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Meanwhile, Around the World EDITORIAL By Johan Galtung

EditorialMeanwhile, Around the World EDITORIAL By Johan Galtung
Portrait of Johan Galtung
Portrait of Johan Galtung

Starting with EU at 60, making small states (Luxembourg!) big by being members of something bigger, but making bigger, even imperial, states smaller by being “members”. The Netherlands is small: Wilders suffered a humiliating defeat.  But the UK is big with imperial past:   old, rural people voted Brexit out of EU anonymity, but into what?  Master in their own house? With problems with Ireland and the Celtic fringe–Scotland, Wales–even threatening UK survival? Can Anglo-America, UK even more under USA, compensate for that? They may want back; the obvious EU strategy being to adjust to many Brexit points.

France is also big and imperial. But Le Pen-Front National will not defeat a majority seeing EU as a French creation (Monnet, Schuman) and the Communauté Française as carried by the mystique of the French language anyhow.  Frexit would make France smaller. France will stay.

Germany and Italy were imperial: Hitler once ruled the biggest Europe ever, Mussolini some of Africa.  But they were defeated and defined as illegitimate, not “civilizzatrice“. Italy’s apology for the 1911 warfare may have model character. They will both stay in the EU.

UK outside and France inside are now paying the heavy immigration price for devastation wrought by their empires; with no EU solidarity.

The EU will survive, two- or multi-speed with the euro as common, not single currency. Strengthened by having no US Trojan horse, UK, controlling EU foreign-defense policy.  Weakened into irrelevance by the neoliberalism of their constitution. See Alan Johnson “Why Brexit is essential for Britain” NYT 29 Mar 2017, a view from the left.

Russia–czarist, Bolshevik, Putin Orthodox Christian–and China–nationalist, Mao communist, Xi Shi Youming Buddhist, his Zhengding friend (NYT 25-26 Mar 2017): unforgivably big in area and population, well above the 27 EU members.  The USA is no. 3 on both, giving a total rank of 6; China 5, Russia 10.  EU is in that Big League.

China, economic growth at 6,5%, is still a world growth engine, and SCO benefits from India and Pakistan membership. The Chinese military budget will grow at slowest pace in six years; focusing on distribution and less production overcapacity given heavy competition from India.  But the Chinese “globalization”, bilateral win-win deals, is a winner, with China in the center of a Eurasia beyond EUSA, West.

A decade after Putin’s Munich speech launched post-Yeltsin Russia it now faces a US-NATO allies capability, masked as anti-missile shield, to knock out Russian missiles and force a capitulation. Norway now with almost no coastal or inland defense, this offensive strategy called “defense” also fits the Western anti-Russia paranoia except in Northern Norway bordering on Russia: with a millennium of friendship.

A Russian submarine counterattack will be devastating for EU-USA. We would have been close this apocalypse with Hillary, but Trump is now also a part of the US war machine. What may save us is EU deciding not to fight US wars, overruling NATO, developing its own capacity. And demonstrations may put an end to the many Putin-Medvedev years.

Trump is seen as psychotic with crazy policies: military up $54 billion at the expense of the poor, health, environment, climate, arts, culture. The US killings all over were not seen as crazy, but Trump kills at the cost of basics.  He may not last 100 days, impeached or-?

The USA judges others on human rights.  On 9 Mar 2017 China released its annual human rights report on USA: domestic killing of human life; prison-industrial complex with huge incarceration; racism with police terrorist killing reminiscent of lynching; 1 out of 2 children in poverty; political rights threatened by power-for-money deals; civilians killed all over especially in Syria, Iraq; 59 illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay; NSA+ spy networks threatening privacy rights around the world. And USA-UK-France–the West–walked out of the UNGA on nuclear ban.

China and Russia did not.  Whose is the future?

China-Japan, with the two Koreas in the middle, are super-tense. Japanese nationalists want “normal Japan” with right to warfare, not the pacifist Japan of Article 9.  A threat is needed. Chinese long-range military capability is used and the Diaoyu-Senkaku issue.  For a Chinese analysis, see Feng Zhaokui “Will there be a China-Japan detente”, The Weekly Mirror, 31 Mar 2017. Abe is in trouble.

After the Park regime in the South, the Koreas may now improve.

West sees itself as guided by Christian-humanist values and the enemies as materialist. But, with Putin, Xi, the other way round? No, there may be a US focus on the life of Christ, liberated from the churches. To Peter Wehner “Humanizing Jesus” (NYT 26 Dec 2016) the life story of Jesus, not his death on the cross, shows that “while worldly things can be corrupted, they can also be elevated and sanctified”.

A new religious appeal is now found all over, also in Islam. “A Shariah experiment becomes a model” (NYT 14-15 Jan 2017) reports from Banda Aceh, at the tip of Indonesia where Islam first entered, a new Islam “facilitating an atmosphere of religiosity” (Aceh independence movement had ended 2005 after a tsunami killed 230,000 people).  Less extreme than Saudi Arabia “because it welcomed alternative schools of Islamic thought and accepted the role of female leaders”, even as the first female mayor of the city, albeit a very fundamentalist one. A model for Indonesia?  For Pattai-Thailand? For Islam in general?

More down to earth: “U.S.-Cuba Health Collaboration” by Nassim Assefi (NYT 24 Oct 2016): beyond rum and cigars are new drugs, “decreasing diabetic foot amputations as well as novel lung cancer therapies”.  Everybody can learn from everybody. Even 90 miles away.

Globalization: Blessing or Curse by Han S. Park (University of Georgia, USA) highlights the many links around the world that can be used to build positive peace with conflict solution, human development and security through community. Around the world.  Highly recommended.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. Prof. Galtung has published 1670 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and 167 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 April 2017

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