All in the spirit of sharing and building upon ideas.
"The stated goals aren't achievable in this lifetime." Are you sure? What might have taken several lifetimes a couple of centuries ago, may well be accomplished in one lifetime today. And the game of Empire is as old as civilization itself. Technology is clearly a great boon in these pursuits. It's both a terrible and wonderful thing, it has no preference for masters, it simply serves. But then it doesn't really matter if it's not achievable in this lifetime—although I strongly disagree with this statement.
Some would say that the desire for power and control comes about naturally as a function of base human nature. And this I would generally agree with, as the works of the ancients (Greek tragedy for example) support and expound this idea repeatedly, of the fall of great individuals through an inability to control or understand their base passions. However, this is only the beginning. As we know, Empire is a game as old as civilization itself. What of the Roman Empire (31 BC - 476 AD), the Byzantine Empire (395 - 1453 AD), The Holy Roman Empire (800 - 1806 AD), the Ottoman Empire (1299 - 1923 AD), the Khmer Empire (802 - 1462 AD), the Chinese Empire (221 BC - 1912 AD) and the myriad lesser empires? How can such empires exist and span lifetimes upon lifetimes if individuals inevitably come into contact with the truth of their own mortality? And yet history tells. There is something beyond one's own mortality that is obviously the driving force. We can speculate on what that might be, perhaps the desire for an exalted title or place in history, a vision, or an ideal. But the question remains, did the awareness of their mortality stop any of history's kings, emperors, and leaders, from working to achieve their goals?
Without ever having been in a position of real power, I'm sure I could empathize, at least partly, that the effect of power, the feeling of control, of domination, would act upon the person not unlike a drug, requiring an increase in dosage to maintain a level of security, a level of "fix." What may have begun with a relatively well-intentioned desire for security and justice for kinsfolk and countrymen, very quickly snowballs into quite a different creature (see Orwell's classic "Animal Farm"). And what is the nature of power sought? Could it be that it is a sensation inside the human being, the desire to feel, experience, know what it is to be "great," to be "important," to be both admired and feared? These lessons are riddled throughout our history and mythology, and drawing from current events, the recent Star Wars film (Revenge of the Sith) is an excellent example. (Incidentally, George Lucas consulted with the great mythologist Joseph Campbell in the making of the original Star Wars Trilogy.)
What I think we're seeing today are patterns of human behavior that have always been. The main difference is that today, there is so much more in the way of technology and the ability for this information to be communicated to the masses, that we have a real chance of changing things for the better. The advent of the printing press of the 14th century, the cross-fertizliation of ideas of the "Enlightenment" period of the 18th century. All of this helped catalyze the various socio-economic and politcal upheavals of Europe and the America's in these times. Today I believe we are at another portentous crossroads of perilous but profound opportunity—one that makes "Gutenberg" or even the "Enlightenment" period look like a walk in the park.
Sepp's email really brings the idea home. The idea of connecting people together, and even more, groups of change/communication agents, creating incredible leverage to counter the power of organizations, lobby's, foundations, and governments. However, I think it is extremely important to maintain a degree of decentralization. Centralization is quite probably one of the roots of all evil. It's considerably easier to infiltrate a single organization, or buy off a few individuals in that organization, than it is to do the same for dozens of organizations working in tandem with similar objectives.
There is a book for anyone that is interested in the chess game of world politics in the modern era, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Mr. Brzezinski served as United States National Security Advisor to President Carter from 1977-1981. A great deal is discussed, that appears to look like a blueprint for present U.S. policy. Incidentally, I was introduced to this book by the work of famed linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, and Michael Ruppert's "Crossing the Rubicon." Highly related to the chess game is a book entitled "Tragedy and Hope" by Carroll Quigley, a University professor of former President Bill Clinton, who honored him in his presidential inauguration speech. And finally, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins, a very interesting and unique insider's perspective into the global chess game (appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers List).
Excellent original article by the way.