Washington: There is History in the UN 29 Nov 2012 vote: 138 YES to giving Palestine the UN status as “nonmember observer state”, only 9 NO, and 41 abstentions. Beyond Middle East politics the vote also mirrors the limits to the US global, and the Israeli regional empires: 138 defy their grip and favor change, 41+9=50 NOT–for various reasons. A crucial vote on a crucial issue is a crucial test. Who want what?
First: the OIC, Muslim, Arab: none yielding to USA-Israel in spite of the efforts against the Arab awakening. Israel is alone in the region: Greece-Turkey-Cyprus were all YES. Next: Saraoui (Sahrawi or Saharawi), Western Sahara building on Spain-Morocco YES, and Kashmir on India-Pakistan YES.
Second: more than half of the not in favor was Eastern European (16) and the Pacific (10: 9 mini-states, and Australia). Add 7 from Latin America, 5 from Africa, 3 from Asia (not Japan) and we get 41.
Third: Western Europe-NATO divided. The Nordic European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries in favor, as also Austria, France and GIPSI (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland), the indebted EU periphery. Not in favor: UK, Germany, Netherlands; 3 mini-states; hard core USA- Israel (Usrael)-Canada for the 50: only a quarter of the UN membership.
The General Assembly is the closest we have to world democracy; no Security Council big power veto. Israel has no regional support and the USA only little, shaky, insignificant, world support. Memories of the Soviet empire–dead for over 30 years–are fading and mini-states are exactly that. The US clout does not even reach Afghanistan-Iraq-Libya recently bombed-invaded-occupied. UK remains; like poodle to master.
Read the vote in terms of a world regionalization process: Green light for OIC; some political needed in the Latin America-Caribbean, Africa and Asia regions. The Nordic EFTA moral light is intact, and the new Third World, GIPSI, is joining the old. Germany, beware.
The USA is out of touch. Stop droning, killing; make a beautiful North America with Mexico and Canada (R. B. Zoelick in WP 30 Nov 2012).
But empires also crumble from within through demoralization. For political demoralization: basic factor is lack of world clout. But watch the “fiscal cliff” process for the doubts about the US political process: two parties, at logger-heads. No forgiving mortgage debts, no creative lifting of the bottom 16%–many not knowing where the next meal comes from–into the economy, increasing domestic demand.
For economic demoralization: basic factor is a West out-competed. Add Robert Samuelson “Why the recovery lags”: The financial crisis and Great Recession scared the wits out of most Americans–cautious, risk-aversive and defensive–spending less and saving more” (WP 26 Nov 2012). Greg Smith, Why I left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story defines good business as “flat commissions on transparent exchange-listed trades”; not exorbitant commissions, secret deals, obscure derivatives and bonuses and status linked to the gross credits the trader brings in. Not a single person imprisoned; but lobbies against new legislation.
For military demoralization: basic factor is the USA-NATO losing. But watch the lifestyle and affair on the top of the US Army in Afghanistan, and CIA anywhere, killing machines: General Petraeus. Imagine the effect on soldiers risking their lives for an unwinnable and dubious war with the top fooling around. See Richard Strauss 1874 opera, Die Fliedermaus, for the end of the Austrian-Hungarian empire.
For cultural demoralization: basic factor is decreasing faith in U.S. exceptionalism, leading the world as #1. The USA is #1 in claiming to be No. 1 in the mainstream media, by public figures ignoring what happens in the real world. Truth will dawn upon them.
For social demoralization: “U.S. birthrate plummets to lowest level since 1920” (WP 30 Nov 2012)–“led by immigrant women hit hard by the recession”. This may imply decline in the US population and in tax revenue, as in much of the West. And the enormous gun violence.
Add it all up: the fall of the US empire is on track.
How about Israel? Heading for a cliff of its own making: suicide.
The UN vote was on the 65th anniversary of the UN 181 Two States resolution following Folke Bernadotte, then murdered by Israel. Nakba. The problem is not Zionism but hard, revisionist Expansion-0ccupation-Siege (E-O-S) Zionism driving to the cliff. The UN vote legitimized Palestine and delegitimized that kind of Israel. Much will follow in multi- and bi- lateral diplomacy and NGOs; in spite of Usrael threats.
Direct negotiations lead nowhere: the Oslo process left security, Jerusalem, refugees, Israeli settlements, boundaries, for “later”.
But Israel had to react to the rockets! Yes, by dropping E-O-S for 2-6-20+: Two States in a Six states community with Arab neighbors in a 20+ states Organization for Security and Cooperation with nuclear free zone. But Israel delegitimized itself choosing violence, Hamas-Hezbollah rockets, dirty bombs, Iron Domes, David’s Sling, huge 9/11 underground shelters. Israel buried underground in a sui-sociocide.
Israel also reacts to nonviolence–boycott, non-cooperation, civil disobedience–with violence, as they did against boats trying to break the siege of Gaza. And delegitimizes itself even further.
Together with mainstream USA Israel, Usrael tries to control the discourse by branding all critics as anti-Semites, self-hating Jews, etc. A non-starter in democracies. A Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein. Richard Falk, to mention some recently branded that way, are neither anti-Jewish nor anti-Israel, but use transparency and dialogue–the hallmarks of democracy–constructively. Stifle that, and we get two elites listening only to themselves.
Travel the roads of delegitimizing, meeting violence with violence, meeting nonviolence with violence, controlling discourse, and down the road, very close to the cliff, the South African scenario is waiting. The USA decides one day that Israel is more of a liability than an asset.
Israel is out of touch. A regime change from within is needed.
Written in Dec 2012
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. His book, Transcend and Transform, was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1700 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Aug 2021.