Harold is an executive at OBES, a mega-corporation that has promulgated the image of Grendel throughout the culture. The character of Grendel is now everywhere, in TV, movies, books, etc. OBES basically exists by selling Grendel. The people of the world only care about entertainment, and rarely vote.
White think that their profits are being held back by what he sees as the trivial concerns of the nations of Earth, especially the rivalry between the US and the USSR. He puts together a plan to dissolve nationality across the world.
Harold's boss is a standard greedy CEO, but is not evil, and thinks Harold is going too far. However, Harold outmaneuvers him and gets Charlie to agree. They make a deal with the Middle East, and set up a meeting between the leaders of the US and USSR. Then they release nuclear weapons to destroy them. This leads to retaliatory strikes and much of the world is destroyed. This is the beginning of Grendel's plan to infect all of society and refashion it in its image.