My wife and I just returned from a delightful 12-day tour of New England, one of the stops on which was the beautiful old Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, which of course was the site of the international monetary conference in 1944 that established the world monetary system that lasted until 1971 and several of its institutions that are still around. I won’t belabor the details of how the system came unwound, but my point is that, in walking the hallways of this magnificent old place, it occurred to me that here was spawned several of the institutions reflecting the reality on the ground at the end of World War II that are now functionally obsolete. Others include the United Nations, or at least its Security Council, and probably NATO. There are several reasons, all of which have been provided high relief by the events of the past decade, most recently the Russian intervention in Georgia. The UN is worthless as a security forum, as has been well documented. With a few exceptions, notably Great Britain and the former Warsaw Pact members , Europe is no longer a serious player in world security matters, and is easily intimidated or blackmailed by rogue states, including Putin’s Russia. Candidly, on this point the U. S. presently has no realistic policy for dealing with situations like the Russian intervention in Georgia, nor with a resurgent Russia generally.
What all of this means is that we need to seriously consider abandoning these obsolete institutions in favor of new multinational organizations, some of which could be organized on regional bases, both for security issues as well as trade, and I believe that the new format and criteria for membership should be those of a league of democracies, not the nominal ones, but those whose leaders and institutions are truly responsive to the consent of the governed under the rule of law. Incidentally and not surprisingly, I have heard nothing of this kind of thinking from either of our presidential nominees.