The Vema Seamount Authority - His Mount Vema Majesty King, Peter J. Goldishman
Christmas Message 2020
Planet Earth: One Hundred Years of History and hope for the next decade
The year 2020, is a year that will be remembered by all of us with great sadness. As we celebrate Christmas, our thoughts and prayers will be with those few who do so much for so many. Especially the healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
History have taught us that human beings will always find the path when faced with great challenges, and prosperity always follows. Let us look at our journey for the past 100 years:
The 1920s, was a period frequently referred to as the "Roaring Twenties" or the "Jazz Age" in North America, while in Europe the period is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age Twenties" because of the economic boom following World War I.
The economic prosperity experienced by many countries during the 1920s (especially the United States) was similar in nature to that experienced in the 1950s and 1990s. Each period of prosperity was the result of a paradigm shift in global affairs. These shifts in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1990s, occurred in part as the result of the conclusion of World War I and Spanish flu, World War II, and the Cold War, respectively.
The 1920s saw foreign oil companies begin operations throughout South America. Venezuela became the world's second largest oil producing nation. And in some countries the 1920s saw the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism spread as a consequence of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' victory in the Russian Civil War. Fear of the spread of Communism led to the emergence of far right political movements and fascism in Europe. Economic problems contributed to the emergence of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
The 1930s, was defined by a global economic and political crisis that culminated in the Second World War. It saw the international financial system collapse, beginning with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the largest stock market crash in American history, and an economic downfall called the Great Depression that had a traumatic effect worldwide, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty, especially in the United States, an economic superpower, and Germany, who had to deal with the reparations regarding World War I.
The decade also saw the rapid retreat of Liberal democracy, as authoritarian regimes emerged in countries across Europe and South America, in particular the Third Reich in Germany. Germany elected Adolf Hitler, who imposed the Nuremberg Laws, a series of laws which discriminated against Jews and other ethnic minorities. States such as Ethiopia, China, and Poland were invaded by expansionist world powers, the last of these attacks leading to the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, despite calls from the League of Nations for worldwide peace. World War II helped end the Great Depression when governments spent money for the war effort. The 1930s also saw a proliferation of new technologies, especially in the fields of intercontinental aviation, radio, and film.
The 1940s, was when most of World War II took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the spheres of influence of the Western world and the Soviet Union, leading to the beginning of the Cold War. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state, and the Bretton Woods system, facilitating the post–World War II economic expansion, which lasted well into the 1970s. The conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonization and the emergence of new states and governments, with India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam, and others declaring independence, although rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (such as computers, nuclear power, and jet propulsion).
The 1950s, was the decade that the bloodiest war in human history had just ended, and the decade that laid the foundation for many of the political crises threatening the world today. One of the most infamous dictators in history had admitted defeat and committed suicide, and the largest genocide in history had been discovered. Imperialism was on its way out. Although this may sound peaceful, the 1950s were one of the most turbulent decades in global politics.
The 1950s saw the rise of global tensions due to cold war, and the world was cleft into two political, administrative and ideological halves — capitalism, espoused by the US, and communism, adopted by the Soviet Union, or USSR. This also gave rise to a third group of non-aligned countries. The new politics during the 1950s were largely determined by the relations between the US and the USSR, and the changing political dynamics due to an increasing number of countries gaining independence from their imperial rulers.
One of the first major wars since the Second World War, the Korean War put the conflict between capitalism and communism into sharp relief by pitting the North and South halves of Korea, communist and capitalist respectively, against each other. The USA backed the Southern half openly, sending its army into the battlefield under the aegis of the UN, and the US forces alone outnumbered the North Korean army. The North Koreans were aided by China, who provided the bulk of the united communist armies, and the USSR.
In the 50s, in response to NATO’s inclusion of West Germany, a group of Eastern European communist countries formed the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, also known as the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense treaty to negate the West’s advancing power in Central Europe. The Warsaw Pact was the most important Cold War treaty between communistic countries, since the member countries had borders (Iron Curtain) with West-aligned countries in Europe.
The members in the Warsaw Pact were the Soviet Union, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. After the Sino-Soviet Split in 1961, Albania aligned with China, and officially withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1968.
The 1950s saw the start of the decolonization of African countries. The first to gain independence (except Egypt in 1922) was Libya, in 1951. Other Saharan (North African) states soon followed suit, and Ghana became the first independent sub-Saharan country in 1957.
In South Africa, the Apartheid was further enhanced by the introduction of numerous laws, such as The Immorality Act: Banned extramarital sex between a white and a non-white person. The Population Registration Act: Forced the population to be classified as Black, White, or Colored. The whites were given higher status in society, administration, political and the legal system. The Group Areas Act: Granted sections of a city to be used by a particular race. The non-whites often had to live in small, congested areas far from work, while the whites enjoyed the benefit of the best living sections. The non-whites had to apply for a ‘pass book’ to enter the white zones. And The Bantu Education Act: Forcibly separated educational facilities on all levels, including universities, on the basis of race.
While the blacks in South Africa were suffering under the Apartheid rule, the winds of desegregation had begun to blow in America. A 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education, overturned previous norms by declaring that separate facilities for whites and blacks are inherently unequal. This, combined with a case in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the National Guard accompanied nine black students — called the Little Rock Nine — to a recently desegregated school and remained in the school for a year for the black students’ protection, helped the Civil Rights Movement in America gather pace.
In Cuba, the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista was overthrown in 1959 in an armed movement led by Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and Che Guevara. The government put together by Castro was the first communist government in the Western hemisphere, and its close geographical proximity to the USA would go on to cause severe international issues in the coming decades.
In Asia, Japan had been defeated in WWII under royal rule and was consequently occupied by the US. The US had a notable say in drafting Japan’s new, democratic constitution. This included the disarmament clause, which prevented Japan from fielding an army. Emperor Hirohito, who had led Japan’s military actions in WWII, also helped usher in the new era of economic progress and social reforms. By the end of Hirohito’s reign in 1989, Japan had become the second largest economy in the world. Japan is still one of the largest economies in the world, with a massive share in a wide range of industries.
In the 50s the European Communities was founded, in 1957. The founder members of the EC include West Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland joined in 1973, Greece in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The European Communities wasn’t a single entity, but a conglomerate of three working towards similar ends with the same set of rules — European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom).
Middle East, the newly-formed (1948) Jewish state Israel passed a law granting any Jew automatic citizenship after immigrating into Israel. This spurred Jewish communities in neighboring Arab states to emigrate to Israel. Britain, France, and the United States signed a Tripartite Declaration in 1950 for immediate action if Israel’s frontiers were violated. In response, five Arab League Nations signed a security pact, denying the use of the Suez Canal by Israel. The tripartite declaration stated that the three nations were opposed to the idea of an arms race, but after the Soviet Union started supplying arms and ammo to Egypt, France broke the declaration by supplying Israel with the same.
The 1960s, you could say that first it did not begin well with the John F. Kennedy assassination, then the Beatles' arrival in the United States, then the Beatles' breakup. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. "The Sixties" was a decade of complex of inter-related cultural and political trends around the globe.
By the end of the 1950s, war-ravaged Europe had largely finished reconstruction and began a tremendous economic boom. World War II had brought about a huge leveling of social classes in which the remnants of the old feudal gentry disappeared. There was a major expansion of the middle class in western European countries and by the 1960s, many working-class people in Western Europe could afford a radio, television, refrigerator, and motor vehicle. Meanwhile, the East such as the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries were improving quickly after rebuilding from WWII. Real GDP growth averaged 6% a year during the second half of the decade. Thus, the overall worldwide economic trend in the 1960s was one of prosperity, expansion of the middle class, and the proliferation of new domestic technology.
The confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union dominated geopolitics during the '60s, with the struggle expanding into developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia as the Soviet Union moved from being a regional to a truly global superpower and began vying for influence in the developing world. After President Kennedy's assassination, direct tensions between the US and Soviet Union cooled and the superpower confrontation moved into a contest for control of the Third World, a battle characterized by proxy wars, funding of insurgencies, and puppet governments.
The 1970s, is the era when I was born, so it has a special meaning to me. No wonder, historians have increasingly portrayed the 1970s as a "pivot of change" in world history, especially on the economic upheavals that followed the end of the postwar economic boom.
In the United Kingdom, the 1979 election resulted in the victory of its Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minister. Industrialized countries, except Japan, experienced an economic recession due to an oil crisis caused by oil embargoes by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. The crisis saw the first instance of stagflation which began a political and economic trend of the replacement of Keynesian economic theory with neoliberal economic theory, with the first neoliberal governments being created in Chile, where a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet took place in 1973.
In Asia, affairs regarding the People's Republic of China changed significantly following the recognition of the PRC by the United Nations, the death of Mao Zedong and the beginning of market liberalization by Mao's successors. Despite facing an oil crisis due to the OPEC embargo, the economy of Japan witnessed a large boom in this period, overtaking the economy of West Germany to become the second-largest in the world. The United States withdrew its military forces from their previous involvement in the Vietnam War, which had grown enormously unpopular. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, which led to an ongoing war for ten years.
The 1970s saw an initial increase in violence in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria declared war on Israel, but in the late 1970s, the situation in the Middle East was fundamentally altered when Egypt signed the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty. Political tensions in Iran exploded with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty and established an authoritarian Islamic republic under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Africa saw further decolonization in the decade, with Angola and Mozambique gaining their independence in 1975 from the Portuguese Empire after the restoration of democracy in Portugal. The continent was, however, plagued by endemic military coups, with the long-reigning Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie being removed, civil wars and famine.
The economies of much of the developing world continued to make steady progress in the early 1970s. They might have thrived and become stable in the way that Europe recovered after World War II through the Marshall Plan; however, their economic growth was slowed by the oil crisis but boomed immediately after.
The 1980s, saw major socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards open capitalism. As economic deconstruction increased in the developed world, multiple multinational corporations associated with the manufacturing industry relocated into Thailand, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Japan and West Germany saw large economic growth during this decade. The AIDS epidemic became recognized.
The United Kingdom and the United States moved closer to supply-side economic policies beginning a trend towards global instability of international trade that would pick up more steam in the following decade as the fall of the USSR made right wing economic policy more powerful.
The final decade of the Cold War opened with the US-Soviet confrontation continuing largely without any interruption. Superpower tensions escalated rapidly as President Reagan scrapped the policy of détente and adopted a new, much more aggressive stance on the Soviet Union. The world came perilously close to nuclear war for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis 20 years earlier, but the second half of the decade saw a dramatic easing of superpower tensions and ultimately the total collapse of Soviet communism.
Developing countries across the world faced economic and social difficulties as they suffered from multiple debt crises in the 1980s, requiring many of these countries to apply for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, with Ethiopia witnessing widespread famine. Major civil discontent and violence occurred in the Middle East, including the Iran–Iraq War, the Soviet–Afghan War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Bombing of Libya in 1986, and the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Islamism became a powerful political force in the 1980s and many terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, started.
By 1986, nationalism was making a comeback in the Eastern Bloc and desire for democracy in communist-led socialist states combined with economic recession resulted in Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika, which reduced Communist Party power, legalized dissent and sanctioned limited forms of capitalism such as joint ventures with Western firms.
1989 brought the overthrow and attempted overthrow of a number of governments led by communist parties, such as in Hungary, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, the Czechoslovak "Velvet Revolution", Erich Honecker's East German regime, Poland's Soviet-backed government, and the violent overthrow of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime in Romania. Destruction of the 155-km Berlin Wall, at the end of the decade, signalled a seismic geopolitical shift. The Cold War ended in the early 1990s with the successful Reunification of Germany and the USSR's demise after the August Coup of 1991.
The 1980s saw great advances in genetic and digital technology. After years of animal experimentation since 1985 the first genetic modification of 10 adult human beings took place in May 1989, a gene tagging experiment which led to the first true gene therapy implementation in September 1990. The first "designer babies", a pair of female twins were created in a laboratory in late 1989 and born in July 1990 after being sex-selected via the controversial assisted reproductive technology procedure preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Gestational surrogacy was first performed in 1985 with the first birth in 1986, making it possible for a woman to become a biological mother without experiencing pregnancy for the first time in history, and the advent of the ongoing practice of sex-selective abortion in China and India as ultrasound technology which permitted parents to selectively abort baby girls.
The 1980s was also an era of tremendous population growth around the world. And the global Internet took shape in academia by the second half of the 1980s as well as many other computer networks of both academic and commercial use such as USENET, Fidonet and the Bulletin Board System. By 1989 the Internet and the networks linked to it were a global system with extensive transoceanic satellite links and nodes in most rich countries. Based on earlier work from 1980 onwards Tim Berners Lee formalized the concept of the World Wide Web by 1989 and performed its earliest demonstrations in December 1990 and 1991. Television viewing became commonplace in the Third World.
The 1990s, saw a rise in the awareness of multiculturalism as well as the advance of alternative media, aided by then-new technology such as cable television and the World Wide Web.
New ethnic conflicts emerged in Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, the former two which led to the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides, respectively. Signs of any resolution of tensions between Israel and the Arab world remained elusive despite the progress of the Oslo Accords, though The Troubles in Northern Ireland came to a standstill in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement after 30 years of violence.
The 2000s, was a special decade for us, for the Vema Seamount Territory and its marine life. We have managed to declare the territory sovereign which, made it easier to fight fishing activities that was once wiping out the marine life in the area.
The decade also saw the long-time predicted breakthrough of economic giant China, which had double-digit growth during nearly the whole decade. And on the other side, the worldwide economic downturn, which started with the crisis in housing and credit in the United States in late 2007 and led to the bankruptcy of major banks and other financial institutions. The outbreak of this global financial crisis sparked a global recession, beginning in the United States and affecting most of the industrialized world.
At the same time, the internet was growing, which contributed to globalization during the decade, which allowed faster communication among people around the world. Social networking sites arose as a new way for people to stay in touch no matter where they were, as long as they had an internet connection. And climate change and global warming became common concerns in the 2000s.
The War on Terror and War in Afghanistan began after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Second Congo War ended in July 2003, so ended the Algerian Civil War, the Angolan Civil War, the Sierra Leone Civil War, the Second Liberian Civil War, the Nepalese Civil War, and the Sri Lankan Civil War. At the same time began the conflict in the Niger Delta, the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, and the Mexican Drug War.
The 2010s, the decade that began on January 1, 2010 and ended on December 31, 2019, was another challenging era for humanity. It was the decade of austerity in many countries, the financial crisis and subsequent the international recession dating from the late 2000s. It was also the decade of a major shift in social attitudes that saw LGBT rights and female representation make substantial progress. In the middle east, the Arab spring changed the direction, which is the cause of the migrant crisis currently experienced by The European Union. In Asia, China launched an enormous economic initiatives and military reforms, that sought to expand its influence in the South China Sea and in Africa. In the world of Information technology, the smartphone became widespread. And Global warming became increasingly noticeable through new record temperatures in different years and extreme weather events on all continents.
The current decade will be shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the beginning of the next 100 years, just like in 1920s after the Spanish flu, the economic prosperity of the world will be similar in nature to that experienced in the 1950s and 1990s, where each period of prosperity was the result of a paradigm shift in global affairs. These shifts in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1990s, occurred in part as the result of the conclusion of World War I and Spanish flu, World War II, and the Cold War, respectively.
Merry Christmas to all and a prosperous New Year