Take a look at the current headlines:
“Obama leads by listening to world” – Bloomberg
“Al Gore calls on world to burn less wood” – Guardian
“The world must work together against pandemic threat” – Independent
“The international community needs to work together to prevent the current economic crisis from escalating” – Reuters
We face a number of real threats: economic, environmental, and viral. The answer from nearly all corners of the globe is for greater international cooperation. What does it mean? Perhaps we have reached a critical mass of connection. Travel, communication, development, world trading; all of these things have grown in leaps and bounds. Have we reached the point where we are so interconnected that we don’t have any choice but to respond on a global level?
History shows world cooperation occurring mainly in blocs of nations, often pitted against other nations: the Allies versus the Axis in World War Two; NATO versus the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. Now we have Chinese leaders urging greater cooperation and the United States reaching out to former enemies.
Of course it’s not all roses. There are plenty of trouble spots on the globe. The few rogue nations that still exist, though, do so on the fringes of the global community. Iran and North Korea are two of the most obvious examples. Iran is a power player in its region, while North Korea is isolated to an amazing degree. Yet both struggle to get back in the good graces of the world community. They both desperately need international trade and seek world respect.
So, what does this mean for First Contact?
Perhaps it means we’re ready? A world of separated and independent nations would be a tough cookie with which to start a new relationship. How would you manage communication? How could you ensure that an extraterrestrial revelation didn’t cause an eruption of violence? Interconnectivity is like mutual assured destruction. We have a stake in the success of China and they have a stake in our success. We need Iran to help stabilize the Persian Gulf and they need us to build their economy. This fine balance is the act of a planet of nations becoming one civilization. It may be a bit premature to call us a unified civilization, but there are signs we may be headed in that direction. It’s another critical step in human evolution that would have to be a major consideration if anyone is out there watching, listening and trying to decide when to say hello.
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