The term "New World Order" is being used a lot this week at the G-20 conference. I conclude that it's a term with many interpretations. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:
In international relations theory, the term "new world order" refers to a new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. However, in conspiracy theory, the term "New World Order" (the capital letters are distinguishing) refers to the advent of a cryptocratic or totalitarian world government.
At the core of most theories, a powerful and secretive group of globalists is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government, which would replace sovereign states and other checks and balances in international power struggles. Significant occurrences in politics and business are speculated to be caused by an extremely influential cabal operating through many front organizations. Numerous historical and current events are seen as steps in an on-going plot to achieve world domination primarily through secret political gatherings and decision-making processes.
In the past, the conspirators were usually said to be crypto-communist sympathizers who were intent upon bringing the United States under a common world government with the Soviet Union, but the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 undercut that theory. So most conspiracy theorists changed their focus to the United Nations as the likely controlling force in a bureaucratic collectivist New World Order, an idea which is undermined by the powerlessness of the U.N. and the unwillingness of even moderates within the American Establishment to give it anything but a limited role.
Social critics have expressed concern that the synthesis of paranoid theories about a New World Order conspiracy, which were once limited to American far-right audiences, has given them mass appeal and enabled them to become commonplace in mass media, thereby inaugurating an unrivaled popular culture of conspiracism in the U.S. of the late 20th and early 21st century. Some warn that this development may have negative effects on American political life, such as producerist demagogy and moral panic influencing elections as well as domestic and foreign policy.
American televangelist Pat Robertson argues that the modern use of the phrase "New World Order" originated in the early 20th century with English businessman Cecil Rhodes, who advocated that the British Empire and the United States of America should jointly impose a federal world government (with English as the official language) and ultra-imperialistic capitalism to bring about lasting "world peace". A sinister motive is seen in the fact that Rhodes founded the Rhodes Scholarship as a global brotherhood of future leaders.
British official Lionel George Curtis, who also believed in the idea of an "Imperial Federation", founded the Round Table movement in 1909, which led to the establishment of the U.K.-based Royal Institute for International Affairs in 1919 and the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations in 1921.
The concept of a New World Order as a world government was also promoted by intellectuals of the political left such as English writer H.G. Wells, a vigorous advocate for a world social democracy. In the 20th and early 21st century, a number of statesmen, such as Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, and Gordon Brown have used the term "new world order" only to refer to a new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power after World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, which they saw as an opportunity to implement idealistic proposals for global governance. However, their use of this term has proven controversial since it has invariably been and continues to be misinterpreted by conspiracy theorists as a call for the imposition of an authoritarian or even totalitarian world government.
The use of the term "New World Order" that had the most influence on the fears of contemporary conspiracy theorists can be found in U.S. President George H. W. Bush's 11 September 1990 "Toward a New World Order" speech (full text) to a joint session of Congress, in which he described the United States' objectives for post-Cold-War global governance in cooperation with post-Soviet states:
'Until now, the world we’ve known has been a world divided – a world of barbed wire and concrete block, conflict and cold war. Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order. In the words of Winston Churchill, a "world order" in which "the principles of justice and fair play ... protect the weak against the strong ..." A world where the United Nations, freed from cold war stalemate, is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders. A world in which freedom and respect for human rights find a home among all nations.'
Investigative journalist Chip Berlet writes:
When President Bush announced his new foreign policy would help build a New World Order, his phrasing surged through the Christian and secular hard right like an electric shock, since the phrase had been used to represent the dreaded collectivist One World Government for decades.
My brief research presents a range of perspective on the interpretation:
"This World Youth movement claims to represent and affect the politico-social activities of a grand total of forty million adherents - under the age of thirty...It may play an important and increasing role in the consolidation of a new world order. The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive 'policies' and 'Plans' of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word 'socialism', but what else can one call it? This new and complete Revolution we contemplate can be defined in a very few words. It is (a) outright world-socialism, scientifically planned and directed, plus (b) a sustained insistence upon law, law based on a fuller, more jealously conceived restatement of the personal Rights of Man, plus (c) the completest freedom of speech, criticism, and publication, and a sedulous expansion of the educational organization to the ever growing demands of the new order.... Putting it at its compactest, it is the triangle of Socialism, Law, and Knowledge which frames the Revolution that may yet save the world."
H.G. Wells, The New World Order - 1939
"We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order, a world where the rule of law, not the rule of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.'s founders."
President George Bush - 1991
"We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace."
Fidel Castro United Nations - 1979
"We are moving toward a new world order, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road."
Mikhail Gorbachev 1987
"National Socialism will use its own revolution for establishing of a new world order."
Adolph Hitler during World War II
"All of us will ultimately be judged on the effort we have contributed to building a New World Order."
Robert Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney-General -1967.
"This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long - We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."
David Rockefeller - September 1994
“All countries embraced some kind of change. So many parts of the world understood that this is a new world order, except the Arab world.”
"The new world order that is in the making must focus on the creation of a world of democracy, peace and prosperity for all."
Nelson Mandela, in the Philadelphia Inquirer - October 1994
"We can see beyond the present shadows of war in the Middle East to a new world order where the strong work together to deter and stop aggression. This was precisely Franklin Roosevelt's and Winston Churchill's vision for peace for the post-war period."
Richard Gephardt, in the Wall Street Journal - September 1990
"The developing coherence of Asian regional thinking is reflected in a disposition to consider problems and loyalties in regional terms, and to evolve regional approaches to development needs and to the evolution of a new world order."
Richard Nixon, in Foreign Affairs - October 1967
"Our nation is uniquely endowed to play a creative and decisive role in the new order which is taking form around us."
Henry Kissinger Seattle Post Intelligence - 1975
"The New World Order cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change it's perceptions."
Henry Kissinger - World Affairs Council Press Conference- 1994
“The alternative to a new international order is chaos. The extraordinary impact of the President-elect (Obama) on the imagination of humanity is an important element in shaping a new world order. The role of China in a new world order is crucial."
Henry Kissinger - January 2009
"The President-elect is coming into office at a moment when there are upheavals in many part of the world simultaneously. You have India-Pakistan. You have, ah, a jihadist movement. But, he can give new imputus to American foreign policy, partly because the ascension of him is so extraordinary and admirable. I think that his task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period, when really a 'New World Order' can be created. It's a great opportunity. It isn't such a crisis."
Henry Kissinger - 2008
"I think the new world order is emerging, and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international co-operation."
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister - March 2009
"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the fields of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere, so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
Woodrow Wilson, 1913 (ironically, the year of this quote is the same year that the Federal Reserve was created)
Henry Kissinger interview with Charlie Rose:
Lou Dobbs on 4/2/09: