Is Endless War Our Human Destiny?

A Simple Plan to Change the Course of History

Glen T. Martin

July 19, 2022

The brutal conflict in Ukraine is on everybody’s mind today.  Russia has invaded, it claims, out of self-defense against having a hostile, nuclear armed member of NATO directly adjacent to its western border.  The US and NATO countries are pouring billions of dollars of military equipment into Ukraine to stiffen the resistance to the invasion and prolong the conflict in the hopes of weakening and exhausting their perceived enemy, Russia. The good people of Ukraine are the victims, with prolonged war and stiff resistance causing ever greater destruction of their lives, homes, and livelihoods.

Journalist Chris Hedges published a recent article in Salon entitled “NATO’s endless expansion threatens endless war—and potential nuclear holocaust.”   Originally created in 1949 as a military alliance against the former Soviet Union, with the dissolution of that Union in 1991, NATO has made it clear that it has no intention of ending its reign of military intrusions worldwide. Hedges writes:

NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden. It bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes. It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the so-called “Asia Pacific Four,” to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO’s second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria as well as Iraq. Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria.

The USA, the leading member of NATO, cloaks its global military strategies under the guise that its empire is a collective effort of European nations to maintain what it calls a “rules based international order,” that is, an international order in which the empire dictates the rules. NATO provides cover by acting as what US President George W. Bush called “a coalition of the willing.”  As Presidents Trump and Biden have made clear, if Europe is going to benefit from the Empire, it must pay some of the costs of empire.  But military action is always destructive of people’s lives, homes, and livelihoods, as evidenced by the tens of millions of refugees this string of military actions has produced around the globe.

Hedges points out that one of the consequences of this new Cold War (cold wars are never cold for their millions of victims in endless “limited” military actions around the world) has forced Russia and China together in a military alliance designed to fight back against the NATO terror.  Nuclear holocaust is closer to becoming an actuality than ever before in its sordid history, and climate change goes unaddressed as extremely costly military action takes priority around the globe over action to save the environment.

The empire, of course, is not about military destruction for its own sake. It is about protecting the dominance of the US dollar worldwide as the global reserve currency, and it is about ensuring that the globalized “free market” economic system is enforced everywhere on the planet. Any nation challenging the “right” of US multinational corporations to penetrate and often dominate its economy becomes a target for subversion, destruction, or overthrow, as clearly happened, for example, in Chile, Vietnam, Cuba, Libya, and Venezuela and endless lesser-known examples.

As many articles in the Journal of Globalization Studies have pointed out, the Westphalian system of so-called independent sovereign nation-states has never approximated a collection of equal, atomistic territorial entities but has always involved one or a few of the most powerful nations dominating the rest militarily and economically. My own recent article in the May 2021 issue of that journal emphasizes the radical nature of the democratic ideal, and idea that has never been realized to date anywhere on the planet.  This is precisely because this world system makes democracy impossible anywhere as long as its present anti-democratic institutions remain in place.

The ideology of the system states that democracy is possible within each atomistic territorial entity, but this entirely ignores the global economy that dictates much of the internal life, debt, and economic difficulties of these entities.  It also ignores the militarized power differential in which the democratic decisions of each population mean little if they disagree with the “rules-based” dictates of the empire. Take, as one recent example, Greece, in which the people of Greece voted overwhelmingly to ignore their debt to the European banks.  This democratic vote carried zero weight, and the people of Greece were forced by the international banking system (in this case led by Germany) into crippling austerity and deprivation.

Democracy is not possible at the level of nation-state territories because the world is globalized both economically and militarily and ultimate decisions and conditions come from the empire not from the citizens of each country. Democracy is the philosophical understanding that human dignity and freedom should be the foundations for government and that all conflicts should be decided justly and nonviolently by courts and other social agencies. In other words, democracy constitutes a peace-system in which government both represents the dignity and freedom of people and protects a nonviolent order in which conflicts are solved socially and judicially rather than by war or violence.

It should be clear from the above that, if democracy is ever to succeed on the Earth it will have to be world democracy. The centers of military and economic power ignore and marginalize the movement for democratic world federal government that has been going on since World War I for the very reason that that this alternative would transform their world system from one of violence and injustice to one of justice, peace, and freedom (in which they have little interest).  On the other hand, the leaders and visionaries of this global democratic movement have written the Constitution for the Federation of Earth that serves as both an ideal and a blueprint for a democratic world system.

There have been a number of constitutions written for the Earth, but the Earth Constitution is the only one that truly establishes planetary democracy precisely because it takes power away from the undemocratic few and places legitimate power in the World Parliament representing the common good of the planet as a whole and the democratic aspirations of the people of Earth from some 1000 localities worldwide. Other constitutions attempt to compromise by retaining an inordinate power for the system of sovereign nations, resulting more in a reformed UN system rather than in global democracy. 

Under the Earth Constitution the World Parliament, operating through the World Administration and the World Financial Administration, takes the economic decision-making power away from the 1% of super rich and their powerful corporations and places it in the hands of that body predicated on the common good of all.  Similarly, the Earth Constitution demilitarizes the nations and makes them democratic administrative districts within the integrated whole, not militarized islands of illusory independence within a global system that denies independence at every turn, and no longer having the power to create militarized agents of empire like NATO.

The philosophy of democracy begins from the assumption of the equal human dignity of each person and asks how we can organize society to protect and enhance that dignity.  Today’s dominant planetary economic and nation-state systems deny in practice exactly this dignity, despite their ideological slogans.  The economic system is predicated on the unlimited accumulation of private wealth, not on human rights or dignity, and the world system of militarized nation-states inherently violates human dignity in their very willingness to bomb, murder, and destroy perceived enemies. If people really have the dignity and rights asserted in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, then war becomes impossible, just as economic domination and exploitation become impossible.

We cannot slowly evolve this corrupt world system toward global democracy because its premises are the opposite of democracy. Rather than human dignity, the premise of the global economic system is the unlimited accumulation of private wealth, and the premise of the military system is the “right” to destroy perceived enemies, extra-judicially and outside the rules of law and justice. The Earth Constitution forms a blueprint for a global democracy that is free of these anti-democratic premises from the beginning.  Every agency and every principle in the Constitution is based on human dignity, universal rights, and a social order that empowers and protects these values.

The Earth Constitution, therefore, serves as a simple template for changing the course of human history precisely because it abandons the false premises of the so-called “modern” world system and establishes the democratic World Parliament on the true premises of human rights, dignity, and freedom. As we have seen, these values can only be realized at the global level.  At the local level of nation-states, they will always be perverted by the globalized big money system and the militarized world power system.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth provides concrete steps for creating this decent democratic world system based on human dignity and freedom, steps already begun by its many supporters, steps that can give our children the promise of a redeemed and fulfilled human civilization rather than a future of endless war and destruction under the present world system.  The people must make the peace. It is up to the people of Earth to take these steps and collectively demand a world system premised on dignity, freedom, and justice rather than on arbitrary wealth and power. Neither the super-rich, nor the rules of the empire, are going to give us a credible human future, only endless wars, economic cruelty, and ultimately extinction of the human project.  If we care about our future, let us act together in solidarity to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.


Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  Online at   In print with the Institute for Economic Democracy Press, Appomattox, VA, 2010 and 2014.

Engdahl, F. William (2018). Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. Wiesbaden, Germany: Mine Books.

Hedges, Chris (2022). “NATO’s endless expansion threatens endless war—and potential nuclear holocaust.” Salon Magazine: .–and-potential-nuclear-holocaust/

Johnson, Chalmers (2004). The Sorrows of Empire. Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet.  Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2021). “Power Justice and Freedom: The Links between Global Democracy and Human Liberation.” Journal of Globalization Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, May 2021, pp. 3-17.

McCoy, Alfred W. (2017). In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

Petras, James (2016). The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire. Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press.

Petras, James and Henry Veltmeyer (2004). Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century. London: Zed Books.

Smith, John (2016). Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century. Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis. New York: Monthly Review Press.