OPINION

An undefined era

The era in which we are currently living is still seeking its definition. The war in Iraq – even more so than the terrorist attacks on New York, more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall – stamped its signature on the change of era. A starting definition could be the term «New World Order»; this was used prematurely, however, by the senior George Bush in the wake of his war in the Gulf, just one year after the hasty transformation of the Soviet regime. The hopes born then – that the new, post-Cold War world would be better balanced, more peaceful and ready to lead humankind to an uninterrupted progress – were not realized. Prosperity arrived, chiefly in the form of a massive accumulation of capital for the one-time «Western world.» This new wealth was unevenly distributed while a small proportion was put aside for the consolidation of a safer world. This applies to the populations of the countries that participated in the economic spring which bloomed in the second half of the previous decade, but it also applies to the people of the developing world, who saw most of their problems remain unsolved. What Henry Kissinger termed as the «crucial crossroads» for US foreign policy has not arrived yet; a reality that current US Secretary of State Colin Powell seems to accept when he refers to a «new historical period,» without being able to go into any detail about his emphatic statement.