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The Global Village Has Become A Nightmare

Coined a half-century ago by Marshall McLuhan, the 'global village' had come to express hope in a connected world. Now, such plagues as ISIS and Ebola, show how that can turn against us.

Al-Hasakah, Syria - Women mourn during a funeral of Kurdish fighters killed by ISIS.
Al-Hasakah, Syria - Women mourn during a funeral of Kurdish fighters killed by ISIS.
Peter Praschl

BERLIN — In 1962 there was still hope. That was the year the visionary communication theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote that mankind had reached an age of interconnection he called the "global village." Like many of the terms McLuhan coined, the expression global village soon came to mean something other than what he had originally intended.

It was usually used as a kitsch metaphor to remind us that we humans are part of a big family. There are even children’s books that show the world as, for example, a village with 100 residents: 60 of them are Asians, 14 are Hindus, 17 are illiterate, 21 are overweight. The village concept felt good. It felt like home. It also allowed us to identify problems, such as hunger or shortages of potable water, without being overwhelmed by them.

And just in case we forgot to what extent we were all one, pop music, with its world hug songs, was there to remind us. We, the residents of the privileged North, the people who could afford to be reflective and empathetic, seeing the silver lining in every cloud as we made our tax-deductible charity contributions, swayed to and fro to the tunes.

But now the fun is over. That’s because we’re seeing how much the world really has become a global village, one in which every imaginable misery comes much closer to us than we urban folk are used to. There are videos showing people being beheaded — people with faces, names and professions. These are people one can imagine being friends with. As U.S. President Barack Obama said during his recent address before the United Nations General Assembly, there is "a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers."

A quarter century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 65 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and however many years after all the other events that supposedly mark our collective progress, here’s the state of affairs: a mountain guide is beheaded because he made the mistake of being French; in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State (ISIS) caliphate, armed patrols make sure that the clothing of the heavily veiled women in the street is entirely opaque.

In Rome, at a Kurdish-led demonstration against ISIS (Photo: )

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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