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Volume 2, Issue 6
June 7, 2004

1. Quote of the Month
2. What's New at World Beyond Borders
3. The UN Flag in Space
4. What You Can Do


"National boundaries are as invisible as meridians of longitude, or the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The boundaries are arbitrary. The planet is real. Spaceflight, therefore, is subversive. If they are fortunate enough to find themselves in Earth orbit, most people, after a little meditation, have similar thoughts. The nations that had instituted spaceflight had done so largely for nationalistic reasons; it was a small irony that almost everyone who entered space received a startling glimpse of a transnational perspective, of the Earth as one world." --Carl Sagan, Contact


This months, World Beyond Borders finished its task of saving material from the old wfa.org site. The new articles are listed by section.

Why Global Government?

*In "The Undreamed-of Design", E.B. White (yes, that E.B. White) unflinchingly exposes the inadequacy of the UN and the need for a true global government. "A security league to keep the peace is a negative project and follows a negative pattern. Peace is not something to be kept, like a pet monkey; peace is the by-product of responsible government." www.worldbeyondborders.org/undreameddesign.htm

*Walter Cronkite's remarks on receiving the 1999 Norman Cousins Global Governance Award make inspiring reading. "Those advocates who work for world peace by urging a system of world government are called impractical dreamers. Those impractical dreamers are entitled to ask their critics what is so practical about war."

*Norman Cousins' "On the Bicentennial of the US Constitution" effectively lays out the American example of federation.

*"We Are on the Wrong Path" by Robert Muller argues that, "There will be no disarmament without international security. In a world of insecurity and anarchy, disarmament negotiations are hopeless."

What Might It Look Like?

*Despite its title, "How a Federal World Government May Come About" by H.G. Wells mainly describes the benefits of a democratic global government. "The attainment of a federation of all humanity, together with a sufficient measure of social justice, to ensure health, education, and a rough equality of opportunity to most of the children born into the world, would mean such a release and increase of human energy as to open a new phase in human history."

How Might We Get There?

*In "A More Effective United Nations", John Logue argues for a redesign of the UN that would effectively turn it into a minimal global government.

*"Give the UN the Power to Make Peace" by Richard Hudson proposes a "binding triad" that would allow the General Assembly to pass enforceable laws by getting majorities in number of countries, population and contributions to the UN budget. The proposal is problematic but provocative.

Please send article ideas or submissions to Jane Shevtsov,

by Jane Shevtsov
When Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, launched last October, he took with him a Chinese flag. There is nothing unusual about this, but Yang's historic flight included a small first that escaped the notice of most observers. Never before had a nation's first astronaut taken along a United Nations flag. The flag was shown in a live broadcast, and, on May 19, presented to Kofi Annan.

This was not the first UN flag to go into space. Others have flown on both American and Russian spacecraft. The idea was even considered for Apollo 11, but Congress passed a bill preventing NASA from planting the flag of any nation or organization other than the US. (The flags of all the UN member nations were flown but not displayed.) Still, never before has the launch of a nation's first astronaut, a moment of justifiable national pride, involved such a direct display of internationalism.

Whatever political considerations may have motivated this display, it reflects a deep truth. The Chinese space program, like the Soviet and American ones before it, rests on the efforts of Werner von Braun, Robert Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, of Newton, Kepler and Galileo. US spaceflights have involved astronauts like Ilan Ramon and Kalpana Chawla. Science, by its very nature, is transnational. As Anton Chekhov wrote, "There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science."

Spaceflight reveals a world undivided by nations, religions, or race. Astronauts have born witness to our unity. Now we must create political structures cornerstoned on that view.

For more information:

*Anne M. Platoff, Where No Flag Has Gone Before, http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsj-usflag.html

*collectSPACE, China's First Astronaut Returns UN Flag, http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-051904a.html

*PLA Daily; Liu Cheng, Liu Bing and Wu Tianmin; Embracing the Five-Star Red Flag, http://english.pladaily.com.cn/special/sz/PLA/10.htm

*SPACE.com, China's First Astronaut Visits U.N., Presents Flag to Kofi Annan, http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/liwei_unflag_040520.html


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