More Creativity, Please!

EDITORIAL, 31 Aug 2009

#77 | Johan Galtung

The world is often seen in terms of two or more nuclear superpowers; a more positive perspective would be two culinary superpowers, China and France. We had just enjoyed a *** (Guide Michelin) French meal. Indescribable, so better not try. But immensely creative. Tastes unknown were conjured unto the human palate. The esthetics of each plate, of the locale, of the waiters with their well rehearsed speeches. And above all: the enjoyment of your partner’s joy adding to your own. In short, hours of perfection, to be relived, refancied, reborn.  Thanks, you chefs, you miracles!

And after a good siesta we turned into the road. There were roundabouts, in fact many of them.  Each one a miracle of creativity.  The gardeners put their whole soul and skill into making the circular landscapes, parks, flower arrangements, incredible pleasures to the eye, sometimes chaotic in their rich flora of fractals. Each one a display of the artist hiding inside the gardener. French public space at its best: accessible, functional, and aesthetic. Like a village-town-city plaza; whoever enters, be lifted by lights and sights pleasant to the eye. Thanks, you gardeners, you miracles, for making even roundabouts a pleasure!

And one cannot help thinking: imagine French foreign policy were run by these people, by having chefs (***, though) and gardeners take over Quai d’Orsay in Paris. Rather than a foreign policy insulting to the human mind in its boredom.  Some killing here and there, Balkans, Africa, Afghanistan, leaving NATO, joining NATO (to take it over when the US Empire ultimately fizzles out?), a brief interlude of less USA obedience, then an appearance of more – instead of: see below.

Then English foreign policy is more consistent with a stale Yorkshire pudding and roundabouts reduced to their deadly boring Euclidean minimum, a circle, like they drew borders for their robberies of peoples and their lands some time ago. A Blair, a Brown or whatever these conservatives are called, sailing under a false flag and tied to the Titanic of a US Empire heading for more icebergs, with a short rope, and without an axe.

Compare that to the following: Mure Dickie writes from Tokyo: DPJ Chief hits at ‘US-led’ globalism: Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of Japan’s opposition Democratic Party who won the elections for prime minister yesterday by a landslide, has condemned “US-led market fundamentalism” and vowed to shield his nation from the effects of untrammeled globalization. With the era of US unilateralism ending and worries about the dollar’s future growing, Japan should also work towards regional currency union and political integration in an “East Asian Community”, Hatoyama wrote in an essay published Monday in the Japanese magazine Voice.

Strong, for Japanese circumstances with a practically speaking 60-year rule by the Liberal Democratic Party–which is neither liberal (is it neo-conservative), nor democratic (most power to the bureaucrats) nor a party (a concoction of fractions built around ambitious personalities)–very creative. So, the 51st US state seceding from the union? Or – merely an Obama, long on words, short on delivery?

There is a difference. Hatoyama’s three ideas are very concrete and in addition hit at the key points of the US Empire where Japan has been a pillar; Obama almost never went beyond the word “change” except to add “we can believe in.”

Region no. 1 for its own liberation has been Latin America, now with such institutions existing or quickly emerging as Mercosur, Unasur, Telesur, Bancosur  Grupo do Rio, CALC and the ingenious new economics of ALBA.  As Mark Weibrot wrote in the International Herald Tribune 12 August: “More of the same in Latin America — Obama’s disgraceful policies are continuing to damage U.S. ties with the region. President Obama has continued the Bush policies and in some cases done worse.” Yes, by now using Honduras as the means to stop the turn to the left in a whole continent brutalized by US interventions and Monroe’ism.

Latin America’s institutions can tomorrow become those of East Asia, both inspiring and being inspired by the African Union and above all by the mother of unions, the European one, lost in the gap between its desire to be emulated and its fear of irritating the Americans.

And US policy is as utterly non-creative as a US meal; or a US roundabout for that matter. Just trying to keep what is left of the status quo is not a policy; it is a sign of despair. And the same applies to the leaked US 10 points plan for Israel-Palestine: all about how to regulate and control a possible Palestinian state (factions to be transformed into political parties, no alliances) to be recognized by the USA in the summer of 2011, not about Israel, the world’s record holder in breaking UN resolutions (69 of them, saved from 29 more because of a US veto). Not a word about lifting the Siege of Gaza, nor borders, nor water, nor trade, nor the annexation wall.  A non-starter.

We need all the creativity and all the Hatoyamas we can get. The old countries and parties do not produce that.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Aug 2009.

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