructive engagement of the perpetrators of these problems by their victims.

A Redress of Grievances

Dissolution of Meganations

We the small nations and aspiring small nations of the world refuse to continue condoning the plundering of the planet by the meganations in pursuit of natural resources, treasure, and markets to quench their insatiable appetite for consumer goods and their lust for political, economic, and military power. We have become weary of being jerked around by the arrogant American Empire and its fellow meganations who pretend to be interested in the environment, climate change, peak oil, poverty, and population growth but in reality are interested only in consuming more and more stuff.

We hereby respectfully call for the peaceful dissolution of countries such as the United States, China, Russia, India, and Brazil.

In the words of Leopold Kohr:

Instead of union, let us have disunion now. Instead of fusing the small, let us dismember the big. Instead of creating fewer and larger states, let us create more and smaller ones.

Small Nation Independence

We also call for the small nations of the world to begin withdrawing from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, and NATO. These international megainstitutions are morally, intellectually, politically, and spiritually bankrupt.

A small group of peaceful, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, egalitarian, ecofriendly nations might lead the way. Such a group might include Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

What these five European nations have in common is that they are tiny, very affluent, nonviolent, democratic, and socially responsible. They also have a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong sense of community. Although Denmark and Norway are members of NATO, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland are neutral. Once considered classical European democratic socialist states, the four Nordic states in the group have become much more market-oriented in recent years. Not only is Switzerland the wealthiest of the lot, but it is the most market-oriented country in the world, with the weakest central government, the most decentralized social welfare system, and a long tradition of direct democracy. What’s more, all of these countries work, and they work very well. Compared to the United States they have fewer big cities, less traffic congestion, less pollution, less poverty, less crime, less drug abuse, and fewer social welfare problems.

Three other small countries which might also join the party are environmentally friendly Costa Rica, which has no army, ecovillage pioneer Senegal, and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Since 1972 the king of Bhutan has been trying to make Gross National Happiness the national priority rather than Gross National Product. Although still a work-in-progress, policies instituted by the king are aimed at ensuring that prosperity is shared across society and that it is balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment, and maintaining a responsive government.

A group which has never lived up to its full potential, and which might contribute to the small nation discussion, is the so-called Non-Aligned Movement. Formed during the Cold War, the NAM views itself as independent of the U.S., Russia, and China. The 120-nation group represents nearly two-thirds of the independent nations of the world, most of whom are small and poor. However, the NAM does include five meganations – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

We propose that the Non-Aligned Movement become a major advocate for the small nations of the world.

Aspiring Small Nations

There are 250 self-determination, political independence movements throughout the world including nearly 100 in Europe, over 70 in Asia, 30 in North America, a dozen in Latin America, and 15 or 20 scattered across various islands spread around the globe.

The small nations of the world should do everything within their power to encourage these aspiring small nations in their quest for self-determination and recognition by the global community.

A Radical Community of Small Nations

Countries like Bhutan, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland must come to terms with the fact that they share nothing in common with meganations such as the United States, China, Russia, and India. They should not only stop trying to appease them, but they should avoid emulating them at all cost. What is called for is a community of small, radical, nonviolent, sustainable, socially responsible nations.

These small nations should organize themselves into what might be called the Small Nations’ Alliance (SNA) to encourage (1) the nonviolent breakup of meganations such as the United States, China, Russia, and India; (2) the peaceful coexistence of a community of small, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, socially responsible, egalitarian, nonviolent, ecofriendly nations; and (3) the independence of small breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland, Tibet, and Vermont.

One thing is for sure, if there are to be any solutions to global megaproblems such as poverty, peak oil and climate change, they will not originate with either the United States, China, or Russia, each of which is obsessed with protecting its own respective self interest. So long as New York, London, and Tokyo maintain hammerlock control over international financial markets, international finance and banking reform will remain an illusive fantasy.

We do not envision the SNA as an international governing body with the power to impose its collective will on others. Rather we see it as a role model encouraging others to decentralize, downsize, localize, demilitarize, simplify, and humanize their lives. Membership in the SNA will be open to those nations who subscribe to the principles of the SNA and are approved for membership by a consensus of SNA members. The only mechanism available for enforcing policies endorsed by the SNA would be expulsion from the organization for noncompliance.

The issue is human scale. The hour is very late. The small nations of the world have sat silently on the sidelines for all too long allowing the world’s meganations to set the global agenda. It is indeed high time we rebél against the meganations, take control of our destiny, and demand a place at the table. The future of the planet depends on it.

An International Small Nation Convention

As an initial step towards addressing the grievances outlined in this manifesto, the small nations of the world should convene “An International Convention on Small Nation Self-Determination.”

Such a convention might have six objectives:

  1. Identify global problems associated with meganations.
  2. Evaluate the performance of international megainstitutions.
  3. Examine the track record of small sustainable nations.
  4. Delegitimize the world’s meganations.
  5. Encourage self-determination among small aspiring nations.
  6. Organize a community of small nations.

Among the possible actions which it might pursue are:

  1. Launch an international campaign challenging the influence and authority of the meganations of the world.
  2. Begin withdrawing support from failed international megainstitutions such as the UN, WTO, World Bank, IMF, European Union, and NATO.
  3. Initiate the process of designing more participatory, more democratic alternatives to the failed behemoths.
  4. Design a process which an aspiring small nation might follow in order to achieve self-determination and recognition by the global community.
  5. Create a Small Nations’ Alliance (SNA) to encourage (1) the nonviolent breakup of meganations such as the United States, China, Russia, and India; (2) the peaceful coexistence of a community of small, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, socially responsible, egalitarian, nonviolent, ecofriendly nations; and (3) the independence of small breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland, Tibet, and Vermont.

The most obvious location for the convention is Geneva, Switzerland, home to dozens of international institutions, in what many consider to be the most sustainable country in the world.

We small nations and aspiring small nations invite you to (1) reject the immoral, corrupt, decaying, dying, failing meganations of the world; (2) seek their rapid and peaceful dissolution before they destroy the planet; and (3) encourage the development of small sustainable nations everywhere.

Thomas H. Naylor
November 1, 2012

Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.
www.vermontrepublic.org.